Now You Too Can Have the Perfect Summer Dress (or Five!) #iwillwearwhatilike

Now You Too Can Have the Perfect Summer Dress (or Five!) - five summer dress styles to shop: the slip dress, the wrap dress, the shirt dress, the classic yellow dress, the gingham dress | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion and style

Last week I promised florals dresses and perhaps even toenails – and I’ve managed to deliver on both!

As we’ve had some beautiful sunny days on and off in the last couple of weeks (temperatures were up and down a bit, but the change in season is definitely happening) I thought I’d feature some of the best summer dresses I’ve seen so far this year.

I’ve picked my five favourite dress styles (all of which I own one or more of), shown you how I’ve styled mine, and suggested ones you can shop that are currently available online. So if you’re a fan of shirt dresses, slip dresses, classic yellow dresses, wrap dresses or gingham dresses then it’s your lucky day! I’ve found so many I love that I now want to go out and add to my already-heaving collection of summer dresses.

That’s not good when a) you live in wet and dreary England, and b) you have an A LOT of summer dresses already. However last year in Blighty we had the longest, most glorious summer ever [by British standards] and I got a lot of wear out of my summer dresses, so you never know: we might have another long, hot summer! And pigs might fly, etc. etc…

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission at no cost to you (click here for my full disclosure). Any items listed as* were gifted within the last 12 months.

 

SHOP ALTERNATIVE DRESSES TO THE EDIT ABOVE:

 

Hopefully this post is a nice antidote to the masculine chic look I featured last week. It’s time to start buffing, and fake tanning, and toenail painting, and waxing and all those other things which occasionally slide over the winter months.

(If you’re one of those people who does all those things all year round – even in the dead of winter – then all I can say is GOOD GRIEF… you’re superhuman!! Kudos to you!)

 

Do add your outfits to this week’s link up – and if you’ve added a link to here or my button to your post you may be featured in my bi-monthly Women Who Wear What They Like post!

LET ME KNOW WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE SUMMER DRESS IN THE COMMENTS…!

Catherine signature

 

1. The shirt dress

The Perfect Bold, Smart Summer Dress: A Red Ombré Shirt Dress | Not Dressed As Lamb, fashion for women over 40
The shirt dress is probably the one style dress I’d choose if I could only choose one dress forever and ever. The full skirt is comfy, the collar and buttons give it structure, and it has a touch of the retro about it. I also bought this same SS18 dress in yellow in the sale last year and didn’t get a chance to wear it, so look out for that this summer on the blog. And talking of yellow dresses, wait till you see the next style…

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SHIRT DRESSES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

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2. The classic yellow dress

Hobbs SS16: Yellow fit n flare dress, pearl choker | Not Dressed As Lamb (photo: Kate Forster)
If a shirt dress is my favourite style dress, then yellow is my favourite colour for a summer dress. I have several yellow dresses, and every year I find myself looking at what yellow dresses all the shops are selling in their New In sections. I think it stems from my love of the dress Sandy wore to the diner in Grease – my mother made a dress that was almost identical as I loved it so much. I even remember the yellow sundress I owned aged about four – it had a little bear transfer mum ironed onto the front for me… GAWD I loved that dress! Over 40 years later and my love for a yellow sundress is still strong.

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CLASSIC YELLOW DRESSES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

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3. The wrap dress

How to Keep Cool in the Summer and Still Cover Up \ grey Hot Squash maxi dress with CoolFresh fabric \ floppy straw hat \ straw basket bag \ black cat eye sunglasses \ strappy flat sandals | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 fashion
I’ll be honest here: I wouldn’t say I’m generally a fan of a wrap dress. But normally “wrap dress” makes me think of a bodycon style, with long tight sleeves and a knee-length, tight skirt… that style looks TERRIBLE on me, and it’s not my style at all (plus dare I say it… it’s a bit old fashioned now?) But last year I bought two Hotsquash cooling fabric wrap dresses (grey is still available in a few sizes, as is pink) and they were a godsend in the heat. With the shorter sleeves and maxi length they were nothing like the cliché wrap dress I mentioned. So I’ve picked more unusual style dresses for this section; wrap dresses yes, just nothing run-of-the-mill.

