As a fashion editor, I have a talent for being able to whip up wardrobe recommendations whenever my friends or family need them. They often joke that my brain is like an encyclopedia of everything that’s available to buy right now, and I can’t argue with them. All the scrolling and daily research I do writing for Who What Wear means I’m well placed to answer most of their queries, especially if they’re looking for a specific item. It’s highly likely I can reel off the places that are doing it best with only a few moments of thought.
As you can imagine, one of the things I get asked about most regularly is dresses, whether it’s an office-appropriate style, a party dress, a wedding guest dress or even a bridesmaid dress. And surprisingly, the one destination I tend to recommend most isn’t a super-high-end designer; it’s & Other Stories. The main reason for this is it does brilliant-quality pieces that tend to look a lot more expensive than their high-street prices. Plus, the brand always seems to have the most versatile dresses that can work for everything from weekends to work to weddings.
And since dress season is fast approaching, I thought I’d preempt all my friends’, family’s and colleagues’ enquiries and pop into & Other Stories to road-test all of its best dresses in store and report back. I tried on about 15 dresses (yes, it did get sweaty, and at one point, I thought I might have been stuck in a dress forever, but let’s not go there), and the seven below were the styles that really blew me away. Using my industry expertise, I’m also predicting these will be some of the brand’s most popular styles this summer, which usually means they’re likely to sell out before it even gets warm enough to wear them.
There are a few really easy, throw-on styles you could rely on every day of summer, and there are some sassier styles that can be dressed up or down easily depending on the summer occasions on the cards—from bank holiday barbecues to picnics, hen dos and weddings. For reference, I’m 5’2” and usually a 10, so I tried all of them on in this size to gauge whether it’s best to size up or down, and I’ve noted this where relevant below. Keep scrolling to see and shop my favourites.
1. Smocked Side Slit Midi Dress
Obsessed is an understatement. I felt like a real-life version of the emoji woman in this dress, and let me tell you, that's no bad thing. The adjectives cute, sassy, confident and comfortable all come to mind. I loved the less-restrictive shirred waist and pretty lace-up neckline, which also means you can adjust it to fit exactly how you like it. PS: It comes in a pink floral too.
2. Square Neck Midi Dress
This was quite bold for me, as I usually steer clear of prints that aren't timeless florals in summer, but this baby took me by surprise as one of my favourite dresses of the day. The fit (true to size) and shape were extremely flattering thanks to the shirred stretchy panel at the back and wrap-skirt detailing. It felt fancy but was extremely comfy, so you can bet it came home with me to wear to all the weddings I have this year.
3. Cut-Out Waist Midi Dress
Call me old-fashioned (or just plain old), but I've been avoiding the cut-out trend like the plague for a while now, thinking I probably couldn't pull it off. That was until I tried this dress. Not only is the joyful shade instantly smile-inducing, but the cut-outs showed just the right amount of skin for it to still be really flattering. I'd suggest taking your usual size in this one or even to size down if you've got a smaller waist.
4. Open Back Midi Dress
Okay, I admit it—I'm a sucker for a simple black dress. What can I say? I'm a minimalist at heart, and this easy style with pretty details called to me from across the shop floor. I loved the throw-on shape, and the bows on the arms and lace-up back kept it from being boring. It's not one you can easily wear a bra with, but the front is fully opaque, which makes it feel more comfortable going braless. Unfortunately, the black doesn't seem to be online yet, but there is a gorgeous beige and a floral version on there. Every cloud…
5. Puff Sleeve Linen Midi Dress
I'm calling it: This is going to be & Other Stories' dress of the season. Linen, puff-sleeved and floral—what's not to love? Actually, there is one thing to be wary of with this dress, and that's the sizing. The skirt, particularly the tummy-and-hip area, does come up quite snug, as it's a stiffer fabric than the silkier dress on this list. I would definitely recommend sizing up once or twice if you're slightly hippier like I am. But once you've found your perfect fit, you've got a beautiful dress with cute puff sleeves and ruching in all the right places that works for weddings, picnics, pub gardens, bank-holiday barbecues and everything in between. It even comes in creamy white linen and sassy red too.
6. Scalloped Embroidered Midi Dress
Give me a white dress in summer, and I'm happy. Personally, I'm a big fan of any throw-on style as well, so this ticked all my boxes. The waist ties are adjustable, which makes finding the right size a lot easier and gives you the option to wear it in two different silhouettes: loose or nipped in at the waist. Perfect with a chunky sandal and basket bag—I think you'll agree.
7. Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress
Maxi dresses are back for 2022 in a big way, and so despite only being a petite 5'2", I thought I'd try out the trend with this pretty puff-sleeved style. It's classic, easy to wear and timeless. I can imagine pulling this dress out again and again each year and every time I don't know what to wear. And those pieces are like wardrobe gold dust in my opinion. I would actually size down in this one, as it's got an elasticated waist and was quite roomy.
Shop More Perfect & Other Stories Dresses