The Chic List: Dresses your grandma would hate

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on the dresses to seek out this summer.

I read a brilliant quote recently from the celebrated restaurateur Jeremy King: ‘A great restaurant should be a catalyst for whatever you want it to be – a reunion, an interview, a seduction, a divorce…’

It struck me that the exact same premise should apply to a great dress. Dress season has officially begun and, even if the weather hasn’t got the fashion memo quite yet, our minds have already wandered to the freedom that summer brings.


When I interviewed the legendary style icon Jane Birkin recently, she revealed she no longer wears dresses, only men’s trousers. She says the wrong dress can age you incredibly fast – and she’s spot on.

Finding the right dress to have fun and frolics in is incredibly important. Because ultimately we all want to feel like we could interview, seduce or divorce in one – rather than look like our grandmother.


This is so popular mainly for practical reasons. It’s an airy, easy, no-brainer outfit in one – smart enough for work or for drinks with colleagues afterwards. But as well as being simple to wear, it also needs to be stylish, flattering and– most important of all – have that feel-good factor.

Hard-core dress fanatics may insist on florals for spring, but there are plenty of other options out there. I’m a fan of the light knitted variety, which is going to be a big hit this summer, and the simple T-shirt dress. Both look fabulous with strappy sandals, slides or clogs. Cos, The Row, Phoebe Grace, Raey and Arket all have excellent selections.

The shirtdress accessorised with a slim leather belt, a chunky gold chain and finished off with a blazer is also a great option for the office. There are plenty of zingy shades out there for the maximalist to consider, too.


This is the fun part. An evening dress for a party, a restaurant dinner or a celebration should always be a little sexy. Something that makes you feel a million dollars, like you could seduce the waiter in-between courses if you so desired! Some like frills and flounce; I prefer them simple and sleek. Whatever your appetite, the right dress should always flatter your best bits, so think carefully about what they are.

Backless dresses give a subtly sexy vibe and a well-placed side slit can show off just enough leg. Chic wrap dresses are flattering on the tummy, just ask queen of the wrap Diane von Fürstenberg.

And this season you can glam up your evenings either in a maxi or an on-trend mini. Khaite, Joseph, Massimo Dutti, Anna Mason, La Collection and Hayley Menzies all have a terrific line-up.

Perfect for garden party season. £225,

A sleek, pared-back knit. £89,

Subtle block colours for the maximalist. £260,

Manifest the sunshine with this puff-sleeve number. £129,

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