Two huge trends in women’s fashion caught on this summer and are spreading to pandemic proportions: the trapeze dress and frocks with pockets. And while you can find vintage versions of both, who has time to pick through the racks? We’ve done some research for you, but odds are you can walk into any shop and find either style in stock. Both are as ubiquitous as acid-washed jeans and mullets in Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
Kinderwhore babydolls and empire-waisted minis from the ’90s have evolved, and this summer their cousin the trapeze dress is making appearances everywhere. I mean everywhere — from local boutiques and chains like H&M and Banana Republic to designer lines like Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. They’ve been spotted on the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen. And the craze shows no sign of stopping. Utterly simple in construction — a short A-frame mini, like an empire babydoll minus the empire waist — the dress can hide any bulges you want to remain hidden (you can practically hide a watermelon under some). So go ahead and pig out on BBQ and ice cream sundaes, and screw jogging. As the name suggests, these dresses are airy and light; you remain cool even as the temperature rises, which makes them perfect for outdoor music festivals. One word of caution: While dancing, there’s a high incidence of the Marilyn Monroe effect, so make sure you’re wearing good underpants .?.?. or any underpants. Please.
H&M. This recently arrived chain store has an awesome selection of trapeze dresses, ranging from $14 to $39. Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (310) 855-1009; 60 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 793-8974.
Maggy London. Available at Nordstrom. The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, Suite P80, L.A., (323) 930-2230; Westside Pavilion, 10830 W. Pico Blvd., Wstwd., (310) 470-6155. Additional locations in Arcadia, Canoga Park, Cerritos, Glendale and Montclair.
Rachel Pally. Her version of a trapeze dress minimizes potential exposure with a bubble hemline ($229 suggested retail); available at various shops. Brunette, 8025 W. Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd., (323) 650-9018; Lily Simone, 5022 Eagle Rock Blvd., L.A., (323) 254-0530; Sienna, 8908 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd., (310) 550-8355; Belle Gray, 13812 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 789-4021; Elisa B., 12 Douglas Alley, Pasadena, (626) 792-4746; Billy’s, 18520 Burbank Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 343-5332.
Steinberg & Sons. Right now they have the most adorable version by Envi in a ’70s floral pattern for $162. 4712 Franklin Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 660-0294.
Banana Republic. $168 suggested retail. Go to bananarepublic.com for store locations.
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Finally. Pockets on dresses. When it’s hot, the last thing we want to do is lug around a giant purse. Especially if we’re already carrying a basket of wine and nibbles for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl or a movie at Hollywood Forever. And who wants to worry about a bag at a backyard barbecue, where we need both hands for noshing and drinking? Really, what more do we need on a night out, aside from ID, a credit card, cell phone, keys? Celebs have been getting wise as well — fashion plates like Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Teri Hatcher have showed up on the red carpet with pocketed evening dresses and nary a clutch in sight. You don’t want to be loaded down like a Grand Canyon pack mule, but it’s nice to know the pockets are there. Pockets. Think of them as security blankets for your hands.
Michael Stars. Pocket dresses here run $130. The Grove, 189 The Grove Dr., L.A., (323) 965-8023; 1233 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 260-5558.
Old Navy. This budget version runs $29.50. (And they have pockets on the trapeze dresses too!) The Beverly Connection, 100 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., (310) 854-0658; Fox Hills Mall, 289 Fox Hills Mall, Culver City, (310) 398-9184. Go to oldnavy.com for additional locations.