How hard can it be to find a summer dress??

(125 Posts)
Dancergirl Tue 16-Jul-13 12:24:54

I'm looking for a flattering everyday dress.

I am

Early 40s
Size 12
Slimmish, good legs, boobs, a bit top heavy

I'm looking for something above the knee with short sleeves (don't like my upper arms), not shapeless/sack-like, preferably with a waist and not mumsy!

Is this impossible??

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Tue 16-Jul-13 12:27:22

Yes, impossible!


I have hideous upper arms too and there's NOTHING out there with sleeves.

You might find a nice tea-dress. But that will be it.


Dancergirl Tue 16-Jul-13 12:29:27

Oh dear, that doesn't sound promising!

Zalando is worth a look, you will find many different styles and lots of different brands/prices.

This might be the right shape for you?

Dancergirl Tue 16-Jul-13 12:42:38

That looks really frumpy to me, sorry!

Eastpoint Tue 16-Jul-13 12:43:55

What about this? I found one earlier in the summer from ASOS & have worn it quite a bit. ASOS button through skater with sleeves

dexter73 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:12:37

I've got this dress which I think is really nice.

tuliparcher Tue 16-Jul-13 13:22:41

Following a thread I posted yesterday, someone pointed me in the direction of House of Fraser. They've got some nice dresses!

EarlyIntheMorning Tue 16-Jul-13 14:21:00

I have recently returned this one to HoF because the waist sat way too high for me, making my hips seem bigger, but it might work for you?,default,pd.html

Iatemyskinnyperson Tue 16-Jul-13 14:36:52

I've gotten a couple on mango site recently. Ordered this one

And bought this one

Eastpoint Wed 17-Jul-13 06:57:40

I really like the second one Iatemyskinnyperson.

MrsMcGregor Wed 17-Jul-13 10:02:46

I had 3 sundresses in my HoF basket and now all but one are sold out sad so back to the drawing board for me!!

Longdistance Wed 17-Jul-13 10:18:51

House of Fraser deliver to Oz...Yay! Never knew that.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Wed 17-Jul-13 10:22:04
ScrambledSmegs Wed 17-Jul-13 11:30:10

Oliver Bonas have a sale on atm, and some very nice dresses.

Also JOY

Illustrative purposes only, on phone linking is a right faff.

Dancergirl Wed 17-Jul-13 11:46:16

Thanks all.

I'd forgotten about Oliver Bonas, will definitely look there.

Never heard of Joy before but they seem to have some nice things too.

tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:17:17
missbopeep Wed 17-Jul-13 13:18:51

Yes almost impossible.

It's IMPOSSIBLE to get a cotton summer dress! I have looked everywhere and I just can't find any 100% cotton ones. I just can't wear viscose or polyester mixes in this heat so am stuck wearing the same few things over and over sad

tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:36:41

Does it have to be cotton?

Dancergirl Wed 17-Jul-13 13:38:57

Yup not keen on viscose either! Def prefer cotton.

I'd prefer it to be either cotton or linen as they are what I feel coolest in. Sorry for TMI but I sweat excessively due to medication side effects and wearing anything in polyester or viscose just makes it worse

tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:40:26

Try people tree for cotton ones-




tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:41:25

thank you, will definitely check those out smile

tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:52:03
tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 13:54:24
emilialuxembourg Wed 17-Jul-13 13:56:15

All the dresses in the reiss sale.

missbopeep Wed 17-Jul-13 16:31:54

I like a shift style- fitted at waist and ever so slightly flared. But they are invariably without sleeves and I'd like a tiny sleeve too please.

I missed a few on Boden I wished I'd now bought, but they were mainly all horrid colours or navy and I already have 2 navy summer dresses.

tethersend Wed 17-Jul-13 16:45:02
Iatemyskinnyperson Wed 17-Jul-13 19:16:54

Eastpoint, it's so comfy & easy to wear. Very pleased with it. And I got it for €20! Think it will work autumn/winter too with cardi & tights...

