As a British citizen, there is a limited time frame in which to wear the summer dress, so the sooner you can find the perfect style the better.
Now the clocks have gone forward, you'll be eager to find the perfect summer dresses for your wardrobe. It's our favourite time of year; when it's warm enough to bare your shoulders in the evening; when only sandals will do; and when you have to bother shaving your legs.
Don't worry, we've found you the best styles but before we give you some guidelines on how to find your dream sunshine dress.
First things first, putting on a summer dress should make you feel marvellous; a glowing, carefree, lighter version of you - the holiday you. There's something different about winter and summer dresses (obviously). In summer, you don't need anything else to wear - you don't need tights, boots, jumpers or polo necks. You just need underwear and there is something pretty sexy about being bare under the cotton, silk or chiffon.
It should make you want to spin around really fast, screaming "Hoorah, it's summer; let's hotfoot it to the park and drink some cider and dance until we're told by the park attendant to leave." Look at Marilyn Monroe at the picture above - she's having a grand old time. If you don't want to do a victory dance in the changing room, then it's no good.
Don't go by trends - ideally your summer dress should be something you whip out with glee every year. It doesn't matter if fashion tells you to go by Seventies boho dresses; if you prefer something more fitted and formal then don't worry about it. Trends are there to be played with, not something that must be obeyed.
Another myth about summer dresses is that they must be short. Most high street dresses are unfeasibly short and this, in my opinion, is because designers forget that women have bums so need more fabric for the behind. But you don't have to go there if you don't want to - some of the most iconic summer dresses of all time have been past the knee.
Contrary to British belief that when it gets warm you should wear nearly nothing and sunbathe in the park, there are plenty of summer dresses that are stylish and covered up. We give you the shirt dress, those with kimono sleeves and Mad Men-esque retro styles. Just because your dress has a sleeve it doesn't mean it's any less summery - there's something romantic about a billowing sleeve wafting around your arms.
So which styles are most flattering? Well, obviously this depends on your body type. Those with Amazonian limbs don't need any advice; just enjoy taking your pick of anything that the high street has to offer. However, if you are, like the majority of us, with boobs, hips and bums then high-waisted shapes are great, as are cap sleeves. The perennial wrap dress is a staple; a-line skirts give you tiny waists and long legs; a cut-out dress done tastefully can be very flattering (go for one with a waist-defining cut-out detail); and anything with a deep V (those who don't fancy baring all should go for a one of the panelled versions) offers instant body length. Pockets too are your friend, and very practical as well as giving an impression of nonchalance.
My perfect summer dress is sadly now defunct, after I shrunk it in the wash. It's still not something I can really talk about out loud, but as this is a written piece I'll be brave. It was from AllSaints - a white embroidered mini dress with a T-bar back, which was adorned with beads. It came with me on a two-month post-university trip round Italy; to numerous festivals and to every pub outing every summer for about three years. It was pure heaven. I have managed to replace it with several others, a white Gap dress with spaghetti sleeves; a floaty River Island maxi dress and a denim buttoned Seventies version from Madewell, but I do still pine for the original. It makes me think of Italy, of dancing all night in a derelict Italian mansion in Sicily; trekking up hundreds of steps in Amalfi; of sitting in the sun during a probably illegal boat tour of Capri; of drinking cheap wine from huge carafes in Verona - it reminds me of summertime adventures.
There is no formula to this - like finding the right man, there is a perfect summer dress out there just waiting for you to waft about in. Try on loads, starting with our favourites below:
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