Last summer, Nicole Weiler's resolve to wear more dresses inspired a movement. Thanks to several social-media-savvy women, the concept went viral. Women from as far away as New York, California and Arizona sent photos to the daily blog.

Ultimately, the message wasn't just about what was worn on the outside. "It's about people feeling good no matter how they look," said Meghan Wilker. "Every woman needs to work on that."

So the Summer of Dresses is back for a second season.

At a launch party at Aster Cafe in Minneapolis, the women and their male counterparts from Summer of Dapper prepared to take the campaign to the next level with sidewalk chalk graffiti and flash mobs. The participants have personal goals, too. "I'm going to get a little gutsier with animal prints and get a little overdressed," said Weiler, who wore a leopard-print maxi-dress. "Get used to it."

Here are a few tips from the dress-up veterans:

Know your best dress shape: Whether you need to look for a specific silhouette (A-line) or an era (1950s or 1970s), it's easier to shop if you find a style that suits you.

Utilize vintage and consignment stores: They can save you money and you can often sell items from your wardrobe back to the store. Recommended spots include Rewind Vintage, Nu Look Consignment and Lula Vintage Wear in St. Paul. According to Kris Huson, Lula's owner is a "dress whisperer" for her ability to select dresses for you that fit perfectly.

Change a look with accessories: Transforming a dress can be a cinch. "A belt takes a vintage dress and gives it an update," said Kate O'Reilly. A flexible wardrobe makes it easy to dress your dresses up or down with "flip-flops or booties and a strong necklace," said O'Reilly.

Get creative: "Take risks," said Wilker. Being open to try on anything will help you discover daring new options in your own closet, she said.

Think of the photos: When you dress up, post images to Summer of Dresses. That way, you'll challenge yourself to look awesome every day. "You're motivated to put things together you wouldn't normally put together, because you might have your photo taken," said Wilker.

HOW TO JOIN • Facebook: Twitter: @summerofdresses • Submit photos via email:


The documentary "Bill Cunningham New York," which opens Friday, quickly draws a bead on the film's subject: an octogenarian who bikes around to capture street style for the New York Times.

At least one Minnesotan has been featured in Cunningham's weekly "On the Street" column. In 2001, he snapped a shot of Stephanie Lake, who currently lives in Minnetonka. It was at the opening of an exhibit Lake curated of her mentor and dear friend Bonnie Cashin, founding designer for Coach.

"Every single person who cares about what's going on in the fashion world looks at that page every week and hopes they're in it," said Lake. "It's an ongoing best-dressed list."

The documentary paints Cunningham as a surprisingly down-to-Earth character, with which Lake concurs. "He's such a quirky, cool guy," she said.

What: "Bill Cunningham New York." • Rated: Unrated • Where: Lagoon; opens Friday.


St. Paul-based designer Lisa Hackwith launched Hackwith Design House just a year ago as a hobby. Now she's taken the business full time. Her designs, available at shops nationwide and a few locally, are fashion-forward and sweet. Offered in a few variations, this dress is affordable and features a stylish sheer feather print.

Feather dresses, $55 to $60 by Hackwith Design House, www.hackwith, available at Design Collective, 1311 W. 26th St., Mpls. 612-377-1000.


Trunk show at Gallery 360: Check out the latest offerings from Telsche Thiessen, Foat Design, Martha McQuade, Heather Hambrecht, Kjurek Couture and Universal Pants and enjoy a 10 percent discount on clothing and jewelry.

5 to 9 p.m., 3011 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-925-2400, www. gallery


Clothes Have Dreams Too fashion show: Youth-run Express Yourself Clothing will host a show featuring the work of 15 local designers.

7:30 p.m., Dancers Studio, 1508 W. University Av., St. Paul. $10 tickets available at the door,


Walker Shop's local artist jewelry mart: Shop designs from area designers, including Yen Chee, Britney Foster, Annika Kaplan, Renee Larson, Larisa Loden, Lauren Neal, Liz Oie, Tasha Rae Tatro, Mel Tudisco and Rebecca Wicklund.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-375-7600,

Spring Into Fashion at VState: Watch live modeling, hear an acoustic set by Tim Mahoney and take 20 percent off regular-priced merchandise.

7 p.m., Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-823-4699.

Spring Awakening at the Shops at Excelsior and Grand: Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, in-store specials and a DJ.

1 to 5 p.m., 3820 Grand Way, St. Louis Park, www.excelsiorand

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177 •