Stylish Dressing with a Small Summer Wardrobe

Let’s play the game two truths and a lie. Can you guess which of the following about me is a lie?

1. One time in college I climbed up on the back of a motorcycle behind a cute guy I didn’t know when he offered me a ride to school.

2. Two secret guilty pleasures: America’s Next Top Model and donut holes.

3. North Texas is setting heat wave records this summer (seriously, 60 days over 100 degrees y’all), and I don’t have one single pair of shorts to wear.

Did you guess which one is the lie?

They’re all true!

Not kidding. Don’t tell anyone about #2.

Now let’s focus on the lack of shorts for a minute because that was entirely unintentional.

Last winter I packed up my shorts and capris into a box of summer clothes before we went to Italy, and when we came back I opened up my box, but I couldn’t find them! I knew they would turn up, so I couldn’t make myself buy new ones when there were perfectly good shorts somewhere in a box.

I’ve been gradually reducing my wardrobe for the past five years, but this was a shortage I didn’t intend. I think I made it work, however.

When I shared my minimal winter/spring wardrobe, I mentioned a concept I use called “The 3-Piece Rule.” The idea is that wearing three pieces of clothing (a top, pants, with a third piece: a scarf, jacket, or cardigan) makes a more complete outfit than wearing just a top and pants. (See the other tips in the post for stylish dressing with a small wardrobe.)

But what do you do when the heat is so oppressive that you can’t wear a scarf, jacket, or a cardigan? And maybe it’s even too hot for pants? Now I know the answer:

You switch to the 1-piece rule: Wear a dress. It looks polished and put together.

Most years in the spring I would have good intentions of wearing cute dresses, but by summer I would default to more casual shorts or capris. This summer I had no other choice but to wear my skirts and dresses.

Sure, it looks like I’m dressed for date night when I go to Target, but that’s not a bad thing. I almost bought some shorts this week, but when I tried them on I thought they were too casual. I’ll just finish the summer with what I already have.

One tip to feeling comfortable wearing dresses is to feel comfortable in your shoes. If your shoes have little plastic heels that make you feel wobbly when you walk, you won’t wear them. My shoes have to feel good to walk in, so I have one comfortable, cute pair of sandals that go with everything.

Wearing a dress is easy. It’s one-piece, basically a long shirt, and you’re not even wearing pants!

For winter I’ll pair them with my boots instead of sandals and add a cardigan.

Any dress lovers out there?

And for the record, which one did you think was a lie?

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I love dresses!!! They sure are easy and perfect for hot hot August.

    I can’t wait until it cools off and I can wear them with boots.
    Emily@remodelingthislife´s last post…The Dinner Challenge: Two Weeks In

  2. I am eight months pregnant and this whole summer I have lived in my five empire waist knee-length dresses. I bought them all on sale in the spring time to dress around my expanding middle and as it got warmer I just ditched the leggings and cardigan. I have LOVED having breathing room in my closet and because I purchased so few pieces, I could spend a little extra and make sure that they all were flattering. I can dress them up with jewelry, but most often it’s a dress over my head and my one pair of leather sandals on my feet and I’m out the door!

    • What a great idea Chloe! Very smart for you! And I am sure you have looked very cute, and now it is almost time for baby!
      Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Everyday wisdom

    • That is genius! And all the better for not having to awkwardly balance to put on jeans while nine months pregnant! I will definitely do this when the time comes. Thanks!
      Jennie´s last post…The Best Kind of Fun is Free

    • Wow, I love dresses, and I wish I hadn’t been pregnant during one of the coldest winters in Seattle this past year, so I could have worn more dresses. My mom and sister outfitted me with comfortable and flattering maternity shirts and I was able to borrow a few pairs of maternity jeans I didn’t hate the look of, too. :)

      • It’s been one of the hottest summers on record here! I tried on a million pairs of maternity jeans thinking I should at least have the option of long pants and I can really relate to having to settle for “not hating the look” of a pair :)

  3. Man – you’re not kidding about our weather – it’s been awful! I hope you got a few of the showers that have been floating around the last two days. We loved the 20 min rain we got yesterday! (we’re NE of DFW area).

    I’m not a dress wearer, though big flowy skirts and t-shirts are right up my alley!
    Darcy@Somewhatmuddledmusings´s last post…Friday Scraps….yep, I did it again!

  4. I love the ease of wearing dresses! It’s funny to get a complement on them because it takes zero effort and like you said, “you’re not even wearing pants!”

  5. Nope, can’t do it! When you’re heavy enough that thigh-rub is an issue in the heat, dresses are out of the question for summer…cuz if it’s that hot, Spanx aren’t an option, either!

