inding the perfect summer dress is a lifelong search (a.k.a. obsession) for many women. In fact, finding love might be an easier task. I recall spending hours—or was it days?—scouring stores with my niece Caitie for a white cotton slip dress. We never found it. The colour was always slightly off, the cotton was too rough, the ruffles didn’t move gracefully and—the ultimate deal breaker—it was uncomfortable. If you make one “statement” with this elusive little seasonal item, it should be that you’re effortlessly chic—and comfortable. I’ve only found one summer dress that comes close to perfection. Like any true romance, it happened by chance. I was in Paris, and I meandered into a tiny shop a few blocks away from Opéra Bastille. There it was, waiting for me. It had the silhouette and lightness of a lingerieinspired slip dress, but it also had a slightly organic whimsy that made me smile. Without looking at the price—always a sure sign one is not going to let reason influence one’s purchasing decision—I made my way to the changing room. I went from fashion crush to full-on love in an instant. I always tell women to notice how they feel when they try something on. If Pharrell Williams’ little ditty had been written then, I would have been singing “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof / Because I’m happy....” I’ve flirted with other dresses since then, but this one remains my faithful go-to. Last year, when I was in Paris again, I decided to try to find that shop. I couldn’t make out the label, and I couldn’t remember which street it was on, but I was confident that my fashion GPS would kick in. It didn’t. On my last day there, I happened to be wearing my dress. I had been popping in and out of shops with no success. On a whim, I showed a clerk in one shop the well-worn label to see if she recognized it. This was a woman who understood my mission; she conferred with her co-workers, and they went off to Google. Within a few minutes, she had found the store. I had only hours to spare, but I set off. When I reached the address she had given me, I recognized the place, but the clothes were all wrong. Think Stevie Nicks meets Paris Hilton. It was like arriving at a party and not knowing anyone (and not really wanting to get to know them either). I did a quick exit, feeling slightly let down. Then I saw my reflection in the window. To quote Mr. Williams: “Can’t nothing bring me down!” I hope you all have an amazing summer—and that you find your perfect dress—or fall in love again with the one you already have.
Need help finding your perfect summer
dress? Check out our extensive
slide shows at