The slip dress is one of the few items that's managed to achieve staple status in recent years. The mark of a true capsule piece is not just in its timeless appeal, but the ability to be dressed up and down effortlessly. Versatility is everything.
Back in the Nineties, when designers like Calvin Klein and Narciso Rodriguez introduced us to this 'underwear-as-outerwear' trend, it was seen as a risqué evening look – and most definitely not daywear. Things have since changed: in an increasingly informal society, the boundaries between eveningwear and casualwear are blurring.
By ridding your wardrobe of its 'day' and 'night' limitations, you can get more experimental with weekend looks and shop more sustainably. And the slip dress epitomes this kind of fluid styling: cut from lustrous bias-cut fabric and strung from slender spaghetti straps, it has a louche elegance that's both sexy and grungy all at the same time. Depending on what you style it with, of course.
Worn solo it can be strikingly minimalist (just add a sleek bun and strappy sandals) or rebellious (think Doc Martens). But most impressive of all is this piece's multitasking abilities – throw a blazer over the top to create structure, underpin it with white T-shirts and black turtlenecks, or layer a sweater over the top to create an on-trend slip skirt. Then, simply swap between heels, boots and trainers depending on the occasion.
Naturally, we'd recommend starting with a simple black number for maximum versatility, but more playful designs from the likes of Sleeping With Jacques, Reformation and Rixo are hard to resist. We can assure you, whichever you opt to buy, it won't date – that's the beauty of a true staple.
If, like us, you've fallen in love with the midaxi hemline, you'll know how few slip dresses fall to that just-below-the-ankle sweet spot. Asceno has nailed it here, along with those delicate spaghetti straps, a weighty silk-satin and an irresistible price point.
Like most pieces Sleeping With Jacques makes, this slip dress is far too pretty to be relegated to the bedroom. Colour-blocked in yellow and fuchsia silk-satin, this mini is trimmed with lace and topped with adjustable spaghetti straps. Wear yours to parties with an oversized blazer and strappy sandals.
If you love slip dresses but not clingy fits, AllSaints' dress is perfect: the drawstring bust, ruched panelling and asymmetric hemline detract from the bias-cut shape. This piece is made from silk mixed with EcoVero fibres, so it's more sustainable – not to mention lower maintenance.
Olivia Von Halle's silk slip dress is defined by its darted cups and low V-back – this cut combined with the shell-pink hue makes it perfect for summer weddings. This Issa design is a cult classic: we've spotted it on Angelina Jolie, Em Rata, Lily Donaldson and Rita Ora.
The wider straps, scooped neckline and navy hue on Max Mara's slip dress create a more casual feel. Run with the relaxed vibes by underpinning yours with a white T-shirt or throwing on a tonal jumper to create a skirt.
Reworked in matt silk crepe-de-chine the slip dress becomes instantly more daytime-appropriate. Rixo's printed midi is a match made in heaven with Nineties-inspired accessories at summer weddings, but it'll work with trainers too.
The classic black midi slip dress is beloved for its myriad styling options. Elevate yours with strappy sandals and a tuxedo jacket in the evening, or underpin it with T-shirt and turtlenecks during the day.
Searches for alternative wedding gowns – namely white slip dresses and Cecilie Bahnsen's babydolls – are up, with women looking for something that'll last beyond the big day (and suit a smaller guest list). Cut on the bias from ivory silk, Reformation's floor-sweeping maxi is trimmed with scalloped lace and turns to reveal a cut-out back.
Not sure where to find an affordable slip dress? Try quality lingerie stores first and foremost – Intimissimi's slip is made entirely from silk-satin and cut in a simple shape that'll transcend trends. Choose from this scarlet-red shade or more neutral shades like black and champagne.
Fresh is the word that comes to mind when we look at Eres' take on the slip dress – both in cut and colour. Suspended from barely-there straps, this silk-satin mini is cut on the bias into a swishy A-line shape (ideal if you don't love the figure-hugging fits). This bold fuchsia hue will look beautiful with bare skin and gold jewellery in the summer.