Fashion & Beauty

Say Yes to a Dress

From left to right, Frank & Eileen’s linen maxi, Johnny Was’s flouncy boho and Caron Callahan’s polo dress.

By Janet Kelly

Ed Note: A BIG apology to those of you who received an earlier, unedited version of this post. 

SOMETIMES I feel like a dress—wearing it, that is—even though I’ve always leaned more toward separates. Then last June on vacation with my friend M., I noticed she was wearing the cutest dresses—they were a bit boho, mostly midi-length, in sunny colors and with 3/4-length sleeves. I asked M. where she bought them, but, alas, it turned out they were from small boutiques that only carry one or two pieces of any particular item.

So I set out to find my own favorites. I looked for dresses that would satisfy my below-the-knee requirement, have sleeves (only one is sleeveless; the other can be worn with a T-shirt), not require much maintenance (six of the 8 below are washable), and importantly, ones I’d feel happy to wear all summer long.

Here are my picks:


Printfresh must have gotten the message about the billowy sleeve trend because they’re here in full on this Flower Charmer Midi. Made of cotton poplin, this beachy caftan with colors that bring to mind the sun and the ocean, is a comfy choice whether you’re on vacation or a staycation. It sells for $288. It’s also pretty in a rose petal and denim combination. Sizes on most apparel go up to 4X.


Should you be so lucky to sit in the stands at the French Open, Wimbledon or the US Open this summer, go with the tenniscore flow and look cool and crisp court side in this drop-waist midi shirt dress. The navy blue placket and trim on the sleeves, the A-line silhouette and the mid-thigh slit give it oomph. If you like, belt it with a sweater. It sells for $158 at  Anthropologie.


Here’s a rib knit midi that will solve several problems. I know—it’s sleeveless. Still, how easy will this body-skimming knit be to pack, hang up when you arrive and head right to dinner. Wrinkles banished! Knitted in lightweight viscose stretch yarn with metallic fibers, the dress has a pale gold finish that gives a sense of occasion to an otherwise simple style. Add your own jewelry. It sells for $465 at ME+EM.


As I know I’ve mentioned before, maxis are not my favorite, but I’ll make an exception for this all-linen Rory shirt dress, To minimize the long, straight look, roll up the sleeves, leave a few buttons on top unbuttoned and do the same on the lower half of the dress. Let some leg show. The Rory sells for $308 at Frank & Eileen.


I’ve been disappointed in the quality of Everlane for the past couple of years. But I’m willing to give this relaxed, linen V-neck midi (which also comes in white) a go. I’d layer a white T-shirt under it for daytime and if you’re feeling bold, wear a linen pant under it. Another possibility is wearing a cardigan draped over the shoulders or cinching the waist with a colorful belt. For footwear, I’d opt for fisherman sandals or sneakers. The shift sells for $148.


This Johnny Was floral-embroidered poplin dress with a tiered, full-ish skirt, fluttery sleeves and embroidery comes close to the vacation-ready dresses M. wore. Alhough the photo shows a dress that hits at the shin, the details describe its as being designed to hit at the ankle. Maybe it depends on your height? Anyway, it sells for $540 at Bloomingdale’s.


Love this linen, oversize, tomato-colored, striped polo shirt dress. An elastic at the center of the back gives it a flattering fit, while the side seam pockets give me another reason to smile. It sells for $395 from Caron Callahan.


A caftan-like breezy dress with feminine details—a deep, deep V, dolman sleeves and a curved waist for flowy volume and high- side slits. Made from a silk-cotton fabric with a separate light-as-air cotton voile slip, it’s $395 from Ayr.


Grownup Girl Fashion by MyLittleBird

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One thought on “Say Yes to a Dress

  1. Nancy G says:

    Midi length, linen shirt dresses are the best! I’m a little old for the boho styles, but they’re cute.

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