Wear and flaunt them
A few years ago, the notion of a summer dress was some thing a little twee, relegated to the wardrobes of the very young and the very old-fashioned. Dresses were for prim garden parties; normal people went to barbecues in jeans and a T-shirt.
No longer: women have rediscovered that dresses, far from being prissy, are the last word in easy dressing - never more so than in summer, when you can do without tights or knitwear.
Variety is the spice Modern summer dresses can still be floral, if you so wish. Floral is the most classic, and so the most versatile, kind of dress: wedding-proper with nice shoes, or cool in a tongue-incheek way with beaten-up Converse.
Graphic-print dresses are very this season, and work better in the office than florals. (All those straight lines look rather com puter-literate and work-appropriate. Unless you are a florist.)
Versatile garment There are many women who find the concept of a printed dress inexplicably terrifying.
But, funnily enough, plain summer dresses make things more complicated, especially if they are black. If you add jewellery, you look as if you're in eveningwear; if you don't, you look drab.
Which is where this summer's textured, crafty, Chloé-esque, Paris-luxehippy dresses come in. Texture is the non-intimidating alternative to print.
A bit of raffia trim, a few sewn-on stones or a rustic crinkle-effect is the ideal compromise between a plain dress and a patterned one, looking dressed-up but in a relaxed, informal way .
Traveller's delight It is not, it must be admitted, all that office-appropriate: there is something a bit homespun about a dress with a raffia trim, even if it does cost two weeks' wages.
But the rest of the time day or night, garden party or barbecue - this kind of dress will make you feel as if you're on holiday. Which is what summer clothes should be all about.