What do we want? A Spring Dress! When do we want it? Well, round about now would be nice. Why do we want one? Because we’re going out. Where are we going? Not sure yet. When are we going? Well maybe outside somewhere in April, maybe inside somewhere in May, Maybe to a big rave in June? OK, that’s unlikely, even if it is allowed. My rave days are definitely over.
Although those rave days were so excellent weren’t they? I m so glad I got to live through that. When I was 16, I was haring up the motorway in the back of Ford transit, driven by a friend of a friend who borrowed it from his brother’s mate. Searching for a field somewhere near Alton that Spiral Tribe had set up a sound system in. 9 times out of 10 we would find it by hanging around at at Fleet services and just following someone who was playing Italian house tunes on a bass-heavy car stereo out the back of his Golf GTI.
My 16 year old son has never even been to a proper party. I feel bad for him. Let’s hope the parties come back for today’s teens. They need some rebellion. It’s just not healthy for them to be spending so much time at home with their parents. They need to be doing things we disapprove of, they need to be snogging, drinking sickly sweet alcohol and being sick in a bush on the way home.
Of course none of this has anything to do with Spring dresses, Let’s get back on track as there’s A LOT to get through. I will have to do another Dress blog in a month or so when all the Spring/Summer collections have come in, but I know some of you were chomping at the bit to check out some dresses asap, so here’s what I have found so far. We will start with the High Street and move on to small brands later on. Settle in and check it out…
I know, I know, florals for Spring. Groundbreaking. But I do love a good floral dress. Best to wear with some chunky trainers or sandals, anything to de-girly-fy a pretty floral. i know I shouldn’t say this, but there is always a fear that once you get past a certain age, wearing florals are going to make you look even older. Think your granny in her pinny and low heeled courts all day long. Adding a denim jacket also helps. I don’t think I ever saw my granny in a denim jacket and trainers…
I just added this section because I really like both of these dresses. I would ignore the cheap looking tie belt on the Per Una number. replace it with a tan leather belt instead, or wear without. Add a tank top or a nice navy cashmere sweater over the top for now. I think it would look great. I’m very tempted to order. The other dark denim dress from Monsoon is their classic ‘Dolly’ style that is universally flattering. I have it gingham from 3 years ago and in white from last year. Works for most body shapes and comes up true to size.
I can’t resist a good checked dress. I’m particularly keen on gingham for the Spring/ Summer months. My favourite check dresses are by Justine Tabak, (more on her later) but the high street also do a good selection and I’m sure as the months move towards summer there will be even more choice. Don’t let the fact you wore this as you summer school uniform when you were 8. Grown up women can still wear Gingham. I think that could be a good chapter for the book I’m yet to write. Must make a note.
ONE COLOUR DRESSES
If you’re worried about prints, or you are not well versed in the art of wearing a dress, then start off with a simple one colour number and perk it up with your accessories. This simple throw-on jersey dress from Kin at John Lewis could be a very useful addition to a spring wardrobe. It has pockets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I feel short changed if I buy a dress and it doesn’t have pockets. It’s also oversized, so go down a size or 2 if you don’t like that voluminous look.
Spots. who can forget THAT Zara dress from the summer of 2019. Oh happy days, the days where we lived free and easy and everyone had the same outfit. What fun! maybe those days will come back. Maybe the return of the spotty dress with herald a joyous carefree summer that we all dream of. This year it’s the turn of M&S with their new partnership with Finery London who have brought out a covetable spotty dress. The rest of the collection is great too.
Should have called this section ‘Animal Print’ dresses really, but there are a few that don’t quite fit the brief that I wanted to show. Love both of these leopard numbers though. Everyone should have a bit of leopard in their life and it doesn’t have to be yellow and black. Wear now with a black jumper, seret leggings and boots. Wear later with trainers or sandals,
SMALL BRAND DRESSES
So, as promised here’s a selection of independent small brands and businesses that do excellent dresses. Use it as a reference for future purchases as they are all great…
if you’ve followed the blog for a while then you will no stranger to Kemi Telford. I love their dresses and founder, Yvonne, is a little ray of sunshine and positivity. I think that shows in the designs and fabric choices. All dress have POCKETS too. Yvonne is currently enlisting the help of her family to pack all orders with love and will be launching a collection in John Lewis next month. Exciting times!
