Summer Dresses - if you don't do pretty
Naya Rea AW16
We think the summer dress has quite a bad rep. If you're not interested in classic florals and you don't want to look like you’re still stuck on Boho, it can be slim pickings. Innovative summer dress designs and unusual styles don’t stray far from the catwalk, leaving the rest of us to choose between frumpy blooms or the style of a five year old. Well, not anymore. No longer are we limited to the least offensive paisley or something inappropriately sheer, as these days - thank god - there are many more options for summertime frocks than 'feminine and floaty' or the office-appropriate-wrap. We've sourced some of those we are particularly fond of from labels we love.
Day to Night
Nothing in the rules says a summer dress can’t be sleek, tailored and strong. We love the 60s inspired styling on this Louise Assomo Cuba dress, which silhouettes all the right places. It’s a wool and viscose-crepe mix so perfect for cooler summer days (and all that seasonal rain...) and the knee length cut says ‘summer’ without risking flashing your pants in the office.
€355 from Louise Assomo.
If the summer dress is all about making an impact for you then this hi-tech neoprene ensemble from Sarah Bond beats frilly florals into the ground with a big stick. Inspired by traditional Japanese style from the Edo Period it’s got all the star power of cut-outs and a reverse peplum but still allows you to move without fear of exposure. The dress is hand made and delivers within 14 days.
£895 from Sarah Bond London
There’s so much we love about the Naya Rea label right now and especially when it comes to the range of dresses. Feminine without being saccharine, detailed without losing perspective, we think the label is a fine example of how to design stand out looks for women who want to retain subtler style credentials. This golden metallic dress is 100% silk and fully lined – tapping into the metallics and 70s trends, as well as our desire for some serious shimmer. The pink frock (at the top of the page) is from the label’s AW16 collection but we had to include it because we think you should know it exists.
Price on request from Naya Rea
Versatile + Vibrant
Summer dresses and prints can be the place where good design goes to die but not when it’s in the hands of Sabinna, a fashion talent who has a truly innovative approach to the pieces she creates. With this dress, hand embroidery was used as a print to create 3D visuals on a flat surface. Its vibrant colour palette is one of the reasons we love it and the exceptional workmanship is another. The dress is from the AW16 collection but can be delivered 4 weeks after you place the order.
£490 from Sabinna
Something a bit different
Of course you don’t have to wheel out a dress every time a ray of sunshine hits the tarmac as sometimes a jumpsuit does the job just as well - if not with more aplomb. This One O Eight design is crafted for comfort but pulls off the feel of vintage Capri in the heart of summer. It’s cropped – of course – and the addition of lapels gives it a gentle masculine tailoring twist a la YSL's Le Smoking.
£90 from The Glass Pineapple
We love this bold jacquard dress with its leg of mutton sleeves and the contrasting orange highlighting. The fabric is proof that you can wear patterns without looking fussy and the front fastening zipper lends it a tough, but womanly, feel. The dress is from the Andreeva AW16 collection but you can pre order it now.
£244 (approx) from Andreeva
See, florals can be done without making you feel like you're wearing your nan's curtains. Exceptional London label Yuzzo has created not one but two fantastic floral frocks that put the boom back in blooms. Cut to be sleek and grown up, the sophisticated silhouettes provide a perfect contrast against the ultra feminine, sweet shop shades and the flash of flesh at the thigh. You may as well get them both.
The updated sweat
Finally, if you want the total opposite to a fussy floral frock then go for simple and sporty instead. Marl grey + white never fades as an option for summer style if you ask us and this ultra mini neoprene dress will give you style points and tanned legs at the same time. We also love the elbow patches for a geek chic edge.
EUR90 from Eon Paris