Fashion dresses this Spring bring back black-and-white prints in abstract patterns that are bolder than ever.
Pastels provide a bouquet of pretty tints, adding color to this winter's emphasis on ice-cream neutrals.
The tea-length hemline is the latest spin on the midi. Fallling just below the the wide part of the calf, this length is attractive in some of the season's wedding suits for special occasions.
In our eclectic fashion environment, every length is being worn by some woman somewhere.
A dress with the right hem length may show one of some older women's best features -- well-toned legs.
Fashion dresses are always feminine and longer styles, worn without pantyhose, may be comfortable, too.
A well-cut and draped dress may flatter a bust or narrow waist. Sleeves may show off graceful arms or hands.
The little black dress is always a smart choice, and no more so than in these austere economic times.
In any given year, you will find a large variety of fashion dresses.
Often, it's not even necessary to research what colors and styles are favored, because this is what you will find featured in the clothing stores.
Instead, focus on these three factors:
Does the dress flatter your figure?
Make sure the store has a three-way mirror and bring a friend to help you decide.
Fit includes the length. Longer hemlines will disguise heavy legs. If yours are still shapely, show them off with a hem that falls above or below the knees.
Does the color flatter your skin tone?
Color advice suggests cooler tones for blue-eyed blonds and warmer colors for dark-eyed, darker-skinned women.
Such rules are made to be broken. Bright turquoise looks terrific on some fair women.
Pale yellow, pink, white, and blue enhances many darker complexioned women.
Is this dress right for the occasion and/or your lifestyle?
No matter how flattering the beautifully-draped chartreuse party dress, if you never go to dressy events, you are not going to wear it.
If you love ruffles but have to project professional competence, go for a shirtwaist or a sheath.
Understanding some of the basic styles may also help you choose fashion dresses that are right for you and the occasion.
In today's multi-ethnic, eclectic world, few fashions are every truly out-of-style anymore.
The plain sheath dress is no exception when it comes to the variety of fashion dresses seen everywhere.
The classic sheath dress has a front and a back. Darts create a fitted silhouette.
The fit may be somewhat loose -- almost an A-line -- or curve-hugging and glamorous.
Knit fabrics that drape pleasingly or fabrics with a smidgeon of an elastic fiber are ideal for a sheath dress.
The sheath dress is strongly associated with the 1960s and was worn by such ladylike fashion icons as Jackie Kennedy, later Onassis, and Audrey Hepburn.
We also see stretch fabric sheaths worn by some Hollywood actresses in clinging dresses that look like they may have to be removed with a scissor.
If you figure allows you to wear this look well, save it for after-business hours.
Upbeat prints recall the retro glamor of the 1970s.
Wrap and faux wrap dresses are an ideal way to create a feminine silhouette and a classic among fashion dresses.
The cross-over front with a waist-tie draws attention to the bustline and carries the eye to the waist.
A bias-cut skirt with a slight flare skims the hips, without drawing attention to figure features you may wish to de-emphasize, such as love-handles.
Today knits and fabrics with a little stretch are ideal candidates for the wrap dress.
The shirt dress, also known as a shirt waist, has a top with design features similar to a men's shirt.
This includes a pointed collar, button front, sleeves with cuffs or that roll up, and a clear waistline.
The skirt may be narrow, slightly flared, or pleated. The old shirred skirts of the 1950s are rarely seen, unless a woman is trying for a nostalgic look.
Cotton and poplin are ideal fabrics for the shirt dress. Sporty colors, such as khaki and tan, black, or red are typical.
A bit of stretch is always welcome in cotton or poplin. It both enhances fit and prevents wrinkling.
This style works for the office or less dressy events.
It seems that everyone loves summer fashion dresses.
Sandals give women the freedom to abandon pantyhose. Lightweight fabrics radiate the fun of summer.
From pastels to prints, from beach togs and bridesmaid dresses, to prom gowns and graduation dresses, pretty frocks rule for summer fashion.
Another festive choice are red dresses for business and pleasure.
Red is a power color. When worn for business, be careful that style and make-up are conservative. Long red nails, spiked heels, and flamboyant purse are not a good choice for the board room.
Red also is a festive color for the winter-through-Valentine's day holidays. If you attend a lot of parties, a red chiffon or slinky jersey fashion dress may be a good addition for your wardrobe.
Long white dresses are a perennial summer hit; find out how to ensure that yours is age appropriate.
Black-and-white dresses range from polished two-piecers that look like suits to wild geometric prints to etching-like florals. These come in many styles from sleek sheaths to figure-flattering wrap styles, shirtdresses, and more.
In summary, buying new clothing should always keep your basic wardrobe planning in mind and put you first, not the dictates of far-away fashion gurus.
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