White dresses with grown-up hemlines

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There are few items of clothing that make me feel as crisp and put-together than a white dress, and I love the antique-y feel of this one.

Here’s a gauze number from Xirena that’d be cool layered over a colorful slip.

The tiered skirt here is a nicely feminine touch.

I’d swap out the belt here for a thick brown leather one for a kind of Out of Africa feel.

This has a caftan-y feel that I like, and it’d make a great beach coverup too.

There is something very romantic about this dress, and I dig the tonal embroidery.

A simple tee dress with an appealingly deep V-neck and side slits.

This shirtdress has side slits too—deep ones—that make it pretty sexy, especially for a shirtdress.

The pops of color on this dress are fun.

A prairie lace dress that’s a tea length, which I usually don’t go for, but that I like here.

The ruffle collar on this textured linen dress from Alex Mill is kind of unexpected and sweet.

Puff Shoulders are not, like tea-length dresses, something I usually like, but everything else here is so streamlined that I think they work.

I like the slightly oversized dimensions of this shirtdress.

This sort of looks like an old-school nurse’s uniform, in a way that I think kind of works.

And finally, this flowy specimen from Cos is actually light gray, but it’s so light I think it still works in this category.

 

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18 Thoughts on White dresses with grown-up hemlines
    Mimi A
    18 Jun 2020
    10:28am

    The beautiful first dress above has been in Love Shack Fancy’s collection for a while and I ordered it a few years ago (in black, since I also don’t look good in white and I relish a Sicilian widow look in summer.) Just wanted to add a warning that it ran extremely small.

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      Andrea
      18 Jun 2020
      8:36pm

      A question—what do you wear under these white dresses? I live the look but I constantly feel like people could see right through them!

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    CynthiaE
    18 Jun 2020
    10:44am

    I’m curious, what does an “Out of Africa” feel mean?

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      Liz
      18 Jun 2020
      11:06am

      Hi – from the clothes Meryl Streep wears in the movie Out of Africa.

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        CynthiaE
        18 Jun 2020
        2:56pm

        Got it. Colonial chic, so to speak.

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          Sarah C.
          19 Jun 2020
          2:19pm

          Yes. I noticed this too. Those of us who are white women should think more carefully about what we reference. The Colonial/Safari aesthetic is usually coded white and dependent on either the subordination or erasure of Black Africans. Many of us are sentimental about our old cultural favorites (Laura Ingalls Wilder for me), but they and we, consciously and unconsciously, are often implicated in the oppression of others.

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            themis
            19 Jun 2020
            10:41pm

            Yeah, this is a process. And we’re all going to screw up, but if people don’t say that they’re uncomfortable, it’s worse because we keep screwing up. I’m grateful for everyone who’s still speaking out, gently, because otherwise we don’t get to move forward together.

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    Lynn
    18 Jun 2020
    5:32pm

    Those gold shoes, though!

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    c.w.
    18 Jun 2020
    10:11am

    I have found Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent pretty good at getting stains out of white cotton tees. I accidentally (like who would do this on purpose!) squashed a fresh strawberry on my favorite white tee (Everlane from two years ago) the other day, whipped it off and stuck it first under the kitchen faucet running cold water and then dumped a big squeeze of Dawn on the rather large “spot.” Lo and behold you can’t even tell a strawberry once wrecked havoc on the tee. Of course, if this happens when you have a house full of dinner guests you might not want to whip your shirt off…oh, wait, dinner guests don’t happen anymore. Whip away! Meanwhile, the Z dress is kind of wonderful (sold out in white!) and the Free People caftan dress might have to be in my closet soon. Tiered dresses. No, thank you.

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      HickfromStyx
      18 Jun 2020
      12:13pm

      This is the kindergarten teachers’ secret weapon. My child’s teacher urged play clothes for school, and sent home specific instructions for removing tempera paint from clothing: soak in cold water, add dishwashing liquid, rub gently and rinse. It has served me well on a variety of clothing stains ever since. It’s true that everything you need to know, you’ll learn in kindergarten, even if you are a mom.

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      Trixie
      18 Jun 2020
      12:36pm

      Another foolproof method for berry stains is to put the garment over the sink and then pour boiling water from a height onto it. Not sure what it is about the height (momentum?) but it works like a charm. Splashing can happen so stand back a bit.

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    Candy
    18 Jun 2020
    7:45am

    White is not the greatest color for me, but that Z Supply v-neck tee dress ($58!) comes in 10 great colors. So thanks Kim!

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    Ellie
    18 Jun 2020
    10:43pm

    I love the idea of a white dress so much, and they look so wonderful in pictures. But between coffee, periods, public transport, puddles, and transparency, is there really, seriously any way to make them work in practice?

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    Ellie
    18 Jun 2020
    10:43pm

    I love the idea of a white dress so much, and they look so wonderful in pictures. But between coffee, lunch, periods, public transport, puddles, and transparency, is there really, seriously any way to make them work in practice?

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    Kelly
    18 Jun 2020
    8:50am

    All of these are really beautiful; but I must be a total slob, as I immediately sully any white (or light) garments. Coffee, pen, just plain schmutz… you name it, it gets on me.
    (I also used to be a Person in Black, but I have a little black and white dog, so I’m usually covered in white fur. Now I stick to prints and denim.)

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      Heather
      18 Jun 2020
      9:41am

      My exact thought. These are all lovely, crisp, and breezy; I imagine myself on a beach holiday, at dinner, wearing one of these with metallic sandals and sipping Prosecco as a warm tropical breeze fluffs my hair perfectly. Which of course means, I would immediately spill god knows what down the front.

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      Betsy Palmer
      18 Jun 2020
      9:04am

      I feel you Kelly. I always thought it would get better but it never has so white remains aspirational for me.

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    Eloise
    18 Jun 2020
    8:04am

    I like so many of these, too, but scrolled by super quickly as white doesn’t stay white on me for long, but do like that Z Supply (and price), and the lemgth will work on me! So thanks, Candy and Kim!

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About

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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