God these are hard. I only remember this when I actually try to buy one. And I usually only try to buy one when I NEED one. As they are so pigging hard to buy.
Of course, I can think back and recall at least a couple of dresses I've tried on and I've really liked. But I didn't buy them as I didn't need them.
Well I'm a tool.
As now that dress season is literally around the corner, I am starting to go into panic mode.
And I understand that I'm not the only one.
Oh we've been here before - we're here all the time. The nightmare that is the Dress Purchase.
It should be easy. The shops are full of them. Bursting at the seams with them. So theoretically none of us should have any problems at all. And no, I wouldn't have a problem if I didn't mind looking like Auntie Brenda at a wedding, circa 1996.
It's really hard buying a dress at 42 when, in your head, you still think you're 28.
Except that when you try a dress on that you would have worn at 28, there's more than a hum of Lady of the Night about you.
Now people always say to me that it must be easy to buy a dress being 5ft10 and a size 10 (ish). It's not. They are either too short or cut off at the wrong (and always frumpy) length. They're often not long enough for me in the body or are too tight across the shoulders yet big on the hips. I have no waist yet I do have a stomach (I've just ordered 30 day shred which will either have me looking like Elle McPherson in a month or make a great coaster) and lots of dresses are gifted at making me look like a barrel. Oh and I have no boobs. But I'm pigeon chested.
So as you can see, it doesn't matter how tall or seemingly slender you are, it can still be hard.
What exactly am I looking for? At the risk of sounding like a broken record - a dress that I can wear out at night with heels, that I could wear to a smarter occasion and that I could also throw on for the school run with flats and a blazer or a denim jacket.
How hard can that be? Did I mention machine washable? Now I know that these exist as I do have a fair few of them from last year and the year before. Which, yes I could wear and I will wear but I need - my version of need...- at least one more. (ok so this is one more than the one I have found.......this so makes sense in my head)
I do have a shortlist but there has just been a drop of new season goodies so I'm going to see if there are any that we can add. I will then bring you the chosen shortlist once I've ordered them all and we can see if any of them are winners.
You need a selection as we've all thought a dress would look amazing on, tried it... and wept.
To demonstrate how easily this can happen and how good dresses can go bad so so easily, here are pics of me in two earlier this week.
In my head, I would look like I was wearing Isabel Marant.
Yeah. About that.....
Starting with a dress I've had on my short list for a while now. A perfect example of why you should try things on as they *might* not go to plan.....
Somerset by Alice Temperley Tie Waist Tile Dress £160
To be fair, it doesn't even look all that on the model. And no, this would not be my choice of footwear...... Like I said, I was thinking Isabel Marant, not Bugsy Malone.
And here I am looking like someone's tied an elastic band around a balloon. Admittedly I do have my jeans on underneath but they made precious little difference, I promise you.
Next up, another lesson learnt at Mango. If a dress looks too short, then chances are, it's going to be too short.
Floral Chiffon Dress £59.99
To say I looked wide round the middle was an understatement. I looked like a smoked bavarian cheese. In red print.
Slightly less Ms Marant and more Ms Piggy
However there's one more from Mango that I'd like to try (learning a lesson? Moi?)
Ethnic Print Dress £34.99 - clearly if I *hope* it's not that short, it won't be. In a world where *hope* is of the hem lengthening variety.....and pigs fly.
Now just down from Topshop at Bluewater is Monsoon. And I'm not going to lie - I don't often/ever go in there. My perception is that it's expensive for what it is and it never fits me.
But this was right at the front of the shop and in the flesh, it is stunning.
Daisy Shirt Dress in yellow from Monsoon £99 Only slight issue that I have is that it says dry clean only and it's viscose which I think is the trickiest fabric to deal with. Silk you can normally always hand wash but viscose is a different story....
The other one I saw which is also from the same collection created from the collaboration with the Royal College of Art. Now, it's not something that I would normally go for but I'm very drawn to it.... Although I have to say the one above would be my first preference.
