Three reasons to wear a dress this spring. 1) You’re tired of cold-weather separates. 2) Dresses often require minimal accessories. 3) A change of shoes may be all you need to take a favorite dress from daytime (flip-flops) to evening (dressy sandals).
Shown here are a few of the trends and just a sampling of the dresses out there. Prices range from less than $60 to more than $400. If you’re in the market for a new dress, take time to try on various styles because there are so many options available. Consider, too, that today’s lightweight spring sweaters may be the solution to buying a sleeveless dress. Keep an open mind, and you may be surprised by the length, color, pattern or fit you fall for on your mission to find the perfect dress.
Nothing says party dress like one with a fitted bodice and fuller skirt. Some dresses have just a bit of flare at the bottom; others are all-out swingy. Dresses like these generally are easy to top with a cardigan or shawl. They also are fun to wear – whether it’s a fit-and-flare dress suited to a casual outing or a dressier one for an event quite special.
Shown here: a fit-and-flare dress in a wisteria-colored leaf print fashioned in a cotton/spandex blend so it’s washable; it also has pockets and is fully lined. Priced $169 at Talbots, www.talbots.com.
It’s too soon to be maxed out on maxis. There’s a flurry of fresh patterns, colors and styles to discover. Maxi dresses merge with other trends of the season – be it pretty pastels or bold stripes. This versatile style can take you anywhere – from the beach to a brunch to the shopping mall where, in fact, you may end up buying yet another maxi.
Halter, strapless and sleeveless styles all are popular, but you’ll also find maxi dresses with sleeves. The maxi’s stretch of fabric also lends itself to interesting details such as front or side slits or, as seen on our cover photograph, keyhole necklines and layered effects. White lace over lime green? Totally fresh.
Shown here: a washable polyester/spandex knit black-and-white striped strapless maxi dress, $130, from White House/Black Market, www.whitehouseblackmarket.com.
Whether it’s a simple tank dress or something more floaty, the midi length – or tea length, as it is sometimes called – can be a welcome addition to many women’s wardrobes. The midi length garnered attention in the fall, and now the look continues for spring.
Shown here: a halter dress with flowing scarf hemline in a bold “Capri tile” print and machine-washable polyester/spandex blend. Priced $79 at Soma, www.soma.com.
Stripes always surface come spring, but this season they go far beyond nautical. Stripes can be wide or narrow, horizontal or vertical, but sometimes they also appear as chevron or zigzag patterns. Other times, they go in several different directions. If it’s subtle stripes you feel most comfortable wearing, look for stripes used as an accent – a few across the bodice or around the hemline, perhaps. Feeling bold? Stripes also are combined with other patterns so no one will mistake you for a referee.
Shown here: a sleeveless striped dress with floral-print side panels from the nicole by Nicole Miller collection, in washable polyester/spandex. Originally priced $60 at select J.C. Penney stores and online at www.jcpenney.com.
From tiny pink buds to bold black-and-white geometric-print blossoms, there is sure to be a floral frock out there you can’t resist. While some look freshly picked from the garden, other floral patterns are quite abstract. You’ll find florals on dresses of all lengths and styles, from simple shifts to wrap dresses to, again, those maxis.
What’s nice about an all-over floral pattern is that accessories can be kept to a minimum. In other words, you can weed out the extraneous.
Shown here: the A-line Marimekko “Huikea” cotton-jersey dress in Unikko floral print, with two side pockets and a removable self-tie belt. It also doubles as a tunic and can be either machine washed or dry cleaned. Priced $195 at O’Connell’s clothing, 3240 Main St., www.oconnellsclothing.com.
Put a little adventure in your weekday wardrobe with earth tones, exotic patterns, animal spots and more. The look lands on many types of women’s clothing, dresses included.
To really get the look right, top your dress with a lightweight utility jacket or a few earthy accessories such as a leather belt or beaded bracelet.
Shirt dresses in safari-inspired muted colors and patterns are another option this spring. Pocket-lovers, rejoice.
Shown here: a sleeveless Bar III leopard-print dress, originally priced $59.50, in a machine-washable polyester/spandex blend. Jacket sold separately. From select Macy’s, www.macys.com.