Top Five Floral Dresses (Under $50)

It’s officially spring, and after the winter we just had? We don’t just want, we DESERVE those flirty floral dresses that will make us feel like, well, girls again (All those layered knits and long johns? Not so much.).

This spring, the more feminine the better (think color, ruffles, draping) — and the best news is the bold belts, gladiator sandals and big handbags we stocked up on last spring are still perfectly acceptable pieces to personalize your look in 2010.

But remember, a little floral goes a long way; we don’t suggest packing the closet with enough roses to rival the Queen, but do pick up at least one signature floral dress and make it a staple in the spring rotation. Our top five for under $50 (and one bonus):


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1. Liberty of London Ruffle Halter Dress, $29.99, Target
Fun, feminine, flirty — everything that first dress of spring should be. This latest budget designer line at Target is one of the better we’ve seen in recent collections (we have a love/hate relationship, but with this it’s leaning more towards a rekindled romance). The only problem? This dress might not flatter all body types — but if you’re pear shaped or have an athletic build, this dress will add some volume in the bust area (with pretty ruffles, natch) and skim any trouble areas with a skirt floats gently away from the body. A balanced, curvier might be better served with this Liberty line’s floral sateen shifts, like this one (Liberty of London for Target® Sateen Shift Dress – Pink Garla Print, $34.99.)

2. Women’s Plus Printed Linen Blend Shift Dress, $36.50, Old Navy Top Five Floral Dresses (Under $50)

At first glance this dress might seem suited only for flip flops and a walk on the beach (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but consider the linen fabric and the accessorizing possibilities and this dress might just become your favorite of the season. Break out a wide belt, a cute solid cardi or jacket and big clutch to dress things up, and bridge that unpredictable spring temperature gap without breaking a sweat.

3. Jean Paul Gaultier for Target Rolled Collar Floral Dress, $39.99, Target
From another budget designer line we’re loving (we mean, come on, Jean Paul Gaultier at Target?? Five years ago, who would have thought???), this dress walks the fine line of trendy and grown-up. The floral pattern is very 2010, crossing into the muted, modern tie-dye patterns that are springing up everywhere this season. While we don’t always love one-shoulder, it works here because the rest of the dress is simple and classic. One note: customer reviews are split — the nylon fabric is a point of contention; some LOVE it, and some HATE it. But hey, it’s Gaultier — which should always elicit a love-it-or-hate-it reaction, or they’re simply not doing their job …

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4. Floral Medley Ruffle Dress, $27.80, Forever21
Clearly we don’t suggest this dress for everyone — but for those of you in the appropriate age range (you know who you are), this is a fresh 2010 way to wear florals, incorporating the structured lingerie detailing we saw on the runway for spring. Just remember, with the sexy corseting, don’t go all dominatrix with the accessories — forget the six-inch stilettos, and go with some cute flats, oversize sunglasses and a colorful tote instead.

5. The Central Park Knit Dress – Floral Print, $42.95, New York & Company

Like to be on trend, but just can’t see yourself in full-on garden-esque florals? We loooove this graphic artsy floral print as a more understated (and let’s face it, very modern) way to do florals. Tulip sleeves, a draped neck, and soft (rather than cinched) tie at the waist are figure flattering details for most any body type, and works both for the office and for the weekend. The bold print doesn’t require much in the way of “look at me” accessories to stand out — maintain the modern edge with some gladiator sandals or bold wedge booties.