Summer dressing can be tricky as it’s sometimes difficult to strike the right balance between professional and breezy during scorching temperatures that have now hovered in the high twenties for weeks at a time. Finding something that will take you from the office to an evening of cocktails, preferably outdoors of course, is proving more problematic than usual. Trousers are out on the basis of too much material and shorts aren’t exactly appropriate for every office environment; skirts present too much effort, especially when paired with the need to tuck tops in. Enter the dress. Probably summer’s most versatile piece, ideal for a variety of occasions, and we’d like to propose the five key dress shapes every summer wardrobe needs in this heat!
The Wrap Dress
This universally flattering shape inspires images of the Italian riviera and classic movie heroines. It’s an ever-present item in many women’s wardrobes and with good reason. The wrap is at once dressy and casual, exposing just the right amount of skin with a chic V-neckline. They’re available in prints, solid colours, and a different lengths. Go for a midi if you like to play it a little safe, and look to Audrey Hepburn for inspiration, or get a mini number if you feel brave enough to face the breeze.
The Maxi Dress
Every year the search for a great maxi dress begins. The shape can be tricky, but this is more to do with the pattern and less with the actual cut. Tall and short girls can wear this style, just be mindful of proportion and look out for ‘tall’ and ‘petite’ sections, respectively, to ensure the best fit. A note on prints: avoid anything resembling an 80s floral curtain instead looking for florals with a sophisticated edge or sticking to solid colours altogether.
The Linen Dress
Ah, linen – where would be we be without this breezy summer staple. It will crease, so maybe save this one for brunches and holiday strolls, but otherwise we say lean into the relaxed aesthetic. Pick the shape and colour you like most and don’t be afraid to add a straw hat and a tan leather shoe, the combination is failsafe math in the style books.
The Tea Dress
Another flattering and versatile pick which lends itself beautifully to floral patterns. Thanks to its length, usually a mini, the dress is great for picnics, when paired with sneakers or flat sandals, but can be transformed into a great evening option with the addition of lipstick and a chunky heel. This style does a lot of the hard work for you, skimming over hips and highlighting the waist area – all without looking too try hard.
The Cocktail Dress
Much of summer’s enjoyment lies in the unpredictability of plans, a friend can call up at any point with an invite to a last-minute event or you may decide to finally check out the restaurant on your must-try list! Moments like this call for the perfect cocktail dress and the choice of style is really yours. Some say that the colour black should be retired for cooler months, but we say that a black cocktail dress with a hint of tan (fake, of course) is the height of chic in any weather, though you could always brighten it up with some tassel earrings and a great clutch.