If you secretly believe your handbag should match your shoes and white gloves never went out of style, this season's ladylike look is for you. For muggy days on the way, light shirtdresses are your cool summer salvation. The best are in crisp fabrics, with hemlines that skim the knee (just beware of dumpy fits -- you're not after a housecoat).
Preppy prints are a favorite for shirtdresses. We love a cap-sleeved checked one from ABS, in red, black, or blue ($100 at Macy's). For dressier occasions (garden parties, perhaps), try Laundry by Shelli Segal's short, shapely silk gingham in black or red ($198 at Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor).
Feeling a little less Nantucket? Try solid, streamlined styles like Chaiken's supersleek black dress with a wrapped front and slightly poufed sleeves ($238 at Scoop stores). We'd also happily wear Kathryn Dianos's version ($140 at Stackhouse) or Parallel's cool, asymmetrical pink one ($146 at Bloomingdale's). French Connection's tie-waisted winner comes in black, white, and turquoise ($98 at French Connection stores).
Macy's (212-695-4400); Bloomingdale's (212-705-2000); Lord & Taylor (212-391-3344); Stackhouse, 282 Lafayette St. (212-925-6931).
Picks of the Week
Union Square Optical is taking half off all eyeglass and sunglass frames (from Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Cutler & Gross, and others). Prices are $75-$250; eye exams are $35. 9 W. 14th St. (212-242-0314); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10-6; 4/8-4/22.
White + Warren's stylish knits (at stores like Henri Bendel) are at least half off at the sample sale: Cotton-blend tees are $25, three-quarter-sleeve cashmere sweaters are $50, cashmere cardigans are $75, and cashmere twinsets are $115. Sizes S-XL. 80 W. 40th St., third floor (212-398-3295); M.C., V.; Fri. 9-5; 4/7.
Mackie by Bob Mackie, the designer's less expensive line of cocktaily suits and dresses, is now 50-70 percent off: Suits are $150-$350; evening dresses are $195-$395; pants are $50-$195. Sizes 4-14. 498 Seventh Ave., 22nd floor, near 36th St. (212-736-5505); A.E., M.C., V.; Wed.-Fri. 10-5; 4/5-4/7.
ALWAYS A DEAL
The Latest Scoop
This week, Stefani Greenfield, owner of all scoop stores and style guru to the Jitney set, is adding a sale-only branch to the empire: Scoop It Up, a 400-square-foot annex to her Upper East Side shop, which will take in and clear out trendy bags, shoes, and clothes from the other locations. "It's not about leftovers, it's about missed opportunities," says Greenfield, reassuring us that this shop'll be as enticing as the others. With 40 to 70 percent markdowns storewide, we don't need convincing. 1273 Third Avenue, entrance at 73rd St. (212-535-5577).