Two weeks of waiting for something can feel like a lifetime (a delivery or an alteration, for example), but when it comes to the annual life span of certain pieces in your wardrobe, a fortnight passes all too quickly. One long-suffering item of mass underexposure? The white dress, without doubt. It’s a given that you can’t wear one to a wedding, and most of us wouldn’t consider sporting one during the winter. So the little white dress gets relegated to the holiday drawer, where it is briefly acquainted with the bluest skies, the softest sand and balmiest nights as it jets off with you to a Mediterranean island. Then it experiences the inside of a washing machine and doesn’t see the light of day for another year. It’s a tough gig being a white dress.
Net-a-Porter.com's fashion director, Lisa Aiken, during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
So we’re here to champion this unapologetically summery piece and encouraging you to wear yours on the regular, heatwave or not. Experiment with layering it over less seasonal pieces, such a Breton or a block-coloured tee, and under edgy jackets, such as leather bikers or sludgy bombers. Then there’s footwear to dictate the direction of your dress: Net-a-Porter.com’s Lisa Aiken makes a case for black mules, a style you might only ever consider pairing with denim or pencil skirts (and surely you don’t need us to remind you that Converse and white dresses make the perfect partners in crime).
So go on: Eke extra wear out of the most optimistic piece of clothing in your wardrobe, and browse through the gallery below to check out our favourite styles.
Take a tip from this styling, and sport with black accessories to add edge.
Dress this down with flat sandals and a crossbody bag.
Pampelone is a destination for summery dresses; the floral embroidery on this style makes it barbecue-appropriate.
Throw a leather biker or denim jacket over this covetable style.
Add a clutch bag to make this dress evening-appropriate.
Far too pretty for poolside-only glamour.
Lisa Marie Fernandez's designs top our list of must-have summer dresses.
Block-heel sandals will make this pretty dress feel more suited to the city.
Statement jewellery by way of earrings or a necklace is a simple way to elevate a white dress.
You can't beat linen to combat a heatwave.
This is a timeless style you'll revisit year after year.
The subtle structure to this style makes it an all-round investment.