spring 2011 dresses

Springy dresses at, from left, Lilly Pulitzer, Banana Republic and Boden. Photos courtesy.

Stores are packed with bright colors, bold prints and a whole new attitude. In our "Best of Spring" series, StyleList sifts through the plethora of products to uncover what's hot, what will refresh your wardrobe and which pieces are destined to become favorites for seasons to come.

It's a sort of perfect storm for dresses in Spring 2011.

Frocks are always big in the warmer months because of the season's plentiful special events. Couple that with the fact that dresses are still trending as a fashion item, and the seasonal selection continues to amaze us.

Banana Republic alone has over 70 dresses for spring and summer. And Simon Kneen, Banana Republic's Creative Director, tells StyleList: "The thing I love about these dresses is that none are over $300. That's amazing value, which is one of the things I love about this brand," he added. And we love this brand's breadth: maxi, mini, dressy, workwear, solidly sophisticated and pleasantly printed. Phew!

Another dress aficionado, Lilly Pulitzer, is still touting feminine prints, but also features solid colors, eyelet pieces, lace trims and a bigger, bolder, Pucci-like print.

Speaking of prints, the always-colorful Boden has issued a new, limited-edition collection of slightly higher-end pieces. And, as with their regular collection, this new group centers around pretty, pretty dresses.

The runaway hit here is the Jersey Top dress in "geranium scribble." It's a mixed-media dress (cotton sateen on the bottom and cotton jersey on top) and has been sold out in most sizes in this color since it hit the Web in early February. If you're patient (and we are; it's that good a dress), it will be re-stocked in 16 weeks.