When all else fails ... wear a dress. Someone must have said that at some time or another. At least many of us have relied on the ease of pulling a dress out of our closets when we didn't want to think all that hard about what to wear. It's a one-piece dressing that requires little thought. Just add a few accessories and go. You can look pulled together in no time.
There are lots of ways to be the best-dressed this year ... no matter what the occasion. Here are some of the latest styles to dress up (and down):
—Dress up a shirtdress — It's one of the favorites this year, and it's a classic silhouette that is a twist on its preppy predecessor that stood out in the '70s in crisp oxford blues and plaids. Don't be surprised this season to see shirtdresses dressed up with lots of exotic embellishments.
—Dress down a slip dress — Oh, the ease of it ... just a long, lean column of silky elegance. The newest slip dresses — long or short — shimmer with metallic sheens. And, of course, they can be dressed up, but pair them with Birkenstocks or leather ankle boots, and you've got real down-to-earth diva style.
—Dress up a maxi dress — Hemlines are coming down this spring and summer, and the floor-length maxi is back, even for cocktails. Experience the new little black dress in a sweeping fit-and-flare maxi dress with a high-low hem. Just add your dancing shoes.
—Dress down a sweatshirt dress — What could be more confortable? These new knit dresses are not only easy to wear, but they're fun, too. Designers covered them up with whimsical prints and logos that give them standout personality.
—Dress up a sheath dress — The sleeveless sheath dress is a close cousin of the shift dress ... but much more fitted. This year, the structured sheath is all dressed up with all-over lace: the perfect one-piece party dress.
—Dress up a wrap dress — Another classic made famous by designer Diane von Furstenberg in the '70s. This time around, the flattering shape is updated with lots of colorful prints — from bold abstract artsy graphics to digitalized stripes and watercolor florals.
—Dress down a sporty dress — Cheer on the varsity team this spring and summer with athletic-inspired dresses in fabrics that stretch into body-conscious sculpted styles that often use color blocking to get their sport-inspired messages across. Keep the accessories simple with this dress ... no tennis shoes required.
—Dress up the coat dress — One of the best ways to transition into warmer weather for the office or for a special occasion like a spring cocktail party. Choose a structured sheath to layer under a knee-length jacket. The all-white look is one of the season's most sophisticated silhouettes. Pair with candy-colored accessories. Yum!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.