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Spring is here, the weather is warming, the trees are budding, and spring holidays and events are right around the corner. It has me thinking about dresses and how to style them this year. I was inspired by what I saw perusing online boutiques and created a few different looks featuring dresses. I hope you like them!
Spring Dress Inspiration
dress (sizes XS-XL; link to other print) | earrings | lipcolor | sunglasses | bag | shoes
Bold Red for Spring
This look is a bit “more is more” and I think sometimes the best way to style a boldly patterned dress is with more bold. We're tempted to temper bold prints and colors with soft neutrals, but choosing bold accessories the look gets the spotlight, not just the spot on the body with the color. And isn't more is more a lot more fun?
dress (sizes 1X-3X; link to misses sizes) | sandals | sunglasses | lip gloss | ring | necklace | bag
Pink & Red for Spring
With this look I tried going with soft neutrals, but too much left the dress floating in space. Pulling the least obvious color in a print is my favorite way to accessorize and with smaller details like the pendant of a necklace and a pair of glasses, it's not too matchy matchy obvious. As you see, there is a lot of coordination going on (straw with straw, pearls and pearls) but because nothing is so big, it doesn't look corny just cohesive.
dress (sizes XS-XL) | bag | sneakers | sunscreen | earrings | sunglasses | hat
Black & Green for Spring
Green is a big color this spring, but it can sometimes feel hard to style. Don't be afraid to have green your pop of color with your wardrobe basics. It looks great with black, navy, gray, olive, denim, white, cream, and tan. Here I took a simple black organic cotton tank dress and added green touches (I own these same sneakers) for a casual yet polished look for weekend sightseeing (just add some slip shorts), coffee with a friend, the farmers market, and more.
dress (sizes XXS-XXL w/ petite/tall) | sandals | bag | sunglasses | hat | earrings | lip balm
Shades of Sunset
I've been eyeing this dress for weeks and if I had a smaller bust it would already be in my closet. I liked the idea of styling it with small touches of sunset shades to keep the cheery color going without being too over the top. This dress would be easy to dress up for a day wedding, or dress down with low-profile sneakers and a denim jacket.
dress (sizes 00-28W) | bag | shoes (other colors available) | earrings | sunglasses | lipcolor
Spring Garden Wedding
Unless the religion, culture, or bride dictates otherwise, black can be worn to a wedding and is a chic option. While I wouldn't wear an all-white dress or something to steal the spotlight, I think black has gone beyond being a color of mourning to a classic choice for most any situation. A fun pair of low wedges add interest and keep you stable in the grass. Take that pink color and do a glossy lip and flushed cheeks in that color.
If you're so bold, consider taking one of those turquoise or green colors and have a faint line of liner along the top lash line. I have a few of these pencils and find them easy to use and budget-friendly; if you're comfy with liquid liner I also own this one in the electric blue and while it's not perfect, it can give an opaque clean thin line of color.
dress (sizes 2-20/22 & petite) | shoes | laptop bag (other colors available) | leather laptop case | earrings | progressive reading glasses | lipcolor
Spring Update for the Office
When I shared my review of Thigh Society slip shorts, the biggest question I got was where did I buy my dress. The dress is from Boden, a few years old, but each year they carry a similar shirtdress and this is this year's version in one of the many prints they offer. It's the kind of dress you can glam up with nude heeled sandals, dress down with sneakers, or look profesh yet comfy in structured flats.
I own this laptop case in green and love it; it's protective and elevated and always garners compliments. I also own these progressive reading glasses; they're clear on top and readers on the bottom so you can wear when reading files and looking at your screen (or using your phone while looking at the TV).
dress (1X-3X; link for misses and petite) | sneakers | denim jacket (sizes 00-40) | crossbody bucket bag | sunglasses | pendant necklace
Linen for Spring & Summer
It can feel like linen is only for summer, but it's really how you style it. I love this dress, it's such a simple style you can dress up for a wedding or nice event, or throw on with sandals for running errands. I'd love this dress for travel, hit it with a garment steamer and be okay with rumpledness during the day because you'll stay cool.
But for now, slip a denim jacket over it (this one is on sale), some sneakers, and a more solid leather bag and it will feel seasonally appropriate.
Oh, Alison. I did not need dress #2. But for reasons I wanted some retail therapy but have no retail nearby. So I figured I’d order, it would be a miss, & I’d return, with the return cost being equivalent to what I’d spend on gas.
It is not a miss. I’m 5’8” & a D cup. I ordered the 1X. TTS; plenty of room across the shoulders & in the bust. On me its a low empire waist, comes down to the bottom of my calf. The fabric is heavy enough that it hangs nicely. Pockets! The ruffled tiers are cut such that it is not embiggening. It’s one of the most flattering dresses I’ve tried in a long time. It’s a keeper, even tho my price point is usually lower than this.
Now to try to remember what accessories I have in my closet that I haven’t seen in a year that will go with it that pulls the background (per your styling tip) which is a blue-grey.
Thank you for this bright moment in a really sucky year.
I know that you have been saying for years that a black dress is OK for weddings unless there is an objection. But I’m don’t like it. I think black is fine for many occasions, but not weddings. Especially for spring or summer weddings I think the guests should wear neutrals, pastels, jewel colors, maybe patterns but not black. To me it just doesn’t fit what is supposed to be a happy occasion.Oh, a black skirt or pants would be fine as long as there us a color, neutral, or pattern on top.
On the other hand, you advise us to wear what we like and are at ease with. If I wore a black dress to a wedding I would be so uncomfortable that I would not enjoy the event.
Sharon Juenemann says
Some of the Nordstrom links appear to be broken.
Alison Gary says
Can you let me know which ones and where you are clicking from (country or coast of the US)? I just clicked them all incognito and they worked for me so I think it may be a location issue. Thank you for the heads up!
Alison, I really appreciate that you explained the why behind your styling of each outfit. Especially with outfit #2 “pulling the least obvious color in a print is my favorite way to accessorize.”” I didn’t grow in a home where fashion/styling was paid much attention, so this is very educational for me.
I completely agree with LEU2500 — this little tidbit of style info is eye-opening. Literally!