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Jul-13 22:49:24

I got this the other day and its nice.


bettycocker Thu 18-Jul-13 08:43:12

I wouldn't bother ordering from House of Fraser! I tried but the order didn't go through despite them taking my money. So, I've been chasing it up all bloody week and have no dress and no refund. Loads of other people have posted on their Facebook page regarding the same issue.

NoComet Thu 18-Jul-13 09:24:56

East are probably too long for your taste, my hottest days dress came from there - proper Indian cotton, like the market stalls if childhood.

Sadly not market stall prices.

Dancergirl Thu 18-Jul-13 09:37:21

I have ordered this from People Tree:

Never bought from them before, what's the quality like?

Also ordered another one from House of Fraser.

Dancergirl Thu 18-Jul-13 09:37:54

Reiss have some lovely dresses but a bit too dressy for everyday.

missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 09:42:50

Have you had a look at Boden? They still have quite a bit left in the sale, especially some fitted shift style dresses though many are sleeveless- but there are a few styles with short sleeves.

Dancergirl Thu 18-Jul-13 10:00:45

Hmm, yes forgot about Boden. Thinking about the Lila dress....

missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 10:24:53

There's the Sorento dress with short sleeves.

missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 10:30:49

Anything here at Jigsaw?


missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 10:34:35

I just adore this though it's a bit too special for every day.

john lewis

Dancergirl Thu 18-Jul-13 10:40:06

missbopeep thanks, I really like this:

But...£95 for viscose....??!

missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 10:49:50

Have seen that in RL and it's nice.
If you order online do it through John Lewis as you won't pay postage and can click and collect if you have a Waitrose near you.

Jigsaw is always expensive. It's worth looking at the SALE part of their website. I've had a few bargains that way. But TBH I'd rather have 1 nice dress I wore to death than 3 I wasn't keen on.

OwlMother Thu 18-Jul-13 11:03:46

I have one nearly identical to the last jigsaw one. French connection from last year- about £60. Not sure if they've anything similar now- I'm rubbish on my phone. Or eBay?

Dancergirl Thu 18-Jul-13 11:18:29

How does Jigsaw's sizing come up? Should I get a S or M if I'm a 12?

missbopeep Thu 18-Jul-13 11:22:45

I am an 8-10 and usually get an XS if they do that, but if it's just SML then I go for a small. I find the fitted dresses smaller- always need a 10- but more casual styles are more generous. I'd suggest you try a small or if your c card can take it, order both sizes and send one back!

Jigsaw are big IMHO and suit tall people, there clothes drown me. I like the Jensen dress you ordered from people tree but think the jigsaw one looks very frump, even on the model.

NoComet Thu 18-Jul-13 22:22:21

That people tree dress even got the DD2 seal of approval, which is praise indeed.

My 12y DD2 is the house arbitor of fashion.

NoComet Thu 18-Jul-13 22:23:00

White stuff also have cotton dresses with sleeves.

Thurlow Fri 19-Jul-13 11:43:35

I've just bought this from Next and am in love with it. It was a completely random buy on the way in to work because I suddenly decided I hated the dress I was wearing, and it's the best buy I've made in ages. It needs a belt to finish it off really, but it's good for work and casual. I just wish they did it in green or burgundy or something else as well.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 11:59:32

I really like that dress- and I hardly ever like anything from Next.

Thurlow Fri 19-Jul-13 12:30:56

It's my new 'I'll wear it to anything' dress grin I'm hoping I can get away with it to a casual wedding!

Ok, I am prepared to share. I am now going to show you the perfect summer cotton dress. But only because I have already bought it so it going out of stock won't affect me. <selfish> wink

Mantaray cotton dress

It is just above the knee, short sleeves, and very flattering!

loopydoo Fri 19-Jul-13 14:02:00
LifeOfPee Fri 19-Jul-13 14:06:33

How about an everyday dress you can breastfeed in, something flattering to a post-partum body too? That seems to be impossible without spending £££ on a dedicated rip off nursing dress.

So jealous of all dress wearing going on sad

Dancergirl Fri 19-Jul-13 14:11:41

Well the People Tree one arrived and it's going straight back - awful. Much longer than in the photo and looked really frumpy.

