UPDATED: The Shift Dress is a Summer Must-Have

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I love living in Richmond, Va., for many reasons, but the super hot, humid summers are not part of my shiny, happy feelings. It doesn’t matter if I’m headed to work, the farmers’ market or an outdoor party, about 4 seconds after I get outside my apartment, I start to sweat and my makeup and hair begin to melt. While I love clothing (duh), this is the one time of year when fashion needs to be minimal. Unfortunately for me, even if I go on the Devil Wears Prada-inspired, eat-ice-and-pretend-it’s-food diet, I’ll never have the figure to rock super short shorts and a tiny tank top. Enter the (infinitely more elegant, anyway) shift dress.

A comfortable shift dress is a must-have for hot, steamy summers.
Similar dress only $19.99 from Amazon.com.

The Style:
If sourced appropriately, a classic shift can go from casual Sunday to business-meeting Monday with a few mix-and-match accessories. Look for an option that’s close to knee length with a figure-skimming shape that’s loose enough to allow you to eat a burger without having to suck your stomach in, but fitted enough to show that you do have a shape and are not wearing a solid-colored muumuu. Add flip flops and shades for a casual afternoon, pumps and a chic scarf for work, or wedges and some bling for a summer party (as pictured with Valentino sunglasses, a Stella & Dot necklace, bracelets from Lily Rain, and Jack Rogers wedges).

My dress came from the Claville Fashion Truck and was less than $40. Even better! You can find the fashion truck’s schedule here.

What to look for: When you head to the store, look for light, easy fabrics and forgiving silhouettes. If you are curvier like me, you’ll want a more flared cut like the one I’m wearing. Gals with taller, straighter figures (I’m so jealous!), look for something more tapered.

Marco Style Shift Dress Picks:

Feminine Swing Dress


How adorable are the tassels on this Lilly Pulitzer Roxi Dress ($168 from Lilly Pulitzer)? If you order, read the reviews. Some suggest sizing down.

See free gifts with purchase at Lilyputlizer.com


Lace Top Shift Dress


This Vanberfia Sleeveless Lace Chiffon Dress is only $22, it comes in eleven different shades as well as in sizes Small to XX-Large. If you look at the reviews and pictures, the quality actually looks nice. Add some dangly earrings, a sparkly bracelet and a pair a metallic flip flops and your outfit for a night out is complete.

Special Occasion Shift Dress


The fresh purple shade and clean lines on this LOFT Ruffle Back Swing Dress ($47.70 from LOFT, use code SUMMER17) are simple yet special. Plus, the back holds an elegant surprise.

LOFT ruffle back swing dress is a perfect choice for summer special occasions


Wear It Two Ways Swing Dress

Okay, this is another one I bought.

Buddy Love Swing Dress can be worn with laces in front or back.

I love that this BuddyLove Macy Dress ($50) can be worn with the laces in the front or the back and it has adjustable straps! Get it locally at The Sweetest Stitch or online at BuddyLove.com.

BuddyLove Macy Blue Dress

Score Shift Dresses on the Cheap

Jane.com is my favorite place to shop for basic, affordable shift dresses. A search for swing dress will result in numerous options, including this Lovely In Lace Dress
for only $12.99  

Lovely In Lace Dress Clearance

Shift Dress for the Beach

Get this adorable swing dress on sale from lulus.com

I love this pattern on this RVCA Pipe Dream Swing Dress ($33 from Lulus.com). I may need to order this now. Note the reviews say it’s short, so it might not be for you if you have super long legs.

T-Shirt Swing Dress

The VIISHOW Women’s Short Sleeve Casual Loose T-Shirt Dress (from Amazon) is the perfect relaxed silhouette and ranges in price from $8 to $19 based on the size and color you choose. Can’t beat that price!

  1. You’ll never guess where I found two fabulous stylish summer shift drssses: Rose’s in Ashland! A friend’s Facebook post raved about her finds so I just had to…and although I had to wade through some homely frocks, I found two I loved, and at $10.99 there were no complaints!

    1. Huh! I went in there years ago while working on a story about shopping in Ashland. Maybe a return trip is in order!

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