    I’ll stick to capris and shorts for now, although I’d LOVE to be in the dress camp!
    Aimee´s last post…Expectations: Met

    • I have the same issue, and only wear dresses occasionally. Living in the South where it is “summer” 7-8 months of the year, I live in capris during those months! I have some that are dressier and some that are more casual. One thing I love about the south is that capris can be considered dressing up, with the right shoes and jewelry!
      Living the Balanced Life´s last post…When life throws you off balance

    • I suspect it’s probably too hot over with you guys for this to work right now, but in slightly cooler, but still too hot for spanx weather a scoosh of spray deoderant to the tops of your thighs will give them a light coating that will stop the rub. It won’t see you through a hike, but it’s worked for me through a full day’s work (and in this case a cheap, leaves a white coating one is perfect)
      Wenchie´s last post…Going Bananas

    • I find cheepo bike short to work to stop the chub rub. I get them from Wal-Mart/K Mart.

    • I saw the cutest girls at lunch today who were wearing capris, and they looked dressed up. I think it all has to do with what top you pair with it.

    • I’d love to say I don’t know what you’re talking about here…but I can’t. I found that is you can get your hands on “split slips” or culotte slips dresses and skirts can work!

      They have at Penney’s, Silhouettes, and Woman from Within.

      I still don’t wear dresses much because I have not great gams–but
      when I do, these are fantastic!

    • When I was in High School many years ago we wore Petti-pants. I was so happy to find they still sell them. I found a 100% cotton pair on ebay. They work great for the rub problem and absorb any moisture when it is hot outside. They make wearing a dress in the hot weather so comfortable.

    • I’m really late to the convo, but this stuff is fantastic for chub rub and it doesn’t look like anyone has mentioned it..

      Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel.. it’s amazing and not greasy and no need for extra layers. :) I think it works better than both deodorant and the runner’s anti-chafing stuff I’ve tried.
      Lauren´s last post…Fall pictures

  6. I actually thought #2 might be a lie! Anyway, I live where summers get quite hot too. 100+ for weeks on end. I don’t like how I look in shorts, so for the past 10 years or so skirts have been my default in the summer. I actually feel they are more comfortable and cooler than shorts. I do have a few summer dresses that I wear more when I go out, but I find lightweight cotton skirts can be very casual when paired with a tank top or dressed up when worn with a scarf or jewelry. Yay for skirts and dresses!

    • This. I have two light cotton skirts and one pair of amazing leather sandals that have been my go-to summer staples for several years now. I mix them with casual shirts, tanks, cardigans, pearls, you name it. LOVE.
      Michelle´s last post…This Week

  7. I love dresses! I am having a problem finding ones that are conducive to nursing though. Any ideas??

    Jenna´s last post…The Week I Just Lived

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Hey, Jenna. Try lycra wrap-over style dresses (very flattering anyway) with a thin (cheap) vest top or cami underneath. You can pull the vest up a bit and the dress down a bit, leaving just enough room for nipple access. I’ve been doing that for the last couple of years and hardly get a glance when out and about.
      I have a couple of button top dresses that I do the same with but I can see the look of panic on people’s dresses when I start to unbutton the dress. There isn’t the same panic when I pull the lycra dress down a bit. No idea why – guess it’s just a quicker action and less suggestive than unbuttoning?
      Karen (Scotland)

      • Whoa…perfect idea! Thank you Karen :)
        Jenna´s last post…The Week I Just Lived

      • That is a perfect idea! I love dresses and have been having the same issue with not owning any I can nurse in! I’ve been surviving with my stash of skirts, and nursing tops. In my post-pregnancy body, though, I don’t feel nearly as cute with the stomach bulge over the skirts, though. Yay for a dress option idea, now!

      • Patagonia bahnda dress has been my pregnancy and nursing go to staple. I have 4 and they are awesome. Almost all I wear!

    • You might like this site that sells nursing dresses.

    • Hi Jenna,
      I had the same problem b/c I lived in dresses pre-baby, but needed “lunch” to be easily accessible to him. ;) I found button-up shirt dresses (Target, LOFT, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx – all the basics) as well as deep v-neck jersey dresses (Forever 21) to work best. For the v-neck jersey dresses, I’d wear a nursing tank underneath (pre baby, I just wore a normal tank underneath). Agree with the commenter about the wrap dresses too – very easy and you can find them anywhere! Congrats on your new little one! :)
      {mommy chic} latest post: Blogiversary Giveaway
      finley :: mommy chic´s last post…Fall 2011 trends

  8. I love summer dresses, but I’ve been nursing for the past two summers! Stretchy skirts are the best postpartum wear. :)

  9. Yes! I’ve gone many summers without shorts. I could never find one’s I liked/fit nicely/were the right length. Cotton skirts were my go-to summer clothes, then I discovered that dresses meant I didn’t have to coordinate anything in the morning.

