Not all dresses are born equal in the design studio, which is why our editorial team and network of contributors is always on hand to sift the wheat from the chaff. Recently, assistant editor Elinor Block asked us to place dibs on the best dresses for summer 2021, and I selected a dark chocolate–coloured puff-sleeve open-back dress from & Other Stories among other more expensive options. On my digital travels researching for this request, I stumbled across the midi via the brand's new-in section, and before I shared my top picks for the story, I became so enamoured with it that I freaked out about other people buying it first, the dress selling out and missing an opportunity to own such a "me" item. I often take days, weeks, months or even years to consider whether I really want to buy something, but in this case, the urge was so strong I knew we were meant to be together.
It is on the pricier end of the high-street scale, but the quality of the fit and finish is what you'd expect when you pay a bit more. For me, the fact that it's made from Tencel Lyocell (a far more sustainable fabric) and that it has a full lining from square neck to swooshy hem means it's not as flimsy or see-through as some affordable summer frocks. I have high hopes that it'll be a classic style I wear summer after summer for at least the next decade.
There are multiple panels that act as a kind of casual corset around the waist and provide a nice flare in the skirt, and the tie-up back is dainty yet secure—secure enough to go sans bra when you still have an ample bosom, anyway! For your info, I'm 5'1'', and so this midi sits more like a maxi, brushing my feet. I'm hourglass and often between a 10 and 12 in dresses, so I opted for Stories' size 38, which is fitted but loose enough to feel comfortable in.
So without further ado, meet the dress I'm very proud to own (and wear a lot) in 2021.