The Dress Boutique: Our Favorite Mini Dresses

Striped Shift Dress

Striped Shift Dress

The Mini Dress is making a comeback in fashion trends and when combined with Tunic tops or dresses that have also made a comeback, there really hasn’t been a better time to add a few mini dresses to your wardrobe.  The Mini Dress works great for long leg body types and for those of us who may not want to show that much leg all the time, the mini dress also looks great paired with leggings.  Adding leggings to the mini dress also makes many of them more versatile for colder temperatures and a great way to maximize your wardrobe with multiple ways to wear them.  The classic look of a mini dress with tall boots is also another great way to blend current fashion trends. Certainly, there is no shortage of great mini dresses, but consider a few of these mini dresses as some of our favorite mini dresses this season.

The Striped Shift Dress by indie designer Sunday in Brooklyn is a great example of a classic retro style shift dress with modern fashion style and an example of a dress that looks great with boots, heels or leggings. This mini shift dress also features another classic fashion trend with the stripes.  The dress features a short sleeve, scoop neckline and a simple, yet sophisticated shift dress style.  The dress features contrasting zippers on both the left and right hem of the dress for added detail a touch that makes us love the dress even more.

Ikat Tie Neck Dress by Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati

Ikat Tie Neck Dress

Another Mini Dress is the Ikat Tie Neck Dress by Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  This dress also exudes that retro look and looks like a classic dress you would have seen with go go boots in the 60s/70s.  The dress features a tie collar at the neck that ties in back with a keyhole closure.  The dress features long sleeves which makes it a perfect fall/winter piece.  The pattern showcases a blend of pinks, browns, blues and greens which gives you lots of accessorizing options.  The body of the dress is a classic shift dress style as well and it hits mid-thigh as a true mini dress. Naturally, this dress also works well with leggings and boots.

Continuing with the pseudo-shift dress theme, we also love the Owl Mini Shift Dress by Tulle.  With a ruffle sleeve that is cap sleeve length and an adorable bird print that we think looks like owls on it this dress is flirty, playful and super stylish.  Each of these dresses while variations of shift dresses all have very different styles and give you a variety of different looks depending on what your style preference is.

Owl Mini Shift Dress by Tulle

Owl Mini Shift Dress

Last, but certainly not least we wanted to also mention a basic, but yet not boring Short Sleeve Mini Sweater Dress also by Tulle.  This dress features a black tank shell underneath a black fitted sweater with a loose knit pattern around the neckline and shoulders.  This mini dress has short sleeves and is the most fitted of all the mini dresses mentioned in this post.  As with the others, it looks great with tights, boots or leggings.

The Mini Dress trend really does have a lot of versatile options for a number of different styles and occasions whether they be completely casual or even dressy.  Of course these are just a few of our favorites and there are certainly lots of other mini dress alternatives depending on your individual style.  Which one of these mini dresses is your favorite?

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Vintage Printed Dress

Finding vintage print dresses can be a difficult shopping challenge as you may have in mind the perfect style of dress and then when you combine that with the task of searching for that perfect pattern it can often seem like a lost cause.  A few of our favorite dresses feature great patterns and they are great examples of what is available for vintage printed dresses.

Consider first , Velvet by Graham and Spencer’s Chapel dress features a Spanish tile pattern with a v neck line.  This dress features ¾ length sleeves and the Spanish Tile pattern gives it a great vintage look in bold colors of black or red contrasted on a white fabric.  This dress is fitted and the fabric is a rayon and lycra blend which gives it just the right amount of cling.  The pattern is really a standout and looks extremely classy on.  Of course most importantly, this dress also features a longer length with the mid-calf length which we greatly appreciate.   This dress is a bold statement dress that incorporates a vintage print that isn’t something you see everywhere which is typically the goal when searching for great vintage pieces.

Next consider, the Mod Retro Tunic by designer Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  Here this stylish black dress features contrasting floral images in blues, pinks and purples mixed with Spanish tile décor.  In a retro style this dress features a classic A line and is sleeveless.  Here the variety of colors give this pattern a great vibrant vintage feel and are just enough to add a bold pop of color and style to this dress.  Of course if this style of dress isn’t for you, consider the sister dress the Retro Boatneck Dress featuring a tie around the waist with the same floral pattern.

Another example of a great vintage pattern dress is the Tie Short Dress also by Sweet Pea.  In case you haven’t noticed one of Sweet Pea’s best characteristics are their use of great patterns.  As you can see, she uses lots of bold, bright patterns and offsets or complements them with accenting solid colors for trim or lining underneath.  The Tie Short Dress features a bold fuscia pink and brown floral pattern.  For contrast, she uses solid brown for the ties at the waist and in the bodice and around the neckline.  This dress includes a great vintage pattern along with a vintage style for the dress.

As you can see, there are a variety of different options when searching for vintage printed dresses.  Each of these options has a very distinctive style, but is high quality and a distinctive, modern designer piece.  You really can’t go wrong with these pieces and their bold, vibrant patterns that really do elevate these dresses from your basic black dresses or solid color dresses.  Whatever your style and preference, you can find a number of great vintage print dresses that will work for a number of occasions and are great statement dresses in your closet.

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Ruffled Shirt

One of this season’s best fashion trends are ruffles.  You’ll see ruffles on skirts, dresses, tank tops, and all varieties of tops.  Ruffles are a wonderful way to insert feminine touches to basic pieces.  They also have the ability to transform simple, basic tops into something more sophisticated and fashionable and are largely reasonably priced.

You can find ruffles in a variety of different styles.  There are the tiered ruffles , the accent ruffles around the sleeves, cuffs or collar, and centerpiece ruffles that are the focus of the top typically around the neckline.  We’ll present several examples of each of these styles and of course these are not the only ways you may see ruffles, rather they can be the most prevalent ways to see stylish ruffle shirts.

Tiered ruffles have become more and more available in tanks and tops.  Here the top features several layers of ruffles on top of each other in tiers.  Consider the 4 Tiered Ruffle Top by designer Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  This tank in either Rain (Blue) or Cranapple (Fuscia) is a beautifully feminine piece.  The ruffles start at the top of the tank and cascade down to about midway down the tank.  This is actually the perfect length for the ruffles because it still has a fitted waist so it is figure friendly and doesn’t make you look frumpy with layer upon layer all the way down.  You may see a variety of tops with similar tiered ruffles that may even be asymmetrical or diagonally placed on the top or tank.  Pick whatever style works best for you and your body type, but this is a great way to wear ruffles.

Next are the accent ruffles.  You’ll see them adorning hems and collars and are a great way to incorporate ruffles into classy shirts and tops or even dresses.  The Mae Ruffle Neck Tank top features ruffles around the neckline along with a tie at the neck.  This tank features raw edges along the sleeves and hem of the top giving it a casual feel.  The ruffle around the neckline is a great way to showcase the perfect amount of feminine detail that accents your face and neckline.  This is a more subtle way to feature ruffles, but also a great way to wear ruffles to the office or under a blazer or just by itself with jeans on the weekends.

Centerpiece ruffles are really a great way to bring ruffles to the forefront of your top.  You may have already seen great ruffled shirts the feature ruffles around the bib area of the top or around the bustline.  Often the centerpiece ruffles are centered around the buttons on a button up top or a v neckline.  In either case, I love wearing a tank underneath in a complementary color to add a bit more of a pop or focus on the ruffles.  My favorite example of this is the Zooey Ruffle Bib Top.  The perfect balance of ruffles and added details with buttons and ¾ length sleeves.

As you can see there are so many options and alternatives for ruffled shirts.  You really can’t go wrong with any of these styles and in fact you may want to have at least one of each for the different options each style has.

