I may not be the first to say it, but mark my words: 2006 is the year of the dress. Wear it out, wear it to work, just make sure you wear one.
Last year I reintroduced skirts into my wardrobe after overdoing my capris, pedal-pushers, clam diggers and cropped pants. But this year I’m going one step further.
But what kind of dress? I mean isn’t a dress…so dressy? Not anymore. Designers on both sides of the Atlantic sent their models down the runway in versatile and refreshing designs.
Pockets, pockets, pockets
Excuse my obsession, but I cannot get over dresses with pockets. What better way to dress down a dress than to add a couple pockets? Dresses and skirts with pockets are so prevalent that I can’t figure out why no one is talking about them. So I’m going to. Part of the pre-fall collection, Moschino showed plaid dresses with side pockets that added a playful twist to a serious dress. Donna Karan showed multiple looks with pockets, my favorite being a deep black V-neck. I found a beautiful full-skirt Oscar de la Renta with pockets at Neiman Marcus ($2,700 at www.neimanmarcus.com). A bit out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right? For a casual and completely affordable look, I found a terrycloth tube dress with two side pockets at American Apparel. It’s equally adept as a casual cocktail dress or for lounging by the pool ($44 in-store at American Apparel).
Dare yourself to wear all white next time you go out. Inspired by a Michael Kors white lace long button down, I recently added a Laundry by Shelli Segal white eyelet skirt and top to my wardrobe and I’ve found it refreshing to step out in something besides head to toe black (see Shop Cops). Holly Dunlap’s Hollywould, a line I can’t keep my eyes off, offers a delightful oceanfront dress in soft textured cotton with a decadent array of real shells tipped in gold leaf ($1,750.0 0 www.ilovehollywould.com). BCBG has a similar off-white summer dress with eyelets for $260 that balances innocence with flirtation (www.bcbg.com).
Sienna Miller will ignite a new trend when she appears as Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl out this fall. In anticipation, labels such as Burberry Prorsum and Chanel featured baby doll and shift dresses in their recent collections. Often with a slightly mod take, dresses invoking the carefree â€˜60s girl marched straight from the runway to the department stores. I’m eyeing Rachel Pally’s version of babydoll with her Flutter Top in hazelnut for $143 on www.shopbop.com (check out the tie detail in back). I also like Helen Wang’s cotton mod-inspired sleeveless sheath dress with black piping for $64.99 on Bluefly.com (notice it’s white!).
Casual and crisp, shirt dresses are lightweight and comfortable. My favorite runway looks were less-than-preppy, as demonstrated by Vivienne Westwood’s white silk button-down with leather belt, which retails for $850 and United Bamboo’s striped broadcloth tuxedo dress, which is playful, yet sophisticated (retails for $420). Marc for Marc Jacobs gives the classic white shirt dress a twist, literally. His tie-front design with front pockets is $395 for www.net-a-porter.com. Did someone say pockets? If you find shirt dresses to be too shapeless, define your waist with a belt like Club Monaco’s military-inspired shirt dress ($99 at Club Monaco stores).
To recap: go for pockets when you want to take the schmancy out of fancy, wear white to break out of the darkness, channel Edie for an It-girl appeal and look at shirts in a new way. It’s a dress code you won’t protest.
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