Five Essential Dresses for Your Summer & Vacation Wardrobe

Get ready for summer with five essential dresses for everyday and vacation adventures.

Happy Weekend Friends!

It’s time for the weekend post with Kim and Elizabeth.

Our weekly roundup of inspiration and goings on.

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Summer dressing hanging on rack.

The sun’s shining and it definitely feels like spring.

If not summer.

Speaking of summer, it’s coming.

So are summer vacations.

My rolling rack is already collecting dresses

and other pieces I’ll be packing for our trip to Italy in June.

I know, boo hoo.

Without further ado, five essential dresses for your summer and summer vacation wardrobe …



My favorite summer dress find so far. It ticks all the boxes … and comes in several colors.

It’s easy to throw on … and shockingly affordable, I might buy a second color. Hard to decide but I’m learning toward the blue pinstripe.

Model wearing Quince pinstripe linen dress.

I bought it in black and I’m wearing a small.

Woman wearing Quince linen dress in black and sunglasses.

To mix it up I tied a chambray shirt around my waist. And a striped sweater over my shoulders with my very ancient Kate Spade woven clutch that I’ll never part with. I love this black raffia clutch and this two tone clutch too. I’m wearing black braided slides I bought last summer but are sold out. These crossovers sandals would look great.



The moment I saw this dress I knew I had to have it. And it’s a favorite purchase this year. I bought it with our Italian travels in mind, it’s going to be perfect for dinners out on warm Italian nights.

Model wearing Banana Republic giraffe print linen dress.

Do you love the back detail?!

Model wearing Banana Republic giraffe print linen dress.

This dress will for sure be a summer and vacation staple in my wardrobe for years to come. In addition to the fun giraffe print, it comes in a soft butter yellow and gorgeous coral. As you can see, Pippa and Maggie are riveted by my fashion show.



This off the shoulder print dress was an impulse purchase and I’m glad I followed the impulse.

Model wearing H&M black and white print dress.

I love a flared skirt. My only complaint … I wish the dress had pockets. For the price I can’t really complain and I may see about having pockets added.

Woman wearing black and white print H&M dress and black sandals in living room.

Can we just take a moment for my Vince Camuto Selaries slides? I bought them last summer and wear them constantly and with everything. They’re super comfortable with a block, kitten height heel. They’re sold out which is such a bummer. A couple similar options here, here, and here. Oh, and I found the black in a size 9 here.


This dress is a classic and I’ve been wearing it for years. The seersucker is so lightweight – the dress is lined – and it’s the best dress ever for hot summer days. And travel.

Model wearing Jenni Kayne seersucker summer dress.

It also comes in a cotton/linen blend that I have in willow (khaki). It also comes in black, white, navy and a stripe. Even though these dresses are pricey I’ve worn them countless times over many years.

Model wearing Jenni Kayne black summer dress.

I pack it for just about every warm weather vacation. It went to Italy last summer and it will be in my suitcase again this year. Oh and I love these crossover sandals.

Woman standing in living room wearing white JENNI KAYNE dress and denim jacket.

As mentioned, Jenni Kayne is on the pricey side, and this dress is a less expensive option. And, it has pockets and the straps are adjustable. I have it in black and it’s offered in at least 20 colors and prints. I’ve been wearing my Born Sunny Sandals constantly.



This striped, gauze caftan recently caught my eye in Tablots window and I added it to my favorites tab. A lot of you liked it too so it definitely deserves a spot here. Perfect for a warm summer day at home, out and about (wine tasting in Italy?) or as a pool coverup. And it has pockets. Can you tell I love pockets?

Model wearing Talbot's striped caftan.

I think this dress works really well with a nude sandal. And I love the loose three quarter length sleeve.

Model wearing Talbots striped caftan from back.

What makes an essential summer dress ~ 

I’m glad you asked. In my opinion, it’s lightweight and packable – not easily wrinkled. And versatile. By versatile I mean easily dressed up or dressed down and appropriate for anytime of day … with a few accessory switcheroos. If one dress can do double or triple duty while on vacation that makes it a summer wardrobe hero. And creates more space in your suitcase to pack more stuff or bring home new stuff.

A word about linen ~

Linen is the quintessential summer fabric and these days we’re more relaxed about embracing the wrinkles that come with it. I think linen travels well, with a quick touch up after unpacking. Do you travel with a steamer? I don’t, only because I haven’t found one that’s compact enough … and still gets the job done. A friend recently recommended this one. Most hotel rooms contain an iron or a steamer. If they don’t, a quick call to housekeeping will get one to your room in no time. Jim loves to iron and it’s the first thing he does after unpacking. Yep, he irons my stuff too.


Three dresses hanging on rack.


So there you have it, five essential dresses for summer … and summer vacations.


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Odds & Socks ~

Earlier this week I shared a few simple updates I made in our kitchen.

Shirt dresses are also wonderful for summer and Kim (here) and Cindy (here) styled them this week.

Hood Canal’s popular Limoncello candles are back … get them while you can!

Reminder that the May 4th Lafayette Lifestyle Tour tickets are on sale here.

What I wore on our Italian travels last summer.


More Favorite Summer Dresses & Accessories ~


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And that’s what I have for you today.

