Finding the perfect summer dress

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Written by  as originally published at the Philippine Online Chronicles

It’s no secret that one of the quickest ways to look pretty and put-together (when you’re actually feeling lazy and lacking any kind of fashion inspiration) is to slip on the perfect dress. In the summer, that entails a bit more work because the heat just makes it harder to do anything. The perfect summer dress is one that will make you feel effortlessly stylish but should take little to no effort to find.

The dilemma here, of course, is that looking effortlessly stylish actually does take some effort. But if you know what to look for, then whatever effort you spend initially will be rewarded with effortless dressing in the days that follow, as is the goal. To achieve this, here are some tips on what to look for in the perfect summer dress (READ: When you don’t want to show your legs during summer: what to wear when it’s so hot)

  1. Fabric

The first factor you should never compromise in any article of clothing is the material. For summer, you need a thin, breathable fabric that absorbs moisture well but also dries quickly. The dress you’re looking for is the sort you can wear to take a spontaneous dip in the sea and let dry in the sun and salty air afterwards. Beach or no beach, keep your eyes open for dresses made of natural fibers like cotton and linen, or fabric blends with either of these as the primary component.

Light bright patterns

Light bright patterns

Cotton will always be the number one summer fabric because of its light, comfortable texture and breathability. Linen is a close second but the fact that it wrinkles easily is a major downside (although wrinkles don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, given the right garment and situation). Chambray, a cotton blend, is denim’s lighter little sister and your best friend during the summer when you want to go for classic blues. If you must go for synthetic, thin and light rayon is a good option.

Thin straps

What to do when the temperature reaches up to 35 degrees in the city? Wear thin straps.

Natural fabrics are typically better for summer than man-made ones because they tend to be more breathable. However, as you probably already knew, wool and silk are natural fibers to avoid because they aren’t particularly breezy. Silk is nice and thin though and locks in the cold, if, say, you store your garment in an air-conditioned room so it can be very pleasant to wear in hot weather. You just need to be careful with sweat and moisture stains. At all costs, avoid synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester that really keep that moisture locked in, leaving you to heat up in the same way that an oven would.

When it comes to colors and prints, nothing spells summer better than a pretty pattern in a light, bright hue. As a bonus, said prints will also easily cover up unwanted sweat stains.

  1. Flow

Next, consider how the dress flows. A breezy silhouette is exactly what you need to combine with light, bright fabric to complete an effortless look.Flow

Let the wind cool your thighs with a full circle skirt (a.k.a. skater skirt) a la Marilyn Monroe but make sure to ditch the cycling shorts and just let your knickers do their work on their own. Remember, synthetic fabrics, which are pretty much what cycling shorts are made up of, will just make you sweat and add unnecessary layers to your outfit. If you’re worried about the wind going wild, opt for a longer skirt.

A dress flows nicely also with an A-line skirt, maxi or floor length skirt, or gathered waistline.

  1. Feminine touches
Feminine details

Look out for the feminine details.

Lastly, look out for the fine details—thin straps, a low back, flattering sweetheart neckline or cute buttons—that will make people want to write songs about your outfit, or just give you an excuse to take close-up shots of your outfit and post them on Instagram.

The perfect summer dress is a breezy, no-fuss number that you can throw on at a moment’s notice, whether to hit the beach, run a quick errand in the city or even just chill at home. And it’s not a daster, mind you, even if it sounds like one. (The girls at The Soshal Network would argue that there are ways to make a daster work and they could be right). Whatever it is you decide to wear, make sure you wear it with a sunny attitude to match, because it takes two to make the perfect dress.

Photos by Jica Lapena

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