On a recent trip to Savannah, Georgia, I was strolling through an exhibit called The Journey of a Dress that chronicled the evolution of the jersey wrap dress that Diane Von Furstenburg launched on the world of fashion in the 1970s. The installation included all the classic dress silhouettes that American women – indeed, women everywhere – rely upon as wardrobe staples. The early advertisements for the classic wrap dress bore the tagline â€œFeel like a woman. Wear a dress.â€ With these simple statements, Princess Von Furstenburg, as she was then known to the world of fashion and the denizens of Studio 54, ushered in an era of simple, yet utterly feminine, dressing for daytime. Recall that she pulled this off in a time when the pant suits of Halston and Yves St. Laurent reigned supreme. YSL’s Le Smoking tuxedo for women is still highly regarded as the pinnacle of menswear-influenced womenswear. As I left the exhibit, I encountered none other than DVF herself, casually strolling down Broughton Street, the main boulevard of Savannah, looking utterly chic and effortless in a simple tunic, her signature mane of hair fluttering in the sultry breeze.
To help you jump right into summer dressing, I’ve selected a few daytime dress looks that will instantly solve all your â€œwhat to wear todayâ€ dilemmas this season. First of all, every woman – no matter her height or shape – â€œneedsâ€ a DVF wrap dress. If you’re already a fan, then you definitely need at least one new one this season. DVF’s Capela print silk wrap dress is the perfect transition from your all-black winter wardrobe. The perfect blend of animal print and Ikat, the stunning black-and-white dress will take you from day to evening all summer long.
If a wrap dress is a little too sexy for your daytime needs, consider the layering it over a tank OR consider the humble shirtdress in all its permutations. Bottega Veneta’s cream-colored silk-and-cotton shirt dress featured a full gathered 50’s style skirt with a self belt to complete your ladylike look. Giambatista Valli’s take on the shirt dress features less volume in the skirt but amps up the volume in the sleeve. The full poet sleeve features gathers just below the shoulder and at the wrist. If your take on ladylike dressing tends more toward the current First Lady than Ladybird Johnson – and you’ve got the arms to pull it off – why not indulge yourself in the sheer (literally!) luxury of Rochas’ silk georgette sleeveless dress. Layer it with tonal coordinates or use it as coverup over neon brights or bold prints. Create your own signature look with this versatile item.
I know that I – and most fashion editors – tend to push floral in May. â€œApril showers bring May Flowersâ€ may be corny, but I prefer to think of it as â€œclassicâ€ and floral should be a staple of every woman’s spring/summer wardrobe. The freshest takes this season are less literal interpretations of floral. Miu Miu offers an abstract iris print silk crepe dress that lets you stay in your black and navy comfort zone and won’t have you looking like a walking English garden or your grandmother’s shabby chic sofa. The high contrast white trim keeps this tank style dress looking sporty chic. My other favorite take on floral this season is more impressionist. Fendi’s cream colored silk chiffon dress featured delicate ruffles that emulate flowers in full bloom. Your every movement will be highlighted by this gorgeous design like a jewel set en tremblent.
No matter what style you choose, think of the chicest, most feminine woman you know – even if that’s you – and channel her as you dress each day this season. Feel like a woman!
1. Diane Von Furstenberg Capela Printed Silk Dress $345
2. Bottega Veneta Cotton and Silk-Blend Shirt Dress $1600
3. Giambattista Valli Cotton-Poplin Shirt Dress $1100
4. Rochas Sheer Silk-Georgette Dress $1225
5. Miu Miu Silk-Crepe Iris-Print Dress $1370
6. Fendi Flower-Detailed Silk-Chiffon Dress $2990
Image Layout: Tiffany Carlin