Now that we've cleared that up - no item of clothing speaks summer to me more than the shift. In a lightweight cotton or linen, detailed with just the right amount of embroidery, accessorized only with (1) flip flops or very basic sandals; (2) beachy, wavy hair (pssst - which I achieve with this drugstore product); and (3) sunglasses the size of Neptune*, a well-made shift mentally whisks me away to faraway beaches while keeping me cool in this
deathHelljawsofHecubus Texas heat.
*I will allow you (4) a few pieces of chunky gold or silver jewelry, with the following caveat: the closer you get to the sea, the less jewelry you should be wearing. The beach is for natural, not bejeweled, beauty.
In increasing order of "stimulating the economy" potential, here is the best of what's around:
Old Navy "Embroidered Voile Dress", $15-22.50 (depending on color).
Note the detail around the neckline & the perfect not too long, not scandalous hemline. ON online also has a Pretty selection of swimsuit cover-ups here and a good plus-size collection.
Difficult to see with the white, but this is beautifully detailed in person - and it's mine, but only after I verified I wasn't risking another see-through Lilly situation. Perfect with some bright sandals & (faux) tan.
Anthropologie "Azulejo Shift", $128.
This is doing absolutely nothing to assuage my desire to run away to Spain and loll around in the sunshine and a vat of Rioja. Please, someone who looks good in off-white, buy this shift for me. And take me to Spain. Not necessarily in that order.
Finally, I'm loving these next two, which are more a kaftan-y look than a shift per se (all photo credit Saks):
Nanette Leopore "Coaxing Dress", $395.
Class, please raise your hand if you thought "Golden Girls" when you saw the word "kaftan". As this & particularly the dress below show, merely because we're talking sleeves & an A-line fit, a muu-muu and retirement in South Florida it does not make (although if Bea Arthur is somehow involved, God rest her soul, I'm in).
OK, OK - as the fab Project Rungay boys might say, I can feel you giving me those concerned Tim Gunn, "That's a lot of look" eyes right now in relation to this second one. Work with me here - I might lose the sleeves to make this less busy, but otherwise, I adore the vibrant color & embroidery.