If you're not going away this summer, fear not! Dressing for summer in the city can be equally as fun, and I think I’ve found my new shopping destination of the moment. I love scouring the high street for a great find, but one thing I won’t compromise on is quality. And after pounding the pavements to see what’s hot right now, I found the one high-street store that stood out and that is leading the way in affordability, whilst not compromising on quality, is Marks and Spencer.
It’s been a challenging year for most high-street retailers, but walking into M&S was surprisingly refreshing. It was the first time in quite a few months I felt that I had walked into a shop and found several outfit options I could easily walk out in right then and there—not to mention how stress-free it is shopping somewhere that cuts true to size (or, if anything, a little on the generous side), and it really feels like it has everyone in mind when designing each piece. From polished tee-and-skirt combos to longline linen tunic dresses and everyday tea dresses, prepare to be impressed by the 10 pieces that I found that work just as well for a summer in the city as they will on a getaway.
1. EASY STATEMENT DRESS
My default piece at any time of the year is a dress, but in the summer, it’s such a no-brainer. Comfortable whilst always adding a touch of polish to your look, a tea dress will never disappoint. More often than not, you will find tea dresses in ditsy floral prints, but this oversized polka-dot print in this shade of blue just pops and is quite unusual, which adds to its appeal.
2. PERFECT SHIRT & 3. GROWN-UP DENIM SHORTS
No edit of mine is complete without something pink, and whilst there are other high-street retailers serving up a selection of oversized shirts in an array of summer brights, I am yet to find one that lives up to the feel of this cotton. Everything is just perfect—the colour, the fabric and the cut. I tried on a size 16, as I wanted it to be even more oversized, so just bear that in mind if you fancy one too.
Denim shorts can be a challenge, especially when you are pear-shaped like I am. Finding a pair that works with your unique waist-to-thigh ratio is no easy feat, but the length and slight stretch of this pair were just right. You could easily pair these with an oversized blazer and heels to create an alternative day-to-evening look.
4. VIBRANT TEE & 5. FLATTERING DENIM SKIRT
I also tried on this tee in white (see below), but I couldn't resist the lime green. Although basically a neon shade of green, it got the tone just right, and when paired with denim or a pair of linen trousers, it just gives your outfit an injection of cool without feeling too daunting.
I haven’t found a denim pencil skirt that fit me this well since the noughties (when I was wearing it with a large serving of highlighter on my cheeks), and as I mentioned above, you can always count on M&S to go with super-stretchy denim that will work with different body shapes. This is such a simple look but one you will wear time and again.
6. PRETTY BLOUSE & 7. EDGY MIDI
I wouldn’t normally go for this style blouse, but the colour was just too good not to share—unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be online but was available in-store. M&S does such a good job at finding premium fabrics on a budget, and this blouse is no exception.
I loved the subtle nod to the utility trend with the drawstring waist and pocket detail on this skirt. It’s the perfect example of how even if you have a smarter dress code at work, you can still buy into trends and play with colour. I would pair this with pointed-toe heels for added polish.
8. GREAT WHITE TEE & 9. CITY-TO-BEACH SKIRT
Walk into any high-street store, and you will find rails and rails of basic T-shirts, but this version from the M&S Autograph range is slightly thicker, giving it a more luxurious feel and polish. A piece like this adds a youthful feel to more grown-up prints and longer-line hems.
This skirt is basically a sarong for the city. The wrap detail is incredibly flattering on both more boyish figures (adding shape) and curvier hips like mine, as it defines the waist. You could easily add a pair of evening heels and head out to dinner in this outfit.
10. EASY LBD
I often overlook such a simple piece, but this is an easy buy. The fabric has a sateen finish that makes it feel more elevated. You could easily throw on a blazer and heels in the office and your favourite flats at the weekend.
SHOP THESE KEY PIECES IN DIFFERENT COLOURS