You might well be familiar with the scenario – having accepted so many tantalizing summer invitations you quickly realise that your current wardrobe is not going to cut it. From a city wedding that requires a degree of sharp formality; a beach picnic birthday; a rooftop BBQ that might proffer up some new suitors and a fundraiser gala in a garden that stipulates ‘long’. The law of averages dictates that you will be crisscrossing with the same set of people at least more than once and with respect to the various hosts; you don’t want to repeat yourself but appear fresh and effortless.
Designers have intuited that we desire versatility in dresses – styles that can traverse different climates and social eco systems. Cue an array of romantic designs that combine two of our favourite summery delights: florals and lace. Pieces by self-portrait and Needle & Thread share a retro romantic air with modesty capes (to shield shoulders and tops of arms); high neck lines and mid calf lengths and look equally at ease with box fresh trainers or strappy tango heels. A bonus to these decorative fabrics is that they carry creases well. After a long open-air lunch, that’s a plus.
When it comes to colour - black, white and navy blue suggest a degree of restraint compared to party crazy brights. White is divine, as long as you are not the guest at a wedding, and pretty peasant skirts and off the shoulder tops have a pastoral freshness that only require opalescent pearls, trinkets and charms to make the look personal to you. Talking sleeves: lantern, bell and trumpet sleeves are soft and dressy simultaneously and offer so much more at the above tabletop view than slender narrow lines. Tibi and Victoria by Victoria Beckham are go-tos. Out on the dance floor, handkerchief hems and waterfall ruffles will swish and swirl into the early hours.
If there is a gala invitation pending, full length need not be as intimidating or indeed as costly as first might seem. Comme Moi’s bonded jersey strapless mermaid gown fits like a dream – just add a sparkly clutch and a choker neckpiece. Another, more forgiving option, would be an eyelash lace maxi dress by Nicholas. With gold strappy sandals and drop earrings, the night might just be magic.