Waiting now for the Jigsaw one and also ordered another one from Debenhams.

loopydoo I saw that White Stuff one but it's out of stock!

Dancergirl Fri 19-Jul-13 14:20:04

What do we think of this?


Maybe I should go and shop in New Look!

Thurlow Fri 19-Jul-13 14:48:25

You can joke, but most of my casual summer dresses are from New Look, cheap and cheerful but surprisingly good!

LRDYaDumayuIThink Fri 19-Jul-13 14:52:17

If you are wanting sleeves, take a look at these people:

I know they are a bit pricey, but they're machine-sewn in the UK, which I think is nice. I love them.

thegreylady Fri 19-Jul-13 15:00:34

East have lovely fine cotton dresses with sleeves smile

middleagedspread Fri 19-Jul-13 15:47:18

Thurlow I love that navy dress, but it's sold out in my size sad

moggiek Fri 19-Jul-13 15:52:05

LRDY - what a great site! Didn't know it existed.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Fri 19-Jul-13 15:53:51

I think it's relatively new. They were offering 10% off your next purchase if you sent them a picture of you wearing their dress to use on their facebook page, so I think they must be quite a small operation. I love the fabrics they use.

spicywalrus Fri 19-Jul-13 15:54:18

I have this dress which is quite flattering. Also Debenhams have got an offer on at the mo, £5 off if you spend £25 or 10% off until Sunday I think.

MrsOakenshield Fri 19-Jul-13 16:25:25

LRDY - what fantastic dresses, I love the Polly one, tempted to get it for my birthday. But, what kind of shoes? I do have fuck off 50s red stilletos that I wore on my wedding day, but I would prefer flats (I didn't have to walk far on wedding day, and ceremony only last 10 minutes!).

LRDYaDumayuIThink Fri 19-Jul-13 16:28:02

Oooh. I want your 50s red stilletos!

I reckon the full skirt one would look cute with flats.

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 16:31:39

Isn't the day dresses model with the dark hair Kirsty Allsop? grin

MrsOakenshield Fri 19-Jul-13 16:32:51

they were such a great buy, £25 from M&S (red with a little white strap across the front), to go with my 50s style black, white and grey wedding dress. One of my better, post-DD, sartorial days.

I need to get some of that body glide stuff before I make a frock purchase though (flabby chaffing thighs, yeuch).

LRDYaDumayuIThink Fri 19-Jul-13 16:38:46

Ooh. envy

They sound gorgeous. As does your wedding dress.

I just bought this for my 50th birthday party (which is on a beach in a hot country).

Branleuse Fri 19-Jul-13 17:42:30

And I agree with those who have highlighted how hard it is to find dresses with sleeves. This is a real problem. There is nothing particular wrong with my upper arms but I am 50 after all and a little sleeve is more flattering! So many beautiful dresses but all straps/sleeveless!

Branleuse Fri 19-Jul-13 19:45:49

most white stuff dresses have some sort of sleeve

I do love White Stuff. I have ordered several of the "kaftans" from their website for beachwear, they are lovely and do have sleeves.

southeastastra Fri 19-Jul-13 20:28:33

french connection have lots of dresses in the sale at the moment, i have got quite a few

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 21:16:25

Dude- I am an 'older' MN and I don't like my upper arms though I AM working on them <<must do weights tonight>>

But unless it's scorching, a nice toning cropped cardi covers you up, and if it is scorching, anyone wears anything, so why worry?

missbopeep Fri 19-Jul-13 21:17:32

Don't you find French Connection terribly short?
I am petite but find most styles around 6 inches above the knee and they are also very small fitting.

Arcadia Fri 19-Jul-13 21:26:00

Mistral do cotton ones nice on have had compliments (maybe look a bit frumpy in pics but better on) this one comes to my knee and is quite fitted but flattering.

Iggity Fri 19-Jul-13 22:23:07

I was going to recommend the Jigsaw Abigail dress mentioned above. I ordered the orange version which came today. I don't think it's overly dressy and am going to wear to work. Their sizing comes up big.

superstarheartbreaker Fri 19-Jul-13 23:03:18

Fat Face have got some lovely dresses right now.

