Plain doesn't have to be boring.

In fact I would go so far as to say you will be surprised at how much wear you get out of them.  And it's certainly very much back in my comfort zone.  Neutral, plain, "fudgey" colours as The Husband has been known to call them (apart from navy - he doesn't mind navy....) are the perfect basics to have in your wardrobe as a Summer staple.  

We're all over the LBD or the Little Navy Dress which had its day last A/W yet no-one really mentions them in the Spring or Summer.  And they're just as useful to have around now - in perhaps lighter neutral shades if you like - greys, beiges and creams. 

No embellishment on the dress so it can work as a foil for any level or colour of accessory you want to add.  As I've mentioned a gazillion times - my favourites are the dresses that work hard for you.  Get them multitasking both during the day and at night.  For the school run, lunches, work meeting and out in the evenings.  Now not all of these fit that latter bill but for the most part they do.  (there were a couple I came across that were lovely and couldn't resist putting in as I'm always getting asked for formal outfits) 

Starting with one as I absolutely love this shot - for once M&S have got it so right.  She looks like a normal person.  She looks gorgeous and she's super pretty but I adore the fact that she's not 23, a size 8 trying to look comfortable in an outfit she'd rather give to her mum.  Because that's how I think so many models (and not just at M&S - are there any companies that feature real looking women who aren't tanned within an inch of their lives, a size 8, usually hovering around age 30 if not younger?  I shall perused this some more.....) 

Cross Back Shift Dress £45 from Limited Edition at M&S.  Anyway, as you can it's a great dress with the block heel sandals that it appears we should all be wearing this season.  Lovely also to see an outfit dressed up without a sky scraper heel that so many people don't like wearing.

If you're looking for something more casual and something you could wear tomorrow (legs permitting of course...) then the Caravane Tunic Dress from Anthropologie that I have been banging on about for months is now in the sale and is only £58.95 from £118 

I have talked about these a number of times I know but I just think they would be so useful, especially for the Spring - would look great with a biker jacket and sneakers.  Or ankle boots.  Or sandals.  Any footwear, just someone please buy it so I can shop vicariously!  Oh and on that link the blue and floral ones are also on sale.)

This is another more casual number but could very easily be dressed up.  I've featured this before as I love it so much - has more than an Acne hint about it for significantly less money. 

Draped Dress from Hush £50

Speaking of an Acne vibe, this silk overlay from Jigsaw is very similar to a navy one I tried on from the Swedish gurus at the beginning of the season.  This is however, much cheaper than the Acne was even in the sale. 

Jigsaw Silk Overlay Dress £120 (HANDWASH - YEEEHAAAAA) 

Hobbs really are having an ace season this Spring - something I definitely need to explore in more detail at another time but just throwing in some dresses today - this one I love.  For me, it's the ideal Summer shape, I can't stand anything clingy (I'm not saying I'm sweaty but.... I just don't like that feeling of claustrophobia when it's warm and I'm encased in clothes!) 

Black Justine Dress £110 Would look just as fab with a pair of little leopard print skate shoes... just saying..... (and of course it goes in the machine if I'm going to advocate wearing it every day) 

More fitted now with a pencil dress from ASOS at £40

A different style is available at ASOS - a wrap dress but with cap sleeves as opposed to long ones.  I love the full skirt and faux wrap on this - reminds me actually of my Burberry one from last year which can look rather "prim" but some strappy high heels sandals and chunky statement jewellery soon takes the Mary Poppins aspect away.

ASOS Wrap Dress £40

Bubble textured skater dress £45 from M&S. I've tried this style and I have to say, as a tallie, I've always found the proportions just ever so slightly off so I manage to look like I have a child's dress on.  Which isn't really a look I ever feel like channelling so I end up steering clear.  But I know this is a really good shape if you're gifted with a pear shape. 

Another fit and flare dress is available at BHS, moving onto navy. 

Navy Ponte Fit and Flare dress £19.50

My find of the day though has to be the Neoprene Fit and flare dress from Dorothy Perkins.  Now randomly this is only available in one size on the DP's site but is in abundance if you buy from BHS online.  Go figure.  Either way, it's absolutely gorgeous - reminds me of the Raoul one I was desperate to get hold of last year.  Apart from the Raoul one wasn't £22.50.  Yes folks, £22.50. (on special offer from £25) 

Blue neoprene Fit and Flare dress from Dorothy Perkins at BHS

Clearly they're given it a very ladylike style to it here - would be beautiful for a wedding or a formal occasion but I would team with black gladiator style strappy heels for a slightly more everyday look.  (when I say everyday, I don't exactly mean the school run.  But an evening out with friends, dinner party, that sort of thing where you do want to get dressed up but don't want to look too grown up.   That totally makes sense in my head) 

Whistles always come up trumps in the plain navy dress stakes and this season is no exception. 