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Evening and Daytime Maxi Dresses

This season finding the perfect evening and daytime maxi dresses is actually not very difficult.  In fact maxi dresses have really become their own category and a fashion trend with staying power.  A number of designers have forayed into the maxi dress market giving shoppers a lot of selections of casual and sophisticated maxi dress styles.  Obviously the casual maxi dresses are more prevalent and it really is the fabric and somewhat the added details that distinguish the maxi casual maxi dress from the evening maxi dress.  Of course your evenings may be perfectly casual as well in which case the casual maxi dress will be a perfect fit.

One of our favorite casual style maxi dresses is the Rhetta Maxi Dress by designer Velvet by Graham and Spencer.  This jersey cotton maxi dress features a low cut back which gives this maxi dress a dressier even sexy evening look.  Best of all this dress is also versatile enough that you could easily wear it for casual or daytime events as well.  This maxi dress features a simple yet elegant fit and short sleeves.  Available in both black and malachite a teal blue color, this maxi dress is a must have for your summer wardrobe.

We also love the maxi dresses by designer Ella Moss.  The Odessa V Neck Maxi Dress feels so luxurious and regal when you wear it.  The Waterfall blue color is fabulous and the empire waist with the short sleeves gives the dress an elegant feminine touch.  This maxi dress really does look dressy enough to wear it for many evening or dressy functions. The empire waist on this maxi dress really does add to the dressy look and looks stunning with chunky necklaces or bold jewelry. The color is also very distinctive.

Another maxi dress by Ella Moss is the Hollie Racerback Maxi Dress in black.  The racerback lace detail around the shoulders is a great embellishment look.   This dress is another great blend of casual and dressy or evening and daytime as it really can be worn in either case.  This style of racerback maxi dress is also unique which adds to the statement piece quality of this dress.  Both the Hollie and Odessa maxi dresses are a rayon fabric which gives them a dressier, more luxurious feel which adds to their versatility for evening or dressy occasions.

Each of these maxi dresses is perfect for dressy occasions, that perfect warm day or your amazing Carribean vacation.  The versatility of the maxi dress of course adds to their appeal.  These dresses all can be dressed up or down as the occasion requires which really makes them a staple piece in your closet.  If you are still on the fence about adopting this fashion trend, consider just incorporating one maxi dress into your wardrobe as a way to test the waters.  Not to mention that the added versatility of the maxi dress that works in both evening and daytime really does help maximize the options for these dresses and of course the opportunities to wear them.

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Colorblock Dresses and Shirts

If you are looking for ways to insert bold statement pieces into your wardrobe, one of the latest fashion trends of inserting colorblocking into dresses and shirts is something you should at least consider.  Colorblocking is simply the term referring to stark contrasts of color inserted into a piece of clothing.  Now that we are headed into spring and summer clothing, it really is the perfect time to spice up your wardrobe with brighter colors for contrast in your clothing.

Designer Ella Moss created one of our favorite dresses the Blaire Widesleeve Crew dress which is a great subtle way to incorporate colorblocking into your wardrobe.  We love the contrasting colors and details on this dress.  Obviously the dress showcases a contrasting colorblock to accent the empire waistline. For added detail, the dress features keyhole button in front.   The dress also features shoulder pleats and a flared skirt that is longer in the center and tapers up on the sides with a contrasting stripe at the hem.  Available in Navy and White or Yellow and Grey this dress is always an excellent statement piece and a perfect combination of colorblocking for contrast and vintage style with a modern edge.

Another one of our favorite lines that incorporate a variety of patterns and bold colors in elegant, feminine ways is Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  She uses lots of bold, bright patterns and offsets or complements them with accenting solid colors for trim or lining underneath.  Consider the Tie Short Dress by Sweet Pea.  This dress features a bold fuscia pink and brown floral pattern.  For contrast, she uses solid brown for the ties at the waist and in the bodice and around the neckline.  The effect of incorporating the colorblocking here for contrast is that it helps to add a bit of simplicity to the bold pattern which helps create a more elegant, feminine look.