FairPhyllis Sat 20-Jul-13 04:54:23

Try Shabby Apple - it's a US company and I don't know if they ship to the UK, but they are known for doing sleeves.

minxthemanx Sat 20-Jul-13 08:44:24

God I'm so glad I'm not the only one who can't find a flattering summer dress!! I have trawled round so many shops, tried on so many dresses.....I just want an everyday, pretty dress BUT because I have massive boobs and bit of a thick waist, anything with an elasticated waist is out (so that's New Look, Dorothy P, most cheaper shops out) and I don't want spaghetti shoulder straps. Loads and loads of pretty sack like maxi dresses, but not suitable for work and I quite like my legs so want knee length! How can it be this hard? Sleeveless (but not spaghetti), knee length simple dress without elasticated waist. Nada. Like the Fatface suggestions on here, I'll have another look.

missbopeep it most certainly be scorching at my birthday party and generally on that beach I would have no qualms about wearing no sleeves (or in fact no dress, just swimsuit!) but there will be lots of photographs on this occason and I don't want my 50 year old underarms preserved for posterity!

CockBollocks Sat 20-Jul-13 10:53:32

I have the Next dress in white, completely agree that's its lovely. Very flattering.

Plus3 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:06:46

The white stuff dress is fab - I am an hourglass & the tie belt is essential, but it washes & wears extremely well.

RonaldMcDonald Sat 20-Jul-13 11:14:20

I am not one for dresses but this in green is absolutely lovely

Flyingtree Sat 20-Jul-13 12:16:05

Buy some fabric and your local seamstress will make a dress tailored to your exact measurements and requirements for around £40. Get a couple for summer and you'll never look back.

JohFlow Sat 20-Jul-13 16:58:45

Have you thought of a kimono sleeve? I have a 60's vintage dress with short Kimono sleeves - very flattering and also let's arm waft around your arms in this heat.

Iggity Sat 20-Jul-13 20:09:15

The Dorset dress from Hobbs is lovely. Have had so many compliments on it.

Can't do the link - sorry.

Pixiepie Sat 20-Jul-13 23:36:00

What about White stuff? They have some nice dresses with sleeves.

MmeBoulaye Sun 21-Jul-13 00:31:56

What about this one? Reduced to half-price at £44.00 in the sale, size 12-14 available at the mo.

MmeBoulaye Sun 21-Jul-13 00:33:02

Sorry, forgot you wanted short sleeves!

harryhausen Sun 21-Jul-13 01:06:19

I have that White Stuff dress too. It's great. Really flattering and I've worn it to work and on the beach.

Randomkaz Sun 21-Jul-13 11:12:30

hush shimmer dress over a t shirt to cover arms or without to show off tan. They also have fabby silk shift.

SorrelForbes Sun 21-Jul-13 15:37:15

I've just bought this in the Reiss sale. Very flattering and has sleeves!

spicywalrus Sun 21-Jul-13 16:47:38

Oooh that's lovely SorrelForbes.

SorrelForbes Sun 21-Jul-13 16:50:32

It really is! Lovely material and a good length. Just above the knee on me and I'm 5'4".

aoife24 Sun 21-Jul-13 16:59:06

I got a really nice one from Toast. It has sleeves and is waisted, blue/black/white sort of abstract pattern, cotton, pockets, very wearable. I'm so glad I bought it because it is difficult to find a decent summer dress.

CatOfTheDay Sun 21-Jul-13 17:52:44

I loved the People Tree dress and ordered it before I read it looked frumpy when it arrived - maybe it won't on me (fingers crossed - it's just what I'm after for work so could get away with SLIGHTLY frumpy!)

DespicableYou Sun 21-Jul-13 18:46:38

I bought a really nice one today, from Tesco of all places.

It's black with a white heart print, and I think they had a kind of burgundy one as well.

It has little sleeves, stops just above the knee, has a kind of fitted waistband then flares out a little bit. It's really flattering.

