Tips for Stretching Sundress Season After Summer
I’ve lived in the Inland Northwest for a couple of years now, and I’ve learned that the window for wearing summery clothes is really more of a portal than, say, a wide skylight.
I recently spent a week in Florida, on vacation with my folks. There’s a whole ecosystem of strappy sun dresses, breezy maxi dresses, and stylish coverups. But I had to be choosy. When I’m packing for a trip, I try to bring clothes that play well with other pieces and can multitask. I like clothes that are cute but not fussy (sulky, wrinkly).
I’m trying to apply that principle to my closet at home, too. If a dress has multiple uses, well, all the better. “Can I teach in it?” is often the guiding question when I’m trying something on. (You may recall that I’ve posted about my orange leopard print halter jumpsuit. Clearly rules were meant to be bent when we’re in love with a garment).
In my last post, I included a photo of a new summer dress I did buy in Florida, from a Banana Republic factory store (whether factory stores are a good idea is best left for another time). The dress is polyester. But in the closet of my mind, I separate “fancy polyester,” the kind that feels more expensive, from “70s polyester,” which exudes a more Brady Bunch vibe (I have specimens of both in my closet). I bought the dress in part because, with the aid of cardigan and some tights, I hope to wear it in fall, too.
This post from alreadypretty.com by blogger Sally McGraw offers some helpful guidelines for transitioning summer fashions to fall and winter. Cotton, jersey, linen, and other light fabrics are harder to wear convincingly after summer.
I like McGraw’s ideas about layering tights under a summer dress and covering up shoulder straps with a sweater. “Don’t think of your sweet summer frock as a dress exclusively,” she advises. Recast the dress as a skirt. Or, layer another dress over it. Continues McGraw, “The sundress will basically just be a little bit of texture and print/color peeking out from the hem of your outfit.” It’s a cool idea for carrying a bit of summer light into the darker seasons ahead. (Sorry to be a downer).
The sundress at the top of the post (photo from polyvore.com) could easily extend into fall with a sweater and some tights. The orange dress above (photo from ModCloth) could become a long skirt.
These dresses above (photo from Glamazon Diaries) are delightful. It’s as though someone took crayons and transformed them into sexy dresses. But the lighter fabrics would be tough to wear without looking weird in the chill of late fall (you know, if late fall is chilly where you live).
One tactic McGraw cautions against for increasing the longevity of your sun dress is the turtleneck. I’ll add an amen. I wore enough turtlenecks in my youth (my youth full of colds and flu, my youth layered in undershirts) that I’m fine if I don’t ever see one again. Just don’t tell my mom.