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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Dress to impress

It is a wardrobe staple for every woman. Whether conservative for the office or flirty for a night out, the right dress can make you feel like a million bucks
The Straits Times - April 1, 2013
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Dress to impress

It is a wardrobe staple for every woman. Whether conservative for the office or flirty for a night out, the right dress can make you feel like a million bucks. For spring/summer 2013, more designer labels have sent out frocks in every style imaginable. Dresses are a staple for warm weather, with hemlines going up when temperatures soar.

From 1960s-inspired mini-dresses at Louis Vuitton and boho-style midi-dresses at Ralph Lauren to Alexander Wang's T-shirt dresses and Oscar de la Renta's cocktail frocks, there is something for everyone.

High-street labels, too, are offering a wider range of dresses this season. Early this month, American brand Banana Republic launched its third collection based on the hit American TV series, Mad Men.

The 38-piece collection features the mod looks of the late 1960s with at least 10 dress styles. Banana Republic's previous collection with Mad Men, launched last March, offered only four dress styles.

This season, Uniqlo is also putting out its largest collection of dresses in a variety of designs and fabrics. While the Japanese retail giant cannot offer exact figures, it says it is paying more attention to dresses this season because of its wearability.

The range of styles includes shirt-dresses with drop waists, broderie anglaise frocks and soft jersey maxis, and prices range from $34.90 to $69.90.

Mr Yukihiro Katsuta, group senior vice-president (R&D) at Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, said during its spring/summer 2013 press presentation in Tokyo last November: "If you add wrinkle-free, easy-care fabrics and a great colour or print, that will give customers more reasons to buy our dresses."

For the first time, AX Armani Exchange has offered fashion editors a "dress edit" or selection of 11 dresses. Like Uniqlo, the Italian diffusion label is offering more styles this season.

A spokesman for home-grown luxury group Club 21, which distributes AX Armani Exchange in Asia, said: "The brand has expanded its dress offerings this season based on the feedback from our customers. Not only are the designs trendy, the affordable price points are also appealing."

Prices range from $230 for a bodycon dress to $330 for a reptile-print V-neck design.

Freelance stylist Firdaos Pidau believes the renewed appreciation of dresses stems from the ongoing popularity of ladylike looks and feminine styles.

Popular TV shows, such as Mad Men and Gossip Girl, where the female lead characters are often seen in pretty frocks, add to the phenomenon, he notes.

"Wearing a dress is fuss-free as you don't have to worry about coordinating different garments," he said. "You can choose to look powerful, girly or quirky with a simple change of your dress style."

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