In approximately one week we bid adieu to school.
Good bye cramped, stuffy lecture halls. Good bye "convenience" and "comfort." Good bye "Can I ride my bike in this?" and changing three times a day to accommodate the changing weather.
I am now free to wear uncomfortable shoes if I so choose. And what better way to welcome the solstice than with a cute summer dress?
This season is full of dress-worthy occasions. Kentucky Derby anyone? More than likely, you've been invited to a slew of weddings and graduation parties that require formal-but-not-too-formal attire. Instead of running to the mall before every occasion, plan ahead by buying a dress that can serve a variety of these occasions. Events might vary, but there are certain guidelines you can follow to help you get through the season.
Hemline: Obviously, you don't want to upstage the bride on her wedding day, and really you just shouldn't want to dress like a ho — no matter the occasion. So, here's the rule: If your cheeks feel a breeze, it's too short. If your knees are covered, it's too long. I know maxi dresses are making a comeback, and these options are perfect appropriate for a casual get-together or an outdoor concert, but I wouldn't say they are appropriate for a semi-formal event.
Also, consider the length of the dress when you sit down. Sometimes a dress looks fine while you're standing, but rides up way too far once you sit down. Conservatively, aim for just above the knee.
Neckline: The slut rule is the same here as it is for the hemline, just use your best judgement. There is a variety of necklines to choose from, and each complement different body types. If you have broad shoulders, opt for a sweetheart or modest v-neck. If you would like to flaunt your neck, shoulders and arms choose a halter or strapless style.
Color: Traditionally, it's not okay to wear black or white to a wedding. These hues have become increasingly accepted, but I stand by the traditional view. Black I just don't like for summer personally, and white because, again, you don't want to detract from the bride on her wedding.
Other than that, just choose a shade that flatters your skin tone. Spring is great for colors, obviously, and you can't go wrong with a floral print either.
Cut: I can't come up with a list of every single style and cut of dress out there, but this abbreviated list serves as a good jumping-off point:
A dress with an A-line skirt is appropriate and flattering for those who want to balance a broad shoulder or disguise wider hips. Wrap dresses are also a Godsend – they nip in at the waist in ways other dresses can't. Baby doll dresses, aka empire waists, also disguise a muffin top, but be careful that the dress does not have too much volume in the skirt or else these styles will make you look larger than you actually are.
Another option is a classic shift dress — think Audrey Hepburn. I would strongly encourage you to invest in a nice shift, as you can wear them to work, at night or for special occasions. Avoid cuts that might be too revealing, such as corset-tops, body con and bandaged for any event during the day or of the conservative occasion. I would also steer away from tunic dresses. If you have to ask, "Is this a shirt or a dress?" don't wear it to cousin Lulu's grad party. These dresses are also shapeless, so they only flatter the fortunate few with slender legs that go for miles.
When it comes to these occasions, just use your best judgement. You know when you look like a street-walker, and you also know when you look like a grandma, so just don't. With these tips, feel confident in choosing the right attire for your multiple engagements. Say, "bonjour" to the festivities!