Last week, I did the school run wearing a white sundress. It was brave, wearing white with two young kids, especially given one of them attaches itself to my leg on a near-permanent basis. It wasn’t the fact I managed to reach school on time, white dress totally intact, that surprised me the most – it was the fact several women came up to me to ask where it was from. NB: This has never happened to me with any other item of clothing before. Smart, easy, comfy, nice-looking – whenever I wear my white & Other Stories sundress, I’m always asked, ‘where’s your dress from?’
The main reason my sundress caused such a flurry of enquiries, I discovered, is because affordable sundresses are ‘really hard to find’. Easy-to-wear, stylish summer dresses for grownups? Sigh, if only. Found in the dregs of the sale last summer, I bought my & Other Stories white sundress three sizes up, so it would fit. (I think it’s supposed to be fitted, but actually, once my ego calmed down, I realised it looks better worn way looser.) I looked for something similar on the high street this year, and after quite a lot of digging, found a few I liked online at Zara, M&S and H&M. If your budget can stretch, spending a bit more can sometimes be worth it. Like the linen Zimmermann sundress I bought in the Net-a-Porter sale two years ago. Classic, it’s a total keeper and I wear it a lot. The & Other Stories dress is also a keeper, which is why I think it’s a shame they just haven’t repeated it in their collection this year. Judging from the school-gate flurry, it would’ve sold out.
There are lots of very beautiful, well-made sundresses floating around the £400 / 500 mark. YIKES. I know. It’s an awful lot to spend on a sundress and I’m not sure I could do it (see my Gul Hurgel sale-find on The Outnet below). But, if you have an event to go to and you’d wear it again and again….maybe? Saying that, Gul Hurgel’s light linen dresses are exquisite. From Istanbul, I met the designer at a dinner over a year ago, and found her to be the nicest, kindest, most down to earth person – which is refreshing in fashion. When it comes to clothes, knowing something’s been made by someone with soul, is it just me, or does that stuff feel really important?
I just wish I could find a sundress label that made sundresses for a quarter of the price. There are lots of beachy labels doing great dresses, like my friend’s line, Star Mela, but I can’t find a mid-price brand that specialises in smarter, grown-up day dresses. Unless I missed it? (Please let me know.) I’m still in love with American brand, Sea. I’ve bought a few dresses over the years and still wear them five years on. (I love this corset dress that’s attached to a t-shirt top).
Like I said, after a lot of digging, I found fabulous sundresses at M&S, H&M and Zara, but do they have longevity? I’m avoiding landfill-shopping like the plague, and I don’t shop anywhere near as much as I used to. My advice when it comes to the high street, is go for something non-trend-focused, and only buy something because it REALLY suits you and you REALLY love it, that way, it might just last a lifetime. (Fingers crossed).
There are loads of small, exciting fashion labels popping up at the moment, and I particularly like those designed by ex-fashion editors. Take new label Evi Grintela, for example (pictured below). Having worked as a fashion editor for two decades, here’s a designer who knows a thing or two about what women want. Cut like a traditional gentlemen’s shirt, her range of shirt-dresses feel ultra modern, mega-comfy and they have pockets! Hallelujah! The cotton is gorgeous quality and hangs beautifully. I’m going to say it again: here’s a dress with longevity in a style that stands the test of time. Nothing beats the ease of wearing a shirt-dress all summer long.
La Double J Editions, a Matches Fashion exclusive (pictured below), is the occasion-line of Milan based label, La Double J. JJ Martin, an American ex-fashion editor married to an Italian, living in Milan, Martin loves all things vintage, and her line of easy-to-wear dresses pays homage to seventies prints and wearable silhouettes. The kind of dresses you’ll have in your wardrobe (yup) forever, the quality of the fabric and cut is exceptional. *Adds to basket…
As for my white & Other Stories dress that inspired this blog post, ‘Gearing up for the big day?’ asked one mum at the school gate, as I sauntered past, a vision in white, grappling with two scooters, hollering, ‘Nathaaaaaaaaaniel, you forgot your bag!’ ‘Erm actually’, I said, ‘I’m looking forward to our honeymoon. I mean, just think of the summer-dress-wearing opportunities!’ As for all the expensive sundresses I’ve fallen in love with this season? *Shhhhh, the summer sales are just around the corner*. Ah, the summer sales. That’s one thing I’m ready to commit to.