When summer hits, my wardrobe devolves into two basic themes. The first consists of threadbare tees and saggy gym shorts whose partnership yields around-the-house ensembles not fit for public consumption. (I naturally still go out in them.) The second centers around a handful of breezy white dresses that I've acquired over the years. Though more flattering than my usual shabby getup, they're also more prone to stains. And I eat a lot of salsa. So I therefore reserve them for occasions on which I must maintain at least the appearance of a respectable member of society.
The benefits of the white summer dress are obvious. Not only does it look as good with flipflops as it does with higher maintenance styling, it has the uncanny ability to catch even the slightest breeze and eddy it across your skin like the cooling waters of a mountain stream. In other words, it's like having your own personal air conditioning system that looks casual and considered all at once.
Believe it or not, my favorite white dresses are from places like the flea market, surf shops, and Forever 21. Anything too structured (read: expensive) looks stiff and stuffy, like a child's pinafore circa 1901. Furtherore, you don't need any fancy detailing to get the full effect, and as long as you stick with cotton you'll avoid the chintzy feel of lesser fabrics. And if I'm telling the truth, the ultimate reason to buy a white dress on the cheap is that it will, in spite of all best intentions, eventually be covered in salsa.