Style Guile – Testing the Trend – Panel Dresses

I was really pleased that a client I was with today made full use of the 25% discount in Whistles, courtesy of the voucher in this week’s Grazia.  She bought some great pieces, which really put a smile on her face and for me, that’s what it’s all about. Purchases were also made in Next (great for coloured skinnies and cords) French Connection, Gap, Oasis, Dune, the White Company and others besides. We had a great time and I hope that right now she is trying everything on!


So, as to the panel dresses. You may have seen a few of them around this season. They first appeared last Autumn with Stella McCartney designing this “Miracle” dress, most often seen on Kate Winslet.



The black panels do a great job of slimming down the width of the torso.  They are a brilliant optical illusion and a fantastic styling trick.  I picked this Lucia Panel Dress (£60) up from Oasis a couple of weeks ago. I was interested to see what it looked like when on.   


My verdict? The design has to be spot on or there is a risk of looking slightly freaky – a little like when someone has had too much botox or too much collagen in their lips and their features don’t quite sit right any more. If I am honest, I wasn’t terribly fond of the Stella McCartney dress. For me, it was just a bit too extreme in its shaping, which was a shame as done well they can look great.

I decided not to keep this dress.  It actually had a little too much room in it and when I walked, it rode up. Having said that, if it had fitted a little better I might have been tempted. Because it can be such a flattering look, if you spot a panelled piece that you like, I advise you to give it a go and see what you think. I have even seen them in Per Una and actually the dress in question was quite nice – I went so far as to buy it for next week’s Style Event.


I am off to Style Birmingham tomorrow for lots of fashion, fun and fizz so will report back later!



  1. Thea
    October 1, 2012 / 4:22 pm

    For what it's worth I think Kate Winslet looks AWFUL in that white dress. What is it with her liking for the 'bandaged full frontal cleavage' look?You, on the other hand, look nice in the black dress, but I agree that it's nothing extra special (at least at the angle you photographed it. Perhaps a straight on view would have looked more interesting?).What's the Per Una one like??

  2. StyleGuile
    October 8, 2012 / 5:35 pm

    Hi Thea – I'm not too fond of the KW look either. For me it's just a step too far in lots of directions – (too tight, too much shaping and so on). The panels are flattering and the Per Una one is pretty – navy panels down the side and pink flower print on the body. It depends on your age really and the look you are after.

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