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Lace details on the back of the Alexander Wang LWD with leather collar

A white dress is an American Classic summer favorite. Read how to style a little white dress.

Contents
  1. How to Style a Little White Dress with Shirt Dress Cut
  2. A Little White Dress Is an American Summer Classic
  3. How to Style a White Shirt Dress with Neutrals
  4. How I wore my White Shirt Dress with Color
  5. When to Wear a LWD
  6. The Thermal Comfort of Color

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How to Style a Little White Dress with Shirt Dress Cut

Finally the weather has gotten better and it feels like summer here in Alaska. It was time to get my new little white dress out that I had bought for this summer. What I like about this LWD is that it has some interesting details, like the illusion of layering and the lace detail in the back and the white leather collar. Perfect interesting details for wearing a posh monochromatic look sort off. White shirt dresses are a little tricky to style as one can easily slip into nurse territory. Note that in many European countries female nurses and doctors wear white shirt dresses and Birkenstocks.

A Little White Dress Is an American Summer Classic

Wearing white dresses in summer is a classic American thing. When in the late 1980s I came to the US for the first time as a graduate student, the little white dresses were everywhere. I found them very interesting as at that time the LBD had a big moment with gals my age over in Europe.

over 50 years old fashion blogger in white Alexander Wang dress

 

midlife fashion blogger in lwd with utility jacket and leather hat
Outfit details: Great Northwest utility jacket, Michael Kors sandals, Ray Ban sunglasses, Kate Moss for Longchamp satchel, Kieselstein Cord belt, Kieselstein Cord moon-sun buckle, LeatherCoatsEtc leather camouflage print hat, Hermes enamel bangles, Seiko watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and statement smoky quartz necklace (all own)

How to Style a White Shirt Dress with Neutrals

In the look in the photos above, I paired my LWD with a brown for an all neutrals look. I wore the belt under the second layer for creating interest, and stayed with the neutral color for the heels and bag.

To stay warm once the temperature drops in the evening I carried an olive utility jacket with me. The LWB gets some edge once this jacket and a camouflage leather cap are added as shown in the last photo above.

How I Wore My White Shirt Dress with Color

The above look is a sophisticated American Classic Southern Belle inspired one without the jacket. It’s a classic with a twist once the cap and utility jacket are added. Adding a pop of color to a white summer dress creates a friendly look. The rules are similar to those for creating a monochromatic outfit. In the example shown in the photos below, I added orange. However, any crayon color works just fine.

American woman in a little white dress with plateau footwear, belt and sun hat

stylist in shirtdress, plateau sandals, statement belt, straw sunhat

fashion blogger in American Classic white summer dress with straw hat outfit and orange sandals
Outfit details: Alexander Wang leather collar white shirt dress with vintage Paloma Picasso orange kisses belt, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Michael Kors orange plateau sandals,  Hermes collier de chien bangle, Bulova watch, nugget necklace, orange bag, and unbranded straw sun hat (all own)

When to Wear a LWD

Traditionally, American women wear white in summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. However, this rule is old fashioned and has historical reasons. You can wear a white sweater dress with black tights in winter. So stylish. In fall, any fall color tights would look great with it as well. In spring, a white sweater dress looks great with pantyhose. It’s all just a question of styling.

Learn what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.

The Thermal Comfort of Color

From a Thermal comfort point of view white dresses are having a big advantage. They reflect the light, while black dresses or dark clothes absorb sun light. The disadvantage with white dresses is that one must be very careful to not spill and to stay clean. However, both can let some sun rays thru unless they meet the criteria of Sun safe clothes.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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