What is a summer dress? – The Latest York Times

Every spring, something strange happens online. As the hotter months approach, many men seem compelled to post concerning the appeal of a lady in a sundress. The easy staple garment has long been the topic of inexplicable obsession, but this yr, persons are asking questions.

Why are some men so excited to see summer dresses? Wait a minute – do men even know what a summer dress is? Does anyone know what a summer dress is? As social media flooded with responses, it became clear that nobody quite agreed on what makes a summer dress a summer dress (versus a UnderdressA Day dressA Sheath dressa shirt dress, a caftan, a Tube dress or a nap dress).

Therefore, we would really like to take this thread somewhat further and ask you, the readers, to reply the next query: What is a summer dress?

Many people say summer dresses are brilliant and floral, perhaps blue or yellow. White is widely accepted. Pastel colours are classic. Black is controversial. Nobody really talks about gray.

On the resale platform Depop, a seller named Bianca Steele offered a “Boho Black Summerdress 100% Viscose Summerdress made in India.” The inky black maxi dress is “definitely” a summer dress, Ms. Steele wrote via the in-app messenger, adding that she has personally enjoyed black summer dresses for over 4 a long time and currently owns no less than ten of them.

But Jeannie Stith, CEO of Color Guru, a seasonal color evaluation company, said she couldn't endorse a black summer dress. “In general, we're sold black as a universal color,” she said. “But it's not.”

Ms. Stith said generally flattering colours are a mixture of warm and funky tones. For summer dresses, these include peony, periwinkle, teal and sage.

Walking through Lower Manhattan one recent afternoon, three women wearing sundresses, several blocks apart, said that a sundress might be any color that made us joyful. However, all of them acknowledged that a sundress could also make us sad.

A more cheerful example – for individuals who imagine summer dresses must be colourful – took place on Sixth Avenue.

A black, skin-tight dress spotted within the park might not be everyone's idea of ​​a slip dress. Anakeesta Ironwood, 19, said she would recognize it more as a slip dress, but acknowledged that some people may additionally consider it a summer dress.

“You left me no choice but to mansplain Women’s Fashion”, Randy Trembacki told viewers on TikTok in May. Pointing to the empty space where he desired to insert an image of a Shein minidress, Mr. Trembecki, a 30-year-old podcast producer from Texas, listed some features of a summer dress: form-fitting top, flowy bottom.

Last month, he explained on the phone: “It's conservative but revealing. Do you know any music videos from the early 2010s that have the farmer's daughter thing going on?”

However, he acknowledged that his viewpoint isn’t universal, saying much of the feedback he received on his first TikTok got here from black viewers who had different ideas concerning the typical summer dress.

In “Summer dress part 2,“Mr. Trembacki addressed comments akin to, 'Ask any black person what a sundress is and you’ll get the OPPOSITE answer.'” In his response, Mr. Trembacki used a Skims form-fitting petticoat as an example of a sundress.

“The black community's preference for figure-hugging, long dresses may emphasize one other aspect of appeal, one which is about visual appeal and accentuating body contours,” says Shelby Ivey Christie, fashion historian and former board member of the Black in Fashion Council.

It's tight-fitting, black and has spaghetti straps – but is it a summer dress? The wearer, Yesenia Valverde, 25, said no. She thinks summer dresses are something you wear on vacation and said they should be flowing and printed. Her dress was not suitable, mainly because of its color.

Some consider this loose-fitting floral dress to be a prime example of the shape. While that may be true, Renee Monaco, 29, doesn't believe that summer dresses have to be flowy to be considered a sundress. A sundress is any dress a person wears in the sun, she said.

Dictionary definitions of “summer dress” usually sleeveless.

But how thick does a strap have to be to become a sleeve? Does the shoulder have to be visible? And what about tube tops?

James Hamilton Butler, director of the Associate Degree program in Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, shrugged off the question. Talking about sleeves is outdated, Butler wrote by email. “We could be whoever we would like without fear of judgement. (I'm unsure about tube tops, though!)”

Sophie Strauss, who describes herself as a “stylist for normal people,” says the question of sleeves depends on what the wearer wants from the summer dress. In summer dress-loving Los Angeles, she sees customers drawn to the garment because of its tendency to “accentuate parts of the feminine body that we're imagined to accentuate and conceal parts that we're imagined to hide,” she says, listing brands with big puff sleeves.

Mr. Trembacki, the TikToker, was also not so dogmatic about straps. “There needs to be some sort of strap,” he said. “But there is also no strap.”

A round neckline can cause discord in the summer dress taxonomy, but the wearer says she considers her floral dress a summer dress.

The thin straps of this midi dress could, in some people's eyes, fall more into the summer dress category.

Sometime in the last few yearsthe summer dress – traditionally simple and modest – took on a peculiar sexual charge. (At least for those who spend a lot of time online.)

In the meme database Know Your Meme, survival needs like “water” and “friendship” in a variation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs are replaced by a refrain about sundress-induced activities that is too vulgar to print.

What makes “men go crazy about 'summer dresses',” as one user on X recently put it?

Kyle Brown, a writer who lives in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood and has a Joan Didion tattoo on his bicep, offered some insight into the contemporary male gaze.

“It's all about this rural American fantasy,” Brown said, describing a passionate scene in which a man comes home from gardening to find his wife in a summer dress in the kitchen baking bread. “The men are confused.”

On the road, practical considerations still predominate.

Lexi Hide, a photographer wearing a Chopova Lowena dress on Fifth Avenue on a hot day, explained her reasoning. “I believed a summer dress needed to be airy enough that you just didn't wish to wear underwear.” She clarified that she just liked the way it felt. “Nice warm breeze,” she said.

Laura Meyers, 31, wore a dress that fell to her knees on a recent afternoon. She said it was a striking piece of clothing, but added that its eclectic pattern and more muted color palette made it difficult to categorize.

Gabriella Chaves, 25, embraced the 'pop of red' trend when styling her long, flowy white dress. She said summer dresses should ideally be short – but she still thought hers fit the bill.

It may be that the summer dress is more of an idea than a garment. After scouring Lower Manhattan for a possible consensus, I stopped by Reformation, a clothing store that some consider the mothership of summer dresses.

I couldn't remember the specific sundress that Ms. Strauss, the personal stylist, had mentioned, only that it was named after a type of pasta. When I asked a salesperson for help, she encouraged me to consider any dress in the store. A sundress is whatever you want it to be, she said, showing me a mini fit-and-flare in the shade “Last Tango.”

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