    I’ve given in an bought a pair of shorts for hiking etc., but I still love my skirts and dresses more.

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      I even managed to find a short-ish A-line linen skirt for hill-walking!
      I really do not have the kind of bum that looks good in shorts so I avoid them at all costs.
      Karen (Scotland)

      • Oh! Where did you find it Karen (I’m in Scotland, too ;))
        Wenchie´s last post…Going Bananas

        • Karen (Scotland) says:

          Gosh, back in 2002, I bought it in Glasgow – the big outdoors shop up from Buchanan Street Bus Station – a few streets north of Cathedral Street. We were going to Canada and I managed to get the linen A-line skirt, a sort of hillwalking material skirt and the hillwalking sandals that I am still wearing daily!
          Haven’t been in any outdoors shops recently (baby and toy shops these days…) so not sure if they’re still fashionable/available for walking.
          Going to check out your blog post as I’m just so excited to see a Scottish blogger!

  10. I love reading about your simple closet. I wear a dress or skirt everyday. I just don’t like the way I look in pants or shorts. I’m still nursing a baby (toddler), so I’ve been wearing skirts lately. Our air conditioner was struck by lightening last week, so it’s been about 100 degrees in our house…a skirt is much cooler than pants would be! :)
    Joy @ Artful Homemaking´s last post…Food~Family~Friends~Fun!

  11. ooo how I love dresses! I recently converted almost all my dresses to “nursing friendly” by simply adding hidden hook and eyes to the straps. Same dresses I’ve always lived in every summer…now improved!
    Fig&Sparrow´s last post…10:51pm…And All Is Well

  12. Karen (Scotland) says:

    I love, love, love dresses just now!
    I still have an umbilical hernia from my last pregnancy and I find waistbands just pain me slightly. I’ve discovered that stretchy wrap-overs really flatter my curvy body and work well for breastfeeeding (with a vest underneath – see comment up a bit).
    I have had SO many compliments this summer wearing just two cheap maxi dresses (less than £20) most of the time.
    I’ve been comfy, the dresses give a nice draught on the legs on hot days (lol at the thigh-rub issue mentioned above – plenty of talc if that’s not TMI!) I stick on a pair of cropped leggings on cooler days. I haven’t bothered with suncream all summer as my legs are protected.

    Definitely recommend dresses – just takes a bit of confidence to take that first trip out looking “dressier” than is expected.
    Karen (Scotland)

  13. seashoreknits says:

    Oh how I love your posts on wardrobe ideas!!
    I’m so glad you brought up the issue of how to incorporate the 3 piece rule when the heat is just too too much.
    That is my issue too. I live in the very deep South and 5 months of the year the heat and humidity is just terrible.
    What I usually do is wear a simple cotton or jersey skirt with a cotton camisole or sleeveless linen top around the house. When I go out in public, I’ll just slip a pretty 3/4 or long sleeve cotton blouse over everything, and just fasten a couple of the buttons around the waist or let hang open. There are my 3 pieces, it’s still cool(ish) and my upper arms are now covered :)
    But I have to agree with you that dresses are the BEST. Just perfect for everything and so so so comfortable and cool. Would love to see you do a post on ideal comfy shoes for summer casual dresses (I end up doing cute inexpensive ballerina flats from Target).
    And I was just sure #2 was your lie – hilarious!

    • I’d also love to see a post of versatile comfortable shoes as this the the hardest part of putting together an outfit in my opinion. I find it hard to find the middle ground between casual and dressy. Wearing flats with dresses still doesn’t look quite right to me either.

  14. I had those good intentions about wearing dresses this summer…but there’s been no money or time to go find any! September should be a bit more scheduled, so I’m planning to hit the thrift stores and scoring a few dresses to pair with leggings for fall. Then I’ll have dresses for when summer comes around again! And it’ll sure be easier than living in my one pair of shorts all season or wearing jeans and saying “oh, I’m fine,” when I’m roasting.

    So I agree, dresses are where it’s at…if only I could get there! ;)
    MK @ This Mom Reads´s last post…Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

    • In the last two days I’ve been looking for dresses I could wear for fall and I found 3 great buys! Pretty much luck, but it’s a reminder to look for thrift finds. I found a $90 TravelSmith little black dress at GoodWill for $7; a Lands’ End Canvas $80 dress on ebay for $12 plus shipping, and a JCPenney’s clearance rack dress for $12. All are short or 3/4 sleeve, but with a cardigan or long-sleeve T underneath they’ll wear all winter. I just made sure the colors weren’t summery. Too fun! Good luck with your hunt. It does take time–but remember there’s ebay. I only recently started shopping ebay at all, thanks to some fashion bloggers showing me it’s possible. You do have to know your size and the brands, and sometimes the deals aren’t all that great but sometimes you can really score.