Pink City Prints founder Molly Russell lives in Jaipur for six months of the year and works alongside block-printers, embroiderers and weavers overseeing the whole process from start to finish. Only natural fibres including hand-loomed khadi cotton and silk are used. Each piece has been worked on by hand whether handspun, printed or embroidered. The hand-work brings life and a unique quality to the dresses. .
Justine’s designs are another favourite of mine. They are made entirely in the UK and are simple and easy to wear. Often inspired by vintage finds but with the ease of modern cut, shape and fabric, also, pockets. Using British Fabrics where possible, the dresses are pieces to cherish and wear time and again. In keeping with the British weather, most of her clothes are trans seasonal, introduced across the year to be layered and styled as you feel fit.
Johanna designs each ‘forever piece’ in her dress collection herself which she then hand makes together with her Mother. They are always made in small limited edition runs or often one-off pieces in unique fabrics. As well as being an ecologically sound dress choice, they are carefree and comfortable and Johanna is so gorgeous you just want to BE her.
Run by Beth, Studio B is an online store that stocks some great unique small brands. Beth loves to find authentic dress makers and independent labels, She’s always excited about sourcing new products for the shop and supports brands that are too good not be shared!
Tallulah & Hope focus on beautiful dresses and separates in art-inspired prints and bespoke embroidery designs. The timeless bird motif features as a signature thread through each seasons print story. They are launching their new collection on 8 March for which they have collaborated with British artist Tom Sheddon, the embroideries were done from his hand drawings.
Nola have 2 shops, one in Brighton and one in Manchester. Currently operating online but still making a real effort to ensure their customers find the styles that work for them. Their selection of labels is constantly evolving with new brands being added each season, mixing up and coming designers with more established brands.
Faith has a small studio in Brighton where she cuts, makes and packs all orders. She has 4 machines and in her words is ‘an absolute geek when it comes to machines and tools. I have recently got some help from a local seamstress, she sews orders from her home”. As most items are made to order it takes approximately 20 working days, but you can choose your length or dress, which is SO useful!
Mølby The Label is another independent, British, slow-fashion brand where each garment is designed and handmade by the owner. The labels vision is to create beautiful, fun, affordable garments, which can be dressed up or down for all occasions.
Founded by Fiona Hodges and inspired by a childhood in India. Seraphina believe in buying less and buying better. They aim to create timeless pieces designed to last and look as good today as well as in five years time using premium milled fabrics.
Founded in 2017 by Rebecca Coyle, Love & Squalor strives to create long lasting, timeless pieces which suit women of all ages and all sizes. They design, make and sell all of their pieces in house. They choose only natural fibres and try to use every last scrap of fabric. They make honest clothing; clothing that works hard and stands the test of time.
Iris is a collection of London boutiques that sell pieces from all you favourite designers. They also have their own in-house clothing brand called By Iris. I particularly like their dresses (obvs) Available in an array of styles from flowing maxi’s to everyday midis and party dresses and using their own exclusive prints, by Iris offers a dress for every occasion.
Dilli Grey is a London based, independent ethical lifestyle brand; led by creative director and founder Vickie El-Rayyes. They work with artisans in India to create beautifully made pieces, designed to treasure forever.
Born out of an aspiration to do and wear better, The Omi Na-Na webshop brings together a curated collection of premium fashion and homeware products which have been made by designers across the world that are striving to bring about positive change in their local communities. A great selection of dresses including this amazingly colourful one by Norblack Norwhite.
Phew, that really was a big one. Glad to see you got to the end. I hope you find your perfect dress. next week, due to popular demand I will be doing trainers. We all still love our trainers!