Fashion: Hot check list

Summer dressing should combine the sensible with the sensational. Stephanie Smith has six hot tips.
Utility pattern shirt dress, £48, at pattern shirt dress, £48, at
Utility pattern shirt dress, £48, at

ironically, Summer wardrobes ought to be pretty hardworking, because there’s more to hot dressing than just cracking the big holiday away.

Not many of us have enough room in our bedroom for clothes and accessories that do only one job – are only for work, only for holiday, only for special events and weddings.

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And then, of course, thinking about suitcase packing, it’s all about clothes that are lightweight, easy care, and – crucially – work well together.

In fact, there is much we can learn about sensible, sensational dressing from putting together a summer holiday capsule collection.

So, what should be on the check list for this year’s “get away looking fabulous” look?

No 1: A shirt dress – probably the season’s most wearable and practical hot summer item. Denim and chambray shirt dresses are a great idea, although navy denim with a belt is best if you want it to double up for work, and if you choose a loose shirt style, it will also work well for holidays too. The beauty of looser, tunic shaped button-through shirt dresses, whether patterned or plain, is that they can also be worn open as a jacket, a look that can be especially effective if you play with lengths, for example, a midi length worn over shorts or a short tunic dress with heels for night and flat sandals for day. Or try a silky oriental floral print shirt dress over a simple black tee and culottes or cropped trousers.

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No 2: A maxi dress – still an excellent choice for all summer long, especially if you go for a classic black, white or navy, with neat but striking detail, such as the lace yoke of the black Long Tall Sally maxi featured above. It’s so simple, but elegant, and would be perfectly acceptable for special occasions as well as holidays, where it’s the ultimate beach-to-bar piece.

No 3: Culottes – admittedly, they divide opinion, but they are a major trend for the summer, both tailored and unstructured, and they are both practical and chic (but experiment with length so they don’s make you look squat).

No 4: A wrap or wrap style dress – choose one in a bright colour and easy jersey for holiday wear, to give you a smart option for holiday evenings and for work.

No 5: The perfect swimsuit – choose one in a strong jewel tone or a metallic or exotic print, so that you can team it with beach skirts and culottes to double as a top.

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No 6: Print trousers – massive for summer and very versatile, as they work brilliantly with heels and satin or strappy top for night-time, yet are ideal for sight-seeing during the day. If you go for a skinny or fitted style, make sure they have stretch, so you can move and sit easily, but not so they suck you in – you want to feel comfortable.

Your accessories holiday check list could include heeled and flat sandals (brown leather and metallic), a fringed cross-body bag, and slim bangles.

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