07/20/2010 01:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ode to the Summer Sundress

It's the sartorial savior of women struggling with 90 degree/90% humidity summer weather.

It's a knight in shining armor to women with slight bellies everywhere.

It's the fashion equivalent of rubbing bacon and Megan Fox-scented cologne on your pulse points and walking into ESPN ZONE.

It's why it's impossible to leave Forever 21 without a massive sack of clothing slung over your shoulder like a trendy hunchback.

It's the sundress... and I love it.

Screw shorts - you have to worry about hamstring cellulite, saggy knees, age-appropriate-length, panty lines, tushy and inner thigh ride-up and it's impossible to sit down without your thighs spreading like Nutella on toast, no matter how thin or fit you may be. Bathing suits come with their own arsenal of problems, the least of which is nearly every woman on the planet, with the exception of preschoolers and Brooklyn Decker, would rather roll around in thumbtacks and then jump into a pool filled with lemon juice than try them on.

But the sundress is a summertime wardrobe staple that can be worn by women of any size and remain flattering. They keep us feeling and looking cool when a string of ultra-humid days has our makeup melting, our hair mushrooming into a frizz bomb and mini rivulets of sweat dripping down between our boobs and soaking into our bras. They disguise a multitude of perceived body flaws, from a tummy pooch to wide hips to un-toned thighs or, with a maxi-dress, varicose veins or cankles. And they're perfect for on-the-go gals who don't have time in the morning to carefully select a multi-piece outfit. Just grab a dress off the hanger, slip on some sandals and go.

Facebook's "I LOVE wearing sundresses ♥" fan page counts 76 fans who woo potential members with vaguely cult-like mantras like, "You are in a good mood on the day you wear a sundress. Whenever you shop you look for sundresses. You don't have to fuss with matching clothes when you wear a sundress. They just make summer better. You are obsessed with sundresses and you hope that your wardrobe filled only with sundresses."

Plus, have you ever noticed how men turn into drooling automatons when the thermometer hits 75 degrees F? They love them a good sundress. When blogger Sasha Brown-Worsham started noticing her male friends posting Facebook Status Updates like, "Summer = Sundress season. Yay!", she decided to take a deeper look at her own husband's take. "Last Friday, I discovered something new: My husband goes crazy for sundresses. Oh, I knew he had a fetish for bikinis (which is why I have more bikinis than sets of bras and underwear) and I knew he liked tight tank tops and shorts, but sundresses? This was new. 'I feel the need to grope you,' my husband said when I came out of the bedroom wearing a relatively tame -- albeit see-through and short -- thick-strapped, boho sundress. "

In fact, according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ survey, most men -- 34% -- say a good-looking woman is sexiest in a casual sundress, over jeans or an elegant dinner dress. Iheoma Onyeije, Gap's vice-president of women's design, says the garment's casualness adds to its breezily sexy aesthetic. "It has a certain nonchalance and ease to it," Onyeije says, "like it's not been overly considered as a look."

You can find them everywhere right now, from H&M to Just make sure you take a moment to appreciate this special piece of attire; in three weeks, we're going to be bombarded with back-to-school Fall must-haves and our strappy, flowy friends will be packed away for a winter wardrobe hibernation.

-10 Girls' Sundresses We Wish We Could Fit Into

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