We are always searching for all-in-one solutions, shoes that can take us from the office to the dancefloor, from beach holidays to lunch with the in-laws. Sadly, these miracles rarely happen, both the elements and our sartorial desires defeat any goodwill we had left to buy just one pair of shoes for all four occasions. Crazy thing is, a knitted dress can perform across all of the briefs above, from disco, to Barbados, to apple sauce blintzes with your boyfriend's family. We had a serious chat about the absolute best thing to wear on a date when you have no idea what the vibe is (with the venue or the date) and we all agreed that a set of well moisturized legs, a spritz of perfume, a dash of classic jewellery, a small heel and the all-favoured-casual-but-sexy slightly oversized cashmere dress. Brilliant. Every time.
A dress for all occasions
Knitwear dresses offer an abundance of diversity within their own section. On one end of the spectrum knitted dresses can have highly structured shapes and body-hugging support or on the other, crochet dresses and breezy loose knits. The first associations we have when mentioning a jumper dress is a cuddly soft wool dress with long sleeves and easy shapes. The kind of thing you almost always feel like putting on. The top of the luxury list almost always starts with Loro Piana, and is our most obvious pick for this section. As we have learned, 'effortless' still takes a little effort to pull off, but a sweater dress by Loro Piana does most of the hard work. It’s the combination of simple but studied shapes, supreme fibres and a muted colour palette. This must be the formula used to create the perfect grey cashmere knit dress. We're a bit of a glutton each season when choosing this particular style, so you'll always have at least a few options of 'perfect' to get you through. How to wear snuggly wool dresses or soft-as-powder cashmere dresses is a simple task. If it’s horribly cold, layer over slim leather trousers or try wearing over your flared jeans. For mid-temperatures, a bare leg, over-the-knee boots or loafers are a chic option. To make it work for work, wear a crisp cuffed shirt underneath and a pair of stockings.
Knitwear for Barbados
If that sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because you've forgotten Missoni, the knitwear house with a penchant for sunny-side-up. This is an Italian, family-owned fashion house that screams happiness. Signature vibrant zigzag rainbows, ‘60s style knitted tunic dresses and glorious differentiations of textiles. From large crochet loops that act like barely-there cover-ups to fine knit wools, to slinky fine silk crochet dresses that everyone loves so dearly. If you could only pack a few things for a summer holiday, a swimsuit, toothbrush, sparkly sandals and a Missoni crochet dress would be the most stylish of survival essentials. Missoni often loves to style their runway looks with bold costume jewellery, but this season you can easily toned it down a notch with converse sneakers and some pretty earrings.
Laws for the in-laws
Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen has, for many a season now, created interestingly sculptured knitted dresses, often in bold and contrasting prints that wouldn't be out of place worn to a wedding (tried and tested on none other than her majesty Queen Elizabeth). They fit like a dream using defined waists and ladylike silhouettes. These McQueen knit dresses are social armour. Worn with neat brogues, ballet flats or a delicate heel, depending on the social graces needed, this is a knitted dress to carry you across continents and conversations. So like we said, all-in-one solutions are not always easy to find, but with the humble sweater dress you have an exceptionally good chance of impressing both the Queen and the pool boy.