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WRAP DRESSES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

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4. The slip dress

A rainbow-bright summer maxi dress styled in 90s style: Multi-coloured strappy maxi dress \ plain white t-shirt tee \ black wedge espadrilles \ Beara Beara brown leather backpack with antique brass plaque | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
The slip dress is a style I thought I’d NEVER wear again, let alone styled the 90s way with a plain white t-shirt underneath. But two years ago I ate my words and got this rainbow ikat-print dress with straps, and wore it with a white tee I did. The style is still going strong for 2019 it seems, and it can be worn alfresco for very hot days or with the white tee I mentioned for a more covered-up look. A belt to cinch in the waist: optional.

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SLIP DRESSES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

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5. The gingham dress

Not Dressed As Lamb | Fit-and-flare black and white gingham dress, Panama hat, pointed flats
EVERY year gingham dresses are popular, especially black and white gingham. I honestly don’t think this print will ever really date (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, anyone?), so a really fabulous B&W gingham check dress is a summer investment in my eyes. My Hobbs gingham dress is about four years old and every year I can always find one that’s almost exactly the same (like this one from Hobbs and this one from Karen Millen). I’ve got my eye on a gingham jumpsuit this year…!

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GINGHAM DRESSES (& A COUPLE OF JUMPSUITS) YOU MIGHT LIKE:

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Not Dressed As Lamb #iwillwearwhatilike link up

Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist’s list of “inappropriate” items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!

The link up goes live every Tuesday at around 3pm UK time and will stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only prerequisite is that you’re wearing whatever you damn well like!

Click here to receive an email reminder for the next #iwillwearwhatilike link up as soon as it’s live!

Linking up etiquette…

CLICK HERE to read the rules of linking up (and to grab the #iwillwearwhatilike button). Basically it’s just good manners to link back to here – to leave a comment is even nicer!
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PLEASE NOTE: This is for linking up WHAT YOU’VE BEEN WEARING ONLY. Non-outfit links will be removed and you might be blocked if you turn out to be a repeat “offender” (and no one wants that, do they…)!

38 Comments

  1. Karen
    April 11, 2019 / 10:20 pm

    Beautiful choice of dresses & you suited them all ! Struggled to find a favourite, perhaps the shirt dress won by a whisker ….but there again !!! Those flats looked very comfortable & stylish on the picture of the slip dress, can I ask where you bought them ? Oh, Catherine I was so determined not to splash out too much on my summer wardrobe – but this post has made me change my mind !…..I NEED dresses !!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 21, 2019 / 8:17 pm

      Hi Karen, sorry for the very late reply! If you meant the black espadrilles with the ikat print slip dress then they’re actually wedges, not flats at all… they were bought a few years ago but you can still get lots like them, if you want a flatter pair I found some at Asos by Miss KG, and they’re on sale too! https://rstyle.me/+rrktxXTwcq6tp0pgKiVzzg (hope that’s the sort of thing you were after)!

      Thank you for the kind words xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 21, 2019 / 8:20 pm

      Thanks Mireille – I agree about the being able to move thing…!

  2. April 10, 2019 / 10:36 pm

    So I’m scrolling through nodding, ooh yes shirt dresses are definitely my favourite Oh wait no wrap dresses are definitely my favourite, then…awww that yellow is pure sunshine etc etc etc Damn you Woman!
    Evidently I have many favourite styles and apparently need a new one of each! Totally drooling after the striped wrap dress from Mango though so I’ll start there

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 21, 2019 / 8:20 pm

      Ughhhhhh Mango sell such fabulous dresses!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 21, 2019 / 8:21 pm

      Thanks Ivana – it’s a classic isn’t it x

  3. April 10, 2019 / 2:58 pm

    I love most of these dresses – but adore the Gingham dress. You look stunning in it. I love having a few dresses in the summertime – they are so easy to wear and can be so flattering.
    Alison
    xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:21 am

      Thanks Alison – my gingham dress is ALWAYS popular with everyone when I wear it!

