The scene-stealer dress is all you need for summer

Hero frocks: Looking for the perfect summer dress?

Dress, €72, Monsoon.

Dress, €72, Monsoon.

 

If you thought the appeal of the printed midi was waning, think again. The hype surrounding the trophy dress has intensified and branded styles are becoming celebrities in their own right. First it was the turn of Kitri’s Gabriella pleated dress, which had a waiting list of 800 people and sold out in 45 minutes; now the fascination has shifted to Rouje’s Gabin dress which has a cult celebrity following with Sienna Miller, Selena Gomez and Daisy Lowe spotted in the floral fancy.

Dress, €295, Whistles, Brown Thomas.
Dress, €295, Whistles, Brown Thomas.

TV presenter Holly Willoughby amped up the need for the printed dress when she presented This Morning in a floral halterneck style from Oasis that sold out immediately.

Dress, €85, Oasis.
Dress, €85, Oasis.

Flattering for all, think of them as echoing the appeal of the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress but for the 21st century woman. The most coveted dresses are lightweight but with sleeves, and cut to a midi length; turning it into a done-in-one dress for the time-poor and sartorial acute.

Polka dot dress, €89, Warehouse.
Polka dot dress, €89, Warehouse.

A hero by design

Its function invaluable, skimming over bingo-wings and covering not-ready-for-summer pasty legs, the midi has become a hero among women who are sun and skin-baring shy. Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, founders of Rixo London, explain the midi-madness.

Dress, €59, Marks and Spencer.
Dress, €59, Marks and Spencer.

“Women are becoming more confident and savvy spenders. They’re investing in bolder pieces, but at the same time they want something that’s versatile. The printed midi fulfils both of these needs. It’s a style that works just as well paired with heels for a wedding as it does dressed down with trainers.”

The Gabin dress, €170, Rouje.
The Gabin dress, €170, Rouje.

Their most popular style, The Katie, a silky button-down number fashioned in animal, floral or nautical prints, makes the most of all the seasons working just as well with sandals, as it does layered with a polo neck and boots for winter.

The Katie dress, €317, Rixo London.
The Katie dress, €317, Rixo London.

Warehouse’s tailoring and occasion buyer, Emma Davies, agrees with the versatility of the printed midi stating: “The printed midi is the ultimate summer dress, easy and comfortable to wear showing just a hint of leg, a style which suits all ages and shapes.”

Dress, €144, Inwear, Kilkenny Shop.
Dress, €144, Inwear, Kilkenny Shop.

These are not just frocks-of-the moment but ones you’ll wear way beyond this season, particularly if you pay attention to cut and fabric. “Invest in natural textiles, such as silk, that will stand the test of time and ensure the print is something you absolutely love,” say Henrietta and Orlagh of Rixo London.

Fabrics

Breezy light cotton is an apposite choice for when the mercury rises, as are sumptuous silk and fresh linen. “Fabrications we will be seeing this season focus heavily on natural fabrics such as linen, wear to achieve a more casual look. Soft floaty chiffons or crepes will always work for more formal occasions such as weddings or lunch with the girls.

Dress, €49.95, Zara.
Dress, €49.95, Zara.

“Key details to look out for are wraps, tie waists, asymmetric hems, ruffles and pleating which will update this style for the season,” says Davies.

Midis aren’t the only style colonising the high street. If slinky rather than shin-length is more your sunshine style, go short and sweet, a longer sleeve will allow you a more abbreviated hemline.

Dress, €295, Ganni, Brown Thomas.
Dress, €295, Ganni, Brown Thomas.

Opt for Bardot or sleeveless if you’re confident in shoulder exposing, which can be reworked for chiller evenings with the addition of a loose-fit blazer. Even at the recent royal nuptials, the dress was well represented by the stylish attendees – from Abigail Spencer in Alessandra Rich’s silk crepe polka dot tea dress, to Amal Cooney’s form-fitting yellow cocktail dress by Stella McCartney, and Lady Kitty Spencer in teal blue floral Dolce & Gabbana. Proving it really is the season of the scene-stealing dress in whatever style takes your fancy.

Silk dress, €125, Arket.
Silk dress, €125, Arket.

Whether you want to indulge your inner maximalist in print-on-print, Ganni, Realisation Par, Warehouse, and Essential Antwerp are great for these kind of frocks. If breezy, all-dress-code styles of high necks and ruffles are more apt, Ghost, Sandro and Antropologie should be your go-to. If you gravitate towards bright, block colours instead, try Arket, Finery or Uterque for your minimalist tendencies.

What shoes to wear with your dress

Trainers, €89, Veja, Seagreen.
Trainers, €89, Veja, Seagreen.
Sandals, €40, Topshop.
Sandals, €40, Topshop.

For day opt for a flat tennis shoe or sandal but a low-block heel or sandal is a midi-dress winner for a fancier occasion.

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