Lazy, hazy days call for summer dresses that breathe

by Stacia Friedman
Posted 7/14/22

Fortunately, it’s not too late to find the perfect summer dress on the Hill.

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Lazy, hazy days call for summer dresses that breathe


The National Weather Service predicts this summer will be a sizzler, and one way to stay cool is to head for the shore. But whether you’re knocking back a Mojito in Ocean City or sipping a wine cooler in your backyard, the best way to keep your cool is to wear clothes made out of breathable fabrics.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to find the perfect summer dress on the Hill. But it pays to know your textiles. Only certain fabrics guarantee your comfort.

Cotton gauze, a soft, semi-sheer fabric that is both breathable and light-weight is a summer staple. Cotton voile is another light-as-air, semi-sheer fabric with a soft, silky hand. Linen is an elegant fabric that is breathable and durable. Flax is a flowering plant cultivated as a fiber crop that has a linen look and feel.

After you settle on the fabric, check the price tag. Why is a cotton gauze shift $55 in one shop and over $100 in another? Higher prices generally reflect American or European manufacturing while lower prices indicate that it came from a developing nation. You will pay more for fashions that are not mass produced, have greater detail, and feature unique prints. 

Windfall Gallery, 8419 Germantown Ave., has a great selection of boho chic summer dresses and separates.  Our favorite is a light-as-a-cloud, sleeveless, A-line, crinkle cotton gauze midi dress in white, blue or mustard. At $55, it is a win-win. If you want more coverage, check out the 100% cotton voile print dress with pin-tuck detail and elbow length sleeves available in indigo blue or mustard print, $98. Note: Windfall’s second location at Germantown Ave. and Willow Grove does not carry apparel.

Sara Campbell, 8409 Germantown, specializes in American-designed and manufactured fashions featuring high quality imported fabric in unique prints.  Besides a wide range of cotton, voile and linen dresses priced from $248-$328,  their Lucia jacket, made of stretch cotton sateen in a dazzling floral print, is the perfect topper to transition from outdoors to air-conditioned restaurants.

When you walk past TC Unlimited, 8518 Germantown Ave., take a close look at the embroidered, ruffled, cotton mini dress on the mannequin. At $135, it could be just what you need to raise eyebrows in Martha’s Vineyard.

J.McLaughlin, 8401 Germantown Ave., has a special customer in mind, a shopper who appreciates classic style without a second glance at the price tag. Here you will find a large selection of mini, midi and maxi cotton and linen dresses. Their Solana linen twill dress is a crisp column of sleeveless, tailored, white linen with a square neckline and side button detail. For a looser fit, try their Christa maxi dress with loose tiers. Both, $248.

If you think El Quetzal, 8427 Germantown Ave., is just for college kids, head to their back room and focus on their selection of dresses and separates under the FLAX label. Manufactured in worker-owned, women-operated factories in Lithuania, these breezy, breathable flax garments come in a multitude of colors and are the summer staple of many Chestnut Hill women.

Noble Goods, 8436 Germantown Ave., is the kind of store Grace Kelly would’ve loved for its classic, tailored interpretation of summer dressing. This is where you’ll find a floral, cotton voile print dress for $292 and a linen skirt for $248. 

Artisans on the Avenue, 8440 Germantown Ave., is another boutique where prices are higher because so is the quality. The selection is sophisticated, edgy and artsy – not for the woman who wants to blend into the crowd, but for the one who wants to stand out. Here, the prints are bold and the wearer has a sense of confidence and humor. If you’re daunted by the prices, head to the sale rack in the back. 

Jonesy's Accessories, 7916 & 8117 Germantown Ave., is anything but an accessories shop. Sure, they have hats, bags, belts and jewelry, but it’s their dresses and separates that keep customers coming back. This unique collection ranges from the casual to the sublime with most items between $100-$200. 

Quelque Chose, 8437 Germantown Ave., caters to generations of Lily Pulitzer devotees and the gin-and-tonic crowd, featuring those icon prints in neon pink, green apple, yellow and orange, $100-$250. 

Greene Street, 8524 Germantown Ave., is the consignment shop where you’ll find gently- worn Lily Pulitzer dresses, tops and skirts under $50. Plus wide-brimmed straw hats, sunglasses and even maxi cotton gauze dresses for $30.

Wherever you find your perfect summer dress, stay hydrated, wear sunblock and keep your pets safe indoors during the day.