A great striped cotton dress is a wardrobe staple for me. I seem to have one or two in constant rotation in my closet, and I'm always on the lookout for another great one.
I like this one from J. Crew with thick navy stripes (left), but you can find lots of variations at tons of different price points: Uniqlo/NLST/H&M/Petit Bateau/Iris & Ink. I kind of want them all. Watch for me on the next episode of Hoarders: Breton Stripe Edition.
In addition to being totally cute, a striped dress is hugely versatile. Here are some of the ways I'll be wearing mine over the next few months:
I love this look for celebrating a holiday with my family. Sometimes they don't "get" my sartorial choices, but this sweet, ladylike outfit feels like me and won't garner too many questioning looks from well-meaning relatives.
I have a particular striped dress/floral coat combo that I've been wearing for a few years and I love it. I found my coat for a steal years ago at an Ann Taylor Loft outlet, but this one from Dorothy Perkins is a great buy (you'll keep it for years and find a million unexpected ways to wear it). Besides the dress and the coat, you don't need to give people much more to look at -- a pair of dangly earrings and pretty, pale heels should do it.
It's super easy to make this dress work-appropriate. I have my eye on a chambray blazer right now (maybe this one or this one), and I love the way it immediately dresses up a relatively casual piece. A big necklace and a great ring (love this one so much!) add some sparkle. In my office, I can get away with these great leopard pumps -- they also come in a more subdued black.
Sometimes you just want to revel in the comfy glory of a simple summer dress. On a hot day, it doesn't get easier than throwing on what is essentially a t-shirt and then adding your favorite accessories of the moment. A pretty scarf adds just a little color, this cuff is cool and unfussy, and these slides are the chicest/cheapest summer shoe ever (they come in and out of stock, but keep watching!). And don't forget some shades.