  15. Would you share the what shoes you own? The comfortable, cute pair that goes with everything. I could use a pair like that!
    anne´s last post…My Favorite New Food

  16. What do you do for exercise? I cannot imagine exercising in a dress!

  17. HA! My mom and I were JUST talking about tweaking our wardrobe–great timing!!
    I have learned so much from What Not to Wear and one thing they’ve instilled in me is the concept of layering. I’m a jewelry person so i do that well but I’ve only lived in Florida and central Arizona, so….for most of the year, layering actual pieces of clothing could actually kill you!! :) BUT, I totally agree with you–you gotta have something more than just a top and bottom. I LOVE the idea of switching to a dress in warmer months! I tend to wear dresses just for dressy occasions–so all of mine would only work at a wedding or BIG dinner out (which are far and few between!). Now I’m inspired to find more casual dresses for everyday wear. And in Arizona, we can wear them almost year-round. I’d possibly need a cardigan three months/year, which is perfect.
    I love dresses and skirts–thanks for pushing me in the right direction!!

  18. P.S. I thought the motorcycle one was a lie! I can totally relate to the Next Top Model and donut holes–you weren’t fooling me! :)
    Tabitha´s last post…Studio Sneak Peek

  19. I’m pregnant with my second baby, and I wish I could live in dresses while pregnant – I like them a lot, but without the under-belly support, my stomach feels so much bigger and heavier. I can’t stand it. So it’s been shorts and tank tops for me all summer.

    And it’s hard to find dresses that work for breastfeeding, too, so I guess I’ll be doing the pants and a top thing for at least another year.

    I’m looking forward to wearing them again, though!
    Amy´s last post…In the busyness and in the calm

    • I just delivered a couple of weeks ago, and made myself several neutral skirts this spring and have lived in them. You could put an extra wide band in them, if you’re still missing the support, or wear a support band, I suppose. (Would one of those belly bands work?) I felt very pretty in my linen skirt and a nice top. I’m not very skilled at sewing, but skirts (especially with an elastic band) are the easiest things ever!

      I wish you the best as you carry this new little person! :)

  20. I am a summer dress girl too!

    On another note, when I traveled to Italy for a judo competition with my daughters team, I was very impressed at the style and dress of the Italian people! I never saw a group of people look so incredibly classy at an athletic event!

    Keep blogging! I love it! I’ve pared my wardrobe down to a fraction of what I had before and I finally have freedom!

  21. I haven’t worn a dress since the 80s. I’m a pants person. Just wish I could pull off the look of the Katherine Hepburn.

  22. I LOVE dresses and skirts for summer. I own running shorts and that’s it. I don’t feel comfortable in shorts so I don’t wear them. I love the picture above and want to know where you got that adorable dress?
    Tonya´s last post…Moving Day

  23. Shhh! Don’t give away my secret! Just kidding. I love sundresses in the summer. They are way cooler and it looks like I put in an effort which actually it is much easier than a two piece. Love the truth and lie part. Hmmmm the motorcycle guy?

  24. Next Top Model is one of my guilty pleasures too.

    I’m looking forward to wearing dresses again this Australian summer, although I think I’m going to have to start making my own as I struggle to find ones that fit nicely.
    Narelle @ Cook Clean Craft´s last post…Baby Pyjamas

  25. I lived in skirts this summer because I gained a little weight over the winter (ugh!) and my shorts didn’t fit any more, but knit skirts are so forgiving, and definitely more comfortable when it’s hot out!

    My question – can I ask what kind of sandals you have? I have tried and tried for the past two summers to find comfortable supportive sandals that are cute and will look good with everything and have just not had any luck. So I’ve been wearing Old Navy flip flops all summer and those are definitely not super stylish or good for your feet!
    Emily @ Live Renewed´s last post…Make An Impact On The Famine In East Africa

  26. I REALLY want to wear more casual dresses, ones that I can just throw on to run errands, etc. We still have a few more months of summer here in AZ…I need a casual summer dress ASAP!
    Kelsey´s last post…a difficult day

  27. Summer is skirt weather! I love dresses and skirts. I have dress patterns to sew but since my 19 mo old is still nursing, I’m wearing skirts and tops this summer. Thrift shops are full of great cheap cute tops and skirts. I have gardening ones for weeding and mowing, everyday ones and dressy ones. It’s always better to be slightly overdressed than how I see others frump around in wrinkled khaki shorts and mannish button up shirts (not blouses, just shirts) or t-shirts. Anyway, great post.
    Amylouise´s last post…Vegan Sesame Zucchini Bread

  28. America’s Next Top Model was one of my guilty pleasures for years, but I finally stopped last fall, because Tyra just got too crazy for me.

