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Summer(ish) Dresses With Sleeves

This post was inspired by a conversation I’ve had with many friends. They don’t ask much: they simply want a summer dress that isn’t strappy. Or flimsy. Or skin-flashing. A dress you can wear whilst on child-duty. To work. On holiday or just to nip to the supermarket. A do-it-all dress that suits most occasions. A dress which remains cool and comfortable with being inappropriate. One with which – oh sweet bliss – you can wear a bra. Reader, I give you: summer dresses with sleeves.


I appreciate that ‘sleeves’ mean different things to different people – from ‘capped’ to ‘all the way to the wrist’. Also see ‘puffed’ as in Anne of Green Gables – a book I currently enjoying for the hundredth time by reading it with my daughter. We are both enthralled. Last night Anne fell off the ridgepole (causing my daughter to shriek and hide her head under the bed covers) and got her very first dress with puffed sleeves from Matthew (daughter clasped her hands in joy; I choked up. How I get through the final chapters, I cannot tell you…).

Anyway, the timing could not have been more apposite – as I was mid-way through researching this post and attempting not to buy any more dresses myself in the process. And the sun has made its longed-for return at last. As per usual, iPhone weather is more optimistic than the BBC, which errs on the side of caution, but both predict soaring temperatures heading our way. But we will need these dresses.

I’ve tried to be pragmatic. There are dresses with sleeves and dresses with (longer) sleeves. Nothing too puffed, though. Varying lengths. Some would suit a less formal work environment, others would not. Any of them could be worn at home or abroad, on holiday. None of them are evening-only. And the price points vary from high street sale bargain (under £15!) to more investment buys (nothing too crackers, I hope. We’re not the type of bloggers who consider ‘investment’ to mean nudging £1000. That’s more in ‘mortage’ ballpark).

You can wear any of these with sandals or trainers. Add a jacket if it’s chilly. A basket is desirable, if optional.

My dream dresses are Justine Tabak’s gingham delight – there’s something about gingham which sings of summer, Pink City Print’s edged print midi (so Little House on the Prairie) and Iris’ own label maxi dress. Although LK Bennett’s broderie beauty is also calling my name. I increasingly find myself drawn to the timeless. Things I’ll wear over and over – and not just on holiday, but – say – today, when I did two school runs, pottered into town to reward myself for a week of solo parenting with a pain au raisin, and then came back to write at the kitchen table).

Enjoy the sunshine!

Under £100: 1. Floral dress, £49.99, Zara; 2. Martha wrap dress, £87, Baukjen; 3. Striped midi dress, £30 Warehouse; 4. Linen striped dress, £29.99, Mango; 5. Polka dot drop waist dress, £39, Topshop; 6. Bird linen print dress, £35, Warehouse; 7. White tunic dress, £38, Asos; 8. Spot print dress, £39, Topshop; 9. Geo print dress, £60, YAS; 10. Leopard midi dress, £42, Warehouse; 11. Daisy floral ruffle midi dress, £49, Topshop; 12. Grey buttoned dress, £29.99, Mango; 13. Green polka dot dress, £12.99, Zara; 14. Shirt dress, £45, M&S; 15. Sky blue shirt dress, £49.99, Zara; 16. Cotton floral dress, £59.99, H&M; 17. Striped dress £49.50, M&S; 18. Linen dress, £49, & Other Stories

Over £100: 19. Jessy, £145, Iris; 20. Jemima dress, £145, Iris; 21. Spring Botanics print midi, £150, Pink City Prints; 22. Cherry Picking Maxi dress, £235, Seraphina London; 23. Ileta maxi dress, £125, Iris Fashion; 24. Rose bouquet Primrose Hill dress, £180, Justine Tabak; 25. Forget Me Not Marlowe dress, £230, Lily & Lionel; 26.Lace dress,  £110, & Other Stories; 27. Navy gingham check, £180, Justine Tabak; 28. Broderie Anglaise dress, £169, LK Bennett;  29. Chambray midi dress, £145, APC at Matches

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