7 Jul 2016

Summer Wardrobe Essentials: The Dress

Summer Wardrobe Essentials, The Dress on vickiarcher.com

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

I think Robert Louis Stevenson had a point.

There is something about the anticipation of travel, wherever the destination, that excites. Travelling opens the minds and expands the horizons; even armchair travelling makes me feel exhilarated and enthused.

The second summer essential I pack when travelling is the dress.

Not just any old dress and maybe I might take more than one but there is one style I always have in the suitcase.

The dress I choose every time is a simple black one.

A dress that folds and stays looking good regardless of the hours in transit. A dress that can be worn with anything and take me everywhere. It might not be my best or most extravagant dress but it is the dress that looks simple and elegant. It is the dress that can take rows and rows of beads or drop earrings; it is the dress that can be worn with all the lace-ups.

I pack black because it is practical and I always feel good in it.

I love colour in many situations but when I am thinking essentials, the black dress is the one I include. Packing is happier when it is streamlined. I don’t want to be overloaded because experience tells me I won’t wear the excess and will be just as happy in the essentials.

Whether travelling in Provence, in Paris or anywhere in Europe this simple style of dress is ideal. I am sure we all have a particular favourite but mine is a slightly longer length, either with a small sleeve or not, depending on the climate.

Sleeveless means I can wear the jacket over the top or cover up in a fine silk printed scarf; both useful and adds interest.

Summer Wardrobe Essentials, The Dress on vickiarcher.com

When I am on the move I don’t try outfits I am unfamiliar with or that require a whole lot of thinking.

It is not the moment to work on re-invention; that happens before we leave home. The accessories pull the outfit together and determine how I’ll look; or what look I’ll wear.

I don’t believe this is a boring way to dress but a stylish and practical one. I would rather wear a piece I feel confident in, over and over, than have a multitude of fussy frocks that I try on and off simply to reject in favour of the classic, well loved dress.

It is not necessary to spend a fortune on this particular essential; the triumph of this dress is the simplicity. I prefer to save my powder for the fabulous shoes, can’t-live-without handbag or an exotic (in particular Gucci) scarf.

*these scarves are so beautiful and ideal for summer evenings; i want to resist, i really do

The black dress, little or otherwise, is my summer essential number 2. xv

Summer Wardrobe Essentials, The Dress on vickiarcher.com

Summer Wardrobe Essentials: The Dress


eileen fisher midi  //  punto milano sheath  //  gwen knit midi  //  diane von furtsenberg


theory prosecco dress  //  loveappella v neck  //  tadashi shoji lace  //  dkny high neck

images, louis vuitton l’ invitation au voyage campaign

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Mimi Gregor

More often than not, I find myself reaching for a dress. It requires very little thought or planning, is versatile as it can be dressed up or down, and is cooler in this sweltering weather. I haven’t even worn my black linen trousers this summer. My jeans have been relegated to cleaning day. I just feel more “me” in a skirt or dress.


I am in dress mood today too… I dressed the part to write this piece!
A simple plain black dress, sheath style and this morning I wore it with my black and white mules… then I had to run some errands so decided I need to walk.. quite a way… put on the Stan Smith sneakers, added a cross body bag and away I went… Worked everywhere..
now I am home, back with the mules.. :)

And I didn’t even leave town…

Anita Rivera

YOU are so correct Vicki; when ON THE MOVE, it’s best to dress in a familiar style that requires no adjusting, getting used to, or that takes our focus away from the road ahead or peripherally. Good advice. And I agree; it’s all about moving. Even in our situation where traveling to far off lands is not feasible, our daily walks to new neighborhoods is always thrilling, even if it simply means that we see a new garden, go down a new street to enjoy a lovely old home. Yes. MOVE.


Isn’t it amazing what you discover if you “move”… I love walking and am trying to discover new routes each day when I am out and about.
London is full of little secrets and I have been too slow in discovering them… this summer I am on the lookout… :)

Vannessa Vinos

Love your post Vicki. I must admit I don’t tend to wear dresses during the day if I am out and about exploring. But when I lived in Spain, I wore dresses throughout the intense Summer heat.


Basically. I’m lazy. And because of that, dresses are the best clothing choices for travel—especially in summer. We just returned from almost three weeks in France–on the Cote d’Azur and besides my bathing suits, my most-worn items were are simple white eyelet shift that I got at J. Crew years ago and a chambray shift from Banana that I got maybe–three or four years back. I wore a Lilly Pulitzer shift on the plane for cryin’ out loud!
As I’m not much of a deep thinker either, a dress is one way of dressing that doesn’t require much thought!
Great post. Thank you for fantastic pics too!


Black has always been my base for everything, and like you Vicki, I always felt my best in investment, well cut basics, augmented with accessories including simple but lovely scarves, shoes and bracelets. And then I moved to the south in the United States and after three years of continuing my pattern in the summer, I made a switch. Beige, beige, beige all summer long. Slacks, tops, mules, sheaths, and while it has been an adjustment to my sensibility I now feel more appropriately dressed for my environment.


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