Cool summer dresses

linen maxi dress

It is time for cool summer dresses, whether you are planning a holiday abroad or a staycation a simple dress is an ideal wardrobe staple. I prefer a midi or a maxi as I like to cover my legs for several reasons not least because it avoids all that faffing about with fake tan.

I like linen or cotton, definitely, without a polyester lining as in my opinion, this defeats the purpose if you are heading for warmer climes. I know some of you are not fans of linen, yes it does crease, however, I am ok with that along with chic Italian women. I think that it adds to the character.

The linen dress I am wearing is from Marksandspencer, they seem to have a good linen range this season.

While we are on the subject of MarksandSpencer I would love to know your opinion of their change of direction. Do you shop there and if so what items do you purchase (my US readers can also join in this mini survey. Do you buy from their dedicated US online site?)

linen maxi dress

One comment I would make about their current styling is that they tend to overdo the details. Take this dress for example I know that statement sleeves are on trend this season however I think these sleeves could have been a bit narrower. I am OK with the placement of the pockets as I have a small bust however if you are more well endowered I don’t think that they would be very flattering.

The dress does come with its own fabric belt however I have teamed it here with a wide brown leather belt (very old) to give it a bit more character and to pick up the colour of the statement buttons.

My three favourite products from MarksandSpencer this season and that I have purchased on repeat are Sienna straight leg jeans ( have them in white and black), their slash neck fitted tee (in navy and black narrow in the body you might need to size up) and their high cut leather pumps I have them in silver and metallic from last year and have just bought a beige pair. The leather is very soft and they are very comfortable.

Last years linen dress. I still have it and intend to wear it again soon.

Cool summer dresses:

The photographs were taken by Laura Hines. Follow her on Instagram


  1. M L
    3rd June 2019 / 13:41

    Hello Josephine

    On the whole I am a keen Marks and Spencer customer. I agree that less is more on many of their items, having recently purchased one of the only dresses that is not a midi length (as I am short) it had a tie at both the waist and neck which was too much. As I liked the colour, style and fabric of the dress I have cut the neck ties off turning into a more flattering v neck.

    Talking of fabric, I have been very pleased this year to see M & S use far less polyester. More of their tops have been viscose which is far more comfortable to wear.

    I have been slightly dazed at the sheer amount of different t shirts, several of which look exactly the same that they are selling this year, I’m sure it could have been better curated to avoid confusion.

    I too have several of their linen items, which are lovely to wear on a hot sunny day.

    • 3rd June 2019 / 14:14

      Hello M L
      Thank you for your comment and feedback. Glad you like M & S. I agree I often take a pair of scissors to the extra embellishments. There are more natural fabrics this season. I try to avoid polyester, It does not feel very comfortable nor is it very ecological.

  2. 3rd June 2019 / 14:14

    “Faffing about.” I love that phrase! Also I love linen and feel exactly as you do about polyester linings. I wear linen about nine months out of the year since Virginia’s “spring and summer” weather lasts that long, and find it’s so easy to take care of. When I take it off at the end of the day, I sprinkle it with water, smooth it down, then hang it up to air out till I wear it again. It freshens so easily that it doesn’t have to be laundered after every wearing. And it’s easy to spot clean. I once spilled mustard on a linen skirt when I was at a conference. I washed the spot with hand soap in the hotel sink and it air-dried quickly with no hint of the mustard remaining. Linen is magical.

  3. 3rd June 2019 / 14:20

    Hi Kelly
    Really glad you like linen and thanks for sharing your tip on how to keep it looking fresh.

  4. Heather Moses
    3rd June 2019 / 17:46

    I live in Canada and have purchased from Marks and Spencer online. I’m impressed with the speed with which I receive items but I don’t believe we have the same choice as the UK site. I have found their sweaters to often be very short in the body (and I’m not a tall person) and the sizing – even with the same item can differ. I bought 3 identical sweaters this past winter in 3 different colours. Two were quite loose and the navy one was more fitted. I haven’t purchased anything from their spring collection as I find the styles to be rather frumpy and the colours drab and not appealing to me.

    • 3rd June 2019 / 18:03

      Thanks for your feedback Heather. Really interesting. No, I don’t think the US site has as much choice as the UK one.

  5. Jenny Randon
    3rd June 2019 / 19:44

    Always look in M & S but rarely buy because they tend to make so many of the same garment that everybody and their mothers may have it. I think over the last few seasons they seemed to have lost their way, but observing their recent collection, they seem to have upped their game. I did buy a pair of wide leg patterned linen trousers for holidays last week – hope I don’t regret it if I see others in the same! I do like their straight leg chinos (the ones with sparkly on the pockets) and have them in black, grey, navy and white. Also have couple of pairs of their summer cropped chinos. Have quite a few of their cashmere sweaters, underwear as well – maybe I do buy quite a lot from M & S after all – just not what can be easily identified and sit next to somebody on the bus in the same outfit!

    • 3rd June 2019 / 19:48

      Hi Jenny
      Thanks for joining the conversation. I know what you mean I stick to the plainer items that are not so easily identified. I have not bought their cashmere for a while they used to be very good but a friend of mine said hers pilled.

  6. Sara
    3rd June 2019 / 22:56

    Agree wholeheartedly about the current M& S being frumpy. Not bought anything for over two years for this reason. Everything somehow just misses the style button. Bought their top of range silk underwear at no small M & S cost, only for it it to split and get told it was “fair wear and tear”. I think not, but I will not risk it again. Overall, quality has declined, together with style. No longer for me, I’m afraid.
    I find myself going to Cos as first style choice now; some of it is a bit off the wall, but some is excellent , very well-priced and of excellent quality. Recent super buy: Arket’s heavyweight tee shirt, fabulous cut, fabric and good colours. Eat your heart out, poor old M & S.

    • 4th June 2019 / 07:55

      Hi Sara
      Have just bought some no VPL underwear from M&S so far so good and very reasonably priced. I too like Cos for their simplicity of style not too popular on this blog as can be a bit over the top. I have recently bought a couple of things from Arket including a lovely pink jacket which will be on the blog shortly. No plastic wrapping when it arrived added bonus.

  7. Wendy in York
    4th June 2019 / 07:18

    Years ago on an almost deserted Greek beach the other girl there wore the same bikini as me . We rolled our eyes saying M&S ! After that I haven’t bought anything recognisable as theirs . Used to love their merino wool jumpers in the old days . It’s good for basic hot weather holiday clothes that don’t get a lot of wear at home . Their cropped cotton trousers fit me well & their cheap jeans are good for round the house . My main problem is the amount of stock . I get befuddled with so much choice .
    I agree with Sara about Cos but some of their stuff is weird – there’s always lots of laughter in the changing rooms when I visit with my sisters . Used to love Whistles but we’ve gone in different directions now . Jigsaw has improved in quality I think . Toast is a favourite but I’ve had problems with the quality of their woollens .
    M&S has the best taramasalata available though.

  8. 4th June 2019 / 08:01

    Hi Wendy
    I too like their cheap jeans I will be travelling in a pair today. I went into one of their stores the other day and I agree much to confusing online is better but it takes time to sort through everything. Forgot to say that I buy their swimsuits they fit me well and are good value as the clorine in the pool eats mine.
    I love Jigsaw but it can be a bit pricey same with toast.
    I like the M&S houmous.

  9. Jeanne Reaves
    4th June 2019 / 14:49

    The blue linen dress is appealing to me as we have very long, hot, humid summers in Houston, Texas and a linen or 100% cotton dress would be the most comfortable fabric we could wear outdoors. I might suggest a few changes for those who have to cope with hot and humid weather. Sorry, but whenever I see a photo of a scarf around the neck, I think winter–no matter if it’s gauze! I would also not break the line or want to block possible air flow with a belt. The fedora has is very cute, but for me, I would choose a wide brim and dark glasses to screen the sun. The style and fabric of the dress is certainly adaptable to summer wherever you happen to be!

  10. Anon
    4th June 2019 / 15:58

    I love the look of several of the dresses you’ve posted. They are perfect for my pear shape, and a good flowy dress is what I like for summer. Where I live, the stores are firmly stuck in mini dresses, and since I don’t like that option on me, I stick to pants. I don’t understand why minis ard the only option here.

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