The long and short of dressing for summer

By Sarah Tankel, June 6, 2008

From minis to maxis, frocks are in

There has never been a better time to say “yes to the dress”. With summer (I use that word loosely) looming near, my advice to you is ditch the denims, toss out those trousers and get those pins in shape. This season, the dress has taken centre stage, with long ones, short ones, patterned ones and even micro-mini ones, everywhere from Prada to Primark. It is easy-peasy chic: just slip on and you are good to go.

Super cute: Matalan's tea dress

Firstly, let us talk about the tea dress — for some time a classic, figure-flattering wardrobe staple that rescues us from the dreaded “I’ve-got-nothing-to-wear” situation. Good news, then, that this season the tea dress is floral, fabulous and most definitely bang on trend. Designers such as Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney showcased a selection of super-cute ditzy numbers in everything from bold brights to muted tones on the spring catwalks. Hot on the high street, however, is Matalan’s super-cute number. At just £16, it would be a serious crime not to.

You name it — ruffles, tiers, puffs and frills — anything vaguely romantic is adorning our dresses this season. Topping the trend radar, however, is the tiered dress. It is feminine, fashionable and fun and even surprisingly wearable. Just beware of anything too short:I am guessing you do not want to look like you forgot to put your trousers on. Believe it or not, Wallis has an enviable collection of all things romantic — first and foremost, though, is a cute-as-a-button sherbet pink frock for £60. Love it!

Heck, if you can show off those legs, then feel free to do so, but please let it be in a prom dress. This spring the designers have wowed us with thigh-skimming numbers with an unexpected 1950s feel. In fact, Sonia Rykiel, Luella and Miu Miu showed the sexy side of the prom with their ultra-short, ultra-voluminous, flirty frocks. The hemlines have been raised, ladies! If bold colours are not for you, go for something girly like Oasis’s floral gem, £80. For extra va-va-voom, add a petticoat underneath — you will be Miss Carrie Bradshaw in no time.

For those of us who are not blessed with legs like Gisele’s and would quite frankly prefer not to parade them in a mini, the answer is of course the maxi dress. And boy is it one heavenly creation. With its empire-line shape, it nips you in at the narrowest part of your body (highlighting that silhouette) while its loose lines glide over any lumps and bumps — yippee! Copy the catwalks of D&G, Etro and Cavalli and maximise that maxi with embellished flats and an oversized straw bag. Just watch out if you are short — that maxi must be paired with heels. The idea is not to swamp you.

Why not opt for a maxi with a spot of embellishment and wear it day through to night? All you need is a quick shoe change. Head to Warehouse fast for its silk stunner at £80.

Last updated: 11:04am, September 25 2009