    I was part of the “I’d like to wear dresses but chub rub makes me crazy” crowd till this summer, when I lost 13 lb! :) Just because of the shape of my body I still have some issues with rubbing, so I can’t wear a dress if I’m going to walk a lot, but I can wear them on most regular days now! All the skirts lurking in the back of my closet have gotten a whole new life.
    Jessicah´s last post…Almost exactly one month after this picture was taken, I started…

  29. I like an A-line skirt with a cotton fitted tee, I do have three pairs of shorts (other than running shorts), one was a pair of pants I stained with bleach. I cut them off right at the knee and sewed them. They are a very flattering length!
    Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith´s last post…7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 46

  30. I thought #2 was the lie and I have a black wrap-around dress that I LURVE! And, I get a lot of compliments on it too.

    I also have 2 maxi dresses that i love.
    Megan@declutterdaily´s last post…Days 196 and 197 -Wordless Wednesday and Thursday ‘Cause Summer’s Not Over Yet

  31. Chris Geiger says:

    I, too, love skirts & dresses. To solve my “chub rub”, I have bought pettipants from Penneys. They are nylon & can be trimmed to whatever length you need. Vermont Country Store also sells them in cotton, but are more expensive. I can’t imagine wearing
    spanx in hot muggy weather. I would like to find more simple dresses to wear, preferebly in cotton or cotton blend.

    • What I find amazing about this post is all of the comments from women who love dresses but can’t find what they need. One of the things I miss is cotton polyester blend fabric! I’m tired of dresses that are too short (I like mine below the knee), too wide on the shoulders (mine are narrow), and too low in the front – I’m large & high chested :( I’m glad to see the long dresses come back.

  32. I adore skirts– they are the easiest thing for me to purchase (I have to very much limit myself in this!), and they are so fun to wear! I wear them with leggings and or knee socks in the winter… fun!

    I didn’t wear shorts through high school (my own style choice) and when I got to college, there was no AC and it was HOT– my sister and mom boxed up some of my sis’ shorts and mailed them to me :-)
    Eliz. K´s last post…[birthday cake]

  33. I love wearing dresses! I instantly feel pulled together. I buy a lot of jersey cotton dresses so they won’t get wrinkled if I’m sitting at my desk or in the car for a while. Sometimes I feel a little overdressed at Target too, but who cares!

    Life’s short–let’s look pretty!
    Sage´s last post…FBFF: Favorite Item of Clothing

  34. I love dresses…and even if some people think I’m overdressed when I’m out, it is also when I am treated the best by business staff and get the most compliments. I’ve never though about it as the 3 piece and 1 piece rule, love that!

  35. I love wearing dresses too. My sisters and friends always tease me about being “so dressed up,” but really, I just wear them for:
    1. The comfort factor (so much cooler!)
    2. The lack-of-decision factor (one piece…one choice)
    Throw on a pair of flat sandals and a cute necklace, and you’re set!

    And on another, slightly guilty note, I used to be an America’s Next Top Model fan too until I discovered her cooler, more sophisticated cousins: New Zealand’s Next Top Model and Australia’s Next Top Model. :)
    Morgan´s last post…Funny Friday: World Tour Edition

  36. Like you, I adore wearing dresses and even wear them daily, as I go about my farming chores. My “uniform” is a dress, covered with an apron and comfortable shoes…the apron is removed and the shoes changed when I need to run to town. Dresses are cooler, dressier and always look pulled together…shorts, ummmm, not so much.
    Sandra´s last post…Sabbath Keeping

  37. I think I wore skirts almost all summer they are the coolest things I can find temperature wise
    the nester´s last post…DIY Wreath Linky Party

  38. I love dresses and skirts in the summer. They are much more comfortable than shorts. This summer I’ve been limited in my wardrobe because I had a baby at the beginning of the summer. I can’t wear most of my dresses because of breastfeeding so I’m limited to just my skirts. I have to be honest, though, that come cooler weather, I live in jeans.

  39. I thought # 1 was the lie! I love my cotton summer dresses for the same reasons. It has been hard to find a good bermuda short, and I will not wear the short shorts being sold this year! Yikes!
    Kim C.´s last post…brought to you by the letter f

  40. I just like that I learned the term “chub rub” from reading these comments. Cracks me up.

  41. I don’t have any shorts (that fit me) right now, so I mostly wear 2 different pairs of capri pants. I have one dress that I love. You are inspiring me to look for a few more!
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify´s last post…Hot Spot Check Up 2: Kitchen Island, and Thanks! (I’m talking to you!)

