Dresses with grown-up hemlines, spring edition

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I am so ready to get out of my jeans and sweats and throw on an easy, cool dress, and it’s quickly turning warm enough to do just that. Here’s a simple and really pretty number from Vince.

This has a great hippie girl print, but the dress itself has a slightly more sophisticated cut than most hippie girl dresses.

I do love a good chevron print, and this dress has such a spiff, clean cut.

As you may know, I don’t typically like tiered dresses too much, but this one has such graceful lines.

This adorable gingham shirtdress is so sweet and feminine.

And so is this pretty floral confection.

I like the slightly off-kilter polka dots on this cool dress, and the ever-so-slightly puffy shoulder.

This has a sweet and dreamy retroish feel.

I love the look of this one—so perfect and slouchy, with a great little print—and it idles in my shopping cart even as I type.

The sculpted waistline here is a nice touch.

A lightweight gauze dress that flows really nicely.

A cute and flattering striped shirtdress.

I dig the abstractness of this animal print, and the silhouette is really nice.

A pretty straightforward tee dress with slightly puffy sleeves.

The embroidered Mexican details here look handmade.

I like how dressed-down this one is.

I think the cuffed sleeve here adds a nice amount of polish to an easy dress.

I love a white dress, and the fact that this one has such a nice deep neckline.

A very cheap and easy dress that I could see wearing all summer long.

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24 Thoughts on Dresses with grown-up hemlines, spring edition
    Mamavalveeta03
    3 May 2021
    11:41pm

    Any of my fellow Anglophiles thinking that the white Mara Hoffman dress is a total dupe for one worn by Princess Di? Loving these specimens, Kim! I’m on a quest for dresses (and clothes) that I can wear to Colombia for my daughter’s wedding in January. I just know that it’s going to be HOT. Any advice is appreciated!

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      cw
      4 May 2021
      7:09am

      Congrats to your daughter (and her parental units!)! You’ll be able to take full advantage of summer sales when they roll around. Planning for a trip still seems like such an odd concept––good that you’re planning now.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        6 May 2021
        12:29pm

        Thanks, CW! It’s going to be small and they’re going to have the legal part done by a notary after she returns to Colombia (due to the pandemic, she’s home with us and working for the summer).

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        D.Morgendorffer
        4 May 2021
        10:06am

        Congratulations! Having received blistering betrayal by my Oofos during a VA visit last week, I am reminded of a hard-won truth about wedding attire: don’t underestimate the importance of the shoes. With Q.Morgendorffer’s wedding, I was so focused on finding the right dress that I didn’t realize the Ferragamos selected for the event were narrower than Ferragamos I’d worn in the past. Everyone complimented me on my red dress (Boden), but my feet were in agony the whole time. I should have worn a pair of gold lame Vans. I am sure you, being you, will find the perfect dress; just remember there’s no such thing as too-comfortable shoes!

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          Mae
          4 May 2021
          12:09pm

          No kidding, DM! I dug out a pair of Christian Louboutin heels for my niece’s wedding and I was in agony by the end of the evening. I had to take them off, thereby securing my reputation as an eccentric old aunt, dancing and flinging her footwear…I guess I don’t care. I looked good walking in!

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            D.Morgendorffer
            6 May 2021
            11:07am

            Hey, Mamavalveeta, dunno if you’ll spot this, but I just remembered a dress source for your mental file Kittygirlvintage on Etsy. While she mainly offers Mid Century dresses that would be too warm for your event, she has on occasion some cotton dresses that are 60s-70s, like this https://www.etsy.com/listing/718032896/1960s-70s-cotton-hawaiian-style-gown?ref=shop_home_active_50&frs=1 So, you can periodically browse to see if anything promising pops up. The proprietor will put things on hold for you, which is useful because her customers can snatch things up quickly. Hope this is of some help, but at the very least, hope that you enjoy browsing. Harkening back to shoes, I once got from this shop a pair of vintage blue suede Christian Dior sling backs in near-mint condition in the original box (the little rubber tips on the heels had to be replaced) for a little under a hundred dollars–if that gives you an idea why her customers can move so quickly on items.

