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You lot know that I have never been much of a dress wearer. Sure I have my favourites that are more occasionwear pieces that I crack out for weddings and events, but in terms of wearing a dress everyday? Seven days a week? Not a chance. That was until I found myself pregnant and severely uncomfortable in anything that remotely resembles a waistline. Basically if it wasn’t for dresses I’d be a nudist right now, so there you have it. Pregnancy has taught me many things so far, but it’s certainly taught me the versatility and practicality of a good ol’ dress. Honestly, who knew?
The bebe has been great for my bank balance clothing purchase-wise (although terrible for baby clothing purchases – yes I purchased tiny linen bloomers immediately after the 12 week scan because they need a beach outfit, right?), and actually I really haven’t purchased much so far in 2021. I’ve bought a handful of dresses and really that’s it. I managed to make it to the halfway point of pregnancy relying on my usual wardrobe and from here on out plan on rotating the roomier things in my wardrobe with these dresses and (fingers crossed!), getting by. My argument is that hopefully these dresses will work for me post-pregnancy too and won’t be an utter waste of money. Seeing as I’ll be at my most rotund during the hottest months of the year I figured that these were a better and hopefully more comfortable buy, than maternity jeans or trousers with pull-up stretch panels that I’d probably boil in. Just the thought is making me sweat.
So here’s the dress edit. Pregnant or not, there truly is something for everyone and all I can do is apologise that it’s taken me so long to realise their true importance in any wardrobe…
THE KNITTED DRESS
This was the first purchase I made at the beginning of the year. I found a second-hand oatmeal, long-sleeve maxi knitted dress from Toteme on Vestiaire Collective*. The stretch in a knitted fabric is obviously incredibly comfy, but they do cling to the body so I’ve found that it’s only been something that I’ve felt fits me right in recent weeks now the bump has grown into something that actually looks like there’s a baby under there and not just a mound of cola and crisps (which I am about 50% made up of right now). My top picks that are available to buy would be the & Other Stories Merino Wool Knit Midi Dress* – I love the wrap feature and the tie-front which I feel makes it super flattering on everyone – and the & Other Stories Cardigan Midi Dress* – that’s just so darn cute. Again it has the tie at the front which I just love and I’m into the creamy hues right now, although my clumsiness level feels like it’s a major risk.
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THE STRAIGHT-UP AND DOWN DRESS
I love this style of dress and if I was to pick a dress that would have sat in my wardrobe previously then it would have been from this category. In my eyes there are two types. There is the straight up and down dress that’s made of a stretch fabric and therefore hugs your body. Then there is the straight up and down dress that’s made of a non-stretch fabric and therefore skims over your body. For me I became a bit obsessed with the former category when I first got pregnant. I was determined that a stretch tank dress would be my summer pregnancy uniform; it sounded comfy and a great base to add to over the top. Again I got lucky and found a tobacco coloured rib maxi dress from Toteme on Vestiaire Collective*, and then I found the exact same style in black from NET-A-PORTER*. One brown, one black and hopefully something that will shrink back down each time I wash it and be something that I can keep in my wardrobe for yonks. In terms of something that doesn’t cling, I love the ARKET Cotton Voile Slip Dress*. They do a version of this every summer and I’m very tempted to pick it up as it looks nice and roomy. But I also love the look of the COS Oversized T-Shirt Dress*, which is such a simple piece, but one that is great for so many different occasions.
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THE ROOMY DRESS
This is a style of dress that I would previously dodge. It just didn’t feel very me and I always felt like the excess of fabric added too much unnecessary volume to my silhouette. Now I’m like ‘GIVE ME THE VOLUME AND EXCESS FABRIC PLEASE’. I’m still not wild about anything that feels too a-line, but I appreciate that it has it’s place and instead I opt for something that isn’t clingy at all and has a more airy feel, whilst still feeling more like a straight cut. Think a really breathable piece for the hot and sweaty summer months that you actually don’t feel angry when you put it on. For me, it’s the ARKET Long Linen Blend Dress* – which although is black, barely touches my body at all. I love the tiered dresses too; they’ve been around for the last two summers and don’t seem to be going anywhere. The COS Tiered Maxi Dress*, looks like a designer piece but is pretty affordable, but if you’re after something that shoes a bit of leg, the COS Tiered Mini Dress* is what you need.
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THE PARTY DRESS
Ok I will admit that this isn’t a category that I’ll be buying from anytime soon, but I’m sure many of you have party plans over the summer and it would be rude not to offer some inspiration. I have a few weddings in my diary and plan on making my Ganni Wrap-Front Flower Dress work for the first one (we’ll see!), and then my friend has leant me a Topshop Maternity* number for the one that’s later in the summer. There really isn’t any point going balls out on something I will literally wear once. I’m not usually one for too much pattern but this & Other Stories Printed Belted Midi Dress* is lush. It looks like you’re wearing a freaking painting and I love the shape. For something fun, flirty and timeless though I don’t think you can go wrong with the & Other Stories Puff Sleeve Linen Wrap Mini Dress* – they bring it back every darn summer and I can see why. It’s such a good dupe for my Isabel Marant dress, and I’ve got so much wear out of that.
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Photos by Mark Newton