Finally, it seems like it’s upon us: summer dress season, that is. For me, summer is officially declared OPEN when I’ve been to the Chelsea Flower Show. No, I don’t have a huge interest in gardening, and I know almost nothing about plants, but I do like to go out for a lovely lunch with my friends and look at pretty flowers while wearing a nice dress. Along with an army of other middle-aged ladies ALL wearing floral dresses, white trainers and denim jackets. Let me tell you now, there is no shame in being part of that army: if there’s an opportunity to wear your best frock during the day, then I’m all in for making the most of it. I basically live in jeans, but at this time of the year I start to remember how much I do actually love a good dress.
I wore a new one from Beulah that I was saving to wear to a friend’s wedding in June, but then I remembered what I always say – ‘don’t save things for best, just wear them’ – so I did. I’ll take a fancier bag and wear prettier shoes to the wedding, and the dress will feel completely different but still appropriate.
I discussed with my friends last week how the only stumbling block we have with dresses is what jacket to wear. I’m not even sure I have the answer. Denim is the obvious choice, but maybe look for a style that’s less of the classic western style that everyone has. I’ve found a few for you today. The other option is a linen blazer – perhaps for smarter occasions – and a khaki jacket works very well over white or black dresses.
Now that I have officially got my dress mojo back, let’s have a look at some great styles that I have found for you this week.
We may as well start with these. Despite what the fashion press have been trying to tell us, I don’t think the floral dress will ever die. There’s something about them that speaks to us at this time of year. This jacket from The White Company is the kind of denim I’d look at as an alternative to the classic style. It looks a little less obvious and a bit more stylish. Instead of trainers you could go for a flat Mary Jane shoe. I have these from Moi London and they are immediately comfortable and go with so many summer looks.
- The White Company collarless organic cotton denim jacket
- By Iris x DDE summer Shae dress
- Shrimps mini wooden beaded bag
- Joanie Edelweiss square neck floral ditsy print dress
- John Lewis silver T‑bar Mary Jane flats
- Moi London striped canvas flat Mary Jane shoes
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find I wear black more in the summer than I do in the winter. It just looks better with a (fake) tan. Talking of fake tans, I have discovered a few really good products for that. Firstly, the Iconic Tanning Mist (I use the original shade): spray it on their special brush and blend all over your face and chest. It gives a really natural, even tan that I’ve previously found tricky to achieve on my face. I still love the Vita Liberata Gradual Tanning Lotion, but I’ve recently tried Tan Luxe The Gradual that literally has NO BISCUIT SMELL AT ALL. It gives a great, light tan without streaks.
These are my current, top-two favourite lightweight black summer dresses. I tried this FAUNE one on at the Daily Dress Edit pop up and it’s almost THE perfect summer holiday dress. It’s the same at the back as the front and it has pockets. You could wear it loose or belt it with a nice tan leather belt. For an equally good, but less expensive option, I love this cheesecloth dress from Albaray.
- f.a.u.n.e Camelia black cotton dress
- Anine Bing small Rio rattan bag
- Albaray black cheesecloth open back midi dress
- Air & Grace Gala 2 strap leather sandals
- LK Bennett black suede crossover strap espadrilles
As with black, white somehow looks better in the summer. Does anyone ever even wear a white dress in the winter? To be honest, my white dresses are mainly confined to holidays because there’s just something about wafting around a resort of your choice that works better than walking the dog down the canal or getting on a grubby tube into town.
- Rixo Delicia tiered appliquéd cotton-voile midi dress
- Isabel Marant Cadix mini straw tote bag
- Kin jacquard puff sleeve midi dress
- Amazon leather strappy sandals
- Hush Trenton Huarache leather sandals
A more practical option for our great British summer: something with a bit of weight to it that you can wear on regular days. Just as good for popping to the shops as it is for going out to dinner. I also tried on this Aligne dress at the Daily Dress Edit. It’s super flattering, the elastic waist gives good room for movement and I can see it being a very useful dress indeed. If you’re keen, I would say size down one size as it comes up quite big.
- Aligne Harline deadstock denim midi dress
- La Redoute tan suede bucket bag
- Scamp & Dude indigo plait detail denim dress
- Ganni topstitched tan leather slingback sandals
- Sezane Isabel wood and leather clogs
Ok, so this is the dress I actually bought from the Daily Dress Edit event that I keep banging on about. You must try and go next year if you’re London-based. So many lovely, small brand designers to choose from, and excellent styling advice from Isabel and her team. I love Justine Tabak: I have four dresses by her already, including two checked ones I’ve had since 2018. So no, I didn’t need another, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart clearly still has a ‘thing’ for gingham, even at age 50.
- Justine Tabak Carnival multi colour check dress
- Levis Cara cotton denim jacket
- Crew Clothing Lucille cotton gingham dress
- Converse Chuck Taylor Pride All Star hi tops
- Nike Court Royale trainers
SUMMER BEACH DRESSES
I will do an updated ‘packing for a holiday’ post soon, and I’m also currently researching shorts for all those that asked but, for now, how about a few beachy-type dress options? Something nice and breezy that you can throw over your swimming costume but can also be worn around town.
- Paul Smith Ric Rac scallop trim floppy straw hat
- Sweaty Betty Capri crinkled square neck swimsuit
- H&M halterneck cotton stripe dress
- Cefinn Bella tiered linen blend dress
- & Other Stories textured bow tie swimsuit
- Birkenstock Arizona two strap sandals
I do hope the sun shines down upon you this week and that you get to wear your best dress soon.