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Dresses to Delight!

The spring collections are starting to take over the high street again and hurrah, we have first pick at a whole fresh set of styles once more.

Published on March 20th 2006.

Dresses to Delight!

The spring collections are starting to take over the high street again and hurrah, we have first pick at a whole fresh set of styles once more. Its time to bid a fond farewell to the tired looking sales rails for another winter, and a big HELLO to the brightly coloured spring/summer 06 collections. And colourful they are, with plenty of big prints and bold colours to warm up even the chilliest spring day.

A key look for this season is the dress. Whether it's worn on its own, over jeans, with boots, shoes, with flats or heels it is a must have for every woman's spring wardrobe. This week we are looking at some of the more casual dresses on the high street which will make great investment pieces giving the flexibility to be worn in a number of different ways.

Strapless stripes:

Stripes play a key role in this season's collections, be they diagonal, vertical, horizontal, thick or thin. The diagonal stripe on this strapless number, £28 from www.asos.com, creates a fantastic optical illusion of lengthening the body, with the change in direction of the stripes and the tie detail at the waist helping to disguise fuller tummy- music to my ears after all that winter comfort food! Must haves when wearing a style like this include a good strapless bra (unless you are incredibly blessed or have undergone some self improvement!) plus contour wear (big knickers) to ensure a sleek silhouette. Team it with big navy beads, oversized bag and flip flops for a pared down look or glam it up in red heels and simple silver jewellery.

Pretty in puffball:

If you want to stand out from the crowd then do it with colour. A basic, brightly coloured dress makes a fantastic investment as it can be accessorised to create different looks with minimal effort. This elegant option, £39.50 from Marks & Spencer, is the perfect mix of classic and contempory. The fabric has a great weight to it, complimenting a flattering empire line cut which will skim over curves. The colour is amazing and gives plenty of options for accessories- think silver, brown, orange or blue for maximum effect. A nod has been given to this seasons puffball look, but it is kept subtle meaning that this piece will remain fresh long after spring is over. Try putting a vest underneath and teaming it with pumps and long scarf for a dressed down look.

Funky Prints:

Pretty prints are going to all over the high street very soon and this funky cotton number comes courtesy of Monsoon at £55.00. Shorter dresses are not just for those of you blessed in the leg department, they look great over trousers or longer skirts. For a surf chick, hippy inspired look, team this with this season's must have wide legged linen trousers in blue or white. Why not try adding some of the many white accessories flooding the high street and some cute pumps for a relaxed summertime outfit. Always remember when wearing prints to keep everything else simple, using the colours in the print to dictate those of your accessories and other garments. Use this item before the weather warms up by popping a white long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of jeans underneath- perfect.

Black with a twist:

Black is still around for this season, but often with a bit of a twist. The safari theme is a key spring/summer look, with influences being taken from both the hunters and the hunted. This gorgeous stone and black striped example is from Wallis at £40 and really captures the safari look. The zebra stripes create a flattering line and the wrap over style incorporates another of this seasons key looks. Wrap dresses are very flattering for most figure shapes and the side tie provides a lovely detail, again drawing the eye away from the tummy. Glam this look up in killer black heels and jet accessories, or tone it down with wooden jewellery and sandals.

White and wonderful:

White is all over the place at the moment and provides the centre pin of most spring summer collections. For a clean, fresh look try this tie detail linen dress from Next (£34.99). Its cap sleeves and full skirt create a feminine shape and the oversized tie detail adds some drama. Team it with tan accessories and heels for a classy summer ensemble or add some brightly coloured jewellery for an eye-catching, high contract option.

So there you go, dresses are a practical addition to your summer wardrobe, now you just have to get out there and explore the possibilities!

Kathryn Whittaker

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