Picnic dresses

With meetings of groups of six allowed outdoors in the UK from tomorrow and sunny weather forecast next week it’s time to throw your joggers in the wash and put a pretty frock on to re-enter society! We’re lucky that the pandemic has coincided with a trend for oversized dresses (got to look for a silver lining) as these are the perfect style for comfortably reclining on a picnic blanket with the added benefit of hiding the waistline so you can go wild on the sausage rolls. Other things to look for in a comfortable dress for outdoor meet ups are elasticated / drawstring waists, empire lines or smock style frocks for ease of wear al fresco. If the thought of what to wear outside your home is sending your head spinning here are my top picks for spring picnic dresses. 

Under £75

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A fresh spring green dress from Marks & Spencer. Love the puff sleeves and the elasticated waist panel for an easy fit. 

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I like the vibrant red/lilac stripe in this dress from Mango. The waist tie makes the fit easily adjustable – wear with for a cinched in look or without for free and easy style. 

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This cheery mustard yellow midi dress from Monsoon has flattering ruching at the waist and the puff sleeves give it a vintage 1950s look to add a touch of elegance to your picnic. Part of Monsoon’s S.E.W collection made with sustainable fabric.
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Gingham is always a classic for picnic style and this green check cotton dress is one of my favourites new at Monsoon. Love the cute little cuff ties.

Wear it with:

EarringsSunglassesBagShoes

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A cute clementine orange check organic cotton dress from Thought clothing with handy pockets – practical and stylish – just what you want from a picnic frock.

Wear it with:

EarringsSunglassesBagShoes

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An easy to wear throw on yellow gingham cotton dress from Mango

Under £200

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A pretty deep red cotton dress with peachy floral pattern from East – a good transeasonal piece that will last beyond spring/summer.

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This pretty blouson sleeve dress from Hush is embroidered with daisies so definitely belongs in my picnic dress edit.

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The spring bloom print on this floral dress from Baukjen is perfect for al fresco style situations.
15% off at Baukjen with the code: ALICIA 15
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The pretty embroidery on this linen dress from Boden gives an otherwise simple dress an extra special touch.

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Smock dresses are probably the most comfortable to wear. This broderie blue dress from Anthroplogie definitely ticks the practical and pretty.boxes.
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A pretty paisley print dress from Faithfull the brand.

Small British Brands

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This Dolly dress from Coco Fennell is a little more fitted than the others I”ve selected but with gingham and daisies in one frock it definitely deserves a place in my picnic edit.
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Another super easy style al fresco – the Camden passage dress from Justine Tabak. Love the multi colour check.
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Love the statement sleeves and oversized fit on this dress by Stoned & Waisted seen here on Emma Paton.

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A elegant wildflower print empire line dress from Yolke.

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This Jaiye Orimi dress by Kemit Telford has the prettiest ruffle detail and pink/yellow ditsy print. And that drawstring waist will make it easier to adjust so you have room to eat all the picnic bread!

Since I published this post I noticed Kemi Telford has these new check dresses which would also be great for picnics:

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I love Johanna Sands dresses – they have a loose comfy fit so really easy to wear. This is her latest one – the light blue floral Ana. She does very limited editions so you have to be speedy. Keep your eyes peeled on her Instagram page for new stock.

Splash the cash  

With minimal travel abroad over the past year and eating out a distant memory some people may have managed to save money during the pandemic so if you’re looking for a post-lockdwon splurge as you re-enter polite society these are my top pics for an extra special picnic frock :

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The Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show gets underway this week – marking the start of the summer season and the perfect place to wear a floral dress. Here are 15 of my favourite floral frocks available now:

 

L-R: Maje; Hobbs; Marks & Spencer.

 

L-R: Boden; Warehouse; Hobbs.

 

L-R: Mango; Wiggy Kit; Zara.

 

L-R: Zimmerman; Zara; Suzannah.

 

L-R: Beulah; Bombshell; Borgo De Nor.

 

 

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Christmas Party Dresses 

As Christmas falls in the midst of bleak midwinter, you may find the prospect of wearing short party dresses a little uninviting. Sparkly sandals may look pretty, but they only really look good on bare legs – tight-seamed toes are a fashion no-no – so if you are wearing a short dress, The Lady’s Maid advises going for dressy court shoes so that you don’t freeze as you tip-toe around the party circuit this festive season. As a dress code, cocktail dresses are traditionally short in length (mini to knee length). Christmas is a great time to go for rich jewel shades – think sapphire blue, emerald green and burgundy red – or metallic silver/gold sequinned numbers. Here are the Lady’s Maid’s top picks for party dresses on the high street:

 

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Ted Baker embellished pleated dress, £249; Adrianna Papell embroidered crepe shift dress, £230; Whistles Aria star embroidered dress, £185; L.K. Bennett Matilde black/gold courts, £150; Coast black/gold clutch, £45; Karen Millen satin stilettos, £45

 

 

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Warehouse navy velvet tieback dress, £36.80; TopShop royal blue fringe beaded dress, £150; Ted Baker Jeanne Stardust flute sleeve dress, £199; blue satin clutch – Bottega Veneta; L.K. Bennett blue metallic court shoes, £129-£195

 

 

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Whistles green satin pleated scrappy dress, £169; Adrianna Papell sequin shift dress with flared cuff, £142.50; L.K. Bennett Kara evergreen velvet dress. £295KG by Kurt Geiger Silver Stiletto Court Shoes, £79.20-£99Dune Everlina Clutch Bag, Silver, £112; Ted Baker Tie the Knot Azeline Bow Stiletto Heeled Court Shoes, Silver, £126

 

 

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Principles by Ben de Lisi – Gold sequin knee length shift dress, £63.20; L.K. Bennett Jazz Sequin Dress, Silver, £175; Dune silver clutch, £48-£52Steve Madden Daisie Stiletto Heeled Court Shoes, Pewter, £68Steve Madden Daisie Stiletto Heeled Court Shoes, Rose Gold, £68L.K. Bennett Flora Clutch Bag, Soft Gold, £157

 

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Reiss, Zaira wrap neck cocktail dress, crimson, £195Dune Eterrnal Clutch Bag, Gold, £52L.K. Bennett Fern Pointed Toe Leather Court Shoes, Gold, £129-£195

 

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Fenn Wright Manson Elaoise Dress, Wine, £199L.K. Bennett Nina Suede Box Clutch Bag, Poppy, £195L.K. Bennett Floret Pointed Court Shoes, Poppy Suede, £175

 

 

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Lace and Beads Low Back Short Dress, Burgundy, £100Reiss Rana Halterneck Dress, Wine, £180Boden Carrie Stiletto Heeled Court Shoes, Burgundy, £68.60-£88.20Ted Baker Cena Bow Evening Clutch Bag, Oxblood, £109