  42. I live in dresses – which is a big change from the jeans & t-shirt girl I was growing up! I prefer dresses or skirts in the summer over shorts because I think they look more put together but still comfortable. I actually just learned a little no-sew DIY trick to turn a shirt into a skirt – you can see it here. I’ve been wearing some version of this on the weekend since most of my skirts are pencil skirts for work.

    Going into fall, I’ve seen designers show a dress or skirt over pants (actual wide leg pants or jeans, not just leggings!) to continue spring’s boho look.

    BTW – I couldn’t pick the lie. 1) How could anyone resist a cute guy on a motorcycle? *swoon* 2) Donut holes are my cryptonite too, esp the choc dipped donut holes! and 3) I’m dying in Texas too!!

    {mommy chic} latest post: blogiversary giveaway
    finley :: mommy chic´s last post…Fall 2011 trends

  43. I thought the lie was probably the “no shorts” in that hot weather! I’d never survive.

    I am short and wide and cannot find dresses that flatter me even a tiny bit. It’s something to keep in mind as I eat my salad and try to do without treats, because I would love to get into skirts and dresses again, no matter what season we are in :)

    Great post.

  44. More nursing webistes:

    Wow, there isn’t a ton of dresses for nursing out their. I always found this to be a big frustration when I nursed esp because dresses were so popular at that time. Good luck!

  45. Pull on a dress and instantly looke polished and pretty.
    Love dresses for comfort and ease.

  46. i LOVE dresses.. but hard to find ones that 1) FIT me ( I am petite but long torso….. ) 2)MY color, 3) MY style, affordable…washable….argh. not too short or too long……..not too low cut….NOT too high waisted…………..nice cool washable fabric………….not a tacky busy print….

  47. Honestly I haven’t worn shorts for several years now. I do have a pair in my closet for the case for climbing a tree and picking cheeries (about the only thing I would not consider doing in a dress/skirt), but otherwise they just feel too frumpy (and a bit immodest IMO) I used to wear them all summer, but am preferring skirts and dresses all the time. I do need more dresses, but as I just had a baby and need the ease of nursing access, I will not be sewing any this summer (and hopefully I’ll loose some weight by next), but next I am hoping to have some nice ones. For now I just stick with skirts and knit tops.
    Natalija´s last post…Something a bit different

  48. I, personally, love the idea of dresses, but sometimes they don’t always turn out like I imagine. Somewhere out there in the world is the perfect yellow flower sundress (with small sleeves) that goes a bit below my knee and flatters all my curves….but right now, it’s all in my head.

    But when I find it: I will buy it and wear it to rags.
    Jennie´s last post…The Best Kind of Fun is Free

  49. My only problem with dresses when it is THAT hot is sweaty thighs. Not something I want to think about but a truth to be reckoned with, nonetheless. Luckily I’m still in Seattle where we haven’t even reached 85 degrees this year!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Tatum’s Third Week

  50. I am a total dress wearer. I find they cure all known fashion problems and hide all sins. Great post.
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…A Wise Woman

  51. I’m with Kait. If I wear a dress without hose or tights, then my thighs have to actually meet each other and, well, it isn’t pretty…
    I’ll take capris over dresses any day.
    gh´s last post…Project Before and After- Chairs

  52. I like dresses too, although I get the “why are you so dressed up” thing when I where them. I like that they make me feel pretty and feminine.

  53. I love wearing dresses, and like other posters, don’t currently have anything nursing friendly. I usually design and make my own dresses to fit my exact shape, but with a new baby I didn’t have time this year before summer was upon us. Reading others’ comments has given me a couple of great ideas for ways to utilize some fabric in my stash for one or two dresses to get me through the rest of summer and beginning of fall.

    As for the 3 piece rule in hot weather, When wearing a skirt and a top, I will add either a jewelry (such as necklace, and fun earrings, or a bangle bracelet and a fun ring), or a belt, and often a fabric headband or scarf tied around my hair for the third piece. :)

  54. I thought I knew which Clark’s sandals you were referring to before I clicked on the link, and yep, they are the same pair I bought this spring. My sister and friend each bought a pair, too. Wish I hadn’t seen the current price!! Definitely a good buy, folks.

  55. Rachel P. says:

    I love dresses, too. I love Athleta dresses ( They are casual, yet pretty. My friends always ask why I am so dressed up, but I think that it is I am more put together when I am wearing a dress.

