Yes to the White Dress

I was still a student and it was exam time. My dorm manager emailed me to say the postman had dropped off a package in her office that didn’t fit in my own mailbox. Grateful for the distraction, I came by and later opened it to find several beautiful summer dresses my mother had found during a trip to Florence. She had gone to a local market and discovered stalls overflowing with a myriad of patterns and colours, skirts flapping in the breeze, sellers calling to locals and tourists alike. It was impossible to resist. One of the dresses was this one.

We have only a small difference in height and sometimes, depending on the clothing item, we can wear the same size, so her choices were spot-on. Looking at this dress always makes me happy. It reminds me how I perked up during a stressful time and that someone loved was thinking of me while walking through a beautiful city.

It’s white, airy and feminine, and I thought I’d keep it simple with the accessories, though a big bracelet seemed like too much, and just a single smaller one didn’t feel like enough. So I compromised. And I based my choices of the colours in the flowers on the dress.

Hues of Summer

The biggest part of the outfit popped in to my head first, namely this dress. Trying to decide on the colour – coral orange? Just coral? Peach? Pick whichever one you like, I say it’s pretty.

There are for colours I’ve always been careful around, as a redhead. Orange is one of them. The trick is, as with many other things, to find what suits you, namely a hue. And I found this one. Not glaringly orange, softer, milder, and it works with other colours. Following the discovery of a shade of orange that worked for me was the joyful playing with combinations of blue, green and teal accessories.

My mother and I were walking around Cannes during a family holiday a few years ago, and I remember being somewhat overwhelmed by the prices in the shop windows around us. Then we turned in to a side street, and saw a window with several long summer dresses in various colours, comfortably, but flatteringly draping themselves around the mannequins on display. One of them made its way back home with me.

The metal rings on the straps are adjustable, so you can determine how much support you need on top and how much skin you want to display. Still, since I’m about to head to work, despite our relaxed dress code, I feel it’s appropriate to pick a light scarf in a complimentary contrast shade. Besides, I a) like scarves (always handy in Hamburg); b) there’s a breeze outside and I like how it lifts the ends.

A few accessories, silver because of the metal rings on the straps, and with a dash of colour echoing the scarf. Ready to go.

Summer Wedding Guest Dress: How to Pick the Best

If you’re looking for the summer wedding guest dress that is both suitable and totally you, well…isn’t that what we all end up doing when wedding season rolls around? And we also want to beat the heat while looking neat…so bearing all this in mind, how do you pick out the perfect dress? Based on personal experience which has so far served me well, I’ve put together these tips. And they revolve around…

Weather

It will most likely be warm or even hot on the day. The last thing you want is to be sweating through your dress and covertly checking armpit stains, while your mind can’t switch off from the fact that you are…sweaty. Sure, some of that will be unavoidable, but you want to feel as fresh as possible and not think about it all the time.

There are tons of tips on materials that are good to you in summer weather, but usually it’s enough to just think back a little and have a look through your closet. Which summer items of clothing are your favourite? Which feel best on your skin? What kind of material are they made of? Take note and look for something similar. Some dresses have a thin underlayer of cotton or jersey sewn to the material on top, which is a blessing for those hot days.

Cut

Obviously this one depends on the type of wedding you’re going to and whether there is a dresscode of some kind, a theme or certain preferences voiced by the bride. But in general, in this case you can also cast your mind back to the dresses in which you felt both comfortable and festive.

When looking for a summer wedding guest dress, my tips regarding the cut would be to opt for something not too clingy. In terms of shoulder and arm coverage, go for either sleeveless dresses, or dresses with capped or floaty sleeves. Dresses that are low-cut in front or have an open back might be tempting in hot weather, but keep in mind the more skin you have exposed, the more sunscreen you might have to put on. And then there’s the unattractive matter of cleavage sweat or gaping guests…nooooo.

Length

Unless you’re petite, stay away from short dresses. You never know when something might ride up, and you might be uncomfortable when sitting down, especially in hot weather. Peeling the backs of your thighs off a chair is not a goal that needs to be pursued. Anything from knee-length is your best bet. Maxi dresses work well also, as long as they are not cut too loosely, and they bring the added advantage of not needing to put sunscreen on your legs!

Color

Bright or lighter colors and patterns work well in the summer. It’s hues we might already feel naturally drawn to. If you still feel like a darker color, look for fabric that doesn’t look thick or heavy – basically one that doesn’t make you sweat just by glancing at it. Search for a color that doesn’t seem to wash out your skin tone and make your eyes look dull when you try on the dress. Rule of thumb I read somewhere once, anything that makes your skin glow and your eyes sparkle when you look in the mirror is always a good choice.

And before you buy or pick the dress…

As much as you can, place yourself mentally in the location. What will it feel like when you bend over, sit down, get up, stretch your arms, walk? Is everything you want covered remaining covered? Is anything slipping? Is anything too tight? Too loose? Do you have a suitable jacket, cardigan or wrap if it gets chilly in the evening? Do you feel amazing? You do? Great, then have a wonderful time in your fantastic dress!