Your Stylist: Finding your favorite summer frock
I'm looking for a cute summer dress for this year; hopefully something following the boho, flower, or traditional white trends. I can't spend a fortune on the dress ($100 or less). I'm pretty small, 5-foot-5 and typically a size small, but my hips are proportionally larger than my chest, and my waist is tiny, so I'm looking for something that will accentuate that.
Thanks! -- VS, New Jersey
Go-to summer dresses are easily the center of a summer wardrobe, working from day to night, the beach to a barbecue.
All of your trend cues are right on as they cover everything from clean and minimal to romantic bohemian, so you can wear a style depending on your mood or the occasion. But if you buy just one, try and make it as versatile as possible, choosing something that looks great with flip flops as it does with some espadrilles wedges.
A bold floral dress in a kaleidoscope of vivid hues like this one from Simply Vera Vera Wang at Kohl's,($46.99) is a good option for the floral look, but can also go boho by winding a braided brown leather belt around the waist and throwing on a worn in denim jacket. Some brown leather sandals or woven wedges will bring it even further into boho territory. And of course, should you want it to look neat and polished, black flats or sandals will be perfect.
For something straight up bohemian, Forever 21 has flirty options in fun, ethnic prints for under $20 each. They could easily double as sun dresses, bikini cover-ups or kicky little party dresses if worn with bold gold jewelry and some dressier sandals.
Though it’s a trend this season, a minimal white dress is always a good staple to have hanging in your closet. It’s summer’s answer to the little black dress, and depending on how you accessorize, the dress can be classic and conservative or fun and eclectic. Calvin Klein has a tiered shift dress ($59.99) with the tiered fabric cut across the body at a diagonal (which is a perfect hip-slimming feature). It’s on the dressier side, good for a work event or slightly formal summer gathering, but could also be dressed down with some metallic T-strap sandals and a denim jacket.
For something easy and comfortable, Old Navy ($15) has a belted shirt style dress in a flat white color. This is great for running around or travel as it won’t wrinkle and probably doesn’t take up much room when packed into a suitcase. The belt will accentuate your tiny waist. You could even switch out the sash for a brown leather belt to define your midsection even more.
Every dress pictured here would flatter your figure. The tops are V-neck or strapless, which works well with a small top and bust area, the waists are drawn in, and the hip and seat area are not fitted but flow out enough that you will be comfortable without looking frumpy.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Top photos, from left to right: Looks from Diane Von Furstenberg spring/summer 2010; Erdem spring/summer 2010; Stella McCartney spring/summer 2010
Middle photos, from left to right: Forever 21 ($14.50); Simply Vera Vera Wang at Kohl's; Old Navy
Bottom photos, from left to right: Calvin Klein; Banana Republic ($69)