If I were to pick a specialist subject on University Challenge, it would probably be dress brands. Considering that I wear dresses around 90% of the time, I've become a bit of a dab hand at spotting new frock trends before they go mainstream, and my pastime of choice is uncovering fresh brands that create covetable styles I can mull over adding to my collection. While the brand we're here to talk about today is neither new nor completely under the radar, it undeniably deserves a moment in the spotlight.
One of the style set's favourite Rat & Boa minis, the Ananis dress is guaranteed to sell out.
I first came across Rat & Boa dresses in 2017 when I was on a feverish quest to find a wedding guest dress. At the last wedding I had been to, someone else had chosen the same dress as I had, and while we laughed it off (it was hardly the end of the world), I decided to go out of my way to find a dress I didn't think anyone else would have. After a mammoth Instagram session, I found Rat & Boa, and it's been on my radar ever since.
Emily Ratajkowski has been spotted in the brand on countless occasions, always opting for its brighter printed pieces.
The Berlin-based label has become known for its cult-status dress styles. You need only type in the phrase "Rat & Boa" on Google to see automated search recommendations for each of its best sellers—the Isabella, the Gisele and the Ananis. This tells you two things: that the brand has a knack for creating covetable dresses that last more than one season and that it has a pretty devoted fan base (which includes Emily Ratajkowski and Jasmine Tookes, FYI), who search for its dresses regularly.
Jasmine Tookes recently rewore this now sold-out Rat & Boa dress, which she expertly matched with a coordinating red headband.
With a discernible '90s and L.A. aesthetic, there's something distinctly effortless about Rat & Boa's dresses, which is ultimately why they hold so much appeal. If you're the type of dresser who doesn't want to look like they've tried too hard—that they've just thrown something on and it happens to look incredible—then Rat & Boa's dresses are the answer. Yes, some styles are more fanciful than others. Its backless, floor-sweeping creations may feel a little too much for drinks down at the pub but will look the part for all those rescheduled wedding celebrations. However, if you don't have a formal soirée on the horizon, not to worry. The brand does have many creations that'll loan themselves just as well for a picnic in the park as they will for an intimate dinner with your nearest and dearest. They're versatile, which is precisely what you want from a dress in the three-figures price range.
Backless dresses are trending, and Rat & Boa is a haven of party-in-the-back frocks.
As the brand has a reputation for selling out fast, you can't hang around when you find a Rat & Boa dress you love. To make things easier, I've rounded up a selection of the chicest dresses that are currently in stock. Still, it's always worth checking its website for restocks (they do happen) as well as resale platforms like Depop, where the dresses crop up more regularly than you might think. Scroll on to see and shop the Rat & Boa dresses I currently love.
SHOP RAT & BOA DRESSES: