When I think of summertime, an array of images come to mind. Visions of bronzed sun-kissed skin, lazy beach days, strawberry picking with the family, relaxing with a big glass of sweet tea or lemonade in hand to beat the heat, making s'mores by the campfire at night and of course eating lots of juicy watermelon slices and picnics in the park. Summer is a time to kick back, relax and opt for less fussy attire and there's something about gingham that just reminds me of those picnic in the park (likely the red and white iconic picnic blankets and tablecloths). When the hazy, humid days of summer are ushered in, there's nothing better than a gauzy or breezy dress in a lightweight fabric like this one to keep things both comfortable and cool while still looking polished and ladylike.
Although off-the-shoulder looks are on trend and everywhere right now, I'm a practical gal at heart and with a toddler to chase after all day, not having to readjust my clothing often is important to me. The thin straps on this dress solves that issue and provides just the right amount amount of support while still giving it that strapless or off-the-shoulder vibe. The ruffle top adds a flirty, romantic feel (that accentuates your bust area-a nice perk for those who want a little extra oomph in that department) and because it's covered, while I wore a strapless bra, you could technically go bra-less and find them uncomfortable in the heat like I sometimes do. I also love how this dress cinches at the waist, it's quite figure flattering with a retro, ladylike vibe. You also can't beat the price at just $32!
After heading out early for a couple short appointments and running a few quick errands, we made our way over to Julie's Waterfront, a very casual restaurant situated on the water with great food and service along with a cute patio area and of course a view. It was such a stunning day with the most beautiful blue skies and fluffy white clouds that often resembled popcorn. I couldn't resist snapping a few photos while there of this adorable summery mural below that was painted on the fence near the entrance.
After lunch, Lily fell asleep in the car (as she often does when we run errands midday) so I read and caught up on a few e-mails. Next, I swung by the house and loaded up on water, juice and snacks to make our way to the park after first swapping out my heels for my favorite pair of black flat Tory Burch sandals which are the ones I wear most often. I typically make shorts and a tee my go-to for our park days together so I can slide with her and worry less about getting dirty but there's something so lovely about getting to still feel feminine even in places where you might otherwise typically dress very casually. Because this dress is so lightweight, it was the perfect option, especially since we made some new friends there who just moved here from out of state and we ended up staying for a record 3 hours!
What I like most about this look is that it's easy and with it being black + white, you can add virtually any color to change up the look each time you wear it-yellow or hot pink are other fun options. I have long loved the versatility of separates, however, I usually end up with more dresses than skirts because they're something I can throw on without spending too much time coordinating, add a swipe of lipstick, a pair of heels (or flats) and out the door I go! This dress can easily transition from day to night by adding a cardigan as the temps drop along with a clutch for a slightly dressier look.
Here are a few other similar classic black + white gingham dresses for summer at varying price points (some are on sale right now), including this adorable toddler/child version (on sale!) which matches the style of my dress almost identically and would be perfect for you mamas who like to match with your daughter.
*Thank you to Make Me Chic for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.