Thursday, May 1, 2008

Longing for Summer

Hostess dress. Patio dress. Maxi dress. Whatever you wanna call 'em, they're out there this summer -- long floaty summer dresses that reach to the ankle. How do we feel about them? Well, I'm leaning in favor of, but I have a few caveats in order to make them work for me.

Very importantly, they can't be slinky. No shiny 1970's knits or shimmery silks or glitzy buckles & baubles. Then it starts to get evening-ish, and that removes the fun of the thing. The idea behind this should be you, in your light-as-air floaty dress, your tanned shoulders gleaming (because they're coated in sunscreen!!!) as you circulate through a low-key crowd of people on your deck or patio, margarita in hand and peaceful smile on your lips as the party segues from late afternoon to evening. You begin to light the citronella candles and watch the setting sun paint the sky the colors of your dress, while your guests admire your effortless hospitality and relaxed glamor. These dresses need to be eeeeeeeasy -- throw them on & go. They are not worth it if they require fitzing and futzing and -- worst of all -- restrictive Support Mechanisms. No smoothers should be required.

And a note to my petite sisters, who are no doubt looking askance at all these long, looooong garments and thinking, well, here is yet another trend that will pass me by. Au contraire. With a few provisos, you too can be long and swanny in your floaty dress. Long is okay, provided it's really long -- commit to covering your ankles. It's that in-between the knee and ankle, neither-long-nor-short thing that makes you look dumpy. But if the line of the dress continues all the way to the floor, it just makes... one long line. Which is good. It should not be too voluminous, however. You are petite, remember, and you don't want to drown in fabric. Lastly, remember scale when it comes to print -- nothing too large that will overwhelm you. Small prints are better, solid colors are always good.

(As usual click photos or hypertext for links.)

Like this:


Alice + Olivia Belted One Shoulder Dress

I really like this and the thing that's strange is that I don't think I would like it nearly as much as a knee-length dress. Go figure. But I love the stripes going in different directions. These are stripes that would definitely not overwhelm a petite woman, and the dress would be easy to hem, being without a flounce around the bottom.

This one has a flounce, but it's deep enough that you could hem it up and still make it work.


Cotton voile, light as air, and oh-so-pretty.


The usual fabulous jersey from the usual fabulous DVF. My goodness, this label is prolific -- how many designers do you think she has on staff???


MyboyfriendAlexanderMcQueen for his McQ label. I have the skirt version of this and I absolutely adore it -- there are buttons tucked on the underside of the thing so you can futz around with the hem -- make it all longer or all shorter or asymmetrical. It's a beautiful soft cotton fabric with a teeeeeny-tiny gold thread through the plaid -- you have to look pretty closely to see it, but it makes for a great pairing with gold sandals. I really love this dress and I really want it, but A) wrong size and B) NO BUY!!!


What could be easier than a long version of your favorite polo shirt? And what a pretty green. I think this would be especially fun and unexpectedly glam with a great big pair of chunky earrings.


This is just too pretty not to show you...




On sale for 50% off and a beautiful color -- I'm a big fan of aubergine. Great dress for a petite.


Love this for the black & white graphic pattern, which would allow for the wearing of brightly colored shoes, many of which are available this summer. I also really love the back


although I understand that this cut makes it a little difficult for those who aren't tiny up top like I am. But hey -- one of the few perks of being small-busted is that you can wear dresses like this & go without a bra, so let me enjoy it!


This is absolutely beautiful -- I adore this print. Probably on a non-model-sized person this would be a longer dress. These shoes, however, are wrongwrongkillmenowwrong -- stick with a strappy flat sandal.

Hey, speaking of which...

What to wear with one of these floor-length wonders? Something, as I said, flat & strappy. This is the perfect opportunity to grab yourself a pair of the "gladiator sandals" that are EVERYWHERE this summer.