Sunray Printed Dress £99
Online, have also found this which I think could be very useful, especially if you are a navy fan - there aren't that many navy dresses out there (obviously, every dress I come across now is going to be navy....)
Betty Embroidered Dress from Monsoon £89 Alas there aren't any washing instructions under the Care tab online. Irritating much? Why yes Monsoon......
Speaking of being near Topshop, I found probably my favourite dress of the day there. But alas - there in lies the issue with being tall - it just didn't fit me properly. I do find it strange that in the same shop, sizes can differ so much. Whilst the size 10 in the jumpsuit fits perfectly, the size 12 was on the short cut side in the dress. Balls. I absolutely love this and am gutted that it doesn't fit properly. Just two more inches in the body and I'd be fine....
Shadow Leaf Print Shirt Dress from Topshop £42 a really lovely silky jersey fabric as well.
However the biggest surprise of the day for me was at M&S. Yes there are some absolute howlers but oh my lord there were some total total gems.
I'm not sure I recall seeing this one but I am definitely ordering it. Just so pretty and so so easy to wear. I'm just not sure if I have any shoes that go with it...... *cue new blog*
Oriental Floral Tunic Dress £45
Floral Tunic Dress from M&S £45 This one very much reminds me of a blue version of my Sportmax one from last year - with heels or even birkies for dress down chic, I really do think this could work.
Now this might seem on the more Autumnal side but if you have a day like yesterday - cold and wet - this will seem like a god send. Plus you can always keep it for the actual Autumn.
Zipped Pocket Striped Tunic from M&S £45
Rebecca Dress from Boden £79 I think it's more Milly than Boden....
Now I have managed to find one absolutely perfect dress that I have already earmarked for the 8yr old's First Holy Communion, black tux blazer for church, with snakeskin LK Bennet sandals and matching bag.
Triange Dress in Antique White £65
This is also a great dress if you prefer your shoulders covered - and I do have it on good authority that you can handwash it.
Daisy Dress from Hush £65 in grey and also in a biscuit shade.
Hush also have a flash sale of 20% off 20 pieces which makes the Astrid dress a total bargain now.
Astrid Dress from hush was £45 now £36
Whilst we're talking bargains, I can't not mention this one from Next.... So.... the shirt dress that I have been umming and ahhing over which is certainly on the sortlist... this one:-
Charcoal Geo Print Shirt Dress £38
Well here's a random thing.... click on this link and it takes you directly through to the Clearance section where the dress is only £13... the identical dress.
Weird, but good. Very good. And even better, another loophole I've discovered. Order something to be delivered to store, which is free. Then when it takes you through to the confirmation page, on the right hand side of your screen, there's a little box that proclaims, fear not if you've forgotten, click here and you can get free delivery. So order the exact same thing again but this time have it delivered to your home for next day free delivery. *stares at new dresses that have just been delivered from when I ordered them last night at 10pm*.
So these aren't your smart smart dresses (although to be totally honest with you, this is as smart as I would get. I would just change the look with accessories as I am such a total skinflint I can't stand to buy a dress that just sits in my wardrobe)
Having said that, I do have a couple that get dragged out when I need a Proper Dress and have been eminently useful and every wardrobe needs them. These are frocks that absolutely cannot be worn on the school run - think Ball, think super smart wedding....... I've been asked more than a couple of times for these so I will be looking at them shortly. What a chore......
Finishing with outfit from yesterday.
White linen tee - Zara
Ankle zip skinny jeans - Boden
Black bat sweatshirt - Zoe Karssen
Black tux blazer - hush
Charcoal Dakota flatforms - Seven Boot Lane
Harker hands free bag - Anya Hindmarch
Can't believe it's only Thursday... so so so looking forward to the weekend. Am clearly surreptitiously ignoring the abysmal weather forecast....