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Breezy dresses are easy to wear

| Thursday, May 8, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Kelly Lane's Miss Mary Mack dress created by local designer Kelly Simpson-Scupelli (under $200), available by appointment at 412-414-4661

A dress is easy.

“The main thing is, you don't have to think about what to wear with what,” says Laurel Pantin, style editor for Lucky magazine. “When the weather is nice, I just want to toss something on and run out the door.

“If you find the perfect dress, you can wear it with a sweater in the spring and fall, and without in the summer, so it's versatile,” she says. “Plus, when it's warm out, I don't want to be wearing too many layers and clothing that's too tight. I want to be cool and comfortable.”

Fun spring and summer dresses are available in breezy fabrics from silk to jersey knit to cotton. The materials you choose are usually based on where you live and how hot it gets, Pantin says.

All fabrics can go from day to night by changing footwear, adding some jewelry and possibly a belt.

Heels or pointy flats work just as well to help change the look when going out. Dress it down with a pair of Birkenstocks or a fun sneaker.

“I love silky, chiffon dresses,” Pantin says. “They feel like you aren't wearing anything, and they are really beautiful. They are perfect for hot summer days. I also like a white-cotton shirt dress, because it looks clean and is a great substitute for the little black dress in summer.”

The hottest styles this season are window-pane graphics and tropical prints, because they aren't too girly. These dresses are perfect for vacation because they can be worn as bathing suit cover-ups, as well as out to dinner, Pantin says.

“Dresses are an effortless, polished and put-together option for a woman,” says Shani Grosz, founder and designer of NUE by Shani. “You just zip and go. Our dresses have the added feature of built-in shape wear, which eliminates what kind of undergarments are needed and makes a dress an even more seamless outfit option.”

Added shape wear helps create a look of one size smaller.

“A secret no one has to know,” Grosz says.

Dresses with sleeves are a great option because you can wear them to work and then be ready to go out on the town right after, no switches or dress changes necessary, Grosz says.

Fun colors include red, yellow and turquoise. Simple and classic styles also sell well, she says. Key trends are laser cutting, stripes, color blocking and embroidery. Having a dress with some stretch makes the garment comfortable, especially when temperatures rise.

After being weighed down by heavy coats and sweaters during the brutal winter, we all crave an uncomplicated, easy wardrobe, says Jennifer Yee, senior market editor for Allure magazine. Warm weather provides the luxury of simplicity and the privilege to just throw on a light dress and run out the door.

Accessories are key to taking a simple piece — like a basic black T-shirt dress — from day to night. For day, you can pair a dress with a flat shoe and cross-body bag. For cocktails, gold statement jewelry, such as oversize earrings or a cuff bracelet, and sky-high heels with a chic ankle strap add drama to such a versatile dress.

And you can never go wrong with flowers. Choose a delicate silk that's light and almost ethereal.

“One of the most prominent trends for spring was florals,” Yee says. “Who doesn't love a floral moment for spring? It's the ultimate sign of the changing season, brightness and optimism.”

There are lots of fun dresses for spring and summer at Jules boutique in Lawrenceville. Owner Julia Weiskopf says this time of year is the perfect time to find an easy dress.

“Dresses are becoming easier and easier to wear because they are available in so many styles, such as elastic at the waist and those that are more body conscious. They are all extremely comfortable.”

Silk or silk-like materials work best, and for those who like fun colors, go with a bold and bright hue such as fuchsia, red or coral, she says.

“We are also seeing lots of prints,” Weiskopf says. “Finding a fun, printed dress helps a woman express herself.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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