Say hello to the new cult Zara dress that the Stylist team are buying en masse

Posted by
Grace Cook
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zara dress

It’s seriously Scandi-chic.

Forget about the polka dot Zara dress — there’s a new cult frock in town. Fashion insiders are flocking to the high street retailer to flood our Instagram feeds with a crisp, white cotton dress that is both girlish and Scandi, simultaneously maximalist and minimalist, subtle yet statement making. Here at Stylist, we love a good sartorial juxtaposition. 

The dress — which retails for a bargainous £29.99 — exudes the femininity of Copenhagen-based designer Cecilie Bahnsen blended with the stark understated vibe of Margaret Howell. It’s a more directional choice than the polka dot number, which every second person on Instagram and the street seems to have. This voluminous silhouette is arguably the fashion industry’s must-wear shape of the summer: pouffy feminine dresses are found everywhere from Ganni to Beaufille and Bahnsen. But it’s this Zara cotton version we’ve all fallen for, not just for its super affordable price tag, but for its seriously easy-wearing everyday style. You can throw this midi dress on during hot and sticky days in the city, as the lightweight cotton will reflect the heat and the billowing silhouette will keep you cool. And bung it in the washer when you’re done — this is not one that needs to be dry cleaned like the chiffony versions out there.

The pouffy dress is best worn with this summer’s must-have dad sandals. An ideal choice to pair down the silhouette and to counterbalance the femininity, a chunky black multi-strap sandal exudes that sort of effortless Scandi girl look we all want to emulate. The dress can, of course, be dressed up with a heel, but we’d opt for a chunky sock boot rather than a strappy sandal, or a Prada-style Mary Jane, to maintain that contrast and stop it looking a bit, well, frilly. 

And don’t be afraid to play up to the volume: this dress looks just as good in a size up as it does in your normal size – we’d be tempted to suggest the bigger the better, in fact. For nothing makes an impact quite like metres and metres of starched white cotton, blowing in the wind behind you as you walk down the street. 

This head-turner probably isn’t the silhouette your average bloke will understand. Yet. It is, as Leandra Medine would put it, something of a man repeller — a part Victorian nightie, part shirt. But that’s part of its appeal — after all, fashion is nothing if not fun and escapist. 

Just be sure to iron the hell out of this one — trust us, it’s worth the effort, for a creased ball of cotton does not look chic. For those prone to spillages, the great news is, there’s a version of it that comes in black. Put your name on the waiting list while you can — the minute this one restocks, it’s guaranteed to fly out. But you’ll have to get behind all of us in the Stylist office, of course — naturally, we signed up en masse

Zara cotton dress