The use of colorblocks, if done properly, can actually help to make your dress more slimming and can break up a monotonous drab dress or top with a pop of color. Particularly in the summer season, bold colors are a fashion trend this season and colorblocking is a great way to invoke a retro 1960s look into classic pieces.  This season bold colors like corals and purples will be very popular and both colors are great accent colors for added contrast.

Finding statement pieces with colorblocking is not for everyone and of course depends on your own personal style preferences, but colorblocking is a great vintage trend that is becoming more in style and of course is a distinctive way to include retro style elements and added pops of color to help create a fabulous fashion statement.  Depending on our tolerance and confidence in wearing bold pieces, if you are interested in including such bolder fashion trends into your closet look for ways to gradually ease yourself into the trend with subtle pieces that you can work into your closet over time.

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What to Wear with This Season’s Denim

When you’re trying to determine what to wear with denim this season it can be a difficult task to keep up with the current fashion trends.  To help make it easier to figure out what to pair with your clothing today we’re going to include some great rules of thumb to help make sure you look stylish.  At the outset, denim is one of those pieces that literally goes with just about anything.  Denim has become the mainstay for most casual clothing and depending on the occasion is becoming more and more prevalent at events where denim used to be strictly off limits.  We do still think that like my mother taught me there still some places where as much as we would love to wear denim, it shouldn’t go to the theatre or as a general rule of thumb where people are performing and we definitely love the opportunity to dress up as the occasion permits.  With that in mind, you should look at denim pieces as true investment pieces in your clothing wardrobe and make sure that you do have at least one pair of up to date denim in your closet.  You can really wear almost anything with denim and we suggest that you include a few basic rules of thumb when you put together your tops with your denim.

First one of the big themes with denim this season is the darker wash.  The deep blue colors can even be so dark to look navy blue at a minimum and almost black.  In fact, you do even see some of the faded black or grey colored denim out there as well.  With these dark colors, you will want to find great tops in colors that are great contrast.  Consider deep greens or coral colors that are very popular this season.  You will also see lots of lighter blues and purple or plum colors that are great contrasts with deep blue colors for denim.

Our next tip is for longer length tops.  One big trend in denim is skinny jeans.  The tapered leg look has even transcended into “jeggings” or jean leggings.  This skinny jeans look opens the door for tops that are tunic length which are a great complement to the slimmer look around the ankle.  Even if you don’t want to invest in a pair of jeggings, tunic tops can also work with other denim styles depending on what shoes or boots you pair them with.  Tunic tops are great versatile pieces that can work with some skirts and leggings in addition to jeans or jeggings or even denim capris.   You’ll even find longer length sweaters again this season and they look great with sliming denim and boots.

In short, you really can’t go wrong with denim, but if you are looking to stay ahead of the curve we think that you’ll find the contrasting colors and tunic length tops as great complements to the latest denim trends.  Ultimately, as with all trends, you want to make sure that whatever you wear it fits with your own personal style and be sure to stay true to that no matter what the fashion trends of the day dictate.

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Spring Trend: Boatneck Dresses

Every spring as the weather gets warmer dresses are at the forefront of our shopping searches.  This spring, one great trend that you may want to incorporate into your wardrobe are boatneck dresses.  The boatneck line is always such a classic, seemingly retro neckline that we see most predominantly in tops.   To be honest, when I think of boatneck tops, my first thoughts are tops with stripes that really draw you into a sailing motif.  That boatneck stereotype is blown out of the water with a few great examples of boatneck dresses.

First consider the Retro Boatneck Dress by designer Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  This dress in vibrant colors and a great retro pattern features black trim and a black tie around the waist.  The pattern of the dress features a mix of flowers in blues, pinks and purples. The style of the dress is a straight fit, but the tie around the waist helps make it more fitted.   This dress features a bolder look and really can be a statement piece for your wardrobe depending on your individual style.  We love the classy and elegant look of the boatneck and are glad to see it becoming a more prominent trend in dresses this season.

