A midsummer night’s dress

I know it’s not summer yet – let alone midsummer – but this night did feel like it could be summer. I’ve got it on my brain after the hot spell and I can’t seem to shake it. It’s within our reach, and soon the Federica dress will be my go-to for those humid evenings.

Last week I indulged in a girly spa day with some of the lovely ladies in my family (we tend to go once a year, usually for a birthday or some other special occasion but it’s mostly to get some quality time together) and it was bloody lovely to switch off for almost 24 hours.

I used the fancy evening meal as an opportunity to take this little dress for a spin and I absolutely loved everything about it. Yes I know, another Boden dress – honestly can’t get enough. I can’t wait to slip it on (wrap it up?) with sandals for a day-to-night look in warmer weather – hopefully as I sip cocktails on a sandy beach somewhere (no beach holidays currently booked but hey, a girl can dream).

If you splatted me in fake blood these photos could strongly resemble a deleted scene from the Shining, but I love the clashing aesthetic. Hardly an isolated hotel in the depths of a snowy Colorado winter; the Old Thorns in Liphook is far from creepy – the interior is gorgeous (and very fancy for little old me) with spacious hallways, high wooden beams and chandeliers.

It’s a golf hotel (spoiler: we didn’t play any golf) and the rooms and spa area are just lovely. There’s an outdoor spot with sun loungers and the temperature was so humid on the day we checked in that we were able to spill out onto them with our smuggled Prosecco (proving how un-fancy I really am) and intentions of reading, which were swiftly pushed aside for girl talk and giggles.

I now feel as though I own a Boden dress for every occasion, and for that I am eternally grateful as the quality is amazing and I’m yet to come across one that is uncomfortable in any form.

They’re all extremely versatile too, so when I say ‘every occasion’, they can pretty much all be adapted to suit any situation: dressed up, dressed down, even to sprawl out on your huge hotel bed in post-carvery. It’s a genuine miracle that I didn’t spill veggie gravy right down the front (red wine was off limits).

I’m a total sucker for wrap dresses and (it’s a curse) own, like, a million, so it’s no wonder this number drew me in. The contrast between the elegant, sleek material and the cutesy detailing of ruffles and bows is intriguing; it’s a grown-up edition of that ballerina dress you wore when you were 5 – and I will jump at any chance to feel even slightly as cool as a ballet dancer.

DRESS Boden (gifted) | SHOES Asos (old, similar here)

The simplicity of mules is wonderful; it’s almost as if they should be boring, but to me they just keep on giving. There’s nothing I can’t wear this Asos pair with – I’ve had them a good couple of years and worn them to death, but the scuffs just add to the rustic wooden look of the heel. Thankfully the shoes are still perfectly intact (if not a little sticky from partying).

Mules are the humble warrior of the shoe world. They let your outfit do the talking and keep a low profile whilst also being perennially chic. That’s exactly their position here: the dress makes a statement but if you happen to glance down at the shoes… they look great too.

There’s nothing like spending some time outdoors to boost your confidence, and the slight radiance I felt when these photos were taken is a combination of spa relaxation level 100 and my freckles making their first sunkissed appearance of the year.

ph. Kate Baker

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