Whistles Alison Dress £135

Love this jersey one from Nicole Farhi. 

Farhi by Nicole Farhi Hyacinth dress in navy £120

I love a shirt dress - either buttoned up or unbuttoned (not all the way although I guess that would depend on you..) and this navy one from Hobbs is lovely.  Would look great with brogues, ballet pumps or sandals for the day time or shove on some strappy sandals and it's a far dressier dress. (I'm not loving it with the demi heel courty malarkey they've got going on here but that's just me) 

Sarah Dress in navy. £129

Best of British £155 Pleated Shirt dress at M&S  I haven't discussed this range fully yet - I need to get my head round it, but in the meantime, there is very little grey around as a summer neutral and I love the shape and shade of this.  Ideal for work but again would be lovely dressed with up with black glad sandals (clearly I have my Burberry ones in mind which have paid for themselves over and over again but there are loads others out there) 

Grey Cupro V Front Dress from Warehouse in Grey £46

Moving onto neutral shades and I love this one from M&S.  It reminds me very much of the style that Jaeger have had for the past couple of years.  Clearly something got lost in translation as I'm not entirely sure "Sack Shift Dress" as a description would be winning any marketing awards any time soon.   Nevertheless it is a gorgeous dress and an amazing price as per usual from those at Marks. 

Sack Shift Dress £45 from M&S

This is again from Dorothy Perkins but I found it at BHS is this unusual shade of blush which is just the perfect neutral shade for Spring/Summer.  This would look gorgeous with pretty much every colour but I have to say my favourite would be with a snakeskin print.  I love these shades together.  Or with tan and cream.  It really is the perfect foil for so much - floral shoes and matching bag? 

Blush plain crepe dress was £32 now £22.40

Now this is more on the formal side and yup, you're not going to wear this one during the day for bombing around with the kids with a pair of skate shoes on, but it ticks so many boxes if you do have an occasion to dress for and are looking for a neutral blank canvas of a dress. 

Reiss Aragon Shoulder Detail Dress £169

This is another more fitted dress - the black version is above.

Pencil Textured dress in Stone from ASOS £40

A two tone dress still in neutral shades so could easily be teamed with lots of other colours or prints is this from Hobbs. 

Nicole Dress £129 in neutral 

And in the ivory and navy 

Another two tone navy number is available from By Malene Birger - still very much in the neutral zone. 

Vinoda Cocoon Shaped Dress £230 Now this is clearly an investment purchase but I would be as likely to wear this on the school run with a pair of flat sandals or havs and a straw trilby as I would dressed to the nines for a super party with strappy nude sandals and a nude clutch.  Or revert back to my beloved snakeskin which I think would look fab with this.  And of course, I wouldn't be mentioning any of this if it wasn't hand (ie cold machine) wash.  Makes the world of difference, doesn't it?

Whilst we are talking about my favourite dresses, special mention has to go to the Marilla Dress from All Saints which currently has 25% off the usual £88 price tag.  Code is SURPRISE

Available in a host of neutral colours:-

I have to say I love the indigo 

How fab does this look dressed down with a leather jacket?

In a dark grey marl  There is also the most divine geranium which I can't post as it clearly isn't a neutral but please do click on link if you like bright colours as it's simply gorgeous. 

And what they call khaki 

Saving my absolute favourite till last and if you want this, you need to get your skates on as this will sell out, believe me.  Whistles have come up totally trumps with another version of the amazing cocoon dresses that I had last year.  They are bringing it out in the most gorgeous pink colour which is the main item in most of their advertising for High Summer.  But having spoken to various people at Whistles, they have never mentioned a navy.  NAVY!  YES NAVY!  Soooo I can only assume that it's a special edition for John Lewis, which they do make (remember the navy sculptured top? Clearly it's the John Lewis customer and navy.. I'm saying nothing "hides I love John Lewis tattoo") 

Whistles Louise Crepe Dress in navy £135 (the only only only reservation I have would be as to whether you could wear a strapless bra with it.. I'm pretty positive you must be able to - you certainly can with my ones from last year in spite of them having quite a low v back) 

So hopefully there is something there for most tastes and budgets.  We have tripped into April tomorrow and I need to do my tally for March (god was it a slow month or what?)  but I think I am only one item over which will be part of my April allowance.  So two things left and I think I'm all shoed out.

