Dresses are going to be my go-to summer uniform. Why? Because dresses are comfortable, easy to wear, no brain power required, they are ‘bulk-free’ around the middle, can be dressed up or down, styled your way, cool and breezy and what I love most – they are flattering. And they can be your uniform too.
Dresses are a no brainer one-stop style solution, but they can also be a blank canvas to style your way. And I have found five styles that suit everyone… yes everyone, whatever your shape, size or style.
If you like many women though, are a little apprehensive of wearing dresses by day, for fear of looking like a wedding guest on the school run, a granny at the toddler group or many a worst nightmare a ‘frumpy mum’, fear not… Dresses are everywhere this season and with a few helpful tips from me, there is no excuse not to ditch tired and uninspiring staples for something fresh and flattering, which can make you feel great. As a personal stylist, I am often tasked with helping women out of a ‘jeans and top’ style rut, and I haven’t once had anyone look back.
By the end of this blog, I hope to arm you with the know-how, style advice and confidence to be reaching for all the fabulous summer dresses that are in the shops right now, or even better digging into your own wardrobe to find some lost treasures and up-styling them.
While there are certain styles and silhouettes that flatter certain body shapes, these five styles work across the board, whatever your size or shape. Then it is just up to you how you style and wear yours…
- The shirtdress
Shirtdresses are so effortless and versatile. They can be worn loose and oversized for that relaxed vibe, whatever your shape, but are particularly favourable for skimming ‘mummy tagged’ middles. The shirtdress doesn’t grip, has a flattering v-style neck and depending on how much you like your legs, can be mini, midi or maxi. If you want to show off your curves or create/define your waist for a more sculpted silhouette, simply cinch the waist of the dress with a belt.
Where to buy: Arket, Neon Rose, Sezane, Zara
- The ruched dress
Dressing for your shape is all about balance and proportion and ruched dresses do the work for you. Carefully positioned ruching and draping has such figure-enhancing magic. The ruching can define an area, then drape over and add volume others – great to add curves to slimmer frames and drape or stretch over curvier bodies. Hey presto, a dress that will work to flatter your figure.
Where to buy: Cos, Preen Line, Zara
- The midi dress
No longer old fashioned and twee and just worn by your Granny, midi dresses or tea dresses, the sort with a midi hemline, sleeves and in light, floral or print fabrics, are so easy to wear and so flattering. Just make sure the tailored point (seam/waistline) is at your slimmest part (under boobs or nipped at the waist), choose a hem that cuts you off at a good part of your leg below the knee, go button down for elongating shorter or wider torsos and keep prints smaller the more petite you are and vice versa and for the most flattering silhouette.
Where to buy: Charity shops, & Other Stories, Rixo, Mango
- The tie dress
I nearly labeled this the wrap dress, bit I am seeing more and more tie dresses this season, where the tie/wrap can be side, middle or back. With its super slimming tie or knot waist, v-neckline and non-gripping A-line skirt it is universally flattering. It defines the waist and can add curves for more straight up and down figures, skims and slims over hips and bottoms for those conscious of this area. If you feel short in the torso, choose a deeper, plunging neckline to lengthen, and those with a bigger bust, the v-neckline and fit and flare style waist, will balance your top and bottom halves.
Where to buy: & Other Stories, Kitri Studio, Rouge.com, Gestuz
- The jersey dress
A jersey dress has to be the ultimate fuss-free wardrobe staple for everyday comfort and ease, which you can style any which way, and wear day or night. Jersey dresses create effortless loose silhouettes and are so flattering as they just glide over your body. More often than not they are a subtle A-line shape, but other flattering shapes to choose are batwing, tunic, tulip or draped hem. A contrast panel adds colour or shape, or choose a print rather than block colour and play around with the length from maxi up to mini.
Where to buy: Cos, Zara, Me+Em, Boden
But don’t forget, if you try one of these styles and it doesn’t feel right, don’t wear it. Find your style, love it, wear it. Happy dressing!
A Guest Blog from Sophie Jones-Cooper
Sophie Jones-Cooper is a MumBoss, personal stylist and ex-fashion and beauty editor who has worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years for magazines including HELLO!, Cosmopolitan and Time Out. She is also mummy to Leo aged 6 and twins Amelie and Archie aged 2. She is now offering her styling skills to women in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds as My Stylish Friend, helping mums and mums-to-be feel confident and look stylish throughout pregnancy and motherhood. She offers one-on-one personal styling consultations, personal shopping sessions both in stores and online via Pinterest, wardrobe workouts/de cluttering and fun and affordable group styling parties as well as hosting style events, workshops and talks.
If you’d love to hear from Sophie on different fashion related topics then leave a comment below and we’ll see what we can arrange!