It’s that time of year again, when those invitations start hitting the door mat and your summer diary slowly starts to fill. From weddings, to garden parties or a day at the races, the likelihood is you’ll be attending at least one formal function this summer - but what will you wear?

SHOP OCCASION DRESSES                            SHOP THE SHOOT

About the Shoot

It’s easy to fall into a trap when it comes to dressing for occasions, there’s something about it which feels so staid and formulaic. So, if a pastel-hued shift dress with a matching pashmina and feathery fascinator brings you out in hives, read on. There are alternatives, very stylish ones...

Of course, we’re not turning our backs on dresses, or even pastels – both strike a chord during the wedding season. However, it’s all about thinking outside of the box, a bit. We’re not suggesting you go totally left field, but choose your pieces wisely and you’ll feel good and look current – so often a challenge when it comes to the paint-by-numbers formula of getting ‘dressed up’.

Beautiful dresses in ice blue, palest pink or pretty prints offer a soft hit of colour across simple, unfussy shapes with just a hint of detail; gentle ruffles, structured frills or abstract pleating lending an understated but textured feel. Breezing in wearing one of these will have an air of effortlessness - something of a rarity at the summer weddings line up.

If you like the idea of a dress, but also going informal, a maxi dress will work. With a relaxed yet glamorous feel, our frill detail maxi in flame red has a striking effect but with a bohemian vibe. As does a jumpsuit – impactful but uncomplicated, pull it on and keep your look simple yet bold with a statement necklace or shoe.

Or, adopt the season’s trend for separates. This is where your styling prowess can be really put to good use. Go white-on-white (another hot trend), with a simple tie waist top over a well-cut trouser and finish with a sexy white pump. Suits are a striking option, but go modern with your tailoring; pick a sharp suit in a sweet sorbet shade (we like peach) and wear it with a simple tee and snappy clutch.

Follow these simple outfit ideas and when those invitations come rolling in you’ll be safe in the knowledge that there won’t be a pashmina or fascinator in sight.