Loyal readers will know by now that I'm extra-fussy when it comes to buying things on the high street. This is for many reasons that include not really wanting to look the same as everyone else; favouring quality cuts and fabrics over cheap, flammable polyesters and ill-fitting silhouettes; trying to not be part of today's throwaway culture and to be more considered about what I buy, who makes the items I'm interested in and what the impact of them might be on the environment.
You might be surprised to discover that I actually don't shop much at all—regardless of the price-point— considering my job. So when I do decide to commit to a more affordable purchase, I want it to be something that lasts, looks incredible, feels great and has the signs of long-lasting use; it needs to be versatile enough to be worn in various ways on multiple occasions and not be something so tricksy or trend-driven that I'll be bored of it by this time next year. High standards and tough demands, indeed.
It turns out that my most recent high-street purchase—a fine-gauge knitted tie-dye dress from Zara—was one that has so far lived up to expectations, and many other discerning, style-savvy women appear to agree with me. At £40 this azure-blue midi (well, maxi on me at 5'1") isn't the most expensive piece you'll find at the Spanish retailer, but it does hang beautifully and feel like a premium product.
Perhaps that's why in just one week since I purchased it I've discovered that one of my dearest pals, Lily Russo-Bah, the founder of Beach Flamingo, who has bought it during her third trimester (it's stretchy and will look just as fabulous on her next year). But the love-in doesn't stop there.
My colleague and Who What Wear UK's associate social media editor, Alyss Bowen, has purchased this pretty style ahead of a holiday to China, where she has plans to wear it with a bucket hat and flats, in a similar vein to influencer Anna Cornelia, below.
The flattering, swingy dress has already hit the many corners of Instagram too, with arbiters of style from across Europe picking up on this new delivery.
With its bright hue and statement tie-dye front, I understand that it could seem like this was a summer-2019-only kind of investment, considering that tie-dye is so omnipresent for the season. But I'd urge you to reconsider. Tie-dye is a classic (if divisive) pattern that comes round time and again, whilst this demure midi silhouette with its scooped neck and long sleeves is timeless enough to be worn during any given period.
So how are girls styling it differently? Well, I oscillate between wearing it casually (loose without a belt and with sneakers) and in a more fancy get-up (as pictured above with a belt, strappy sandals and a little pouch bag). Others are finding it a surprisingly basic canvas for quite wild additions, but the joy of this slinky little number is that you don't have to jazz it up at all and it still looks impactful.
Okay, evangelical Zara service is now over. You can commence with either shopping this exact dress below, or choosing from some of my other knitted-dress recommendations below.