THE DRESS DAYS | MAN REPELLER
This article first appeared on The Man Repeller.
When I was at university, I wore dresses every day. Cheap babydoll numbers from Primark or Topshop with the generic ankle boots that every other person sported at house parties. “I’m not a jeans person” was my go-to phrase. And then post-uni, it flipped. But why?
It’s hard to find original dresses that stand the test of time and more importantly, fit into a work environment. Beach dresses are a dime a dozen; I have a whole stack that work well when nestled against warm skin and a piña colada, but they don’t quite translate on The London Underground or next to the woman in the suit blocking the photocopier.
I knew there had to be a solution, so I set myself a twofold challenge: 1) wear a dress every day of the working week and 2) see if I still feel like “myself” while doing it — because how do you make a dress your own so that the second time it’s worn doesn’t feel like mere repetition? For me, it’s about variable details: changing the shoes, the hair style and the belt. Pretty simple, but then, that’s the beauty — dresses are simple.
Mondays are for non-restricted waistlines. I’ve been through more denim pinafores in my lifetime than Leo has Victoria’s Secret angels. My current favorite is this ASOS one with a frayed hem.
As worn by Alexa to Topshop Unique’s SS15 show in February, this dress was destined to be a top seller, even if she hadn’t lent her gamine form to its mini proportions. I first wore it in my column for The Sunday Times Style and knew I had to have it — the florals are “non-naff*” and vintage-esque (surprisingly hard things to achieve in a dress unless it’s actually vintage or super expensive — though if you’re willing to shell out, Vilshenko and Saint Laurent do florals well.)
That aforementioned stack of beach dresses includes a lot of white ones (Temperley London, Topshop, Juliet Dunn, Mango, Isabel Marant — list goes on) but not a damn one of them are suitable for any water cooler office moments. I found this Karen Millen one and I think it fills a real gap. Incidentally, if you are familiar with the brand, it’s done a massive turn-around recently. The re-branding has resulted in a much more expensive but infinitely cooler Karen Millen.
This dress makes me feel unfathomably like Kate Bosworth. And these shoes are my favorite; they look like Céline. I feel so empowered by this outfit that I look distinctly (and equally unfathomably) haughty. I’ll come back down to earth as soon as I take it all off. Promise.
Friday’s child going off to a party. I’m biased because it’s my best friend’s label but these are the comfiest, sexiest dresses — fact. Adwoa Aboah, Clara Paget and Georgia Jagger are also fans. If you’re not into body-con (and I’m not, normally) then check out the crinkle-stretch swimwear (as worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).
Cooling down on a Saturday. 6 dresses, 6 days, complete!
Monday: Vintage blouse, ASOS denim pinafore, Converse high-tops and Theodora Warre hoop earrings, worn throughout
Tuesday: Karen Millen dress, Diesel Black Gold belt, Sandro Adula bag and Topshop sandals
Wednesday: Dress: Ottoline Topshop Unique Pre-Fall dress, Uterque Mary-Janes
Thursday: Vintage denim dress, Uterque sandals and Hermes neck scarf
Friday: Hunza G dress and Saint Laurent sandals
Saturday: Claudie pierlot jacket, vintage bandana, vintage slip dress and Superga sneakers
Sunday: Day of rest. Go away