First are business wear dresses.
Navy V neck shift Jaeger // Navy ruch side shift LK Bennett // Colour block Shift Hobbs // Teal shift Hobbs // Orange A line dress Maxmara // Yellow shift Maxmara // Tunic dress Goat // Pastel Blue dress Armani Collezioni
If you work in a formal environment the classic shift dress with a matching or co-ordinating jacket is the perfect choice. Hobbs and LK Bennett do a version every season. One suggestion I would make is that you add your personal twist with accessories otherwise it does become a bit like a uniform and chances are you may end up in the same dress as a colleague. If you are in senior management I would recommend looking at Boss Woman, Max Mara and Goat and for Board level, Armani Collezioni, Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham do fabulous tailoring.
Choose a shift dress to complement your body shape. The LK Bennett dress top row second from leftright is good for those with curves, or choose a colour block shift, with a darker colour on the bottom, if you are heavier on the hips. From the bottom row the peach Maxmara dress would work well on all shapes but is especially good for a pear. The Goat dress bottom row second from right works on those who are Apple shaped and don’t have a waist.
I’ve added in some seasonal colour and any of the dresses on the bottom row could be worn for occasions outside the office. It’s always good to find a dress that you can wear outside of work too because then it’s worth investing more.
Next my favourite dresses – wrap and jersey
Orange mix dress Fenn Wright Manson // Blue print dress Maxmara // Pink floral dress Phase Eight // Blue print dress Phase Eight // Red wrap dress Wallis // Bright blue wrap dress DVF // Monochrome wrap dress DVF
I love a jersey dress because they are so easy and comfortable to wear, especially if they have gathers or rushing. They are often machine washable and if you pick a print you can wear a variety of coloured jackets or cardigans with them. Good places to look are Phase Eight, Hobbs, Maxmara and Fenn Wright Manson. If you choose a silk jersey you probably won’t be able to machine wash it but it will drape beautifully.
These dresses are really versatile too – dress up with a jacket for the office and your courts, or relax them with sandals or wedges during the summer. Some will even work for smarter occasions – I could see the pink floral dress above with black or hot pink accessories for a wedding or Ascot.
The wrap dress suits everyone. If you are busty buy a matching or contrasting cami if the crossover reveals more than you want to. (Try Kettlewell Colours who have a huge range of colours and they are fantastic quality). The red dress on the left looks like it could be a DVF but believe it or not it’s high street at the bargain price of £45. If you are looking for more of an investment then go for the DVF, in gorgeous silk jersey, after all she did invent the style.
Stripe A line dress Maxmara // Long sleeve stripe dress Atterley Road // Fitted stripe dress Baukjen // Black/white print dress Whistles // Pale blue shift John Lewis // Denim shift Boden // Yellow print dress Toast // Blue print dress Closet
A stripe cotton jersey dress is great for casual weekend and holiday wear. I’ve chosen a variety of shapes and price ranges. Wear them with flat sandals or a pair of sneakers. The dress top row far right is a really great shape for those who want to hide lumps and bumps or don’t have a waist, from Whistles, it’s a style they do every season and would look good with flat or heeled sandals.
The tunic style dress bottom left and the denim dress could be worn now with a chunky knit cardigan, tights and boots and later with sandals or sneakers. Top tip – denim is huge this season so invest in a denim dress now.
Double duty dresses
I mentioned above that some of the work options could also be worn for other occasions and here are two more ideas, one high budget and one more purse friendly:
Teal dress Goat // Duck egg jacket Maxmara // Bag Michael Kors // Shoes Kurt Geiger // Necklace Alice Joseph // Clutch Jigsaw // Shoes J crew // Jade cardigan Boden // Floral shirt dress Boden // Wedges Kurt Geiger // Hat, Jacket and Sandals Phase Eight
A beautifully cut simple shift dress from Goat worn for the office goes from desk to dinner with a change of accessories. This is a timeless dress that is worth the investment as it will work for many seasons to come.
The second is a shirt dress (one of the styles of the season) worn casually with wedges and a cardigan or dressed up for a Summer occasion.
Finally your version of the LBD (Little Black Dress)
Choose a dress in one of your best colours and a shape that flatters you. If you attend a lot of functions you may need 2 or 3 or even more. But if you only need one make sure it’s something that makes you feel fabulous. Get it tailored to fit if it needs altering so that it’s perfect for you.
Here are 3 options that I would add to my wardrobe if I needed occasion wear, I’m being indulgent but they can go on the wish list. That’s what creating a capsule wardrobe is all about as far as I’m concerned, really loving everything in it so nothing sits unworn and tying up your hard earned money.
So which dresses would you choose – think carefully about the occasions you need dresses for and then work out how many would be practical and ensure they all get worn.
Next week I will do a round up of the pieces I have chosen to go into the example Spring capsule wardrobe.
There is loads more information on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe in my upcoming book – sign up here to be kept up to date on release details.
If you would like a done for you capsule wardrobe you can buy online here.