Can't find it on their website though hmm

DespicableYou Sun 21-Jul-13 18:48:10

Really can't find it anywhere on their website, so weird. I can take a pic though if you want to see it.

DespicableYou Sun 21-Jul-13 18:58:56

Have put a pic on my profile and attempted to make my profile public..

minxthemanx Sun 21-Jul-13 19:03:40

Hurrah!!! Have dress!! Debenhams, loads of nice styles in Mantaray but found the perfect one in their ordinary collection. Knee length, pretty purply/pink, shoulder straps that can wear normal bra under, fits gorgeously on the bust and shows off legs whilst hiding horrid stomach. £22. Result. Will try to put link.

EduCated Sun 21-Jul-13 19:21:09

What's the sizing like with People Tree? Seen a couple of dresses I like, but never bought from them before.

spicywalrus Sun 21-Jul-13 20:02:52

DespicableYou, I saw that dress yesterday when I nipped into Tesco and thought it was lovely.

BikeRunSki Sun 21-Jul-13 20:19:15

I would describe myself pretty much the samexas you OP. I bought this on impulse about 5 weeks ago when I was walking past Fatface. I have worn it loads and always get complemented.

Hummingbird dress

MyNameIsSuz Sun 21-Jul-13 21:22:41

Can I just say thanks to whoever suggested Great Plains? I've just bought two dresses!

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 21-Jul-13 22:42:26

Today I've bought a lovely cotton dress from Tesco and it is actually knee length and suitable for everyday ware for £20.The weather is guaranteed to change now.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 22-Jul-13 01:24:41

I'll claim that! I have the green's fab

MyNameIsSuz Mon 22-Jul-13 09:12:23

Hooray, thanks Ronald! I got the Cambridge stripe dress and the Talahassee dress in blue. I've been struggling this year as I need something breastfeeding friendly but am so sick of separates, and I'm also fairly short and find a lot of shops have gorgeous dresses that look frumpy on me as they are always too long. I'm optimistic about these!

MrsPercyPig Mon 22-Jul-13 09:32:45

I've ordered this soldier people tree dress

Hopefully it will be nice when it arrives!

basildonbond Tue 23-Jul-13 18:03:42

Jigsaw have some dresses in at the moment which fit the short-sleeved but not frumpy bill - I just got a lovely jersey one (it's not on the website yet so can't link)

mumat39 Wed 24-Jul-13 10:26:59

This is lovely


Dancergirl Wed 24-Jul-13 10:34:42

That is nice mumat39 shame it's polyester though. I get very hot.

mumat39 Thu 25-Jul-13 19:58:52

Oh. I missed that!

How did the ones yo ordered fit? Were they any good? Hope you've found something and if not, hope you find something soon.


Dancergirl Thu 25-Jul-13 21:25:37

Let's just say I'm getting to know my postman and courier VERY well!

Debenhams ones went back but I did find something at Boden - navy blue cotton, think it's called 'pretty cotton dress'. Doesn't look like much on their website but it actually fits my shape very well.

I've ordered a couple of White Stuff dresses too.

mumat39 Fri 26-Jul-13 00:01:51

Yayyyy! I really struggle finding clothes that fit me, so I'm really glad you found something.

Fingers crossed for the white stuff ones too.


Highlander Fri 26-Jul-13 08:12:31

Oh, the Mistral dresses are gorgeous! And on sale! grin grin

CatOfTheDay Fri 26-Jul-13 10:40:49

I now have the People Tree dress with the cats on - I love it! It's longer than the pics and comes to my knee, but I'm used to that what with being a shortarse.

I'm normally a size 10 but they were sold out so ordered a 12 as I didn't think my boobs would squeeze into an 8, I have plenty of room are the waist but it ties so doesn't really matter.

nextphase Fri 26-Jul-13 18:00:00

Minstral is my new friend - V necks, and looks like not everything is empire line. flowers

Oh hang on, just saw it was viscose, so on the other

soapnuts Sun 28-Jul-13 17:12:05

i've bought a couple of cotton dresses in (whispers).... Sainsbury's - only place i saw cotton ones
this is one - cant see the other on the website but its lovely....

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