Dresses have undergone a bit of a renaissance in my wardrobe of late. Actually, I’ve always had a thing for them. A persistent trawling on the internet for the perfect one – filling up my online wishlists with button downs, body cons, jersey wrap dresses, two-tone tops and skirts that look like separates but are really united in one garment – what IS it about clothes like that and the sartorial trompe d’oeil that ensues? Does it make me feel clever? Probably.
Call it a scramble if you will. A vaguely hurried urge to wear minis and pencil skirts and show off the pins before it’s too late. Funnily enough I think my legs look better now than they did in my 20s due to the amount of exercise I’ve done in the past few years. And anyway, those kind of ageist dress codes are passé now of course. I mean look at Anna Dello Russo’s athletic yoga and swimming toned legs and then there’s Liz Hurley…I mean sheesh… enough said! The problem is, I buy these dresses and they end up hanging forlornly in the wardrobe, because the comfy school-run wear takes over each morning at 7am. And any rare chance of a night out with my husband, means I immediately reach for the leather jeans and smart top because the alternative, means I’ll be worried about looking overdone or overdressed.
So earlier this year I decided to mix things up a bit and I bought a beautiful silk shirtdress from French shirt brand Equipment, (which I wore in the intro photos for the blog). I’d been eyeing up their stuff for a few months but couldn’t justify spending over £100 on a shirt. But when I laid eyes upon this beaut I knew I had to have it (and it was in the sale). It’s one of the most flattering things I own, as it hangs so well and the cut cleverly covers any bumps but simultaneously shows off the legs well.
Then there’s the red dress in these pictures below. Bought for £17.99 from Zara and probably in the sale now. It’s a long T-shirt with gathers, something I’d never even considered before, but it was the watermelon red hue of the dress that jumped out at me. Here, it’s paired with a tan Baukjen belt as I felt it needed something and I wanted to accentuate my waist as I’m quite curvy and it would look shapeless without. It packs a good visual punch with the right jewellery if that’s what you’re looking for. It also looks amazing with denim.
On a day out, entirely to myself in Brighton a few weeks ago, I went into M&S, ostensibly to get a shortcrust chicken pie for the boys’ dinner (that’s another story) but I knew I’d be curious about what they had on offer these days in the clothing department. Apart from their trusty underwear, I’d not bought any clothing from M&S for a good few years. There was something about the cut of the clothes that felt all wrong to me, slightly boxy on my shape and maybe even.. dare I say it? Frumpy? Anyway the striped linen shirt dress in the pics below caught my eye. Like millions of others, I’ve been charmed by the lovelies on Instagram in linen summer dresses in jaunty stripes on Mediterranean beaches and somehow wanted to replicate this in my own (probably much less jaunty) way. I tried it on in and ka-boom! The comfort of the dress is what stood out mainly. Also there are pockets, great for a casual insouciant look if that’s your thing. All in all it’s an easy throw-on for work or a formal-ish summer event or garden party (do people still have ‘garden’ parties?!). Team it with a navy fitted blazer and straw bag and you’re good to go. I’ve had a fair few people asking me where it’s from. I’m in two minds about having it taken up a little at the front to expose a bit more leg, as I think it would look more flattering that way. There’s also a lot of fabric, so I could have gone down a size but I’d have lost out comfort wise then.
So, my quest for the perfect dress goes on and I’m certainly not complaining! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Many thanks to Doodie Stark (http://www.doodiestark.co.uk) in Lindfield for being so welcoming and allowing me to shoot in their lovely boutique.