(c) 2014, My Little Birdô.

(c) 2014, My Little Birdô.

After our winter of discontent, who doesn't love the idea of a dress that just lightly skims the body, a one-stop solution to the "what am I going to wear today?" clothing dilemma. Whether you prefer an above-the-knee, midi or boho-long version, they're cropping up in stores all over town.

We chatted (over email) with Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom's Fashion Creative Director, about what to look for.

Q: Spring dresses seem so appealing now. What are some flattering styles you're seeing?

A: This season there are two important dress silhouettes that are very figure-flattering. The retro-inspired fit and flare shape creates an hourglass figure that gives the illusion of a smaller waist and disguises wider hips and thighs. It's a classic feminine silhouette that is appropriate for a vast number of women. Also, the simple shift has made a return for spring. The straight shape that skims over the body is easy to wear and is a comfortable, versatile look for any woman.

Q: Are there any specific looks in dresses that are strong this season? Colors? Patterns?

A: Florals are blooming on dresses of every shape. From exotic tropical florals in bright colors, to romantic retro-inspired roses in soft muted shades, to bold impressionistic blossoms in vibrant hues. Graphic geometric patterns are giving an unexpected edge to the dress. Colored lace and eyelet have a vintage vibe when they are cut into a simple shift dress.

Q: Are shirtwaists back in vogue?

A: Shirt dressing has made a big comeback for spring, from basic menswear-inspired shirts, to modern interpretations with new shapes and details. The shirt dress gives women a versatile, easy-to-wear addition to their wardrobe. It can have a borrowed-from-the-boys look that resembles a classic men's shirt in a traditional crisp fabric. Pointed collars, button down fronts, barrel cuffs and rounded shirt tail hems are essential details that define this trend in dresses. For a more feminine look, there are options in softer fabrics with fewer masculine details that offer a stylish alternative.

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The Graphic Look

_ If geometry wasn't your best subject, better take a refresher course. As graphic grid patterns emerge on clothing this season, it's crucial to know the right angles. Here, Suno's Slashed maxi dress ($995, sunony.com).

_ For a new look, mix masculine and feminine. Wear April shower-ready Brooks Brothers' Italian PVC embroidered-plaid rain cape ($850, Brooks Brothers stores and brooksbrothers.com) and Tory Burch Bergen Ankle Bootie ($350, Nordstrom.com) with Tadashi Embroidered Tulle Cap-Sleeve A-line dress ($508, NeimanMarcus.com).

_ Apres beach, slip on Suno's bold neon stripe Shoulder Cutout Jacket ($1,275, sunony.com) over Fio Swim Top in Vida Stretch, $165, and Hel Pants in white block lace, $1,195, both from Zero + Maria Cornejo's spring/summer 2015 collection at zeromariacornejo.com. Every ensemble needs a jewel. Here, Dannijo's Oakli oxidized silver-plated cuff, embedded with Swarovski crystals ($795, dannijo.com).

_ Forget plain geometry. Drape a Brooks Brothers cotton-knit cardigan with plaid tulle overlay and grosgrain trim ($595, Brooks Brothers stores and brooksbrothers.com) over a Jennifer Chun embroidered organza short-sleeve shirt ($275, jennifer-chun.com) and Jennifer Chun coated tweed A-line skirt ($315, jennifer-chun.com). Small bags are in, especially when they're as cheeky as Mark Cross' Saffiano Lips ($1,895, markcross1845.com). Stay grounded in Zero + Maria Cornejo's Flor Heel ($825, zeromariacornejo.com).

_ Lean in in an Alice + Olivia by Stacey Benet Aubrey strapless gown ($1,498, aliceandolivia.com).

_ Valentyna pairs her new-for-spring Jennifer Chun brushstroke windowpane printed polo shirt ($275, jennifer-chun.com) with a matching windowpane layered maxi skirt ($345, jennifer-chun.com). Complete the outfit with Dries Van Noten rubber-sole platform sandals ($860, Barneys stores).

_ Tweak the look of an Alice + Olivia by Stacey Benet orange Lucia Tank dress ($255, Alice + Olivia stores) by topping it with Tanya Taylor's strapless white houndstooth Wanda dress ($795,Modaoperandi.com). Slip into Rachel Zoe's leather Chandler Sneakers ($225, Nordstrom.com). Final touches: Cara Croninger large clear resin bangle ($600, briholloway.com) and See mirrored sunglasses ($99, See Eyewear in Washington and Seeeyewear.com).

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Kelly is editor of MyLittleBird.com, a Washington-based women's-eye view of fashion, design and culture, and a contributor to Fashion Washington, a Washington Post lifestyle magazine. See other runway ideas at http://mylittlebird.com/2015/03/dressed-for-spring/

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