  56. mrsvickers says:

    I also live in North Texas and wear ankle length skirts year round. They hide shockingly white legs and are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. My favorite skirt pattern is Simplicity 7229. It’s a simple A-line bias cut skirt with a bias cut draw-string waist that seems to always fit no matter how my weight has fluctuated. It is such a simple elegant style and very slimming. I’ve made it in several fabrics but love the linen ones best.

  57. I figured you were playing a trick on us so I didn’t really guess — went straight to the answer. I live in hot weather country, too hot to dilly dally. It’s over a 100 today.

    So the only way I’m going to be relaxed in the summertime is to have some casual bermuda or capri type shorts on. I have a couple of skirts in my wardrobe, but nary a single dress (I kind of got a little too comfortable in pants & some of the dress styles weren’t that great in the past. However, a lot of cute dresses out there now. I am definitely going to have to add something classic to my wardrobe.)

    I guess I’ve equated dress with being dressed up from back in the day, but I wore casual dresses more then too. So “what goes around — comes around” or vice versa. I keep a small wardrobe too.

  58. Elizabeth says:

    Dress lover here. They are so simple, and figure flattering.

  59. I don’t usually wear dresses, I buy them with the intention that I will wear them, but they stay in my closet. I will wear slacks…no matter what.
    Lisa @ Cents To Save´s last post…$500 HOLIDAY CHALLENGE UPDATE ~119 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS~

  60. With a list like that, I always choose: e) All of the above!

    I’ve always loved dresses but for some reason don’t have any “everyday” ones right now. Need to remedy that! They really are the easiest, and simplest option.
    Stephanie´s last post…My Freezer Is Trying To Tell Me Something

  61. oh yes, when I turned 30, I stopped wearing shorts unless I was biking. I wanted to look more polished, PLUS a dress or skirt is SO MUCH less hot than shorts or capris! I make my skirts, so I can make exactly what I want. I’m still working up to a dress, but I’ll get there.
    Margo´s last post…What I Got From a Bushel of Tomatoes

  62. I believed them all. But that may have something to do with the fact that I live in Texas!

    I do agree that dresses are so much cooler. I don’t have any, but I have several lightweight knit skirts that I enjoy. I don’t wear them much, though, because I have the same issue as many others – sweaty thighs that stick together. But if I’ll be outside for only a short time, then I’ll consider a skirt!
    Rachel´s last post…to the glory of God

  63. Ah, I wish I could wear dresses more. My bottom half is a good 1 to 2 sizes larger than my top half (no matter if I lose weight or gain, it stays that way). Sadly, dresses tend to come in the same size all the way up and down ;-)

  64. I’m late to the party, but I live in dresses. I feel they flatter my curvy figure better than pants.
    Jules´s last post…Empire in the Empire, No. 3

  65. I love your style and the fact you can accomplish that with such a small wardrobe. I am one of those people who wear 20% of their clothes 80% the time, plus I was a packrat! Not a good combination. I have been getting rid of stuffs and cut down my possessions a lot, but I still have a long way to go. Less possessions means less stress! Wish one day I can pack all my clothes in one luggage, ok, maybe two. Thanks for the inspiration.

  66. I own 2 pairs of shorts and only wore them camping this summer. In fact, that’s the only reason I haven’t gotten rid of them. I also have a very small wardrobe, but I have worn dresses so much this spring and summer that I plan on buying a couple more when the summer dresses are on clearance and wear them this fall with sweaters and boots. The layered look is very popular here in Europe anyway. Bravo for getting through the whole summer without shorts!
    Tracey´s last post…FUNDAY MONDAY

  67. Since college, dresses have been my go-to for bad mornings. People would think I had put more effort into my wardrobe b/c it was a dress, but really I just wanted to pull one thing over my head, put on shoes, and be done. Now I actually want to look nice when I wear one, too. :)

    Good point about the shoes! I have decided it makes sense for my budget (and incidence of stains with toddler prints all over me) to buy less-expensive clothing, but more-expensive shoes. The shoes can last for more than ten years. Not the clothes. Not in this phase of life.
    Kristy´s last post…Make Me a Reader Monday: Baby’s First Skills

  68. When I was growing up, women always dressed up to go “Downtown” shopping. That was when there were tea rooms in the nice department stores, too.

    The Mall was built when I was in high school and women had already stopped wearing nice clothes to shop but I think it’s still good. You just FEEL differently in a dress (or a long flowing skirt with nice top). :)

  69. I fell in love with dresses when I was pregnant with my first child. I loved that they covered my big belly and that I only had to choose one item to wear; deciding on both a shirt and pants seemed like too many decisions when I was so tired!

    My love of dresses stuck after pregnancy. They are great for a cool and casual weekend outfit, or a way to feel a little more “put together” even when you feel like a frazzled mama!

