Finally, summer is in sight. Savvy shoppers will want to stock up on sunscreen, rosé and, perhaps most important, a new warm-weather frock of two. A good dress invites the kind of free-spirited ease that one craves as temperatures rise. And this season the news is not about showing off skin or playing into preconceived notions of femininity. In fact, as the Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman wrote this month, a covered-up look may just be the defining style of this decade, with more and more women eschewing miniskirts and strapless dresses for longer, looser layers. Far from being stuffy or stifling, a roomy maxidress in breathable cotton or linen is effortlessly cool — in both senses of the phrase. Here are four ways to wear the season’s top styles without baring much of anything at all.
The Polo Dress Gets an Upgrade
There’s little doubt that athleisure attire is now completely acceptable to wear all day, every day. So as the weather heats up, ditch the track pants for a smart polo-neck dress. It’s every bit as easy and, when worn with cool sneakers and a hoodie, doesn’t sacrifice street cred.
Topshop Unique polo dress, $230 at Topshop, topshop.com; Vans slip-ons with bird embroidery, $70 at Opening Ceremony, openingceremony.com; Alexander Wang long cotton-blend hoodie, $395 at farfetch.com.
The New Cool of the Wrap Dress
Don’t call it a comeback. The wrap dress never really went out, but lately it has made the transition from workwear staple to bona fide cool-girl uniform. Given its universally flattering, curve-complementing fit and flexibility, how did it take so long? This season, play up its ’70s roots with oversize hoops and loafers with heels.
Diane von Furstenberg silk crepe de Chine dress, $500 at net-a-porter.com; Dorateymur metallic leather heels, $440 at ssense.com; Lana K 14-karat gold hoop earrings, $310 at Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com.
Prairie Chic on the Street
Driven by the Western-inspired fare on the 2017 spring runways of Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui and Veronique Branquinho — or, perhaps, by a lingering hangover from binge-watching “Westworld” — prairie and Edwardian styles are enjoying a moment of popularity on the streets. When worn with a graphic bag and slides, the retro look is ideally suited for 21st-century concrete.
LoveShackFancy semisheer cotton dress with panels of floral crocheted lace, $365 at net-a-porter.com; J. Crew satin knot slides, $118 at jcrew.com; Clare V. cotton canvas tote with leather trim, $340 at net-a-porter.com.
The Wear-Everywhere Shirtdress
The little black dress may win M.V.P., or most versatile player, when it comes to events after 5 p.m., but the humble shirtdress can rightfully claim the title for daytime. The look is put-together enough for the office when belted, ideal for summer strolls when left loose, and even doubles as an ultralight spring coat when thrown over a slip dress.