The Little White Dress

Little White Dresses

I recently got to take a favorite girl, my fiancé’s gorgeous daughter, out on a little shopping expedition.  The objective – find the perfect high school graduation dress.  She wanted something special but not too prommy and ideally something “not black” (her go-to dress color and mine!)  I wanted to find her something she really loved and felt fabulous in, just okay was simply not going to cut it on this adventure. 

This is harder than it sounds.  Graduation is one of those events that hits right in between pretty much everything – it’s a special event but not really evening wear appropriate, its typically pretty warm (especially under a graduation gown), and eighteen is an age that is not really teenager anymore but where too sophisticated or sexy doesn’t look quite right either. 

We looked at a whole bunch of dresses in a broad range of styles, types, prices.   A pass through the juniors’ department and boutiques turned up very skimpy, or not special enough, while the misses-oriented stores had better quality and substance but tended to be too frumpy or mature. 

Some dresses were okay, some truly tragic – but nothing was really hitting the right note until we found ourselves at White House/Black Market.  Here we found several terrific choices, but the hands-down winner was a vintage inspired halter style with a full A-line skirt that fits well and is jaw-droppingly flattering on her curvy figure.  She looks amazing in this dress, sophisticated and yet still fresh and young.  Best of all – this dress wasn’t black, but a glorious summery WHITE!        

She was understandably hesitant at first, white is definitely not a body-camouflaging color, nor is it a “blend into the background” color.    But when she put this white dress on it was a transforming moment.  She smiled, stood up a bit taller, pulled her shoulders back and stopped plucking at her perceived flaws.  The lovely young lady in front of me was a vision – a little bit sophisticated, a little romantic, a little fun and flirty, wholly a timeless beauty – think a young Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn.  Ahhhhh……

I love the classic look of white and love that it can be versatile while still having a sense of “specialness”.  Better still, it can be dressy and casual at the same time, which is perfect for most summer events.  There are some really beautiful choices out there this season too!  Check out the selections I found for both regular and plus sizes.  I am especially in love with Anna Scholz’s cut out dress, very sixties retro girl!  Not feeling the sixties? Then maybe get your seventies goddess on in flowing jersey, or channel the fifties in crisp cotton or linen.

Sooo many great options and white makes a terrific background for great accessories too.  You can go with all white, playing off the textures of the dress, and it also looks stunning paired with silver or gold – perfect for that goddess vibe.  You can also pop it out with black or bold colored accents, or add interest with a bold print.  For graduation we found an adorable pair of espadrille sandals with a cheerful floral pattern that are really fun. 

Granted, white takes some self confidence to wear.  But it *can* be figure flattering.    And before you say it, no – you do NOT need a great tan.  In fact a white dress will give you a little color by contrast.  And if you aren’t sure about wearing white next to your face, add a scarf or necklace in a favorite color to reflect up to your face.   Don’t limit yourself – be bold and brave, maybe even a little flirty!  When it comes to wearing white there is only one rule – unless you are the bride, never wear white to a wedding.  Sorry, but no matter how great you look, no matter how much you want to this is one fashion rule that should never…ever…ever… be broken.   Beyond that, go forth and show off your own little white dress!

While the rest of us may not be eighteen any more, we too can have our own moments of summer loveliness.

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