The list of summer essentials is a long one–white shorts, striped tees, flat sandals, woven bag, and so on. Definitely included in that list is a fashion piece made of chambray, making a chambray dress a summer staple.
While shopping for my chambray dress, it was clear that LOTS of dresses are called chambray. Sometimes it refers to the weave of the fabric, while other times it is basically naming the color. With the quantity and types of denim dresses available, it is super confusing. Chambray or denim?
Chambray versus Denim
First of all, just what is chambray?
Dating way back to the 1500s, the word derives from Cambric, referring to the French commune of Cambrai where plain-weave fabrics, like linen, were first produced.
OK, so it resembles linen.
Here is a definition:
A chambray is a plain weave fabric woven with a colored yarn in the warp and a white yarn in the weft. Like chambray, denim is made with a colored yarn in the warp and white in the weft, but is woven in a twill construction.
Say what?? Bottom line is that denim is a typically heavier weave while chambray is a plain weave. It is the same color on both sides of the fabric. Denim fabrics are typically lighter on the backside due to the weave.
Another point of confusion is the color. If you are like me, you tend to associate a soft light to medium indigo blue as a chambray fabric. While that is most common, the popularity of chambray led brands to venture into a slew of colors such as shades of grey, green, and red.
Another bonus of chambray fabric is that the white tends to show over time and washings, leading to more depth in the fabric. So, it just gets better and better. If you have a few pieces in your closet, you’ve probably noticed that this fabric doesn’t actually wear out. So you want to choose pieces that stand the test of time, like this simple chambray dress.
The Easy to Style Chambray Dress
A chambray dress is one of those pieces that go easily from day to night attire. While that can also be true with denim, the softness and drape chambray makes it even more versatile. This classic shirtdress version illustrates how easy it is to style.
When I came downstairs for pictures, my husband that is really nice but don’t you have three or four other dresses like that? My immediate answer was no. But I do tend toward certain styles of dresses and it’s true that a shirtdress has long been a style of choice for me. Do you have a dress style that you gravitate toward?
With a slight hi-low hem, this easy dress looks great with flip-flops or heels. Here it’s styled casually with the self-belt, low wedge sandals, and a straw tote.
Here are some other ideas for styling a simple chambray dress:
- Work: with a pair of heels, a leather belt, and a blazer
- Dinner date: add leopard heels and belt and a clutch bag
- Picnic: style sneakers and a red checkered neck scarf
- Evening: with a silver belt, statement earrings, and neutral heels
- Pool party: add flat sandals and a cute hat (with or without the belt!)
Actually, the possibilities are endless! Just start with a fairly simple chambray dress and add pieces that look good together. Virtually any color can be used against the neutral chambray background.
How would you style a chambray dress this summer? Let me know your personal style in the comments below. I love to get ideas from all of you!