The Multi-Tasking Mini Shift Dress

a.k.a) One of like two dress that I own

I currently have two dresses hanging up in my wardrobe. Remember the orange and black floral print Ganni number that I bought last year and is now my default for any summer wedding/party/fancy schmansy occasion? It’s a wrap dress and so hides a BBQ-induced belly that might be going on underneath the silk, plus it makes me feel like a proper grown-up. I wore it on Monday for my agent’s summer party and having it in my capsule means that I’m sorted for occasionwear during the summer. Love it. The other I have hanging in my wardrobe serves a slightly different purpose. It’s the & Other Stories Off-White Shift Dress. It’s not long or floaty like the Ganni and isn’t particularly geared to big events, but I’m finding it a handy piece of kit to own. I know I’m such a dress troll and will inevitably post approximately 15 posts per summer season on how I hate getting my legs out and how I will forever be attempting to try to fall in love with it, but I think I’ve come to the conclusion that love or it or hate it, sometimes the weather in the U.K is just too darn hot to don trousers. So let’s unpick why shift dresses get a leg-baring hall pass from me…

So here’s why I think a shift dress works well for me and has been a shape that I’ve repeatedly come back to over the years. A shift dress is basically like the straight-leg denim jean of the dress world. There’s not much shape there per se, but it fits close to the body – like straight leg denim does – and both flatters and covers in equal measures, elongating the body. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the straight silhouette is one that I just naturally gravitate towards. I don’t ever like anything to cling too much, or be too fitted and so actually this ‘straight up and down’ cut is a piece of me let me tell you. I’ve also realised that a mini-length is right for me. I like that the length goes with any type of shoe and you never feel ‘cut off‘. Wear with a trainer? Cool. Wear with an open-toe sandal? Just as good. Plus you can be experimental with your arm design. Personally I love a three-quarter length sleeve, although that’s not necessarily the best choice for summer, so this shift which is cut pretty high on the arm, actually ends up being quite a good choice for those like me who don’t have much in the shoulder department and gives the illusion of having a bit more definition there.

I always like to offer alternative options and recently whenever I’ve done it’s always been Mango that have come up trumps. The buying team is on FIRE! I thought it wasn’t possible for me to scroll through a dress section and get excited, but they have proved me wrong. This Polka Dot Dress combines the shape that I love, along with my second favourite pattern and gets a big thumbs up from me. This Stripe Textured Dress is less than £20 and somehow manages to be office appropriate, but also flippin’ spot on for a hot weather holiday evening outfit at the same time. It’s pretty impressive. If you fancy something with a bit of colour, I like the look of this Frills Denim Dress which doesn’t stray too far from my black/white/grey path in that it’s denim, but looks thin-enough and floaty-enough to wear during the summer. Ok, you actually do want some colour? Then this Ichi Tropical Leaf Shift Dress might be more up your street. For a good all rounder though, you can’t beat this ASOS Design Casual Mini Shift Dress, which is black, plain and simple; but could be worn in multiple ways, just like they’ve doubled it up with a t-shirt underneath on the model.


So how have I been wearing it my wardrobe? My FAVOURITE way is to pair it with a leather jacket like I’ve done here (annoyingly this jacket is about five years old from & Other Stories and finding a dupe that has gold detailing is near impossible – sorry peeps!). I like the black and the white and it just gives a casual vibe to the whole thing. Sometimes I wear this outfit with a pair of Vans, other times I wear it with a fancier sandal – either way it’s a really casual ensemble that I feel myself in. However if I fancied sassing it up a bit, it could easily be worn with a clutch and my leopard print heels for an evening out, although I will say that I prefer to wear it up to London for a day of meetings or just around town during the week. It’s comfy! It keeps me cool! Yes, it does mean that I have to shave above knee height, but hey – sometimes it’s just so hot the extra effort in the bath is worth it.

Photos by Amber Tanc

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