The easiest way to to look seasonal is to add some color! I am very partial to reds and the warm sunset colors, but anything that has a deep hue will work.
Don't be afraid to add on your most glamorous accessories. I love to accessorize during the warm weather months since the lighter fabrics can be more forgiving to overdressing. If you layer on sparkle with a taffeta dress in winter, you begin to look like a caricature of the society pages, but if you add that same sparkle to a floaty chiffon number in the summertime, you evoke a timeless and easy elegance. Simple and less formal dresses create a clean palette that allows for creative "decorating."
My summer accessory of choice is the bracelet. Since my hair already creates a sweaty spot on the nape of my neck, I am hesitant to add on any substantial necklaces. Since most summer dresses are sleeveless, a bracelet is a great alternative since it adds visual interest to the arm. If you do want some jewelry near your face, try a chandelier earring.
Once you've found your perfect summer showstopper, make sure you pair it with appropriate footwear. A sandal or a peeptoe pump create a more airy feel to your ensemble by showing off a little skin. If you do choose a closed toed shoe, keep the color light and bright or look for a style with side cutouts or perforations.
Showing off your toes also lets you add some extra flair with a great nail polish color. I love a shimmery grey tone for dressy occasions to add a modern vibe, but if you are planning to keep your color on for awhile, a signature red is always a good bet. If you are still skittish around bright colors, playing with polish can be a great way to warm up to the idea.
If you don't feel comfortable in color or if you feel like your event is better suited to a neutral, choose navy or grey. This will feel less wintery than black and will prevent you from fading into a parade of little black dresses.
A really fantastic and unique party dress often comes with a high price tag that can be hard to swallow when you only expect to wear the item once. Two of the dresses shown in this post are from Rent the Runway which allows you to rent designer dresses and accessories for 4 days at a time (dry cleaning and a backup size included!) so that you don't have to sink your entire clothing budget into one event.
If you have photos of your favorite summer dress-up look, send them in so we can see how you styled yourself for the summertime!