Being that summer is at once sultry and a wee bit traumatic (I'm looking at you, 100+ degree temps), it's no wonder that looking stylish and feeling cool often presents quite the conundrum. You know the drill: fabulous dress and heels or extra-comfy shorts and barely-there tank? It's not much of a toss up when the weather is so hot that your skin burns!
To discount style completely, though, would be to eliminate one of my very favorite summer essentials: the classic little white dress. This light-reflecting hue is a must during summer anyway, but a dress is destined to do more than just keep you comfortable (relatively speaking) - it will also add an element of polish to even the steamiest days.
Best of all, there's one for every occasion! Since work doesn't stop just because the season changes, make a conservative LWD your first pick. This Tahari by ASL Salliann Linen Dress ($75.99), like so many other dresses by the label, is the very epitome of smart and sexy. It's highly professional, yet its ruffled neckline is purely playful. And while it will definitely keep you cool, it does so modestly.
For the next evening rooftop soiree overlooking the city, an evening of outdoor jazz or another special occasion that calls for a little upscale style, slip into this Calvin Klein Chiffon Social Dress ($178). Basically Grecian-inspired perfection, it features a single shoulder and a neckline that absolutely dazzles with sparkling beads.
Easy does it in this O'Neill Honalula Dress ($39.50). It's the epitome of daily comfort - a feminine alternative to shorts and a tank, made of airy gauze and trimmed with a hint of crochet for a look just made for summer.
You can never go wrong with Rachel Pally, whose breezy designs and lightweight jersey fabrics are renowned for their dual comfort and style. The Isela Dress ($242) is an obvious investment piece - it's tiered for a dressed up look, and it looks almost ethereally glamorous with a touch of gold jewelry.