22.07.2016

It’s all in the dress

Work a season of occasions in these winter dresses

Words: Rosie Goddard | Photographs: Nick Gordon | Styling: Mira Leibowitz

South African weather is temperamental at the best of times, but there’s always that gloomy period between June and August when the clouds are deliciously dark and an array of parkas, knits and polo necks can be donned to beat the chill.

However, with temperatures outrageously tepid this year (and sunny skies looming around every corner), the classic winter uniform has had to undergo somewhat of a rework. Enter this season’s saving grace: the winter dress. Not only does it layer expertly, it’s also polished, flattering, and ready to pair with all your cold-weather favourites, from gilets to boots, so you can still feel like you’re season-appropriate on surprisingly summery days.

Whatever the occasion, whatever the weather, these dresses will ensure a winter of sartorial smash hits.

The dress…

You may have switched fields for food stalls, fires and inner-city venues, but the same tenets of festival fashion still apply. With its subtle nod to 70s-inspired boho style, the suede dress is the obvious option, and the majority of silhouettes are flattering on the frame. Now’s your chance to go full Kate Moss at Glastonbury (minus the Pete Doherty years) and layer your look with statement accessories, shaggy coats and wellies.

The deal clincher...

Your hairstyle – whether you opt for pigtail plaits or bunches, your hair should be ready for whatever good times are thrown your way.

Forget…

A flower crown. It’s not summer, it’s not 2014 and you’re not Beyoncé.

Why not try…

Layering a polo neck or crop top under your suede dress for a 90s spin on 70s style.

The dress…

There’s nothing quite as magical as a winter wedding, provided it’s not raining, the grass isn’t soggy and there are enough heaters to go around… As I was saying, the winter wedding feels dreamy, pure and soft, and you should attempt to emulate this in what you wear. This season, leave the jewel tones at home and opt for pastel-hued dresses with subtle yet standout features – anything from statement sleeves to eye-catching necklines.

The deal clincher...

Sunglasses. A mere glimpse of sunshine should have you whipping on shades to bring a sleek, urban touch to a pretty pastel look.

Forget…

Red wine. With little to no chance of escape for a few hours, there’s just too much at stake.

Why not try...

Faux fur in soft shades. Whether in gilet or shoulder wrap form, it’s sure to add another layer of decadence to your look.

The dress…

For some, winter means hibernating at home with a slew of good intentions to right the wrongs of the previous summer. For the fun few, it means putting on your shiniest dress and stepping out into the cold to make some more questionable life choices. Conveniently, bad life choices go hand-in-hand with high-octane glamour – think metallic dresses, sparkling accessories and some form of heel, whether you opt for court shoes or ankle boots.

The deal clincher…

Over-the-knee boots. Bonus points for block heels, this way they’re comfortable and won’t forsake you when you want to dance the night away.

Forget…

A clutch bag. You’re in the market for some hands-free, dance-floor fun.

Why not try…

A leather biker jacket. It’ll toughen up your shiny, sophisticated look.

The dress…

Dinner parties are winter’s excuse to dress up without leaving the comfort of your (or a friend’s) humble abode. Carry the theme of indulgence through into what you wear with a knit dress; it’s cosy, comfortable and somewhat forgiving – handy for those times when the food’s too good to say no to seconds (fine, thirds).

The deal clincher…

Your shoes. Because the rest of your look is so simple, your shoes should have all eyes on them. These Gucci-inspired mules will have girls around you gasping with envy, and the occasional man looking at your feet in utter bewilderment. Basically, they’re a win win.

Forget…

A thick cardigan. While we’re all for the layered look, in this instance, it’ll add too much bulk.

Why not try…

Pairing your look with a sleeveless blazer. You can wear it throughout dinner and strip it off when the fire gets a little too toasty.

The dress…

On cold mornings when you’d prefer to spend as little time as possible getting ready, the shirt dress is your saving grace. Regardless of whether you remembered to blow dry your hair or not, it’ll make you feel pulled together and will see you through a day that starts with a morning meeting and ends with a margarita or four at your work function.

The deal clincher…

A coat that means business. The trench will help to balance out the shift silhouette of the shirt dress as will heeled ankle boots.

Forget…

Anything oversized. You don’t want to look like you’re swimming in excess fabric.

Why not try...

Swapping heeled boots for sneakers on those days when you’re on the go.