For spring, the dress is back in full force.
Decades of styles are showing up on runways ranging from empire-waist dresses to maxi lengths.
Rochelle Bolton, owner of Glam Slam, an upscale women's consignment store on Hixson Pike, said she has seen a surge in interest in dresses since opening her store in 2005.
"We've seen a dramatic increase in the sale of dresses that began last fall and has continued as we go into spring and summer," she said. "Dresses that are bright colors and/or patterns of geometric designs and floral are particularly popular."
Vintage dresses are also in demand, Ms. Bolton said.
Lorean Mays, 25, said she has only recently begun to wear dresses on a regular basis.
"I've rarely worn dresses, except to formal events or when competing in pageants," said Ms. Mays, the reigning Miss Tennessee National U.S.
"This year, though, I've really gotten into dresses because there are so many styles to select from. Over the last three weeks, I've bought six maxi dresses. They're versatile pieces that can easily be dressed up or down," she said.
The economy also is having an effect on the popularity of the dress, Ms. Mays said.
"It's less expensive to buy a one-piece garment than a two-piece pants/skirt or blouse set," she said.
Ms. Bolton said she carries dresses that represent decades of styles.
"I've got it all," she said, noting that the fashions range from vintage to today's trends. "I've got racks and racks of maxi dresses, sundresses, dressy dresses and designer dresses at very affordable prices - a plus in today's economy."