New seasonal clothing styles to get excited about

Last fall something strange happened, as strange things tend to happen: gradually and all at once. It was simple: I lost interest in dresses.

You only have to look towards my wardrobe to get an idea of ​​the significance of this shift. I’m (shall we say) over-indulged in dresses – yet from late November onwards I would find myself standing in front of my clothes wondering what to wear, then reaching for a variation on the same outfit I had worn the day before, and the day in front: nineties-style straight-leg jeans and a vintage blazer; wide-leg jeans and a slim-cut sweater with a piece of white shirt visible at the neck; horseshoe jeans, T-shirt, chunky cardigan…feeling like I was cheating with my dresses all the time.

Why? I blame the weather – a woman can only squeeze herself into so many pairs of thermal leggings, dresses and boots to wear out in gale-force winds and rain. Add the recent elevation of individual items to objects of desire (vests? yes, waistcoats!), the arrival of more interesting jeans shapes, the wealth of styling inspiration for all of the above online – it was enough to blow any clothing lover’s mind.

It’s not just me. Even the ultimate clothing fanatic suffers from it. “I’ve definitely been going through a rough patch with dresses,” says Isabel Spearman, style consultant, brand consultant and founder of Daily Dress Edit. “It scared me a little.” Spearman may be a clothing booster par excellence, but she also comes out of a long winter in jeans. “It’s a testament to the rise of denim,” she says. “Denim has taken over every element of our wardrobe, whether it’s a great pair of jeans, a denim blazer or a stunning denim midi skirt.

“So many other options that feel relevant have become available in the past year, besides dresses, that dresses probably have to fight a little harder for your attention and love. But summer is still clothing season and always will be.”

It’s true that sunshine helps. The day we speak, I’m halfway through my seasonal wardrobe change, and my smile grows wider with every crumpled linen dress I pull from a vacuum bag. Meanwhile, Spearman is also thinking ahead to warmer days as she unwraps samples of the 12 dresses that will appear in the next Daily Dress Edit (or DDE) pop-up, launching online today (May 12). This time, all the dresses in the pop-up come from small, independent brands that produce in Great Britain.

Mary Benson's green floral dress

Mary Benson’s green floral dress – Victoria Adamson

“Some work with British manufacturers, some make from their kitchen table, some hire seamstresses and have their own studio. They are a shining example of what Britain does best and I really wanted to champion that.”

The line-up includes a striped linen shirt dress from Kindred of Ireland; a black broderie anglaise design from The Well Worn, in Kent; a striking green floral print with dramatic puffed sleeves from Mary Benson, in York; and a pink gingham dress from Stalf, in Lincolnshire. “They are generally dresses that you can put on and wear all summer long. Those are always the ones I look for.”

The selection is strong in solids and stripes – only two of the designs have floral prints. That’s no coincidence. “We’ve been going through a period of a lot of incredibly feminine florals,” says Spearman, noting that lately she’s been drawn to “a cleaner dress.” We’ve removed a lot of ruffles, layered skirts and extra details than we normally would.

“Maybe with all the bad news last year, the cost of living crisis and the two wars going on, there was a little change in the atmosphere and people wanted something clearer, something more streamlined.”

Her favorite (at least, her favorite today – it changes, and “you’re asking me to choose between my children”) is a khaki cotton poplin dress by Edinburgh-based designer Karolina Ozolinsiute. “I really feel like earthy tones. I’m pretty obsessed with khaki. It’s such a beautiful color and I don’t think people realize how easy it is to wear. You can combine it with classic browns and camels, it looks great with black, you can add metallics or leopard print – it’s a really good base color, and in a fresh poplin it’s beautiful.”



Khaki, £289 from Karolina Ozolinsiute

Beyond the DDE pop-up, dresses that have given me the urge to wear it lately share a simple approach and a focus on fabrication and silhouette over print. I think of the watercolor checked dress from Toast, the linen utility shirt dress from Brora and designs from the first capsule collection from Second Stories. The made-to-order range includes many vintage dresses, all made in a small, female-run studio in Ukraine. “For me, a dress is such a fundamental, easy piece of clothing,” says founder Nicci de Vries. “They are flattering, but more than that, I wanted to make sure each design had elements that felt unique, with details and craftsmanship not often seen in modern manufacturing.”



Khaki dress, £330, Second stories



Gingham Check Dress, £195, Toast; Shirt dress, £225, Brora

On the high street, a white cotton square-neck midi dress from Marks & Spencer is a taste sensation of a dress (one that hits many of the same notes as Staud’s best-selling – and much more expensive – Wells dress). The retailer sold 45 dresses per hour on the first Saturday of the launch and is releasing orange and green versions this month. Sezane is also winning, from the Neapolitan-tinged Edwinda to the Majorelle blue embroidered Osiris dress.



White square neck dress, £29.50, MRS

Sezanne dressesSezanne dresses

Sezanne dresses

Puff sleeve dress, £190; and patchwork dress, £240, both Sezane

Most of these are midi or midaxi, a length Spearman may have worn with Birkenstock Arizonas last summer. Her move for 2024 is to wear her dresses – new finds and old favorites, back to restore her confidence in dresses – with Mary-Janes. “Since I didn’t have a Mary-Janes a few months ago, I’ve collected four pairs in the last four months,” including a leopard-print pair from Boden that she wears with everything. “Even last summer’s dress can look great with a new shoe.”



Mary Jane flats, £110, Boden

All dresses available at The daily clothing processing from May 12

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