It’s already begun – event season – weddings, races, summer parties and all that jazz. For me it’s 40th’s and a Holy Communion (which is actually already beginning to feel like a mini wedding aaaaargh!). And all of these require some sort of jazzier ensemble than your everyday wear. But the more I do this job, the more convinced I am of buying pieces that aren’t just one wear wonders. Yes you want to look special, but not many of us want to invest in something we can’t re-invent.
Luckily with floaty midi and maxi dresses being firmly on trend, there is your solution as these are pieces you can pair with heeled sandals (and if the dress code requires – a hat) but that can also work well with a leather jacket and boots thrown on for a less special evening or with espadrilles or flat sandals for a more relaxed summer night.
Reiss is great for more traditional fitted occasion wear but they also have this gorgeous Bay Floral Midi Dress £225. A super colour, perfect for the summer and one that you can wear to the races, weddings and evenings out alike.
At an unbelievable price this Floral Cowl Split Midi Dress £65 from Warehouse looks much more expensive than it’s price tag would suggest. The back makes it a summer/evening option but it looks lovely with black strappy sandals and swap the straw bag for an elegant clutch.
Maje is a great brand to look at and its dresses fall under or around the sweet spot of £300 – which possibly isn’t that sweet really but if it is something you can wear time and again then it’s more useful to think about cost per wear.
Their Rondi Crepe Dress £290 screams wedding – in a good way.
The same print also comes in a floatier option: Rachelle £315.
The sandals are chunkier than I would wear but gives you the idea of how a more relaxed footwear style changes the whole look of the outfit.
Rayema £239 is in a similar vein. And you will notice that all of these have sleeves which is sensible on so many levels – it negates the need to worry about what to wear on top, covers the upper arms which are often an area we aren’t so keen on and deals with the ‘what if it isn’t blisteringly hot’ question.
It also comes in more of a tea dress style – Rankol crepe Dress £269
Something that is grounded with black or has some black in it can often be a very good choice (maybe not for a wedding but for other occasions 100%). If you remove the black cowboy boots from the equation and replace with a heel then this is very pretty indeed.
This Rosila Dress £239 from Maje is one such option. It actually has a lovely print with some yellow in it which brightens up the overall look. You can wear this with heeled sandals, flats, boots, espadrilles and will have covered many an occasion. Add a leather jacket into the mix and it would be a wardrobe staple.
Similarly, This Richelle Midi Dress £315 is the perfect option for an evening with the brighter colours making the impact for you.
Or stick to monochrome with the Graphic Print Split Dress £239 which you could pair back for work or add a flash of red in you accessories to make into a race day winner.
Somerset by Alice Temperley is stocked in John Lewis and they have gorgeous maxi dresses including this Leopard Print Maxi Dress £130 which is sold out on line but there was stock in stores. This is another wear everywhere from holiday to parties to weddings and then during the day.
They also have these clever jumpsuit/maxi dress hybrids with the wrap panel at the front which gives it the illusion of being a dress but is actually a jumpsuit: Star Print Jumpsuit £99.
If you haven’t already discovered Rixo and are after a posh frock, then check them out. They have a small concession in Selfridges but online is your best bet and there are so many styles to choose from – florals, spots, print mixing…
Ridley London is at a higher price point, starting around £400, but has gorgeous silk pieces including this Manto Martha Midi £379. Yes it’s paired with trainers but strappy sandals and a clutch and you are set.
Ghost may be a label you know from the past and which you thought had died. But with the resurgence of floral tea dresses, has made a comeback:
There is nothing worse than turning up somewhere and having the same frock on as someone else (one year I went to the races in a Warehouse number only to be confronted with several other people in the same dress and I felt like a bit of a twit) so by stepping slightly off the beaten track, you’ll stand out from the crowd.