Frocks are fabulous. They are the quintessential girly garment and make a statement on their own. But the statement needn’t be a dressy one. A dress can look as casual as a walk shorts and knit top ensemble. It’s all in the style, fabric and cut of the dress, and the items you pair it with.

I generally have a hard time getting clients to wear day dresses. Most of them feel the look is fussy, too dressed up, inappropriate, impractical and uncomfortable. Granted, you’ll get better coverage in a pair of pants if you spend your day rock climbing or playing on the floor with your children. But other than that, day dresses are a great casual alternative. They are perfect for a laid back brunch, a walk in the park, a stroll on the beach, relaxed social gatherings, informal site seeing and vacation pursuits, or any other day-to-day casual activity.

Here’s how to achieve the casual day dress look:

  1. Select a comfortable A-line, knee-length silhouette that allows movement. Pass on styles that are tight and restrictive.
  2. Opt for cotton rich fabrics and poly blends in knits and wovens. Stay away from shiny, luxurious fabrics and styles that give you a “naked feeling” (insufficient coverage).
  3. Pair the dress with casual flats, espadrilles, casual wedges, thong sandals or gladiators. Stay away from dressy flats and heels unless you’re after a smart casual or business casual look.
  4. Add a denim jacket, a string of casual beads or casual earrings.
  5. A straw tote does wonders dressing down a day dress. Add this to the equation and you’re ready to picnic at Hyde Park.

Day dresses keep you cool and are perfect for hot weather. They are an easy option because it’s only one item of clothing to think about.

If you wear day dresses, help me to encourage others! Share your reasons for wearing them. If you’re still against the day dress look, share those feelings too. I hope to change your mind by the end of this season.

Tommy Hilfiger Mixed-Pattern DressAlison DressCotton Poplin Dress