Dressing for a summer occasion in collaboration with Marks & Spencer

To celebrate the online launch of Marks & Spencer’s Ultimate Dress Guide and new summer womenswear collection, I was invited by M&S to collaborate with them on a “Dressing for a Summer Occasion” post. The Ultimate Dress Guide offers styling ideas for summer events, from weddings to festivals and incorporates some of the key dress trends for the season.

The brief was to style an outfit tailored for a summer occasion or an event. With a budget of £120 I was to chose a dress as a “hero” piece and the remainder of the budget was to be utilised in accessorising the outfit. 

Although I don’t have any weddings to go to or trips to the races planned, I am going to New York for a long weekend and we are going on holiday to the Channel Islands plus I have a summer birthday – so there’s plenty of room for a new dress in all of that!

Without really realising it – but this is an approach which I take with most of the clothes that I buy –  I was on the look out for a dress that I could style in lots of different ways and this Autograph sleeveless maxi dress (£52 down from £65) looked like it might just fit the bill. I liked the neat shape of the collar and the neckline, together with the fact that the shoulders were wide enough to accommodate bra straps. Also the slight empire line looked very forgiving and believe me it is. I have done the “standing in front of the mirror sideways test” and breathed both in, and out, as much as I can and you know something? It is impossible to tell the difference. Oh the joy! And oddly, although I steer clear from black during the winter months, I actually quite like it for the summer.

Over the last few summers I have become much more of a hat wearer and this M&S Collection straw fedora hat (£15) worn with the dress and gladiator flats, wouldn’t look out of place in a casual setting. Swap it for a big floppy hat, layers of gold and silver bracelets and high wedges and it would be perfect for a wedding.

With all things 70’s being such a big trend this summer, and with maxi dresses lending themselves to some styles of shoes more than others, I chose these Limited Edition platform sling back sandals (£28 down from £35). I must admit to having worn them on the school run this morning and they are so comfortable. The berry colour is a lovely colour too, working with lots of darker base colours plus the summer neutrals of cream, white, khaki and pale grey.

And being such a big fan of Lulu Kennedy, I wanted to include one of her pieces in my outfit from her new range Lulu Kennedy for Indigo Collection. Unfortunately the bag is now out of stock online – although it is still in some stores – so I’ve linked to the rest of Lulu’s collection for M&S which has some great pieces in it.

Now I just hope that the weather holds out so that I can wear this outfit. For anyone interested in this dress, I’m wearing a size 8, which is plenty roomy enough – in a good way. It’s also double lined which suits me perfectly as I’m not so much of a fan of the “negligee during the day” look!


  1. Carol
    June 5, 2015 / 6:14 am

    Lovely looks Beth, I too like black in summer. To that end I've purchase the black & Other Stories dress you featured in another post – which is a perfect fit and despite my concerns about the midi length, looks great with my new snakeskin lace up gillie flats from Topshop! Btw – you have the same flats – did you have to size up? I found my size 7 were half a size too small so got the 8 – much more comfy although they do look a bit like long elegant boats on my feet! Wish retailers would do half sizes…

    • StyleGuile
      June 5, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Hi Carol – good to hear that the & Other Stories dress worked for you. Was it the pom pom one? I thought that they were sold out in the black? Bet it looks great wtih the gillie flats. I'm usually a 5.5 or a 6 so the 6 were perfect for me. And I think from where we stand they look quite long but from the front they're fine! You did well to get some – I think that they are selling out fast. x

  2. Amy
    June 5, 2015 / 8:25 am

    Looks great Beth! I'm wondering if, given the slight empire line, this might accommodate my small pregnancy bump. What do you think? I'm looking for a dress for a wedding, but would prefer to buy something I can wear post pregnancy too. Love the orange colour that is available on the website too :-).

    • StyleGuile
      June 5, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      Hi Amy! Without a doubt it would accompany a small (or even quite generous) baby bump and it would be perfect post pregnancy too. And yes, the orange is lovely! Hope that it works for you and enjoy the wedding. x

  3. Sarah @ Fortytherapy
    June 5, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    This looks great & I really love the shoes x

    • StyleGuile
      June 5, 2015 / 8:08 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Choosing pieces online can be tricky and quite a responsibility so I'm pleased that you like it. Thank you! x

  4. Anonymous
    June 10, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    Bought it. Fab dress can see me wearing this for years. Does come up big though (10) but fabulous long length. Thanks for the recommendation x

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.