My husband looked at me contemplatively as I got dressed that morning. “Sweetie,” he said, “why are you wearing a camouflage shirt?” I didn’t think I’d heard him correctly. “A what?” I said. “I’m wearing a what?” He nodded his head as if to confirm his fashion diagnosis. “Yes. You’re wearing a camouflage shirt and I just wondered why.” I could not believe what I was hearing. “What’s wrong with you?” I said. “This is not a camouflage shirt. It’s an abstract floral pattern in earth tones — very ‘in’ for spring, I’ll have you know.” He just smiled. “Sure, dear,” he said. “Whatever you say. But it’s a camouflage shirt.” And, really, looking at these photos now, I can sort of see what he means. Just as long as y’all know it is not a camouflage shirt but it a highly stylish piece of fashion art. Or something. Also: I blame the neck wrinkles, tummy bulges and droopy boobs you see here on my husband’s photography and the fact that he would not let me do the half-turn hand-on-hip camera-friendly celebrity pose. And those are streaks of blonde in my hair, not streaks of gray. Other than that, though, this is pretty much me. Minus the camouflage shirt.
I don’t know about where you live, but here in northwest Alabama/northeast Mississippi, it’s hot already. Summer definitely is here, and that means pared-down style — the simpler, the better. That’s why it’s good to have treasures like this sundress in your closet. I bought this in Birmingham I think about three years ago for around $150 and it’s one of the best buys I’ve ever made. This has turned into my go-to summer dress from May through September. I wear it everywhere for everything and I never get tired of it. “Why?” you ask. (You did. I could hear you.) “What’s so special about this dress?” Let me tell you. For one thing, it’s lightweight and comfortable, yet not so flimsy as to be transparent if I forget to wear a slip (you know we Southern women will not give up our slips.) It’s the perfect length — not so short as to make sitting down problematic but not too long as to look dowdy. Also, the straps are wide enough to cover bra straps but narrow enough to keep it in the sundress category. Plus, this fit is so flattering. With its shirred cummerbund-like empire waistline, it’s what Stacy and Clinton continually preach on “What Not To Wear” — have the emphasis at your narrowest part and let the skirt flow from there. And this dress is one of the most versatile things I own. The print isn’t so large as to be overwhelming yet it’s enough to camouflage spills. And I get a lot of spills because I wear this dress constantly. (Also: I’m a slob.) But the print almost qualifies this dress as a neutral, and as a neutral it’s easy to mix things up with a change of accessories. I’ve worn this dress with flats and heels, with big clunky jewelry and simple earrings, with blazers and sweaters. I’ve punched it up with yellow, green or blue accessories as well as white and black. I’ve worn it to casual cookouts and to fancy weddings, to graduations and baby showers, to church and out to eat. I love this dress! And your assignment is to go out and find one, too — and then let me know where it is so I can get another one.