I recently found a summer dress I’ve been looking for for two years. I already have a LOT of red, so ideally I’d have preferred it in another colour, but it ticked all my other boxes, so I bought it anyway. It isn’t high fashion or highly original, but on searing summer days, that isn’t my concern!
Here was my criteria for The Ideal Summer Dress:
*natural fabric (linen or cotton)
*machine washable (because sweat)
*NOT transparent in strong sunlight
*loose and airy
*V neckline (mostly for jewellery purposes, but also more flattering and cooler)
*maxi dress length (because my legs are so white, and some days are too hot to deal with self-tanner)
*pockets (a bonus but not a dealbreaker)
*a good colour (not black or white)
When I was googling ‘linen maxi dresses’ (again!) this one from Jaeger popped up. It fit my criteria, although I was specifically looking for one in turquoise. I ordered it straightaway and have worn it a couple of times a week during London’s recent heat wave. I was so pleased with it that I later tried this orange one from Jaeger as well, but it was awful on me… too much fabric, far too sheer, and the shade of orange is literally the exact colour of a traffic cone (it looked darker on my computer screen).
Ruby Shoo ‘Alena’ slides
The red one is ideal for me and its slouchy elegance really works in the heat. I’m not entirely convinced on the tassels, but I can always cut the strings off if they annoy me one degree more. I’ve worn this dress with beaded sandals, with these adorable gingham slides, and with red suede kitten heels. I’ve worn it with my multicolour bags, and today with this fabulous red Escada bag, given to me by Annie at Red Leopard (It was gifted to her, but wasn’t Annie’s style AT ALL, so she passed it on to me. When she gave it to me, she said, “You could detach the plastic chain and maybe use it as a clutch? I mocked horror and said, “NO! That’s the best part about it! The chain so Iris Apfel!” I’ve used it a lot, despite the heart motif, which I usually avoid.)
I like the dress worn with a generous stack of heavy gold chains, with bright beaded necklaces, and today with this silver modern swallow by Tarra Rosenbaum (Tarra and I are doing a giveaway of this necklace soon on Instagram, so keep your eyes peeled over there if you love it!). The dress has been to girl’s lunches, girl’s dinners, a parent drinks party, my son’s school ceremony, a doctor’s appointment, and a day of running around London with Greetje who writes the No Fear of Fashion blog and Susan from Une Femme d’un Certain Age blog. Its cost per wear has worked out brilliantly so far, and it has only been a few weeks!
Linen teaches me to embrace the wrinkles… good training for my face!
If you see me this summer, I guarantee you will see this dress. Later this month when I’m in New York, Savannah, and North Carolina, it will be perfect for the hot humid weather there. Eventually, I’ll take this to my tailor and ask her to copy it in a few other colours (maybe even a print if I want to go wild) and hopefully I’ll never have to buy another summer dress again for 10 years. I’ve never liked summer or summer clothes, but this dress, SPF 50, a lot of shade, and G&Ts will get me through.
P.S. Speaking of SPF, I’m currently using the Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF 50 on my face, and I really like it. It is slightly dewy and moisturising, so if you like a matte finish this isn’t for you. On me, it sits brilliantly under my makeup and doesn’t cause me to break out. Biore Watery Essence SPF 50 worked perfectly for the past two years, but suddenly my skin has decided to break out in little flat red marks with it.
Disclosure: The Gingham slides were kindly gifted to me by Ruby Shoo from their Vegan collection.
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