The Martha Boatneck Dress by designer Velvet by Graham and Spencer also features a boatneck line.  This dress has a gathered empire waist and a flared waist. It is a great spring summer dress and is made of baby jersey cotton so it is completely washable and comfortable to wear.   This dress in Greenbean is a great vibrant green color which works wonderfully for spring and summer.  We also love the look of the flared waist or skirt with this dress as it really does give a distinctive contrast to the boatneck at top.

Don’t forget to incorporate other great trends for this spring and summer like leggings which would pair perfectly with both of these dresses.  We’ve done previous posts on great ways to incorporate leggings so you can check that out for our tips on that fashion trend, but these dresses would be great complements with leggings.

If you are looking for other great ways to incorporate boatnecks into your spring and summer wardrobe consider pairing boatneck tops with pencil skirts or even flared skirts or A line skirts.   We love the Sintia skirt by Velvet by Graham and Spencer as a great must have for spring pencil skirts.  Don’t forget about the Lija flared skirt also by Velvet as another possible match for great spring / summer skirts.

Ultimately, you have to decide what styles and trends work best for you this season, but we love the trend of boatneck dresses and they will certainly be pieces you will want to be on the lookout for as you shop for spring and summer dresses.   The great classy look of the boatneck line is a great way to incorporate distinctive styles and trends into your wardrobe this season and looks classic enough that it won’t be out of style next season.

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Pretty Spring Dresses

As the weather starts to turn, our fashion focus shifts to short sleeves, tank tops and of course pretty spring dresses.  This season there are a variety of great dresses that can be worn with a wrap during spring and solo during the summer.  Spring and summer dresses come in a variety of styles and with a variety of fabrics.  Of course for warm weather you will always want to consider lighter weight fabrics like cottons that wear well, are breathable and comfortable.

Velvet by Graham and Spencer is a large source of inspiration for us with great dresses primarily made of cottons or other lightweight fabrics.  One of our favorites is the Freda Dress and for spring and summer we wear it in gorgeous white.  With a flared skirt and a gathered waist line, this dress also features ¾ length sleeves and a deep v neck.  It really is a stunning dress and looks fabulous on.  Made of baby jersey cotton, this dress is machine washable and comfortable to wear which makes it a versatile piece for spring that can be dressed up for special occasions and dressed down for just a simple spring day dress.

Another wonderful spring dress is the Modal Jersey Scoop Neck Dress by Splendid.  The modal jersey is so soft and luxurious and it is a great complement to the ruffles around the scoop neckline and sleeves.  This dress is available in Mud, a light brown color, or Black and is a great go to dress for spring.  We love the pretty ruffles that are subtle, but really make the dress stand out.  The modal jersey fabric is amazingly soft and still machine washable so this dress is easy to wear for everyday and can be dressed up too.

One of our favorite classy and elegant dresses is the Wrap Dress by Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati.  This dress comes in basic black and features a faux wrap on the side.  With ruffled sleeves and a deep v neck, this dress is a super versatile piece because it can easily be dressed up for special occasions or to wear to the office.  It is the dressiest of the dresses mentioned in this article.

Finally, when you are looking for pretty spring dresses, we have to mention the Dita Ruffle V Neck Dress by Ella Moss.  This gorgeous dress exudes femininity and most certainly qualifies as pretty.  We love the deep v neck and the ruffles around the neckline.  With a flared skirt and an empire waist, this dress really has a gorgeous vintage style to it as well.

Of course, these dresses only scratch the surface of perfect dresses for spring, but in any case these dresses are a great representative sample of what is available for spring and what classic styles you can incorporate into your spring wardrobe.  Don’t forget the option of incorporating a great wrap or two to help keep you warm during cool spring nights.   Each of these dresses work well for different occasions and will be great additions to your closet.

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