I have always been the biggest fan of dresses, making my Summer ones work in the Winter and yearning to bring out my Winter ones the minute the temperatures drop. It is just something in me that loves to wear them, as well as constantly buying them and researching what is on the market. This Summer there seems to have been a real increase in the selection on the market, particularly on the high street. Big brands like H&M and New Look are straying away from traditional Summer trends, such as festival looks and cheap looking playsuits, to much more feminine knee length and maxi dresses. We are seeing a lot of ruffles, textures in the materials and much more elegant prints than in recent years. This is something I am very happy about, as it has made my Summer shopping experience much more enjoyable than last year. I find the selection to be much more sophisticated, whilst also retaining their bargain prices that are connected with these brands.

A Summer dress should make you feel care free, able to enjoy the heat and feel confident in the way you look. This is why I have always chosen them over shorts or tight skirts, as I hate having to get my body out just because it’s the Summer.

The dress featured in this post is something I spotted and picked up the moment I walked into my local New Look store, as I knew it was ideal for this season. I am huge fan of bright red, as I love that it is such a happy colour whilst also flattering any figure. To me, it is very much my Summer version of black. This particular one is ideal for me this year, as I am definitely feeling a little self-conscious with my new tummy. It sits perfectly over the chest with beading design under the bust, to flatter the figure, falling not too far out meaning that it is great at hiding what’s underneath without giving the illusion of you being bigger than you are.

To compliment the dress, and add length to my legs, I chose to wear it with nude pink heeled sandals. These sandals have been my go to this season, for their comfort and durability for hours. Having said that, they were also my go to last year! The colour works perfectly with the dress, toning the look down, whilst also making me feel much more confident in myself wearing the casual dress for a more formal occasion.

To add contrast to this outfit, I chose my trusty Zara Summer bag, with a polka dot scarf tied to the handle. This has been a favourite of mine this year as it is so cute and feminine, however I must admit, completely useless as the concept of storing anything inside it. The colour of the bag, with the scarf, adds something more to the outfit, without I feel being too heavy. It can be held in your hand, or worn over body, which does make it easier to use in the day through to the evening. I cannot cope with holding my handbag in my hand all day long.

Summer Dresses 101

When it comes to Summer dresses I think it is often really hard to find the correct one for you, as unfortunately nowadays all the high street styles are very much designed and created with one single body size and type in mind. This type and size is one that probably about 95% of us don’t actually fit into. My biggest problem when shopping for dresses is that I actually have a very small waist and top half, and seem to hold most of my weight around my hips and bum. Therefore, I am always a smaller dress size on top to the bottom. Shopping for jeans and bottoms is fine, as well as tops, as I can just buy the different sizes, but with a dress you need something that fits all of you. This can be quite a dis-heartening task on a shopping trip.

So, how do you overcome this? I have by no means found a way around this and it has been a huge process of trial and error this year. You are really going to have to accept, especially if you order online like I do, that you are going to be sending a lot of things back.

I would say for every five dresses I buy, I only land up keeping one. A style of dress is very personal to the individual, so my top tip would be to order the style of your choice in a variety of sizes, knowing that you can send back the ones that don’t suit you. I have not found the time yet this year, however I do think it is much easier to go on a shopping trip, with a list of what you need for the season, and try them on in store. It does stop the hassle of sending things back and means that you can get what you need there and then.

My main tip with dresses, if you’re like me where you’re one size on top and another on the bottom, that is when you are going to have to accept that some things may need altering. In reality, you will probably be surprised by how little it actually costs to get something taken in or off simply. Always buy the size that fits you in one area, but is too big in another, as taking it in is much easier. I have made the mistake so many times of buying something a little too small and telling myself, “I’m going on a  diet so it will fit next month”. Let’s be honest, it very rarely actually happens.

Where to shop this Summer

I am very much someone who shops in different places through the seasons. This year my favourites have to have been H&M and New Look. The variety of pieces they have had available have blown me away and I do think the overall quality of their products has massively improved. In recent years and very much through Autumn Winter I am a complete Zara girl, but this year for the first time ever, in general I have been disappointed by their Summer collection. I have bought one or two nice pieces, but am quite frankly appalled at the sizing. I am not a big girl, nor am I small, probably on the spectrum of a comfortable 10 on top and 12 on bottom. However, when it comes to Zara I have struggled to even get into a large, which honestly is ridiculous. The average size of a woman in the UK is a 16, so basically Zara is only open to those who are way below the average. It saddens me that such a big influential brand only caters to those with small figures.

With that being said, I am extremely happy by what I have seen with H&M and New Look, who are definitely catering to a much wider audience and offering their products to anyone and everyone. Everything I have bought seems to have been available in much bigger sizes and the sizes themselves are much more reflective of the actual person. For example, a size 10 or 12 actually fits me. I have not been having to buy anything bigger, as I am not bigger than that. They have definitely got it right this year with the styles on offer, staying on trend whilst also delivering very affordable prices.

Shop this Post:

 

Red Dress – New Look

Shoes – New Look

Bag – Zara

Scarf – Zara

Photography by Hana Dallimore Photography

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

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