When Suzy Redino opens her garden Sunday for the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View tour, she’ll greet visitors wearing a favorite warm-weather staple. A dress.
“Dresses are just so easy. In the summertime, I wear a lot of them. You don’t have to put together a whole outfit. It’s just one thing. And they’re cooler,” she said.
She’s not alone. Look around: Women of all ages are stepping out in summer dresses. And if they’re not, maybe they should consider it.
Many summer dresses are versatile enough to wear to the farmers’ market one day, dinner the next. A simple change of shoes or the addition of a scarf, belt or jewelry may be all it takes.
Another top reason to consider a summer dress? Mid-July is a good time to find a dress you love marked down, often drastically.
There is also a variety of lengths, silhouettes, sleeve styles, colors and patterns – in sizes ranging from petite to plus. Ann Taylor shows a short, cap-sleeve jersey dress in a yellow palm print. White House Black Market and Gap are just two retailers selling shirt dresses. Lane Bryant features a video on its website praising patterned maxi dresses, many of which are ideal for balling up in a beach bag or travel suitcase. And J. Jill calls its long A-line linen tank dress “our simple go-to style.”
At Leelee, a woman’s fashion boutique at 5444 Main St., Williamsville, manager Julie DeLoreto said summer dresses always are in demand.
“Summer definitely is a huge dress time for us. People come in and just want dresses. They want dresses to run around town. They want dresses to go to a backyard barbecue. They want dresses to go to a cocktail party. Nobody wants to fuss this time of year with a bottom and a top,” she said.
While structured sheaths remain a popular choice so, too, are easy, breezy styles.
“The fabrics are much more feminine this year – just kind of flowy, very airy, light and not as structured,” she said.
Summer dresses do present some challenges. Women may need to rethink what they wear under their dresses, whether it’s switching to skin-tone intimate apparel for under thinner fabrics or buying a convertible bra with straps that can be worn crisscrossed in back, halter style or wide set.
As for the transparency dilemma, DeLoreto noted another solution: “A lot of designers have actually double-layered the majority of dresses this year to make it easier ... Not a lot of people wear slips anymore.”
Here are a few other tips for making the most of summer dresses:
• Summer dresses at the office? The Ann Taylor blog at www.anntaylor.com offered several tips for pulling it off including this one: “Flat sandals can make an already casual dress too casual. Low-heeled ankle strap sandals or low wedges add polish to a favorite floral dress without taking it over the top.”
And another: “Be careful with dresses with low cut backs and cut-outs ... Stick to simple sheaths, shirt dresses, or a tank dress with a hi-lo hem.”
• Lightweight cardigans, possibly with an open weave and three-quarter-length or short sleeves, offer some coverage without concealing the dress. Summer shawls or scarves that complement the dress are other options.
• If you prefer two pieces, a matching top and skirt will create the look of a dress but can be worn separately as well.
• Try on a variety of dress styles, colors and patterns – including stripes. You may be surprised at what works for you.
And once you find a dress that does, it may become your favorite thing to wear.