Black has often been disregarded as a colour to wear during the warmer months, but we make a case for it to take over your wardrobe this summer.
The idea of a summer wardrobe and the reality are two very different things. Being British, we should expect unpredictable weather, but our sensibilities are overruled by the optimism of flouncing our summers away in floaty wrap tops, breezy shirts and easy shorts.
That is until we are brutally hit with the realities of summer dressing. Those being: our clothing’s ability to crease without us even moving, the threatening splatter from a brightly coloured salad (leftovers from the socially-distanced BBQ at the weekend) and, worst of all, the inevitable make-up stain on our top as we use the same hand to mop our sweaty brow as we do to waft our burning bodies.
The solution to all this is glaringly obvious, but social norms and a subconscious feeling that it is ‘wrong’ means that wearing a black dress in the summer has become something of a taboo. It’s considered too heavy, too sombre, too reminiscent of winter and too absorbing of the sun’s rays (did you know it also absorbs your own body heat?) for the supposed joy that summer sparks.
Well, we are tearing up the rule book and declaring a summer black dress a safe and incredibly stylish place to find yourself this season. As we all know, with great power (see rule-book tearing) comes great responsibility, and we would not being doing due diligence on your wardrobe if we didn’t unpick the complications of tackling summer black.
First up, find your fabrics. Avoid leather and nylon at all costs. Linen, cotton, light chiffon and even lighter silk are your friends as they let you skin breathe – and you’re going to need it. Speaking of skin, for your dress to reach the upper echelons of success there needs to be some on show: a slash across the shoulder, a slit up to the knee, a low back. Let your sun-kissed skin be seen.
Accessories will make or break this look. For work, ditch suits and make raffia, straw and tortoiseshell your dress companions. If it’s a more ‘summer in the city’ version you’re after, try layering stacks of gold jewellery on wrists, necks and lobes, and pair your black dress with barely-there sandals or simple slides. It’s a revelation, right?
Hush sleeveless shirt midi dress
This effortless shirt dress will solve all of your summer styling woes.
Cos draped belted dress
Crafted from a silk-cotton blend, this simple belted number is the ultimate black dress investment buy.
L.F. Markey Mitch dress
A floaty silhouette manages to transform a simple dress. A style such as L.F. Markey’s will stand the test of time.
Mie Phi Phi dress
Off-the-shoulder dresses are big news for summer, this chic black linen number from Nigerian brand, Mie, ought to be your go-to.
Merlette Miller V-neck cotton dress
This simple yet stylish shirt dress will see you through many seasons. Note: it’s also made from organic cotton.
& Other Stories embroidered sleeveless midi dress
Stack gold bangles on your wrists to wear with this sweet embroidered midi dress.
Lemlem Tikuri belted cotton midi dress
This adorable strappy dress is too good not to snap up. All it needs is a basket bag and a micro mule, and there’s a summer-ready outfit ready and raring to go.
Reformation Bond dress
You’ll own this timeless LBD for the rest of time. Style up or down, we imagine you’ll find countless opportunities to wear it.
Ganni evening dress
If you like a slinky fit but don’t want to look too dressy then this logo strap dress is the one. Giving a nod to the 90s, it’ll also look just as good with fresh kicks.
& Other Stories voluminous bandeau midi dress
A lot of us are ready to start dressing fancy for any occasion we have coming up. This strapless dress will see you through every special occasion.
Omnes Riviera slip dress
Slinky slip dresses are big news for summer, this Omnes number can be worn with either sandals for daytime or a small heel for the evening.
Opening image: Victoria Adamson.
All other images: courtesy of the brands.