Focus on Fashion: Summer Dresses and Belts

Nothing quite says the start of summer vacation like two straight days of rain.  Even so, I'm clinging to the promise of sunshine and consistent warmth and the opportunity to wear something other than sweats, which is the wardrobe reality to which two straight days of rain inevitable reduces me. 

No, this summer I want to dress for success and step out in style, starting with, you guessed it: dresses.

This mint sundress from Target is flouncy and fresh, and its refreshing color takes center stage when paired with nude wedges.  The fabric, a lightweight knit, keeps the dress casual enough to be worn with flip flops for a picnic or transitioned into cooler summer evenings (or air conditioned spaces) with a light cardigan.

If, like me, you'll be attending a wedding this summer, then you'll also likely want to own a dress that dazzles.  I went out on a limb when I bought this dress a few summers back.  It's bold and busy, but something -- perhaps its audacious stripes -- drew me in.  (Besides, if you're going to a wedding, you might was well go big.  Rock the heels.  You'll eventually kick them off to dance, anyway.)

I bought this dress for just $12 at Ross, a store that I've found to be a goldmine for inexpensive dresses if you pan through the racks carefully. 

When I'm searching for a more polished look, I like this dress that I snagged from a clearance rack at LOFT (my favorite clothing store).  The attractive collar adds professionalism while the skirt's golden sheen adds a pop of fun.  My metallic heels that I've mentioned before (scored for $1 at a thrift store!) are a perfect compliment.

Now although I told you that this post was about dresses, the unsung heroes in all these outfits aren't the dresses themselves, but rather the belts.  Granted, the LOFT dress boasts a built-in band that cinches the waist on its own, which is precisely a belt's key function: to define your waist.

For many years, I rarely wore belts.  If I wore them, it was only with pants, and (naturally) through the provided belt loops.  Wearing a belt at my natural waist -- the narrowest portion of my midsection -- felt odd.  It was like vacationing abroad, something other, more cultured people did, just not me.

Plus, all the belts I owned fit my hips, and consequently, were too long to wear around the narrowest part of my waist.  I worked around this in three ways:

1) I sought out belts at resale shops -- often sold for just $2 or $3 -- which allowed me to add a few new options to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.

2) I looked in the kids' clothing section at Wal-Mart for the largest sized belts.  No joke.  These belts sometimes come in colorful packs of three, they're a fraction of the price of adult belts, and, depending on your size, they could fit at your natural waist, even if they don't span around your hips.

3) I mastered the loop.  Even if your belt is slightly long, twisting the remaining portion and securing it underneath adds a decorative touch and prevents the excess belt from flapping.

And there you have it: dresses and belts, two of my go-to summer fashion staples.  Go forth today and be beautiful, you utterly beautiful readers, you!

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  1. Wow! All fabulous looks Robin! Look at you all summery and stuff!

    I have to ask... how tall are you? You look like you're really tall... I would guess 5'8"? Weird I know. In case you're wondering, I'm really small. Like really small. I'm 5'2" (and 3/4) because every little bit counts when you're as small as me.

    1. I'm also 5'2" -- and some change! (Never actually reached 5'3"!) Remember, we're cross-border twins, so 5'8" is out of the question for me.

      It might be a miracle of photography, but I'll probably just credit the heels for the appearance of height. :)

  2. What?! No really?! No. You're 5'2"? We seriously ARE cross-border twins.

    Yay for our smallness!


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