It’s almost spring! We’ve had quite a few warm days in February and I’m abundantly ready for warmer weather. In anticipation, I’ve been doing a bit of online window shopping. At this point in the year, I’m usually on the hunt for a perfect spring and summer dress. I’ve always been a big fan of the classic shift dress. I love the style because they are not really fitted and are definitely not figure-hugging, which for me can get to be uncomfortable in the heat and humidity. I love how lightweight and forgiving the shift dress is, and how easy it is to throw on at any point of the day–after a swim, in the evening before dinner, for a day of running about town. You can dress them up with espadrilles or wedges, or slip into a pair of Stubbs & Woottons or simple sandals (like my favorite Palm Beach sandals, which you can find here and here) for a more casual look.
Although Lilly Pulitzer makes arguably the most famous shift dresses, I prefer their older patterns and styles–they are a bit more comfortable, fall to the knee, and have pockets and hidden zippers. I’m lucky enough to have a few classic shift dresses inherited from my mother and grandmother, and they are always my go-to outfits!
As the shift dress that matches my exacting specifications is usually hard to find, I try to snap up a few when I stumble across them. Below are a few of my top picks for this year!
Island Company is always a great resource for classic linen shifts, and this one is no exception. I love the fun print, and linen is my favorite fabric for summer.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been thinking about this dress ever since Kiel James Patrick came out with it last year. They brought all of their shift dresses back this year, though it seems as though most of the sizes are already sold out! Fingers crossed they restock soon–I don’t want to miss out again!
This is definitely on the pricier side, but the quality of Elizabeth McKay clothes is very high and they do last forever. I love the pattern of this dress, and it would be perfect for a nice daytime or evening event.
J. McLaughlin always has such great classic clothing. I found my favorite summer dress from last year here–it is navy and white stripes with an inverted pleat and pockets!–and this looks to be another great find. The silk twill fabric makes this dress perfect for both work and more formal events. I love the pattern and the solid border at the hem.
I love the look and idea of this terrycloth shift dress. This would be perfect for throwing on for lunch after a swim, or when you just want to relax in a hammock or on the porch! Bonus: the print reminds me of old-school Lilly with its more muted/not neon colors and fun animal print.
The photograph used for this blog post can be found here; it is a Slim Aarons photograph of Lilly Pulitzer and Mrs. Rodney Dillard in Palm Beach in May 1970.