  4. April 10, 2019 / 12:49 pm

    Catherine love your choices I a shirt dress girl all the way and I love yellow!
    my fave one on you is the red colour block one its drool worthy!
    bestest love
    Ashley x

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:22 am

      Seeing as I have yet to wear my yellow shirt dress Ashley, you can imagine how keen I am to wear it!! Thank you my lovely, I just need to get my summer wardrobe out of storage now…!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:23 am

      Thanks Julie- the gingham is always a winner!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:23 am

      Thanks Shelbee – Hobbs always do pretty floral dresses, this one was a beauty, I agree! x

  5. April 10, 2019 / 10:40 am

    You are so fantastic in a dress… they really suit you. That yellow dress is one of my favourites on you EVER, as well as the layered shirtdress you wore for your birthday last year. I’ve already been looking at the rainbow one you feature above in the shopping gallery (have you ever ordered from that brand before?). It looks so good for hot summer days, and well who doesn’t love a rainbow? Now I’m going to explore your other picks…

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:25 am

      Thanks Lisa! No, I’ve not ordered from them before – I found it via a search for “rainbow slip dress”… thought it was worth a look? I seem to remember I bought my own slip dress after YOU recommended it on your blog a couple of years ago! x

  6. April 10, 2019 / 7:46 am

    I hadn’t thought about summer dresses yet – we had snow last week!! A fabulous selection. As soon as it warms up I will be breaking out the gingham xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:25 am

      Snow one week, blazing sunshine the next… it’s gearing up to be a typical British summer again, P!! 😉

  7. April 10, 2019 / 7:18 am

    Can t wait to wear Summer dresses! But first it s going to freeze here in the Netherlands tomorrow! Can you believe it! Your selection is perfect! All different styles and colors! Never would have thought that yellow would look that good with your Hair color!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:26 am

      Thanks Nancy, glad you liked them! x

  8. April 10, 2019 / 7:17 am

    A lovely selection of pretty Summer dresses, hope Mother Nature plays along and you are in them before you know it. Heading into Autumn here after a hot, dry Summer. Enjoy your Spring Catherine and many thanks for hosting.

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 10:27 am

      We just had a glorious Easter weekend Jill, but it caught me unawares and I haven’t yet got my summer wardrobe out of storage!! Back to cold and rain though now, never mind…

      Thank you xx

  9. April 10, 2019 / 5:27 am

    I love summer dresses but somehow dont wear them very often I revert to co-ords for work. Must change that. Great selection!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:24 am

      I never wore summer dresses to work when I worked in an office, Gail – though I think that’d be different now! Thank you x

  10. April 10, 2019 / 4:50 am

    So many super summery styles here, Catherine. I particularly fond of that shirt dress. Spring is in full swing. Thanks for the linkup. I’m glad I made it back!

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:25 am

      Shirt dresses are the best of best worlds, aren’t they Melanie?! Glad to see you, thank you xx

  11. April 10, 2019 / 4:14 am

    Catherine, I adore all the dresses, but especially like the funky slip dress, the gingham and the yellow. Of course, I always love anything in yellow! As you said, time to start buffing and tanning. Yikes. Summer will be here before we know it, right?

    xx Darlene

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:25 am

      Thanks Darlene – glad to find another lover of yellow!! x

  12. April 10, 2019 / 12:56 am

    How funny, I was just searching for dresses earlier today—every year, I search for (and rarely find) the perfect white dress. I do have yellow and gingham sundresses that I can’t wait to wear again!
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:27 am

      I love me a white dress too, Cheryl… they’d be (in theory) so perfect for weddings but it tends to be a very bad idea!!

  13. April 9, 2019 / 10:59 pm

    This is such a timely post for me! I am such a jeans girl living here in Colorado, but my New Years resolution was to wear more dresses in 2019 (I know……that’s not exactly making the world a better place but I’ve never really been known as an over-achiever 😀 ). Anyway- I adore all of these that you listed! Yay for dresses! And hopefully Spring. Its been beautiful here in Colorado this week but tomorrow the temps are supposed to drop 60 degrees with snow! LOL
    Great post!
    ~Melissa
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:28 am

      Thanks Melissa! Weirdly we had a glorious, hot Easter weekend, and now we’re back to cold and rain… the temperature dropped by half!!

  14. April 9, 2019 / 10:48 pm

    There are so many dresses I like here it’s hard to narrow even a few down! I love the Gingham and I adore the wrap dress you are wearing. xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:28 am

      Thanks Laurie – so many lovely ones, aren’t there…??

  15. April 9, 2019 / 10:16 pm

    Love these and love wearing dresses too! I need to up my game as since losing weight I am in need of some news ones! What a great post, especially like the shirt dress too. Have a super week Catherine Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • Catherine
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 11:29 am

      What a great excuse to buy some new dresses then Jacqui – go forth and multiply your dress collection! 😉

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