Fashion: All the pretty little summer dresses

Summer — and we know it’s really coming now — should be care-free and fun. Especially in fashion. So, the number one, classic go-to, must-have item is the dress. A simple one-piece-and-you’re-done. All-purpose, and a no-brainer.

“Nothing says summer like a fun, flirty dress! This year we are seeing lots of maxis, prints and color. After the long, long winter we’ve had, women are thrilled to ditch their sweaters and put on something lightweight, bright and sexy,” says Jennifer Stamper from Juniper Boutique in Northbrook. “While shorts are usually the easy choice on a warm day, this summer go girlie and try a dress instead.”

Stamper remarked that some shoppers may be apprehensive about the maxi dress trend. But once they wear one, they’re hooked. Maxis look best, she suggests, with flip flops and hems that gracefully skim the floor.

Shannon Ridgeway, Senior Marketing Director of Westfield Old Orchard, talked about other summer dress trends.

“Cutouts are holding strong for the summer season,” she notes. “Keep an eye out for dresses with side slits or openings at the waist. They’re surprisingly slimming.

And she adds, “Choose wisely. A subtle slit can be work-appropriate with a cardigan, but save the wide cutouts for an outdoor social gathering.”

Another trend she likes is the eyelet dress. “Eyelet is a summer staple for good reason. The breathable, but beautiful fabric is sweet and functional,” Ridgeway says.

If you need still more reasons to love them, summer dresses are easy-care, easy-going. They work with any footwear, from high heel sandals and wedges to ballet or sandal flats, dressy or beachy flip-flops.

For accessories, just about anything goes. Tie on a scarf or layer long and/or short multiple necklaces. A cuff bracelet or a few bangles? Your choice. Handbags too, Whatever works: an over-size tote, a shoulder pouch or a delicate envelope clutch.

The options are endless, just like your summer fun.

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