I never, ever have anything to wear to a Spring or Summer vaguely smart daytime event. Ever.
I can’t stand tea dresses, I don’t like dresses in general, actually. They always feel uptight and wrong on me. My default warm weather uniform is shorts, a t-shirt and a tassel necklace. But what about an event when this default setting will not do? I don’t necessarily mean a wedding, but something like that. I don’t rule out a dress, but it has to be the right dress. Do you know what I mean? Am I just talking to myself here.
What I do not want to wear is anything from Coast, or anything that looks like it might have come from Coast. Don’t get me wrong! Coast is an immensely successful and brilliant shop. But I don’t want to wear its clothes. Or anything similar.
So I am thinking, now, about adding to my wardrobe one single outfit that will do any smart daytime event I may come across. I turned in my moment of crisis, as I often do, to The Spike’s holy trinity of style editors at large (I don’t think they’re aware they play this role) Hannah, Rose and Anna.
There are some people in your life who always seem to be off to a smart daytime event – these are mine. I’m sure they all do a bit of stamping about in the mud in their Asics, too, but in my imagination they’re all off to lunch at the River Cafe, all the time. I am grateful to them for their invaluable input into the outfit suggestions below.
Bear in mind that these are just suggestions. I don’t expect anyone to go out and buy any of these immediately, (I say this knowing what a click-happy credit-friendly bunch of insaniac spendthrifts you are), but sometimes seeing something can set of a germ of an idea that can steer you away from the Coast and back onto the safety of dry land.
Isnelda dress, Custom Made – about £135. This is from a Danish online store, which has a lot of other lovely things, should you be feeling especially spendthrifty today.
Sindri Dress – about £400 – from Morgane Le Fey. This is very unaffordable and also the model doesn’t look especially dynamic in it – but look at the draping and the cut-outs on the shoulders, you might see something similar in COS or &OtherStories.
Cecilia yellow jumpsuit from Whistles £160. This veers towards very smart, but I like it. If only I could wear jumpsuits.
Lola Dress, Whistles £95. I really like this. With smart sandals and quite a lot of gold jewellery you could go anywhere in this.
Loli printed cotton tapered trousers, from Etoile Isabel Marant £135. I can see you in this with a sleeveless shell-top on top, gold sandals and your good sunglasses.
I had thought all Isabel Marant stuff was utterly hideous until someone pointed out that I’ve been looking in the wrong place. Etoile Isabel Marant is where it’s at, not plain old Isabel Marant. The latter seems to be the label where she puts all her misshapen unwearable things so that people can buy them and wear them just to prove how rich and thin they really are so that they can literally pull off some nightmarish cacophony of raffia and buckle.
Zara “Mid-length dress” £39.99. I like this colour of this, the 70s shape, the broderie anglais material. Of course, like a lot of Zara stuff, it may look utterly hideous on. Will require a spray tan.
If I attended any day function other than the thrice-daily school gate yawn, and if I were tall and thin, I like to imagine I’d buy lots of stuff from Finery London for smart daywear. But I don’t and I’m not, so jeans and worn-out checked shirts will have to suffice for the next decade. :-/
Love the yellow dress and the Whistles black one. Boden (I know cringey middle class) are doing a very nice faux denim dress which I have got my eye on. I hate most of their stuff but this is jersey to look like denim and quite a new idea I think but I might be wrong. Sort of casual but smart too. Anyway thats what Im going to buy although I am very tempted by the Whistles one on your post as Im too fat to wear yellow sadly!
Just a piece of advice, I recently ordered some dresses from Ladress And they are so well fitting! Some even go in the wash. And come out unharmed. And the quality isn’t Zara-esque – a bit of quality is what you really need when over 30… Or over 40 as I am.
Ps my favorite is the Chiara dress
I have the Whistles dress – and as someone who finds smart dressing a total ‘mare, I can confirm it’s fab and can totally be dressed up or down. x
I sympathise…Rebecca Taylor is worth a look if you haven’t already http://m.rebeccataylor.com/products/rt116192b041 website is NY based but she has a North London store
Tracey Gill says
I have the Whistles dress (it’s actually dark navy) and its great for dressing up or down.
Stevie Nicks is my spirit animal, and I tend to find interesting things that cover up the gut (very important) but show a bit of boob (also important) in Monsoon. Not TOO hippy, but hippy enough to make me look a bit more interesting than I actually am. They also tend to pack well for “travelling Ryanair and need to fit a week into a carry-on” type occasions. Their winter dresses are fab to wear with opaques and knee high boots as well – I am a “lady of a certain age” and I’m not a big fan of being cold.
I have the Whistles dress too and it is perfect for all occasions. And, despite what these comments would suggest haven’t turned up anywhere with someone else wearing it. Not that it would really matter, it’s all about the accessories with that one. I am in love with the jumpsuit. Alas, the mum tum will not allow it.
I absolutely LOVE that yellow jumpsuit. I want it very, very badly, but no way am I buying something as beautiful as that in the dress size I am just now. Really need to get off the fence on serious diet and exercise regime vs 2nd baby decision. And then possibly buy beautiful yellow jumpsuits. Elaine x
there’s NO right answer I’m afraid 🙁
Susanna Coleman says
Loving the jumpsuit!
Lola is THE ONE <3