I was recently browsing the fashion trends, as those of us who are sartorially inclined will do, and I came across an article on Vogue UK online, declaring that they’ve discovered a few “style rules” for choosing a summer dress. These rules are ostensibly meant to keep one on the right side of looking modern and edgy, something most of us strive for if we love fashion, so I decided to take a closer look. It’s been my experience as a blogger and fashion writer that most of the time, when the words “rules” are used, there is usually an article that will follow telling us what not to wear – a piece that is more often than not aimed at women of “a certain age”, warning them off of things like certain hemlines or sequins or some such nonsense. Because I fall quite firmly into that demographic, I don’t put a lot of stock in any fashion article that claims to have the “rules” to anything. If I want to sit outside in a sequinned bikini and hammer-out my days-worth of articles, I will do just that thanks very much….just…you know…for example.
I also am taking what Vogue UK tells me with a second grain of salt because of the above June cover. I know we covered the Kate Middleton editorial last week, so I won’t bore you with that, but I keep going back to that cover, and am confused by their choice to put these colors, that hat, that suede jacket…all of these things for a June cover story. It’s well into the seventies and eighties fahrenheit this week, and to me, this looks more like October fodder. I know that as a resident of the UK myself, “summer” often tends to be more of a theoretical construct than an actuality, but we still want to dress for the summer, even if the weather isn’t agreeing, and I’m not sure that I want someone who would choose a brown suede jacket, button down shirt, and wool Indiana Jones fedora in June to pick out my summer dress for me, but never mind. This is supposed to be an “everywoman” experiment, so I will submit to the process all the same. Hopefully without suede.
Rule No. 1: Embrace Metallics
I can get on board with this one. While metallics may not always be practical and are generally the stuff of the darker months of the year like New Years and Christmas and whatnot, if you love fashion, you probably love to wear metallics, so I say why not? They look great against a summer tan, and while they can be overly dressy for summer, there are plenty of toned-down metallics out there that will fit the bill for a summer cocktail party. The verdict: Yes.
Rule No. 2: Do Trompe L’Oeil
While I don’t hate this look, it all really depends on the design. Trompe L’Oeil comes in all different manner of designs, so it’s hard to give this a firm, definitive yes or no. However, I think this one needs a cautionary tale. Sometimes Trompe D’Oeil can look a bit twee, which is fine and humorous for a season, but dates really quickly. I would say if you’re going to do this one, don’t spend a lot of money. You’ll probably get sick of it after a season. Verdict: Proceed with caution.
Rule No. 3: Head to the Eighties Disco
Um, no. 80s-inspired dresses were hot about two or three seasons ago, and sure – they’re still floating around out there, but summer really requires a less try-hard vibe. I can’t think of many dresses from the 80s that have that easy, unstructured feel of the summer, and there’s just something so ridiculous about wearing so much from-frou when the temperatures are soaring. Verdict: Hard pass.
Rule No. 4: Net a New Classic
The net dress trend. I could almost forgive this one if it weren’t for Vogue’s recommendation to wear “old-fashioned, visible undies and a structured bralet” underneath. I also might have been more forgiving if I hadn’t had such a difficult time finding a picture of a net dress on Instagram that didn’t look like I would get charged by the hour for clicking on it. Seriously…this one will definitely get you some attention if that’s what you’re looking for, but do yourself a favor and do an Instagram search for “net dress” before you commit to buying one. You can thank me later. Verdict: Honey, please.
Rule No. 5: Brave the Thigh-High Slit
This one can be a great summer look, when employed correctly. Really, you have to consider the venue – is there a stiff breeze that will expose your lady parts to the universe? Can you sit down comfortably? Are you able to walk without the slit riding-up to your navel? One quick internet search will reveal to you hundreds of celebrity wardrobe malfunction photos that have happened at the hands of the thigh-high slit, so proceed with caution; try before you buy. My take is that this look is best worn with a looser-fitting maxi or midi-length dress, as tight dresses always tend to ride-up. Verdict: Yes, but I want to road test it first.