There's something about summertime that always makes me crave a prettily-hued, semi-formal knee-length dress...or two...or eight :). One reason for is that dresses are so dang easy - the ultimate throw-and-go outfit. I also love the idea of dressing down a semi-formal dress with a pair of flats; dresses aren't just for fancy occasions! I've worn a look like this to dinner and to professional appointments, as well as to a wedding held in a field. Fabric is important for this look. Knits/jersey are not what you're looking for. Woven cotton (especially a heavier version, such as a faille (pron "file")), chiffon, or any fabric with a soft sheen (like sateen) is the key. Soft blue is a gorgeous (and perpetually in style) choice for color, but the pairings I've picked can also be done with almost any cool tone: mint, lilac, lemon, pale gray. For warmer shades like coral, peach and mango, I would switch my accents to gold or copper/rose gold. When the metallic echoes the visual "temperature" of the other colors in the outfit, the overall look is softer and dreamier. When the metallic contrasts, the look is bolder and carries more punch. I love Summer's silver collar as the lone accent piece. A metallic choker would be an equally trendy option. In both cases, the absence of stones maintains the clean minimalism of the look. This super-simple pairing also makes a perfect canvas on which to add a bit of spice! Tossing a motorcycle jacket over the top - especially in an unexpected fabric - can add a bit of edge. This gingham biker style is a perfect hybrid of attitude and sweetness. [It unfortunately happens to be sold out at J. Crew, but you can get a similar vibe via this shrunken twill piece from Free People at Bloomingdales (also available in honey brown at Shopbop), this pale blue suede biker from Silence+Noise at Urban Outfitters or this linen motorcycle jacket at Anthropologie]. You can also change the look with a touch of strong color from a belt. Consider vivacious blue suede or bright daffodil. Finally, you can give the dress the look of a skirt - and add a bit more texture or color :) - by topping the dress with a button-down blouse and knotting it at your waist. If you love the look of relaxed gingham against the more formal dress, this is a great way to bring it in! Stripes or floral prints will work fabulously too! I hope this inspires you to try dressing down a semi-formal dress this summer. Happy styling, loves!
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Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork