But for a dress to actually end up in my repertoire, it must tick certain boxes. Firstly, I have to genuinely believe I’ll reach for it long into the future. I’m not about wasting my money on something I’ll wear for just one season, keeping in mind the environmental and financial impact of such a habit. That box is non-negotiable. For a style to make the cut, it also has to go with my existing shoes and accessories. If I’m immediately hit with the impulse to buy a particular pair of heels that I need to make the dress look even better, it’s not the one. Among other important considerations are the fabric choice, colour palette (I’m not a neon girl), and whether the dress in question fills an existing gap in my wardrobe.
This still leaves us with a lot of options. So, to narrow it down, I’ve tackled the challenge head-on and sifted through hundreds, if not thousands, of summer dresses at various price points to pluck out the very best. Now, you can enjoy the fruits of my labour. Your own criteria will no doubt be different to mine, but on the off-chance there are overlaps, check out the 40 dresses that have most impressed me below.