Last fall women’s fashion was all about menswear: over-sized, heavy textured suit pieces. But this year we’ve gone in the opposite direction. It’s all about feminine silhouettes. That means you’ll be seeing lots of skirts and dresses, dresses, and dresses.
Wrapping my head around this dress trend was a stretch, during this “who cares what we look like” quarantine. But it’s actually been a lot of fun. It reminded me that whatever our age or body shape, we still have an inner girly-girl. Let’s look at some of the dress styles that are available right now and analyze who can wear them and for what occasion. We’ll describe the style facets they represent. A bunch of these are really inexpensive.
Like some of you my one outing per week has been grocery shopping. Now that the urgency of getting in and out quickly has diminished a bit there is a greater sense of enjoyment in the task. So, I’m seriously considering swapping my utilitarian jeans and tee for one of these very casual but kind of fun dresses. Here are a couple of great finds from Amazon. The one on the left would appeal to someone with a Natural and High Spirited style. It comes in seven colors (denim blue, black, ivory, navy, terracotta and gray) and is a cotton/linen blend. The reviews indicate it runs large.
This plaid one on the right is also in linen (it also comes in black/white, and navy/white) and would appeal to someone with a more Youthful and Classic style. The angled pockets give it a little High Spirited feeling.
For a really hot day, you can’t beat a sleeveless shift. This one, form COS is organic cotton denim and is mostly Classic in style. Because the skirt portion is slightly rounded instead of straight that adds a bit of Youthfulness to it. You could easily dress it up with colorful accessories – a simple necklace or bangles – and a pair of summer sandals.
Some beaches are still closed. But afternoon strolls along the beach are permitted (go figure.) And I’m learning that “social distancing” barbecues are still in the works for August. We hope the virus curve, if not our body curves, will be flattened by then. (BTW – if you’ve gained a few pounds you’re not alone. I read today that on average people have gained more than 15 pounds on lock down! The looser styles will appeal to you.)
Flowing, midi, maxi and boho dresses are all fairly Romantic. But the less frilly the textile and the fewer the details or trims it has will make it read as Natural or Classic. Still, in the summer we all tend to lean a little more toward Natural in our style choices.
This one from Soft Surroundings (on the left) reads as mostly Natural and Classic. The buttons up the side add a bit of High Spirited style and the bell shaped sleeves are slightly Angelic. But frankly, a lot of people who like denim could wear this as an alternative to jeans.
Another option that is more decidedly Romantic in essence is their San Remo maxi dress. (I hear good things about the quality of Soft Surroundings dresses.) It has some element of Youthfulness due to the high waistline and the little repeated patterns. Repetition in pattern can also be High Spirited. The geometric shapes represent Natural. But when it is small in size that reads visually as more Youthful.
Tencel is one of those textiles that is very forgiving and drapes nicely. It is a so-called “sustainable” fabric because it is sourced from the cellulose in wood pulp. This one (on the left) is cool, breezy, and primarily Natural/Romantic in style. It could work for both very casual environments, but also for our next category, outdoor dining. Add a playful straw tote to anchor the overall feeling and that will add some element of the Natural/High Spirited style essences.
Nordstrom BP Striped Tote
Modcloth has a lot of fun things in Youthful style. (It’s not their only style, but it’s one they specialize in.) This one is mostly High Spirited, because of the mix of pattern, and a bit Youthful, because of the little dots in the background. I know a lot of you won’t wear anything sleeveless. This could easily work with a cardigan too.
Outdoor Restaurant Dining
Many restaurants are starting to offer social distancing outdoor dining. A lot of you have said how much you miss your occasional lunches with friends. So this could be an opportunity to dress up for your first foray back into public.
OK, I admit you have to be pretty thin or fairly small busted to get away with this off white ribbed knit dress, but it is just so lovely, is 94% cotton, and you can’t beat the price. I know the sneakers are a current “look.” But something more along the lines of the shoes worn with the striped dress to the left would work for the less adventurous, as would any wedged espadrille or sandal. It’s High Spirited and Romantic with some Classic.
The classic shirt maker dress has come back in style with some edits. The one on the left would work for a High Spirited and Natural type. The one on the right, because of the ruffle on the bottom and the sight puffed sleeves, would be most suitable for a Classic/Romantic style type.
The striped one below is pretty strictly Classic with a hint of Natural or even Romantic in the belt, and maybe a tad High Spirited because of the stripes on the cuffs.
Those big events planned for the fall are still in limbo. But at some point the weddings, graduations, and holiday dinners will be on our calendars again. Here are a few ideas for dresses that could lift your spirits and make you want to wear makeup again.
The layered look is a very flattering silhouette if you’re carrying a bit extra weight around your middle. This white tiered dress has a Romantic/Angelic feeling. I couldn’t find that necklace on their site but it does call for a statement necklace. This one below (in orange) is on sale there. And the pearl one to its right makes quite a statement because the large disc pendant on it requires a tad of drama. The pearls are Angelic. That’s an interesting combination because the model herself is both Dramatic and Angelic.
Special occasions in the summer and fall seem to cry out for floral prints. This one from Nordstrom (on the left) has a keyhole back neckline, adding a little more Romantic to the essentially Youthful/Classic/Romantic style. The small size of the pattern makes it less Romantic than Youthful.
If you swap out the kind of clunky looking sandals for something a little more elegant, like a simple pump or dressier sandals, this cotton dress on the left would be lovely for even a more formal outdoor event. It’s primarily for plus sizes, and the reviews indicate that you have to order one to two sizes up. But, based on those reviews it seems like it might work for a small or medium. Heck, at this price you could buy it and have it altered. The pattern is mostly Natural and Classic, the style is Classic, and because of the almost bell-shaped sleeves, a wee bit Angelic.
Here’s another sweet one from Modcloth (below left.) Again, like a lot of their things, it’s mostly Youthful and Romantic, but because it’s also pretty modest, a Classic could likely wear it as well. The green one from Macy’s below is Romantic because of the tiers, and Natural because of the print and the v-neck, and a touch of High Spirited because of the cap sleeves. The lucite and snake clutch pulls together the entire look.
So, those are a few ideas to pique your interest about wearing dresses again, unless you never stopped. (And if you love dresses, let me know which type and why. I’d love to hear about them.) I hope they inspire you to think about more fulfilling times and happy occasions to be shared with loved ones and friends. Stay healthy and safe.
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