(credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Wear your sundress long or short and go for a flouncy floral or a solid sheath of color block. Rock the boho look or the Jackie O style. Pop on a pair of shades and whatever shoes you fancy, even the simplest of flip flops will do for heading to the beach or running a few errands. The great thing about summer sundresses is that no matter what style you choose, they’re just as much fun to shop for as they are to wear, especially at these independent fashion boutiques.
34 Main St.
Tiburon, CA 94920
Following 14 fun years as the best dress shop in Pacific Heights, Sarah Shaw has spread her wings northward to the charming center of Tiburon. Her brand new fresh-as-a-daisy Cape Cod-feel shop is within a stone’s throw of the ferry landing. That puts a smile on the face of local ladies who no longer need to drive into the city to shop Sarah’s curated collection. Your new sundress will look super special when accessorized with just the right piece from Sarah’s own one-of-a-kind line of handmade semi-precious jewelry. Sarah’s got great taste, obviously loves sharing it and won’t steer you wrong. “No one can match Calypso St. Barth styling for boho chic sundresses, and we carry them year-round,” she says.
76 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Carolina’s collection is about easy-to-wear pieces that ensure you’ll look great, even when you’re not really trying. As a busy mother of two and running two of her own shops as well, Carolina totally appreciates the lifestyle of the North Bay’s busiest women. Shop for Marin’s warm and sunny days and for holidays abroad from an eye-catching sleeveless sundress collection representing popular brands such as Erin Fetherston, Nicole Miller and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. Come see the second shop location, opened in late 2012, in Novato’s Pacheco Plaza.
457 First St. W.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Summer in sunny Sonoma means the outdoor life, although sometimes there are days when the mercury really sizzles. What could be cooler and prettier than putting on a vintage-inspired sundress for wine tastings, picnics, walks along the river, wandering through town, a lunch date or a girls’ gathering in the garden? Bella Vita is about the beautiful life. Since hanging the chandeliers for the spring 2012 opening, the shop and its staff look forward to meeting every new customer who wanders in while strolling around the four corners of Sonoma Plaza.
1144 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
Everybody loves Betty’s Girl Boutique. When it comes to sundresses, they never made them nicer than back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. You can pick up a one-of-a-kind pretty Doris Day dress in pink from this vintage consignment shop in downtown Napa. Owner Kim has a knack for hand sewing original numbers that embed the best bits of vintage pieces for a refreshed look that is totally a one off, no two alike. Are you dreaming of a summer wedding in Napa? Take inspiration from Betty’s Girl Instagram. If you tell Kim what you’ve got in mind, she’ll custom make it for you (and your bridesmaids, too). Customer service like that is certainly a blast from the past.
1327 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Devoted fans of the midi and maxi sundress head straight for this super friendly boutique, as they have since 1997. These dresses are perfect for that all-important day-to-evening transition that eliminates the need to stop at home for a change of outfit no matter what occasions pop up on your agenda. One of the best lady brags in the North Bay comes from owner Amy, who is understandably pleased with her impressive collection of 4,000 Facebook friends. It’s down to the trusted great advice she shares with gals of all shapes and sizes. Amy says she loves curating the best looks for each woman and “just cannot imagine doing anything else.” Her clients are glad, too.
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.