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              Mamavalveeta03
              6 May 2021
              12:27pm

              Thanks, D! I’ll check out the great advice from all of you. I hear you on the importance of comfy shoes – after dealing with Achilles’ tendon issues with both feet, including surgery on one – I take my footwear seriously!

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    Eloise
    3 May 2021
    9:32am

    I debate the Z Supply dress every time you highlight it but bra straps stop me every time as I’ve yet to find a strapless bra that I am willing to deal with. What do you guys do about bra straps w/razor back tops/dresses?

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      Candy
      3 May 2021
      11:15am

      Eloise — For the few tops I have in that style, I wear a bright-colored bra, like hot pink or purple, and just figure the straps are a colorful little “accessory.” But tbh, I just tend to avoid that style because of the hassle.

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      Sara C
      3 May 2021
      10:50am

      Was just thinking the same thing – maybe layer with a baby tee or a tank top?

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      Joannawnyc
      3 May 2021
      11:14am

      Racerback bra
      Bra with pretty straps

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      Viajera
      3 May 2021
      12:36pm

      Ditto what Eloise said.

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    Candy
    3 May 2021
    11:22am

    Kim — These are such lovely dresses and give me good ideas of what to look for in a lower price range, but all the ones north of $200 are a real budget no-go. Would you consider doing an under-$100 round-up?

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      Elisa
      3 May 2021
      5:25pm

      Yes, please!

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      MARGARET
      3 May 2021
      12:37pm

      Target has versions of almost all of these for south of $40. I eschew most dresses since I quit work and went feral a year ago, but I did find the PERFECT t-dress there: long but with slits for movement, no cleavage issues, and black. https://www.target.com/p/women-s-sleeveless-dress-universal-thread/-/A-79593833?preselect=78264409#lnk=sametab

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        Betsy Palmer
        4 May 2021
        9:12am

        Bought this dress in black and loved it so much I bought it in blue and had it cut off to knee length. So flattering and the crew neck commits. Not flopping all over the place. Fast fashion at its best.

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        Nicole
        4 May 2021
        10:48am

        I have that Target dress from last year. It’s just fantastic!

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      Liz
      3 May 2021
      1:52pm

      I know, this post made me long for my pre-COVID thrifting days, because I cannot spend $200+ on a dress, and it pains me that the only retail alternatives seem to be fast fashion and crappy fabrics. Aren’t there any quality stores where you can still find a cute summer dress for under $100?

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        Cora
        4 May 2021
        5:30am

        I know, right? Expensive prices (and generally being annoyed at having to pay that much for something that might not even fit well) have turned me to sewing my own dresses. If I pay any amount of money for something, it should make me feel good and not shame me for “not having the standard body this mass produced item is intended for”.
        My first sewing machine was a hand-me-down from a friend, and the first two or three dresses were crap, until I learned something like a “full bust adjustment” existed. I still like looking at dresses, though.

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        Erika Gwilt
        4 May 2021
        10:18am

        This is what I was thinking – how about a post with summer dresses under $200? Or even under $100? Can’t spend this much on a cute summer dress . . .

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        Megs
        3 May 2021
        2:34pm

        I hear you on the high price tags. I’ve had a lot of luck finding cute summer dresses on Etsy south of $100—plus, you’re more likely not to see it walking around on every other person you encounter. I recently bought two shirt dresses from this shop that are made with amazing African wax print fabrics. I get compliments on them everywhere I go. Under $60!

        https://www.etsy.com/shop/ContinentClo?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=965262565&section_id=18570868

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          Liz
          3 May 2021
          7:02pm

          Ooh, these are great! Thank you for the tip (I commented hoping someone would recommend some cheap, cool alternatives). I love Etsy but for some reason always default to their vintage section. I have to remember that they do have affordable handmade things.

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          cw
          3 May 2021
          6:06pm

          Such beautiful prints!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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