  70. I love maxi-dresses. I don’t have the best looking legs, and the maxis hide a multitude of sins!
    My strategy for getting the dishes done

  71. I was wondering, with a smaller wardrobe, how do you manage to keep clothes free of stains? I have 20 month old twins and I find that I end up getting stains on everything, no matter how careful I am. How to you manage small children without ruining some of your things?

    • I try to rinse out stains when they happen so they don’t set, and I buy the washable markers.

      • I wondered about that too! It would make me feel uneasy if I wore my better clothes to clean house & just to take it easy in. They would definitely be stain magnets. You remind me of some of the ads from the 50’s & 60’s where the women were depicted as doing house chores with heels on and dress wear.

  72. I couldn’t figure out which one was a lie, but was going to vote for the donut holes one, cause I think they’re gross, lol.
    Anyhow, I need help with the shoes-to-go-with-dresses. I really want to wear more dresses, but soon it’ll be chilly here and I lack confidence in figuring out how to choose warmer footwear that will still go with a dress. I own a VERY small number of shoes and I do not have a big enough closet or wallet to own a huge amount of them. I will need to buy a couple pairs soon though. I want to buy some multi-purpose shoes or boots for winter…
    Anyhow, I’m rambling, but I’d love if you ever want to do a post about choosing shoes to go with dresses :)

    • for winter shoes with dresses, I wear boots with tights or warm socks underneath. I can wear those boots with my jeans too.

  73. Hey I would like to tell you that I had come across a site which shows the type of something a Iranian kind called salwar kameez…. I really love that variety, I know its pretty Odd but still I just love the way it suit anybody…
    Lola T´s last post…Dieta del alpiste

  74. I think I’m going to keep an eye out for dresses as the weather warms up in our part of the world.

  75. thank goodness… I’m not the only one suffering!!! I just moved to maricopa az in June where there is nothing available to do inside (unless you stay inside your own house all summer) during the day. we’ve had triple digit weather for three months straight like you… only this is a hundred and ten or higher. what I wouldn’t give to be in new Mexico!!

  76. Truthfully, skirts and dresses have been my summer savings grace (with leggings underneath my dresses). I’ve put on a lot of weight in my post marital bliss and i’m trying to undo the damage without having to buy a whole new wardrobe. Thankfully I can get by work with what I already own, but at home I was starting to resort to sweats to be comfortable and that’s not okay…

    So I started embracing my skirts and dresses and just putting some tights under them… its been good to renew these closet finds again :)
    South County Girl´s last post…An Unexpected charge on my credit card…

  77. That’s very true. I love how yousimplified everything. Sometimes we tend to complicate what to wear. When simple dressing is much more flattering and easy to do… Tnx for this reminder

  78. I love dresses! I opted to just stock up on some at TJ Maxx this spring, instead of spending the money on shorts (which I feel like I’m always tugging at to keep down). The upside has been that I always feel summer-sexy; the downside is that I didn’t notice the five pounds I was putting on thanks to lack of waistbands and buttons.

  79. I’d like to wear more dresses, but find that there just aren’t many to choose from in the stores. Most are for younger, skinny figures – too short and too tight. In thrift shops I only find frumpy, long floral dresses. I’d like to find a dress that’s simple, not too fitted, and just below the knee. And also not expensive! Any store suggestions?

  80. I so fell in love with wearing dressing again this summer. Here in Oklahoma it was a record summer too. 61 days above 100. Crazy. Too hot for pants or even capri’s. As a larger woman I just don’t feel “dressed” in shorts. So it was dresses for me. I had one favorite go -to dress this summer. A black sleeveless that I could wear with a light cover. A/C being colder. I never felt over dressed, and I certainly wasn’t under dressed for any occasion. I know I will continue to wear my go to dress this fall, I can pair leggings with sandals until it gets cold enough for the boots.
    Lisa @Granola Catholic´s last post…Why My Family Does not Drink Juice

  81. I’m more of a skirt-and-tank-top girl in the summer, because I’m short. 90% of the dresses out there are too long for me, and it would take tailoring for them to fit well. I’d rather something fit well, but I don’t want to spend the money on tailoring, and I don’t have the time to do it myself.

    Simple skirts and a tank top are my next best choice. And layering tank tops contributes to that three-pieces rule—it automatically makes it look dressier, I kid you not. Add jewelry and cute shoes, and I could either fold laundry on the floor with the kids or go out on a date with Kyle.
    Tsh @ Simple Mom´s last post…How to make friends

  82. I wear dresses all summer every summer. I always have felt more comfortable in a dress or skirt then pants. The issue I have now is finding one that is a good length. For some reason they keep getting shorter….