What do you do when you are in a rush and have no time to put together an outfit? Or when you’re going on a trip with only a carry-on and want to have a multitude of looks for day and night? Go for dresses! I am such a fan of dresses. They make me feel feminine, powerful, playful, pulled-together, strong, breezy but most of all, they enable easy and hassle-free dressing. Here are my top 5 dress picks…
My All Time Favourite Dress Style – I’m Wrapped
My top pick is absolutely, 100 per cent, hands down the wrap dress. It can go anywhere – school run, office, lunch with the girls, night out, weekend coffee, romantic mini-break, jet setting vacay… You can get long sleeved wrap dresses for winter (just add coat and boots) and short-sleeved or sleeveless for summer (just add sandals). Dress down the wrap dress with sneakers or ballet flats, denim jacket optional. Dress it up with a pump heel for the office (blazer optional), or a stiletto or wedge heel for a night out (be sure to add a pop of colour on your lip and a statement earring or necklace).
What’s more, wrap dresses work for most body shapes (pear, apple, banana, carrot, hourglass, rectangle, oval, triangle, inverted triangle – they’ve got you covered). They and come in an array of different fabrics and prints. The queen of wrap dresses is of course, Diane von Furstenberg. She basically invented them and offers prints and styles for everyone.
Here’s a few of my DVF favourites available at Net-a-Porter:
You don’t need to spend that much to get a wrap dress you’re wrapped in. Here are some budget friendly options available in-store now:
While I love wrap dresses and they are a great choice for every body type, I want to talk about some of my other favourites.
Coat Dresses With a Touch of Royalty
A lot of women I work with tend to gravitate towards the classic style and one of the classic style icons is Kate Middleton. She has a number of tried and tested looks that she either re-wears, or comes up with new iterations. One of them is the coat dress.
It’s a great piece to try out, especially as we are moving into colder seasons. At first glance it’s exactly what the name suggests, but it has a more fitted and feminine silhouette than its outerwear counterpart. The Duchess of Cambridge has stepped out in a range of coat dresses and generally prefers hers to be knee-length.
Coat dresses generally accentuate the waist, which works for a lot of body shapes (especially hourglass, inverted triangle, rectangle, carrot and banana shapes). Coat dresses can also be a great way to cleverly disguise a larger derriere – perfect for triangles and pears.
Styles without collars and lapels would be great for inverted triangles and carrots and those with collars and less flouncy skirts would be suited for triangles and hourglass shapes. If you are not sure what your shape is, take the free style consult in That Style Chick app.
You can also try the coat dress’s close cousins – the blazer dress and the tuxedo dress. Those two might work for the elegant or the alluring styles.
Pretty Little Thing
Shift or Sheath?
I bet even those who have never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s will immediately have a mental image of Audrey Hepburn in that gorgeous shift dress. Hubert de Givenchy teamed up with the actress to create the piece for the film (and in 2006 one of the 3 dresses that were made for the film was sold for upwards of $900,000!).
The close cousin to the shift dress is the sheath dress. What is the difference between the two? Generally, a shift dress hangs down from the shoulders and has clean, simple lines. Most shift dresses are sleeveless, although you might find variations, such as the red Goat Library shift dress below which has 3/4 sleeves. A shift dress is loose and straight. Sheath dresses tend to hug the body more and are form-fitting (a pencil dress is a sheath dress). They follow your curves and accentuate them.
Shift dresses are great if you have an oval, apple, rectangle or banana shape but are not necessarily the best pick for hourglass, inverted triangle, carrot or pear, unless they’re cinched in with a belt. Sheath dresses are perfect for the hourglass and can also work well on inverted triangles and carrots, especially if they have a v-neckline.
Carla Zampatti Sheath Dress
Forever New Shift Dress
Goat Library from The Outnet Shift Dress
A Timeless Classic – The Shirt Dress
In 1916 Coco Chanel turned a shirt into a dress, which was truly rebellious in the time of corsets and crinolines. In the 1950’s Dior added a leather belt to it and a full skirt, and in the 80’s Yves Saint Laurent changed the look yet again with a narrower waistline and broader shoulders.
The shirt dress is yet another universal style. You can wear it as is if you’re a rectangle or banana, accentuate your waist with a belt if you’re triangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, pear or carrot, or wear it with a scarf draped long for ovals and apples. This is a dress that could work for casual looks as well as office dressing. Just make sure you pick the dress in the appropriate fabric and print.
Shirt dresses can also double as an outer layer – unbutton it all the way down and wear over a t-shirt dress or over jeans and a t-shirt. Such a great outfit for those with boho style.
Viktoria & Woods
Fit & Flare if You Dare
In 1947 Dior broke new ground by introducing the “fit a flare” style of dress, although it wasn’t until the 50’s that it really gained popularity. Synonymous with vintage 50’s style, the fit and flare style is still popular today and for good reason; it is beautifully feminine and can make almost any body shape look perfectly in proportion. Different necklines work on different body shapes but hourglass, rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, banana, pear and carrot types will all be flattered in a fit and flare style dress, regardless of clothing size.
Here are a couple that I love:
When choosing a dress remember to consider what colouring you have (If you’re unsure take the free style consult in That Style Chick app to find out). Whilst the LBD is timeless, it’s not the best option for warm or light colouring and there are plenty of colour options to choose from. As I write this, blue, rust, jewel-tones and gelato hues are popular. If warm colours work for you, pick a ‘little dress’ in one of your primary colours instead of black. Add the right shoes and a couple of statement accessories to complete the look and help you feel ready for anything the day throws at you!