But still loving the skate shoes - even The Husband doesn't mind them which is a total first. (actually he liked the New Balance as well.  I think the fact these were only £18 a pair for leather may have swung it for him) 

Today - I'll admit. I though it was going to be warmer.  I haven't been cold per se, but I haven't taken my scarf off.   Was rather pleased to find that my old Zara ponyskin cheetah shopper is the perfect match to the skate shoes.  I so love it when a plan comes together.  And yes, I know that matchy matchy is ridiculously old hat in so many fashion circles but I still love matching shoes and bag.  It's an element of safe with which I feel very comfortable. 


Olive vest - H&M

Khaki linen cargo pants - Topshop
Black boxy tee with cream sleeves - Cos
Dune monogram scarf - Louis Vuitton
Ponyskin cheetah print skate shoes - Next
Ponyskin cheetah print tote - Zara

Hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow, I have yearnings for my Spring wardrobe.

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20 comentarios:

  1. desperate for a dress for Saturday as hubby is home on leave from Afghanistan and we have a date night as an early anniversary and for my upcoming 50th birthday :/ love some of the ideas here, just dont know what to go for. think i need to go shopping and try some on. looking at getting the hush one for holiday in Dubai later in the year.

    1. the hush one is the perfect travelling dress - doesn't crease at all. How lovely for your DH to come back - so hope you find something (and how on EARTH can you be 50??!)

  2. I am really into dresses at the moment - they are SO easy to wear and in the summer when it's stinking hot there is nothing cooler than one piece items

    1. So so so true - this is what I discovered last year when I totally lived in those two Whistles dresses (have I mentioned them once or a GAZILLION times??) xxxx

  3. Hi Kat. I love your blog, ordered some navy dresses from this today. I am tall too and am trying to find some long maxi dresses, plain jersey and patterned. Please can you point me to some brands which are longer in length ? Thanks Sarah

    1. I do actually have a Maxi blog in the pipline but for extra tall - Hush ones fit me, try Next, DP and TS all of whom have longer length dresses. FCUK is always really long too and I also have one from Reiss which I actually have to wear heels with! xx

  4. Ok, new challenge coming up - I need a dress to accompany husband to a strictly dance charity event then to my daughters degree show - sexy enough to compete with the outfits for first one not too mutton for second???!! It's in 5 weeks and I'm panicking!

    1. oh god that's hard.... I'd get something plain like above (or in a colour , I did a colour one a few weeks ago) and then add jewellery or change it up with killer heels for the first and sensible ones for the second... Does that work at all?

  5. That Anthro Caravane dress is calling me, it is stunning and would be fab with sandals on summer eves, may have to purchase! X

    1. Bloody lovely isn't it? I think it would look amazing with ankle boots too... (I NEED it in the blue..)

  6. I love the Limited dress and obviously the AllSaints dresses too - in fact I wore my Pia dress today. I rarely wear necklaces so love to add some arm candy or fun shoes to mine. Dresses are so easy to wear in the summer - love them - I used to be quite partial to a Boden tunic worn as a dress too:)

    1. oh yes you and your Boden tunics... Can only see you in AS now! you look amazing in that dress today and yes, I can see how necklaces aren't you. But you do wear scarves so you could.........

  7. My favorite dress is the draped number from Hush, it's very Helmut Lang. Too bad they don't sell Hush clothing in the US, or maybe this is a good thing (for my wallet). I agree about the M&S model, I wish more online retailers did this so I can better gauge the fit of clothing.

    1. Hate to break it to you but you can do a WW delivery from Hush for only £12 P&P. Just saying......!

    2. Dangerous! Thanks for the tip!

  8. Can I ask your expert advice, Kat - I'm looking for a plain black t-shirt maxi dress (to go under leather jacket) and there's a fab one at Me & Em but at £100 I think that's pushing it a bit - have you come across any anywhere else? Many thanks and love all the dresses you've just featured above!

    1. oh god do you know what I"m sure i've seen one somewhere.. let me think - (try All Saints actually?) Although it probably will be as much. (Mango?) I shall be doing maxis v shortly - will bump it up for you x

    2. thanks! I found two bargainous Dorothy Perkins t-shirt maxi dresses which you might want to take a look at - the black in particular is nice, with dark stripes.

  9. Totally love the Anthropologie one! What a stunning dress & it would be so useful too! I'll be dreaming about that for weeks! Ax