Summer Freedom Tips for Buying the Perfect Dress for the Season
BY MEGAN SHORE
Special to The Pilot
No item of clothing is more anticipated by the fashion-minded female than the return of the summer dress. Freedom! Freedom from pantyhose, sweaters, wool pants, tight jeans and shoes that cover the toes. While this summer staple is a warm weather necessity, it can be a tricky item to acquire. With so many options even the most confident shopper can find dress shopping a daunting task. So here are a few easy tips to finding that perfect summer dress:
n Find a store in your budget. A sundress is not an item on which to overspend. If you were shopping for a cashmere twinset, I would say buy the best you can afford, but we are not shopping for a wardrobe staple here. Your summer dress will be fashionable for two, maybe three seasons if you are lucky. If you would like to extend the fashion shelf life of your dress, find something in a knee-length white eyelet or linen with a V-neckline and cinched waist. With the right accessory or shoe, this selection could last five to eight seasons - with the proper laundering. But the fabrics used to make sundresses are not the hardiest of threads, so be realistic about how long that cotton shift will be able to survive laundering and still look perky.
n Color, color, color. Color, along with fit, will take your wardrobe from just OK to perfection. Trust me on this. This blonde and fair-skinned fashion-lover was crushed last fall when the color of the season was a beautiful shade of mustard. I couldn't put that color within three feet of my face without looking like I was seasick. So, I bought a gorgeous patent yellow belt, and my craving was satiated. Know what colors look good on you and try to get those colors near your face. There is a shade of purple that looks good on everyone, and coral is almost universally flattering. Black is beautiful on blondes, and olive-toned skin is majestic in white or bright red.
n Your perfect summer dress should highlight your assets. Look realistically at yourself. (This is not the time for rose-colored glasses or the "skinny" mirror.) Do you have lovely shoulders and a slender neck but a are a little on the heavy side down below? A strapless or halter dress might be a flattering choice, but be sure to choose a dress that lightly floats away from the hips and legs. A common fit mistake I have been seeing frequently is the maxi dress. While one would think that this dress would hide a multitude of sins, it can actually end up emphasizing hips and a small chest and making shorter girls look, well, shorter. The maxi dress is dreamy on tall women who are proportionate on the top and the bottom. Whether that be a small bust with small hips or a big bust with big hips, proportion and height are the key with this dress.
n Lastly and most important: If you are not comfortable, you are not going to look good. This is a cold, hard fact. If you are adjusting your straps or constantly pulling down your hemline, you not only look uncomfortable, but you make others feel uncomfortable for you.
If you have followed my simple shopping tips and found the perfect summer dress, be confident in how you look. The best piece of fashion advice I have ever received was from my grandmother, and I am going to share it with you now: "Stand up straight and stop fidgeting." It's as simple as that.
Megan Shore is a graphics designer with PineStraw and a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, CA. Contact her at email@example.com.
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