28 March 2011 – ‘Built-ins’

March 28th, 2011 § 14 comments

28 March 2011


Coat – Merona, via consignment store
Maternity dress – Motherhood, via consignment store
Belt – thrifted
Red-orange necklace – thrifted
Red bracelet – H&M years ago
Red tights – TJMaxx
Loafers – Michael Kors, thrifted
Red earrings – Welt Laden in Salzburg, Austria

Bike – 1969 Raleigh Sports


I’m becoming increasingly drawn to navy as a favorite neutral. I particularly like how it works with reds and browns. This navy shirtdress was one of my finds during a shopping spree with E. over my last visit to academichic central. E. took me to her favorite maternity consignment store and we had a blast perusing their maternity outfits while swapping pregnancy stories. At the time, I had just started to feel my baby move and I remember how delighted I felt to have E. (a second-time mom) confirm that those pops really were the baby.

That day, we came away with a few good maternity finds. Among which was this stretchy navy shirt dress that came with those built-in belt straps that are sometimes more nuisance than help. E. also found a gorgeous dress that day, which also came with built-in straps, and she recorded how she made those work here. I decided to take the plunge and remove them altogether.

Removing the belt straps Removing the belt straps

You can see how the dress looks with the navy built-in straps in comparison to it being worn with a different, contrasting belt. I think I much prefer the latter, which breaks up the vast amount of solid fabric and gives the eye a focal point. So I knew I wouldn’t miss the navy straps, since I was likely to never wear it ‘as is’…

>With built-in belt Navy and Red

Sometimes built-in belts works wonderfully and A. even did a demonstration of how you can use them to tie in a cardigan or outside layer. But I think that for the built-in straps to work well, they have to be of a more substantial width. The thin ‘shoestring’ kind just don’t seem to do it for me. What do you do with the built-in belts, do you keep them or cut them?


23 Weeks Preggers :) Polkadot lining

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§ 14 Responses to 28 March 2011 – ‘Built-ins’"

  1. Good call – much better with the belt than the built-in tie. Love the navy with the red tights, and then the yellow of the coat – so fun!

  2. Loren says:

    Cut them. I’ve got a couple jersey dresses that I can’t seem to make the commitment to cut off the unnecessary attached built in belts. But for thin straps like these I always cut them off.

  3. Brooke says:

    Love these colors on you, S!

  4. Sally says:

    Totally depends on the garment but, more often than not, I cut ‘em off, too!

    Love this mix of brights and neutrals, S!

  5. Kasmira says:

    I’m a total cutter! I almost always prefer my own belt to the self-belt. The only exception is wrap dresses.

  6. kimmie says:

    Ooh I love the dress with your own belt a million times better!

    I hate built-in belt straps, I feel like they only serve the function for keeping the belt there when you purchase it, but should be easily removable for when you want to wear your own belts. I have a cardigan that has belt straps super high (like right under the bra line) but they’re sewn in so that I need to open up the side stitching to remove them, and then sew them back up to close the hole. So annoying!

  7. I was just going to ask you and E. about this, actually, since I’ve been frustrated with how many maternity items seem to come with those shoestring ties (though I think I find the ones that tie in the back WAY less problematic than the ones that tie in the front). Have you found the garments hold up well to being belted “externally,” so to speak, even when you’ve removed the ties, or do they lack structure? I know structure is a funny word in this context, since a lot of the garments we’re talking about are matte or rayon jersey, but I’m still curious.

    This outfit looks fabulous on you—I love the colors!

  8. Nadine says:

    I hate belts (uncomfortable!) so I ALWAYS chop ‘em off.

  9. Penny says:

    me too i always remove these small strings( among other things they never make my waist look as narrow and i look big compared to these tiny things!heheh)…i only keep belts that come with outfits if they are wide and maybe have a different fabric on it…

  10. NodToStyle says:

    yes yes yes to navy as a neutral.

  11. Angeline says:

    I’ve never cut off the “built-ins” off a dress, but I really love the look you have here. Maybe I should try it now. :)

  12. Becky says:

    I, too, hate those built in little straps. You are forced to tie them in the back thus ending up sitting with a little knot pressed into your back all day. I try to save those ties to use for tying other things up or crafting. I usually save them for ages then end up throwing them out because I couldn’t find a use for them. Shame.

  13. andie says:

    I, too, am loving navy as a neutral lately- way more than black or brown! I think it’s because my favorite color is blue. :)

    You are just glowing! I just started feeling my baby move, too. It’s so strange- almost feels like a rubber band popping in your belly. You are just glowing! :)

  14. [...] modest cut, not too tight, colorful, and printed (in a non-annoying way). So fun. And after reading S.'s post on built-in belts at Academichic, I pulled out the matching belt on this dress and tied on my own. The second picture above is [...]

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