New season dress styles to get excited about

A strange thing happened last autumn, as strange things generally do: gradually and then all at once. It was simple: I lost interest in dresses.

You only need to glance at my direction to understand the significance of this change. I’m (let’s say) over-indexed in dresses – but, from the end of November onwards, I’d stand in front of my clothes asking what to wear, then look for a change in the same outfit I’d worn the day before, and the day before: Nineties style straight leg jumper and vintage blazer; wide-leg jeans and a slim-cut sweater with a sliver of white shirt visible at the neck; skinny jeans, a T-shirt, a chunky cardigan…always feeling like I was cheating on my dresses.

Why? I blame the weather – a woman can’t help but wrap herself in pairs of thermal leggings, dresses and boots to wear out in the wind and rain. Enter the recent elevation of separations into object objects (waistcoats? Yes, waistcoats!), the arrival of more interesting jeans shapes, the wealth of style inspiration for all of the above online – it was enough to throw any dress devotee off her game.

It’s not just me. Even the last dress fans were affected, as it happens. “I’ve definitely been through a rocky patch with dresses,” says Isabel Spearman, style consultant, brand consultant and founder of Daily Dress Edit. “It freaked me out a little bit.” Spearman may be the dress booster par excellence, but she’s also emerging from a long winter in jeans. “It’s a testament to the rise of denim,” she says. “Denim has embraced every aspect of our wardrobe, whether it’s great jeans, a denim blazer or a great denim midi skirt.

“There have been so many other options available over the last year that feel as relevant as dresses, that dresses probably have to fight a little harder for your attention and love. But summer is still and always will be dress season.”

It’s true that sunlight helps. The day we speak, I’m halfway through my seasonal wardrobe change, my smile growing wider with each crumpled linen dress I pull from a vacuum bag. Meanwhile, Spearman is also thinking about warmer days as she unpacks samples of the 12 dresses that will be featured in the next Daily Dress Edit (or DDE) pop-up, which launches online today (May 12) . This time around, all the dresses in the pop-up come from small independent brands that manufacture in Britain.

The floral green dress by Mary Benson

The floral green dress by Mary Benson – Victoria Adamson

“Some work with UK manufacturers, some make at their kitchen tables, some hire seamstresses and have their own studio. They are a great example of what Britain does best and I really wanted to promote that.”

The line up includes striped linen dresses from Kindred of Ireland; black broderie anglaise design from The Well Worn, in Kent; bold floral green with dramatic puff sleeves from Mary Benson, York; and a pink gingham transfer from Stalf, in Lincolnshire. “They’re usually dresses that you can wear and live through the summer. Those are the ones I’m always looking for.”

The choice is strong on solids and stripes – floral prints are just two of the designs. That is no coincidence. “We’ve had a lot of really feminine florals come through,” says Spearman, noting that “she’s been pulling a cleaner dress recently. We pulled back a lot of ruffled skirts, tiered and extra details than we normally would.

“Maybe with all the bad news last year, the cost of living crisis, the two wars going on, there was a bit of a vibe change, and people wanted something simpler, something a bit sleeker.”

Her favorite (at least, her favorite today – it varies, and “you’re asking me to choose between my kids”) is a khaki cotton poplin dress by Dune-based designer Karolina Ozolinsiute Edinburgh. “I’m very fond of world tones. I am very 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 tans and camels, it looks really smart with black, you can add metallics or leopard print – it’s a really good basic colour, and in a crisp polo, it’s beautiful.”



Khaki, £289 by Karolina Ozolinsiute

Outside of DDE’s pop-up, dresses that the old-gotta-wear-it has recommended to me recently share a no-nonsense approach and a focus on fabrication and silhouette over print. I’m thinking Toast’s watercolor check dress, Brora’s linen utility shirt dress and designs from Second Stories’ first capsule collection. The long made-to-order range of vintage wrap dresses, all made in a small, women-run studio in Ukraine. “For me, a dress is a basic, easy piece,” says founder Nicci de Vries. “They are flattering, but more than that, I wanted to make sure that each design had unique features, with details and craftsmanship that you don’t find in much modern production.”



Khaki dress, £330, Second Story



Gingham dress, £195, Toast; Shirt dress, £225, Brother

On the high street, a white cotton-neck midi dress from Marks & Spencer is a palate cleanser of a dress (one that hits many of the same notes as the best-selling – and much pricier – Wells le Staud dress). . The retailer sold 45 of the dresses per hour during the first Saturday of its launch, and is bringing out orange and green versions this month. Sezane also has a winning streak, from his Neapolitan-hued Edwinda to the blue-blue Majorelle-embroidered Osiris dress.



White square dress, £29.50, M&S

Cezanne dressesCezanne dresses

Cezanne dresses

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

Most of these are midi or midixi, while Spearman could wear Birkenstock Arizonas last summer. She has the change up in 2024 to wear her dresses – new finds and old favourites, back again to restore her faith in dresses – by mary-janes. “I didn’t have any mary-janes a few months ago, I’ve picked up 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 an updated shoe.”



Mary Jane flats, £110, Boden

All dresses available at The Daily Dress Edit from 12 May

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