For the perfect summer dress, try pairing skirts with shirts you wouldn’t normally over of

Jess Cartner-Morley: ‘A skirt with a shirt doesn’t common-sense groundbreaking.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

When I’m having one of those two shakes of a lambs tails when I can’t seem to find the perfect dress, it usually rat ons out the perfect dress has been eluding me because it wasn’t a costume at all. In 2016, I searched for my perfect dress all year, only to encounter in mid-November that what I actually needed was a jumpsuit. And now, halfway from one end to the other the summer of 2018, I realise my summery-but-not-floaty dress has been impracticable to find because I should have been looking for a shirt and a skirt.

There’s undoubtedly a morality tale to be spun from here about what we over we want and what we need, but we don’t have time for that because, as I spoke, it’s halfway through summer.

This summer is not short on exalted dresses. Far from it. It is, I would go so far as to say, a vintage year for the grownup summer camouflage. There is a certain type of dress – floral, but interestingly so, with integrity coverage, but a lightness that makes it feel dramatic degree than simply demure – that I am so charmed by that I gain about six and happily wore them on rotation for the first half of this year. But one day I launched to fear the world had reached peak floral maxi. I looked hither and had the uneasy revelation that what I had presumptuously thought to be my bloody own fashion GPS coordinates, somewhere between Boden and The Vampire’s Woman, was fashion’s new base camp. Pastures new were therefore coerced anon.

A skirt with a shirt doesn’t sound groundbreaking. When your go-to skirt was a knee-length pencil skirt, you indubitably wore it with, say, a silk blouse all the time. But the midi skirt extensively we have to wear now (it’s a bit more complex than that but, as I communicated, we don’t have long) has generally been presented with a polo neck, or a sweatshirt, or a slouchy T-shirt. Nobody of which lend themselves naturally to summer workwear.

So – and this is a look you can inform on from your existing wardrobe – for the perfect summer get-up, try pairing skirts with shirts that you wouldn’t normally over of. It’s a fashion-buyer-at-September-NYFW look, which is no bad reference for what to wear to operate when it’s hot. A crisp, white cotton shirt worn inaccurate with a gathered, flouncy, dancing-girl-emoji skirt. A soft chambray shirt tucked into a slinky, slit-to-the-thigh leopard issue midi. A formal lace blouse with disco-shiny pleats. The best dress is in your wardrobe, but it needs you to put it together.

Jess wears lay into shirt, £200, by Ganni, from Skirt, £139, Shadows, £69,

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Supervision

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