Summer linen

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After a winter bundled in woollies, it’s great to be in summer clothes again. Monsoon dressThe weather turned with a vengeance recently and today in Normandy it’s 20-odd degrees again. We have gone from winter clothes to sunfrocks almost overnight this year (the linen basket is literally still full of thermals and thick jumpers, awaiting washing before storage).

It is wonderful once again to be in sandals instead of boots, and to feel cool, crisp linen on my skin.

Speaking of linen, it was rather a shock to find that my ‘new’ lavender linen Boden dress is now four years old, but on the upside, this means I am due a new frock, as I can now feel justified in wearing the Boden one for every day and not only for posh.

I therefore wore it on Monday to go shopping, along with a long white linen coat with a Nehru neckline from Hobbs (lots of cover to please the dermatologist, since I am now sworn off the sun forever and aye). 

Being a long-time sewist, I can run up a summer frock in the course of an evening, so when I buy one it’s got to offer me something special, such as a good print, piped seams, a lining, or an invisible zipper. So I knew pretty exactly what I was looking for from my new dress:

1 Pale blue.

2 Floral.

3 Quality linen.

4 V-neck.

5 Decent coverage – not backless, not shoestring, and with proper wide straps so you can wear a normal bra under it. 

6 Sleeveless, so it can be worn alone, over t-shirts or under a top layer. Besides, nothing dates a dress like the sleevehead. 

7 Long, so I can go bare-legged.

And above, folks, after a bit of scouting around, is the very dress.

This little Monsoon number cost me £7.50 on Ebay, though I had to bid for it twice (I dropped out at about 16 quid the first time it appeared, when it was better photographed and therefore looked more desireable). So I hope it will be winging its way to me (or at least splashing) very soon. 

I did notice, however, that my criteria for a dress were only met by certain makes, so thought I would share the information. Here, in no particular order are the brands that seem to me to go that extra mile when it comes to design offerings that will suit a mid-life babe:

1 Monsoon – good silk dresses as well as linens in vibrant colours and nice prints as well as plains.

2 Boden – excellent stretch, wrap viscose dresses, plus linens with flare and interesting edgings.

3 Hobbs – arty, intellectual dresses with interesting design details. In fact my favourite linen items are all by Hobbs.

4 Per Una – flirty, feminine dresses with lots of volume at the hem, plus the same design in skirts.

5 Laura Ashley – basic linen dresses with thin cotton linings.

6 Phase Eight – pretty dresses with feminine details.



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