If you saw me at work, at brunch, or even out for drinks in 2019, you wouldn't be able to tell that I'm someone who used to wear a dress every single day. Admittedly, my personal style has been super casual lately. But there was a point in time when I only owned three pairs of jeans, and I shuddered at the thought of wearing sweatpants outside of my home. I had a few good reasons: I hated trying on jeans in the store (still true to this day), and I was super uncomfortable with wearing anything that highlighted my bottom and stomach. Back then, plus-size dresses were an easy way for me to go virtually unnoticed. But when my grandmother passed away in January 2010, I changed perspective.
My grandma was a pastor, and she avoided wearing pants for religious reasons (I literally only saw her in them once). I thought that her style was so otherworldly because she embodied glamour in her own unconventional way. She never wore makeup, but I still have so many memories of rummaging through her vanity and stealing a few spritzes of Vivid by Liz Claiborne. After she passed away, I had a new reason to wear dresses. I wore them every day to keep her memory alive.
Lately, I've become a bit uninspired by my old style, as it's just so easy to pull on a pair of track pants, top it with a blouse, throw on a sneaker or bootie, and call it a day. But with a crop of pretty new summer frocks finally arriving, I think that it's time to dust myself off and try again. I know it's what grandma would want.
Ahead, see the pieces that I'd like to add to my wardrobe this summer.
The T-Shirt Dress
The shirt dress is another piece that I used to avoid because of my body shape. But I feel so silly for avoiding them this whole time, since they're essentially like wearing pajamas outside. The Tess by Tamara Malas is one that I can dress up with boots (been there), or layer with relaxed jeans and sneakers (done that). And while this fully sequined number by Sally LaPointe might not be the most functional for everyday wear, I'd still find a way to slip it on as much as possible. Because who wouldn't?
The Wrap Maxi Dress
You can't go wrong with a wrap dress. Ever. They're easy, comfortable, and classic. I've worn this printed one by Eloquii with chunky "dad" sneakers for work and heeled boots for play, but this Zero + Maria Cornejo number deserves a sleek pair of strappy sandals.
The Two-Piece Set
Technically, these aren't dresses — I know. Still, I love the versatility of strong matching separates that can be worn in a number of ways. The printed set from Eloquii begs to be worn with a woven tote on the beach. And I've been dreaming of these Rodarte x Universal Standard pieces for months now. The chiffon ruffles would move so beautifully during a night of dancing.
The Little Black Midi Dress
I'm a native New Yorker, so you already know that an LBD is on my list. The ruched detailing on the Rodarte x Universal Standard number is subtly sexy, and the Byron Lars pencil dress hugs curves in all the right places, according to Anthropologie reviewers.
The Yellow Sundress
Yellow is stunning on brown skin — there's even a hashtag for the phenomenon. I admittedly don't wear enough of the color, but these gorgeous ruffled frocks are enough reason to try.