Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring Starters With A Shift Dress

There are several trends emerging in spring ahead of the warmer months. For women's fashion in particular, most of them are straightforward, simple, and retro-elegant.

One of the most surprising styles to make a comeback this year is the shift dress, but not necessarily the ones that can only be worn by women with only the straightest shapes. Many of them carry varied A-line cuts, which means it's much less likely for more shapely women to have to wear a belt or sash.

I've always thought it was a smart look. While it was originally reintroduced in the 1920s for women who were trying to defy social norms, nowadays it tends to look more dressed up than dressed down. Much of how it looks really depends on how it is accessorized if at all.

Fossil has the right idea, fusing two eras into one timeless dress. 

The dress that inspired the story comes from Fossil. It has introduced several retro-styled dresses for spring, with the shift dress being one of the best.

What makes it work especially well is that the designers have kept the lace away from the pencil cut. The result is a dress that carries some air of the 1920s while feeling a bit more 1960s.

Called the Ginger, the dress is 100 percent cotton (always welcome in spring), carries a portrait neckline, and smartly accents the hem. The two color choices include cream and peach. If you visit the page, the model wearing the peach dress has a it cinched. You can see how it works, but it looks better loose and free.

Some other spring dresses worth checking out include the everyday Annie. Although the dress is fitted with a detachable belt and sports pockets as well as a scoop neck, it still borrows a shift dress feel with a more pronounced A-line. Nice, but with a much more casual feel and sturdier construction.

Two other places to find a few shift dresses making the lineup. 

Shabby Apple also included a flapper-inspired shift dress in its Mad Hatter line for spring. But instead of drawing inspiration from the era of free love, they gave their dress a more formal feel. It still carries a straight silhouette with the benefit of a stretch lace overlay and charmeuse lining.

If you are looking for something even more formal, take a look at Shabby Apple's green leaf line instead. Many of the dresses in that line carry the shift dress look with a drop waist and are made with a delicate silk.

Although not a shift dress, Sundance comes close with its Lace Bouquet dress. It's a sheath dress, which has a longer hemline and will possibly flatter women with curves. The look is especially bold with a rose lace pattern and deep red color. The material is a cotton/nylon blend with scalloped lace sleeves and at the hem.

While neither dress will downplay curves as much the design by Fossil, they provide flexibility in fit and are not constrictive. Where it wins is in offering something that can be casual without being confined to casual, making it more versatile than other wardrobe staples.

All three designs are a long way since the style's revival in the late 1950s. The dresses Lilly Pulitzer made were always brightly colored, carefully designed to hide the juice she frequently spilled on her dress at the fruit stand she and her husband ran in Florida. According to the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History, she was already selling more dresses than juice by 1959.

The Shift Dress For Spring By Fossil Skirts 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

In recent years, Fossil has continued to freshen up the vintage look originally inspired by designer Lynne Stafford. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that Fossil only began adding apparel in the 1990s, almost 20 years after Tom Kartsotis ordered his first lot of 1,500 watches.

The Ginger by Fossil retails for $128 and is dry clean only. The The Mad Hatter from the Hatter Line can be found at Shabby Apple, which carries several different inspired lines. It retails for $88 and can be machine washed in cold. The Lace Bouquet dress from Sundance is $158. Sundance currently has a short product video on its site as well.
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