The dress has really come into its own in the last couple of years and it feels as if this summer really is the summer of the frock. We’ve come a long way since the mass Scandi androgyny of a few years ago; now all I want to wear on holiday are flirty wrap dresses and linen shifts to pull on over damp bikinis and salty hair. All you really need in a holiday suitcase this year is a pile of various dresses that are equally apt for slinging on for the beach and teaming with gold hoops and sandals for margaritas. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good pair of denim cut offs, striped mannish shirts, tees and oversized floaty trousers to throw on, but I’m definitely reaching for them a little less this summer…
So here’s a handful of favourite Summer dresses in my wardrobe this year, as well as a larger edit of similar ones for all budgets. First up, the floral wrap dress and no one does it better than Realisation Par. Teale and Alex, the duo behind the brand, have done an amazing job for tapping into the current zeitgeist of what we all really want to be wearing. I also feel their designs really transcend trends and style tribes, proving just as good on the streets of L.A and New York, as they are at an English country wedding or pebbled beach in the Med. Having long been someone who avoided purple like the plague, this summer I seem to be in a bit of a purple haze. Jenny Joseph once wrote ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’ so I can only deduce I am indeed old (or just soaking in AW17 catwalks by way of osmosis; violet tones were everywhere).
If you’ve ever seen Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty, you’ll know florals really are one of the nicest things to have hanging in your holiday wardrobe, and not at all reminiscent of table cloths or 80s curtains if styled in the right way. My go-to pairings are the usual suspects really; slightly masculine tan leather accessories, simple baskets and gold jewellery. Keep everything loose and relaxed (that means minimal makeup and no tongs in that hair) to save looking twee or retro in any way and you’re golden.
You might be familiar by now with my love of little red dresses (yes the emoji flamenco girl is forever in my recently used). To me, red really looks great on everyone, making blonde hair pop and darker skin tones and hair look extra glowy. I’ve long been a fan of bardot necklines but after reaching peak saturation over the last year or so, I kind of went off them for a little while. But for me, they’re one of the most flattering things I can wear and I always feel so good in them so I’ve slowly started embracing them again… This one from Topshop feels like a great happy medium as it’s kind of half Bardot, half boat neck and has subtly flared sleeves and hem that feels perfectly kitsch without being overly ‘look at me’.
I’ve controversially (and arguably, lazily) included two white dresses in this edit but they are both just too good not to. This long one from Reformation (another wrap one) feels pretty dreamy for both dinners in Puglia and just going about meetings on the odd scorcher in London (ok it’s kind of see-through and thigh-flashing for that but you get the gist). I got this in L.A a few months ago and it really is the perfect holiday dress. I love wearing white dresses and given you 100% cannot wear to weddings, one of the few times I get to do it is on those searingly hot holiday days. Even if I do have to fashion toddler-esque bibs out of napkins come lunchtime…
I’m an eternal lover of stripes and this little linen button-down from Reformation (can you tell it’s a long-standing favourite of mine for Summer stuff) is my favourite thing right now to pull on mindlessly before breakfast. When it’s hot and I’m spending the majority of my days on the beach or in the water, I want the simplest of throw-on pieces that feel light, comfortable and require zero tying or strapping. Enter this little number… All you need is a pair of bikini bottoms and sunglasses to make this look amazing too, trust me.
And lastly, another white dress, another set of buttons… (think there are a few themes going on in here). This Mango dress is super soft and breezy, ideal for market-strolls, long lunches and generally wafting around European beaches and countryside. I’m not normally a fan of the whole cut-out shoulder thing but I think because this is made of white linen and is so simple and clean in it’s aesthetic, it works. It feels more vintage than trend-lead which is exactly what I’m after when it comes to summer dresses….