Let’s visit Kim and Elizabeth to see what’s inspiring them.



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    • Nicolle … I just purchased the Talbots dress. And I have a feeling it’s going to get the most wear this summer. xo

  • Juliet, I love all of your summer dresses! You look effortlessly chic and I am sure they will all be perfect on your summer holidays at home and in Italy. Your pups look adorable and I am sure were a great help as your healed your fashion show.
    The giraffe dress and the H&M dress are my favorites! I cannot wait to check out the others. Quince has some great pieces this season.
    Linen is great for traveling. As for the steamer I have yet to find one for traveling but I do love to iron!
    Kim and Cindy both had great styling tips for shirt dresses this week.
    I hope that you have a fabulous weekend, enjoy your summer/spring weather.
    xo Elizabeth

  • Love all your choices!! They will be perfect in Italy!! Isn’t it funny how the Bay Area is usually one of the last places to warm up? San Diego can be like that too! I’ll go all over the country and it’ll be warm and people will be wearing shorts and I come home and we’re still in jeans and sweatshirts!! No matter what you take to Italy, you’ll look amazing!

    • Weather is so wonky … we’re freezing one day and blazing the next. Although I’d be happy to avoid the blazing as long as possible. xoxo

  • That black and white dress is so cute on you! That would be good for my Hawaii trip. I love the Born sandals…used your link, thank you.

    • Perfect for Hawaii! When are you going? Love the Born sandals on you … we height challenged gals appreciate our wedges! xo

  • Hi Juliet — A great lineup of dresses. Last summer was so cool here, I hardly ever wore any summer dresses. Boo! Hoping we will have a warmer one this year. Loved your kitchen updates!

    • What I wouldn’t give for a cooler summer! That said, the two summers we lived in coastal Washington I complained non-stop. Ha! xo

  • “Jim loves to iron and it’s the first thing he does after unpacking. Yep, he irons my stuff too.”
    As I have commented before, your Jim is a GEM!

    I am always slower than my husband (ie, more careful/particular about everything), and if he enjoyed touching up my slightly-rumpled clothes upon arrival, it would def. help with our timing!

    All the dresses are cute, but the BR giraffe print with the cutaway back and tie + the B/W with shirred bodice are REALLY pretty on you!

    And glad you looked at Talbot’s! I am a Talbot’s girl bc of their sizing, not so much bc of their styles…

    • Thanks, Joan … Jim IS a gem. And I highly recommend a husband that irons. Ha! I’m going to stop in the Talbots store tomorrow! xo

  • I think dresses are perfect for travel. So easy. I like
    The ones you’ve picked out. A word about pockets…. REQUIRED!

  • Hi Juliet,
    I love those sandals you recommended, and used your link, a great find thank you! And such pretty dresses !! Love the giraffe print perfect for Italy.
    Happy weekend!

    • Hi Francesca … so glad you liked the sandals. They’ve been so popular. We’ll probably wear them out this summer! xo

  • All of the dresses are so cute on you and perfect for Italy as it will be hot in June. And the sandals, I couldn’t resist!

  • Juliet, you just had me in my closet looking for my black slides…at least 15 years old, and almost identical to your Vince Camuto slides. Arnold Churgin, a major shoe store in Calgary ,Alberta would have their own labels added to some shoes…and I bet that’s what happened with mine. They are very comfortable and just dressy enough. Love your dress choices, all very flattering on you, and they will pack down so well , leaving lots of room for some Italian ‘treasures’ . I tend to go for more colour, as that’s what suits my Soft Autumn colouring. I took 3 dresses for a recent spring trip to Paris and Normandy…knowing that’s what I’d wear at dinner on board SS Joie de Vivre ( Uniworld cruises are excellent, my fourth ) as we sailed west along the Seine. I discovered the UK brand White Stuff a few years ago , and their dresses do not wrinkle, fit so well, and some have pockets.Their colours run through the whole line. The brand makes coordinating outfits from one season to the next easy and cost effective. I can find pieces locally here on Vancouver Island, and UK £ to CAD isn’t too bad.
    You’re going to be in sunny Italy in no time! Looking forward to seeing the photos.

    • Hi Cath, I love that you’ve had your slides that long. When they’re right, they’re right! Sailing the Seine sounds heavenly. I’m going to Google the White Stuff brand now. xo

  • Juliet, when I was in Italy last, I looked for a steamer there, with European electrical plug in. I have blown up 2 with “converters” that weren’t converters. I don’t travel with a steamer in the us, because it’s just as easy to iron and save the space. But I would love to find one for Europe that eliminates the need for a converter, because I have bought 2 that were recommended by bloggers that didn’t work!
    PS – I love Quince dress that is the Faherty knock off – I have the Faherty one from a while ago. Also love the BR linen dress. Maybe coral?!

    • Gray, I had the same experience with my hairdryer brush last year. Brand new converter and all. I should have said, when traveling to Europe … use there stuff, buy something there or go to a salon. So frustrating. And, yes, the BR coral is gorgeous! xo

  • Hi Juliet,
    Omg! You look fab u lous in everything. I love the fur babies checking out their mom, too sweet.

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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