OK, when I say “long” dresses here, you have to give me a bit of artistic licence. Because actual long dresses on my 5ft 3″ frame would look ridiculous. So this week, I’m talking about longish dresses, since I find that ones which fall just above my ankle bone are way more flattering than ones which are longer. I have experimented with floor skimming dresses, but I find that they only work for me when I can get my toes out, and we shot these pictures in freezing temperatures (spot the ice on the pavement!), so perhaps we’ll tackle long dresses and Birkenstocks again in the summer. But for now, it’s longish dresses and trainers – the ideal spring outfit!
Predictably, I’ve gone for a pair of adidas Gazelles to pair with my H&M dress (it’s sold out online now unfortunately, but I got it quite recently, so you might still find some in store). In this instance, though, I’ve chosen them as much for the burgundy matching the stripes in the dress as I have for their flattering proportions. That said, they are my go-to trainers for wearing with dresses and skirts, along with my favourite white leather kicks. I tend too avoid anything too chunky as I find it overwhelms my skinny ankles a bit, so I’m always drawn to slim silhouettes. I’ve also got a pair of black leather Gazelles which are SO USEFUL for pairing with opaque tights and a dress (because who knows when we might get another Beast from the East!).
Photography, Zac Frackelton (zacfrackelton.com)
Another thing I find I have to consider with dresses is my boobs – I’ve somewhat bafflingly gone from a 32b to a 32DD in my thirties, despite not having any children to affect their size! – and sometimes loose dresses can hang off them and look terribly unflattering. My stomach is by no means flat, so I don’t like wearing anything too figure-hugging, but I’ve made the mistake before of attempting to disguise it under a loose dress and just ending up looking like I’ve got lost in a tent. The stripes on this particular dress do a great job of averting the eye from any lumps and bumps, as well as giving a hint of a waistline without actually being tight. When I look at other dresses in my wardrobe that I love, it can’t be a coincidence that they all have a print of some kind on the fabric – I do think that a print can be easier to wear than one block of colour. I am also drawn to the fact that this dress has sleeves (although they are a little long for me) because I’m no Michelle Obama when it comes to arm exercises, sadly.
READ MORE: 15 PAIRS OF WONDERFUL WOVEN SHOES
Now, obviously neither of the options above are particularly long on the models, but on me I reckon they’d be just about right. If you haven’t discovered it already, do check out Next’s Label/Mix section, which the striped dress is taken from. It has exclusive collaborations with designers including Osman and Isa Arfen and is a really nice edit – slightly more on the expensive side than Next’s regular clobber, but that’s because the quality is much better. The Toast dress reminds me of one that I’ve had for years which is my fallback party dress – a dark background with a bright, sparse print will work for you year round (tights and black trainers would look great with this, for example). As for the sneakers themselves, I like to either match the print in the dress tonally with a colour, or just stick to plain white.
1.adidas Gazelles, £69.95 (adidas.co.uk); 2. Converse All Star Ox 70s, £64.99 (offspring.co.uk); Novesta Master, £35.99 (zalando.co.uk); 4. Reebok Club C 85, £80 (pampamlondon.com); 5. Seven Feet Apart The Original 172, £129 (sevenfeetapart.com); 6. Superga x ALEXACHUNG 2294 COTU, £72 (superga.co.uk)
I’d love to know what you think! Do you wear dresses and trainers? Are there lengths that you’d never try with flat shoes? Have I encouraged you to step out of your comfort zone?! Leave comments below.