four perfect spring dresses (and how to style them)

I’m not much of a dress person. I buy them, mind you. I buy them in bushels, in every color and fabric, convinced they’ll be a snap to throw on when I’m feeling uninspired, and keep me stylish all summer with zero effort.

But in truth, sometimes dresses feel like a lot more work. Better undergarments, more accessories, uncomfortable belts (because we can never wear the belt it came with, of course), more fussing over length and covering up to hide my pasty white arms. In the end, more often than not, I spend 20 minutes frowning into the mirror, then give up and go back to my jeans-and-silk-shirt routine.

This year, I’m going to master dresses, friends. If it’s the last thing I do. So today, I’ll show off a few of my favorites so far this season. And then, we’ll talk styling.

This Madewell striped tee dress ($98) gets to be first for being the easiest. If ever there was a dress I thought truly needed no effort, this is it. I actually think a belt would be a disservice here – it would make the dress too short, and mess up the line of that asymmetrical seam along the side. I do love the idea of this with a bright crossbody bag and Supergas – very “kicking around Saturday” kind of look.

I’ve often fantasized about strolling through a farmers’ market on a Saturday morning wearing a crisp, perfectly-fitting yet casual white dress. The problem is, I’m not sure that dress exists. White dresses are a tricky beast, and I’ve never done it successfully. But this Tory Burch Nico dress ($325) shows serious promise. The pintucks will hide what needs to be hidden in the bodice area, and the cut promises to be super flattering. I’m always a little wary of cap sleeves, but this one only barely qualifies, and Tory does dresses so well, I think it’s worth a shot. I almost hate to see a white dress with accessories – it detracts from that natural simplicity it’s so good at. Skip the jewels and pair with a bright red espadrille wedge and your favorite market tote, natch.

I’ve steered away from maxis because, well, they scare me a little. Too many Mormons in my past, I think – they all look like a hop and a skip from polygamist garb. But I’m reconsidering this year, and have a couple of options that are actually pretty promising. First up is this Veronica M Grecian maxi ($138). I just love the print on this – color, but subtle, wearable color that won’t overwhelm even in these proportions. Also, the cut is bra-friendly, which let’s face it, is a good thing. I’d skip a belt on this one too (woohoo!), but I’d add a great gold necklace like this one from Gorjana – nothing too bright – and a simple tan sandal. Of course, if you’re a shorty, you’ll want to make that a wedge, lest you end up looking like you’re toddling around in your mom’s nightgown. 

And then there’s this little number, which I found at Target for $30. Rifling through their dresses is a chore, but man, when you find one, it’s a little like you won the lottery, isn’t it? I tried on literally every maxi dress in stock, and came home with this one. I absolutely love the print, the length is right, and the fabric feels a little more pulled together than jersey. Yes, it’s strapless. But a strapless bra isn’t that unreasonable, I suppose. Don’t fear the juniors’ sizing, just go up a size. Again, because of the empire waist and ruching, no belt needed. I’ll top with a little cropped denim jacket (this one by Kut is my all-time favorite) to hide my flabby arms add a little style, a fantastic statement necklace (probably from Grayling, since they do it best) and a certain pair of gold Loeffler Randall Sarie flats that may or may not be headed my way as we speak.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to get serious about spring dresses with me?

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2 comments on “four perfect spring dresses (and how to style them)

  1. Pingback: off the rack: the spring styles that actually made it into my closet - shopping's my cardio

  2. Pingback: the best summer denim (for grown-ups) - shopping's my cardio

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