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Shopping Spotlight: The Perfect Summer Dress

There’s no better feeling than slipping into a single, beautiful piece of flowing fabric that makes us feel wonderfully feminine and decidedly glamorous – especially when it’s perfect for the balmy summer evenings, barbecues and beach parties that dot our summer social calendar. The Summer Dress is our favourite summer fashion staple – it’s easy (you don’t have to chose a matching top or trousers), it’s quick (most of us only own a few dresses compared to the 100’s of tops we have to choose from) and the right summer dress can take us gracefully from day job to evening encounter, perhaps with a quick accessory and shoe swap.

Buying a summer dress that’s perfect in every way can be tricky, especially with all the clashing trends cluttering the high street at the moment. What’s best, mini or maxi? To embellish or not to embellish? Should necklines be high or plunging? Read on to find out what hot dress styles to look out for this summer, how to carry them off and how to take your stunning summer look effortlessly from day to night.

Whether you love or loathe your legs, it’s your lucky summer as designers throw extreme dress lengths our way. Swingin’ 60’s fashion dictates micro mini-dresses all round for those with perfect pins. It’s vital to choose a style that will look cute and chic, not tarty which is always a risk when exposing lots of flesh. Perfect this look with a tunic-style micro mini dress choosing a classic 60’s-inspired shape that skims your curves, creating slimming, straight lines.

The statement maxi dress, ideally floor-skimming in length and billowing in volume lends drama and glamour to any summer occasion. Where mini is fun and cheeky, maxi is bold and graceful. Choose a maxi dress with a bohemian edge (think patchwork, colour and gathered bubble hems) for a free-spirited summer look.

Balance is the key to carrying your summer dress off with elegance – if you’re going to go short with a mini, choose thick straps or a simple sleeveless cut with a round neck – no scoop necks or plunging necklines or you’ll cheapen the look. The opposite goes for those who prefer the maxi dress – go for dainty, thin straps and a pretty v-neck, highlighting the chest area with a bold pendant necklace.

Pay attention to detail when shopping for your summer dress – look for defining features that separate out the summer basics from the real summer staples. Choose dresses with embroidery, sequins, beading distinctive button detail or patchwork to brighten the look. For more dramatic detail, look for embellishment around the neck area – beautiful jewel or rhinestone detail will give an a-list feel to your special dress, which can either be dressed up or down with the addition of accessories.

These accessories really are the key when taking your dress from day to night, as so many of us do when the sun is still shining well into the evening. If you know you’re going to be socialising all day and into the night, make sure you bring these essentials and perform a few quick swaps to really dress up your dress

- Swap your flats for strappy heels but be careful if you’re wearing a micro-mini – go for kitten or block heels to give you understated glamour and stability – wobbling around in stilettos is not a good look when wearing a teeny-weeny dress

- Top up your make-up – slick on a slightly darker lipstick and dim your shade of eyeshadow to convert a bright summer’s day look into a sultry evening one

- Add jewellery! When wearing your round-neck mini dress go for dramatic heavy earrings. If you’re wearing a long maxi number, pick out a necklace that will frame the exposed chest and neck area – a piece with a large pendant is ideal since more discreet necklaces will be lost in the area. Bangles and bracelets are perfectly teamed with both looks; go for chunky metallic styles in bronze and gold for a warmer, summer feel.

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