Women's shoes: DV by Dolce Vita Carnival-30 - Brass gold

These are great -- calling to mind huge sweaty men fighting to the bloody death in the Coliseum in only the vaguest of ways. (Because you really don't want to look like Russell Crowe, now do you?) Gold, my favorite neutral, and these bad boys are only $65. (The fact that they're listed as "Rachel Zoe's pick" on the site does give me pause, as it should you whenever you see that, but I'm going to get over that and give these a hearty thumbs-up.)
Women's shoes: Bernardo Mars - Silver

Another metallic, which also comes in gold. These don't have anything between the toes, which makes me like them even more. Ever since I was a child, I have hated shoes that had things between the toes. Consequently, I have never succumbed to the Great FlipFlop Apostasy (wherein those rubber poolside/beach/locker room shoes morphed into "acceptable" footwear and took over the entire world).
Women's shoes: Belle by Sigerson Morrison 5422 - Gold

When is a thong sandal not a flipflop? When it is a cool, sexy, metallic flat that brings to mind Scheherezade dancing in her veils, that's when. What a sexy shoe.

Women's shoes: Sam Edelman Gilda - Aqua

Fantastic color. Also in a black and white snake print (which I love) and pewter metallic.

Sam Edelman Women's Ginger Gladiator Sandal

These are em-baubled, but in a very good way. Luxe-looking without being flashy.

Nine West Women's Jobilyn Sandal

A great basic in several colors, including this reptile print. The wonderful thing about this sandal (and this style of sandal in general) is its dead usefulness. Great with long dresses, great with short dresses, great with jeans or linen slacks, great even with a nice pair of shorts.

(It occurs to me -- too late as usual -- that probably I should have picked up a pair of these before the No Buy started. Dangit, I never think...)

Cindy Says Women's Soul Flat Tie Sandal

Substantial yet delicate at the same time. I just love these.

Apepazza Women's Malesia Sandal

This is a little underwhleming in brown, but is also available in a really great pink, sunny yellow, and kelly green. Go have a look.

Luna Rosa Women's Gladiator Sandal

Shown in black here, but also available in a beautiful bright blue. Crazy about this shoe.

Theory Shoes Joan Ankle Strap Flat Sandal

Beautiful simplicity in metallic pink. What more could you ask for?

So how do you feel? Could you be tempted by the long? Or will you give it short shrift? (Oh, please forgive me, but it was there and I had to use it.) Tell me what you think!!!

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Anonymous said...

The last dress with the ugly shoes is the perfect long dress for me. You picked one that would work on my 5' high frame. ( it will be a bit longer on me) As long as it flows right of course I will wear them. I think you are right on the money with most all of the shoes to wear with it ! One thing I would do to make it me is layer lots of gold braclets , why gold because I own them LOL. She (the model in the dress for me) needs a upper lip wax or is it a shadow,ya think? LOLOL. K

Anonymous said...

No, I won't be doing the long dress or the gladiator sandals. Not my style. I will gladly leave them for any of y'all that would like to have fabric swishing around your ankles. I'll be over here in my knee length frock and as little footwear as I can decently manage without Mr. Carol commenting....

WendyB said...

I love maxi dresses -- I've been wearing them for a long time and I'm only 5'4". But there are so many great vintage ones, I don't know why someone would bother to get a newly made one that other people will be wearing. People need to hit eBay for something unique!

Anonymous said...

This post brings such joy to my wintry, Grinchy little heart. There is nothing I love more in summer than a long dress ebbing and flowing like the tide around my ankles. I have owned gladiator sandals for years. And the only thing metallic you'll catch me in is my strappy shoes. To top it all off, that watercolor print dress with the purple satin top brought tears of joy to my eyes. Not even lying. Thank you for illuminating this snowy, rainy week with all my favoritest summer delights--even though our styles are quite different, you can be my interwebs personal shopper any day! -k

Alexandra said...

Not sure I can pull them off with my size and shape. I'm barely 5'3 and have a tiny waist, but large hips and boobs. but gladiator sandals- that I can do! And I already ahve a gorgeous copper-coloured pair that I haven't worn yet and looking forward to doing so very soon.

La Belette Rouge said...

I love a good summer dress. But, I am sorry to say that the gladiator shoe trend is not for me. I do not like them in pink or gold or in colours in between.