Dress It Up

Your go-anywhere dress guide

Words: Rosie Goddard | Photography: Luke Kuisis | Styling: Mandy Nash

Long weekends start with the best intentions: no plans, lie-ins, big breakfasts, DIY projects and perhaps a night out if it doesn’t get in the way of all the sleeping.

But then a brunch pops up that you can’t say no to, and you get invited to a dinner with out-of-town friends, not forgetting that your parents need some love from their favourite child. Basically, you’re busy, and that’s not even counting the free festival tickets that fell into your lap.

These go-anywhere dresses will prime your wardrobe for all manner of around-the-city or out-of-town excursions. Give a nod to balmy days gone by in florals and sheer fabrics, and welcome autumn with open arms in dark hues and velvety textures.


Where to: A festival or rooftop party.

The dress: It’s soft, sways beautifully in the breeze and is especially suited to golden hour (Where the event photographers at?).

The deal clincher: Complement the chiffon-like texture with a shearling jacket.

What’s in your bag? Literally your whole life, from hand sanitiser (because portaloos) to biltong snapsticks, suncream, party tickets, after-party tickets, tissues, sunglasses, a charger, a lighter, stockings… the list goes on.

Who’s coming with you? Your most dependable party friend. As of this moment and until 12am, you move as a unit.

Unread notifications on your phone: “Mum: Darling, do you want to come home for dinner tomorrow?”

Family Time

Where to: A weekend away with the family, a birthday, braai or brunch.

The dress: It’s conservative enough to get the nod of approval from your parents, but fun enough for an impromptu night.

The deal clincher: A structured, wide-brimmed hat.

What’s in your bag? A blueprint of the park you're in, detailing possible escape routes. It’s not that you don’t love your family, it’s just that you’re on hour four of a first birthday party for cousin Jessica’s baby.

Who’s coming with you? You’re flying solo on this one.

Unread notifications on your phone: All of the “Come out tonight” Whatsapps from friends.


Where to: Brunch with friends.

The dress: A lighthearted affair calls for a dress with personality to match. Comeback details like trumpet sleeves are refreshingly modern this season.

The deal clincher: The right pair of retro sunglasses. How else will you shield your soon-to-be-snoozing eyes once you’ve eaten too much?*

What’s in your bag? A present for your brunch host, some after-brunch chocolates (for you) and a bottle of sparkling wine to share because orange juice on its own is just unnecessary sugar.

Who’s coming with you? Another, emergency bottle of sparkling wine, stashed safely in a kitchen cupboard.

Unread notifications on your phone: An email about the freelance work which slipped your mind until now… You’ll get right on it after brunch.**

*Outdoor venue dependent.

**Second bottle of sparkling wine dependent.

Dinner and Drinks

The dress: Embrace the decadence of late nights out followed by long mornings in bed in sumptuous textures like velvet. Dramatic silhouettes will also help you swing into the early hours.

The deal clincher: Statement earrings. Whether tasseled or bejewelled – they’re the late-night accessory for now.

Where to: A dinner party and drinks, then out, then more drinks, then dancing. It’s also a winning style for weddings.

What’s in your bag? The essentials – dark lipstick, chewing gum, phone, keys, bank card.

Who’s coming with you? Your new love interest. The more people there are and the louder it is, the less awkward silences there will be, and that can only mean good things.

Unread notifications on your phone: About 80 Instagram likes on your latest upload. You’re not keeping count or anything.

The Wild Card

The dress: Layer a simple dress with a top or polo neck so that you’re ready for wherever and whatever.

The deal clincher: Socks and sneakers – obviously Vans.

Where to: You’ve done the impossible and resisted all plans. You could be lounging around at home or going to a last-minute lunch of the liquid variety, but basically, you’re keeping your options open.

What’s in your bag? Your film camera, some vintage sunglasses found at a market, assorted herb seeds for your new balcony planter.

Who’s coming with you? Your book. Pretending you didn’t notice someone while waiting for a friend is much easier when you have something to focus on.

Unread notifications on your phone: “Brad: Where u?” (3:45am) (not today, Satan)

Model: Shannon Phillips at Boss
MUA: Never Scello at Gloss