Summer dresses – Country Lane’s pick of the prettiest

Am currently much preoccupied by summer dresses.  Or rather the search for the perfect dress that will take me to smartish summer drinks party and a friend’s wedding in Paris in September.  Both require a special dress and ideally one that will work on both occasions .  A dress that will sit in my wardrobe for quite a while please to not be tossed into the ‘am so over that 2017 look!’ pile.  A dress that is pretty but stylish and modern, not overly trendy but not dowdy classic either, have allure and will suit me perfectly.  That is the brief anyhow…

How am I doing? Easy peasy when you are living in London with the greatest selection of shops to visit:  Libertys, Selfridges, Fenwicks would be my starting points.  But my quest to find the perfect dress is turning into a veritable mission and my heart is sinking fast… A mission that reminds me of the numerous occasions in my costume career when costume brief combined with actor proved to be more challenging than necessary.  The reasons for challenging costuming could be down to the exacting brief from director, the physique of the actor (both perfect or otherwise can presents their own issues) or more often than not down to budget, or rather lack of.

Currently both physique and budget are proving to be the challenge, neither are playing ball, tiresome if nothing else.  For a costume job or a personal styling client I would allow between six to a dozen choices to present at the first fitting: to date I have tried on fifteen dresses, yes fifteen dresses I kid you not!  And I have just ordered some more to try on…My quest is certainly not helped by the fact that I have no access to a good range of shops on my doorstep and am relying solely on the joy of internet shopping which is perfect for me for accessing labels and designers otherwise not available locally.  But this also presents a whole new set of challenges as I have to rely heavily on photographic images, website descriptions and sizing guides to help me in my purchase. So undeterred I am pressing on…Will report back when I have found my dream summer dress but meanwhile here is my edit of pretty dresses.


Ulla Johnson Paulette Dress - Midnight
Ulla Johnson Paulette Dress – Midnight – £345.00 Avenue 32, image courtesy of

Ulla Johnson is an American designer who has recently registered on all UK fashionistas’s radar with her upmarket boho feminine collection, custom prints and intricate embroideries.  Demand for her collections is high and sell out very quickly.   Available at Net-a-Porter, Avenue 32 and KJS Laundry.  Not the cheapest but longevity in your wardrobe will certainly confirm cost per wear value.  This dress is cut very small in the bodice so would recommend sizing up.


See By Chloe Floral crepe dress
See By Chloe Floral crepe dress- £365.00 –

I have been following See by Chloe for a number of years but felt it had lost its way but recently the collection has been hitting its stride once again with the essence of the main line Chloe collection but simplified and more affordable.  Modern and feminine, this year there are some really lovely dresses, I loved this dress but sadly I am too short (5ft2), the perfect dress to wear for a wedding.  Also like this dress below and have just ordered.


See By Chloe Ruffled Dress
See By Chloe Ruffled Dress -£334.00 Farfetch


Zimmermann Roza embroidered dress
Zimmermann Roza embroidered cotton and silk-blend dress – £471.00 – Exclusive to Matches

Ever since the Duchess of Cambridge wore a very pretty dress by Zimmermann walking on the beach on her visit to Australia, this label was an overnight sensation globally.  Primarily a beachwear and swimwear label, the collection has been expanded to include the prettiest day and evening dresses. This a personal favourite and perfect for summer parties.


Isabel Marant - Palmi embroidered dress
Isabel Marant – Palmi ecru embroidered linen dress £920.00 – Harvey Nichols
Isabel Marant Mabel silk dress
Isabel Marant – Mabel pink embroidered silk dress – £830.00 Harvey Nichols

Can we talk about Isabel Marant? Expensive yes but she creates collections filled with what I would describe as sophisticated boho clothes with added elegance and French chic that you find yourself adding to your must have list.    Personally I have always gravitated towards Prada and Miu Miu, not usually a fan of boho clothing as never felt it suited me but since moving to the country, I have found myself being drawn to this designer increasingly and in particular to the diffusion range called Isabel Marant Etoile.  Could it be my French heritage or is it simply down to the fact that this designer is creating clothes that sit really well in my new lifestyle and work for me on a daily level?  If my budget would allow, I would be making a beeline for the above dresses, I have included cream dress not strictly as pretty as pink embroidered dress but a modern take on elegance.  Will be keeping my eye out for these in the sales.

Mother of Pearl Ellie Dress
Mother of Pearl Ellie Dress – £495.00-

Lastly I have included this very pretty dress by new up and coming label Mother of Pearl currently BFC Vogue Fashion Fund Winner of 2017 and one to watch.  This dress sings to me as a costume designer as a simple dress made modern and pretty.  Love the pearl detail.

This is not a sponsored post.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *