We've been told for months now that this is the "year of the dress." Fellow Fool Jeremy MacNealy recently noted that apparel maker G-III (NASDAQ:GIII) would begin to switch from its traditional reliance on coats and jackets to focus more on sportswear, suits, and dresses.

That shift was apparent in the latest earnings release, in which the licensee of such brand names as Calvin Klein, Sean Jean, and Kenneth Cole reported that dress sales composed the backbone of its narrower loss. Revenues surged 143% to $35.1 million, as sportswear, women's suits, and dresses sewed up the quarter.

Back in March, CEO Morris Goldfarb opined that sales of Calvin Klein suits and dresses could double in size for the company. He repeated that sentiment yesterday, announcing that those sales would rise more than 50% this year. Bookings for the fall and holiday lines are also up, offset slightly by declines in private-label outerwear, mainly from a single unspecified customer.

The apparel maker sought to bolster its dress business by purchasing the assets of Jessica Howard and Industrial Cotton in an $8.1 million deal last month. Those lines are sold through retailers such as Federated's (NYSE:FD) Macy's, Coldwater Creek (NASDAQ:CWTR), and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS).

Switching from coats and jackets to suits and dresses has worked well for Ann Taylor (NYSE:ANN). Its LOFT concept got a nice consumer response from dresses, as did Dress Barn (NASDAQ:DBRN) -- a result that shouldn't have been too shocking.

Far more suprising: the wider loss that G-III expects for the second quarter. As management correctly notes, the second quarter typically produces losses. In last year's quarter, G-III recorded a $0.14-per-share loss. This year, it's forecasting a loss between $0.19 and $0.24 per share, compared with analyst expectations of $0.12 per share. The greater deficits stem from lower projected sales from its private-label lines, as well as retailers' pushed-back delivery dates for receiving new outerwear shipments.

Dresses have been dressing up G-III for a few quarters now, but they haven't yet been able to transform it into a hot, profitable little number. Perhaps that notion will be a better fit in future quarters.

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy looks good in anything.