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10 Black dresses to keep your eye on this summer according to Vanessa Blair

Our fashion contributor shares her favourite warm weather LBDs...

Vanessa wearing the Aligne Holly dress
Vanessa Blair
Fashion Contributor
27 May 2023
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Kicking off my second piece for Hello! Fashion, I thought what a great opportunity to spotlight the ultimate wardrobe staple, namely the LBD. A little black dress is not only be a timeless investment, but one of the most versatile and practical pieces in your spring/summer wardrobe.

Whether it’s a show stopping mini; perfect for those summer soirées, or a lovely linen piece; aimed at those sunset dinners in Santorini... I've devised a list of 10 black dresses to have on your radar as the weather heats up; whatever your style, age or budget.

MORE: 10 essentials for a spring capsule wardrobe and how to style it according to Vanessa Blair 

RELATED: 7 non-granny wedges and espadrilles to shop in summer 2023

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10 Black Dresses to keep your eye on for 2023:


Vanessa wearing the Reformation dress

One of my most adored dresses has to be this black slip dress by Reformation. Taking inspiration from a 1920's classic negligee, it's not only extremely flattering but also subtly sexy. I wear this lightweight piece in the daytime with sandals, swapping them out for heels making it equally perfect for any evening occasion. I always advise investing in a beautiful slip dress, that can shine in summer and also be savoured in the winter months with a jumper and boot combination.

Style tip: The thicker straps on this dress allow for a thinner bra if you require extra bust support. 


Vanessa wearing the Aligne Holly dress

The  dress of the moment has to be this 'Holly' dress by Aligne. Made from 100% linen, it screams summer with the added practically of an elasticated back, and useful pockets (my favourite part). I just love the full skirt, giving it a little bit more drama, whilst feeling super chic with the halter neck design.

Style tip: Team it with a basket bag and flip flops for a perfect holiday dinner look.

Marks & Spencer

M&S v-neck dress

This dress may look minimal, but believe me it will be the most 'underpromise and overdeliver' purchase in your wardrobe yet. Probably the most versatile dress on this list, covering all sectors from working days to dinner dates. I love the V-neck and tie waist giving it a gorgeous and timeless silhouette, paired with the slight cap sleeve for a little bit of coverage.


Style tip: Take this dress from summer to winter, by adding tights, and knee high boots. Finish off with a leather jacket, or blazer.


Vanessa wearing the Hollister dress

The ideal LBD, this Hollister piece I can assure you will be the summer mini you never knew you needed. Priced at £39, it is a great high-street piece that offers a simple, effortless base to your outfit. I love the subtle spot detail and tie, giving it a little point of difference. The length and comfortable shape bodes well for holiday exploring, or sundowners on the beach.

Cover Swim

Vanessa wearing the Cover Swim dress

Your summer solution for a dress that keeps on giving. I love this smocked one by Cover Swim, ideal for throwing on after a dip in the pool - or grabbing a margarita at the hotel bar. The clever smocked design not only serves it purpose as a dress, but can also be styled as a maxi skirt. Made from a comfortable jersey material, it can also be ideal for a mum-to-be.

Style tip: wear as a skirt with a matching bikini top for a chic, coordinated holiday look.

Faithfull The Brand

Faithful the brand

The 'Marieka' dress is a triple threat in my opinion, and a perfectly positioned price point between  designer and high street. Timeless in design, versatile for any occasion, and can grow with you over the years; this dress really is the ultimate summer staple. I was never fussed about investing in a dress with such simplicity, however after going through so many variations over the summers, I finally bit the bullet and am so glad I did. This dress not only features an elasticated smocked bust, but offers complete adjustable straps so it gives you a truly tailored feel.

Sir The Label

SIR The Label

This show stopping piece from Sir the Label, makes the cut simply because its a work of art. Ideal for those cooler summer nights where a jacket may be required, this mid-weight knit dress is a stunning option for any glamorous evening plans. Style it with simple accessories for a tonal, sophisticated look or go bold, with statement gold earrings for a black tie occasion.    

Style tip: There are plenty of trusted rental platforms available, if you want to list this dress for hire to increase its wearability and use. I love looking at platforms such as byRotation and HURR for one off pieces and special occasions.


Vanessa Rose Blair - Arket Dress

I couldn't write my LBD list without including this Arket number. Bought nearly two years ago, I've loved and worn this dress so much I should probably purchase a back up. Doubling up as a stylish beach cover up, it’s one of my most worn dresses in my collection with a price per wear of approx. £1.50 (and counting.)   

Style tip: Go a size up for a looser, comfortable fit that not only gives a high end approach, but is also ideal for maternity wear too.     


Vanessa wearing the Hush

An easy, laidback dress for any of those warm weather weekends. Made from a jersey fabric with a hint of stretch - it will be your go-to for feeling confident and comfortable. I love the fuller skirt, and subtle ruching for a seamless, flattering silhouette. To me this dress feels super timeless and versatile; a fool-proof piece on days when you don’t know what to wear.                    

Style tip: throw over a cropped denim jacket and trainers, this one is ideal for a summer BBQ.


Vanessa wearing the Aligne Harcourt dress

Another strong contender by Aligne, this stunning slinky cami dress would make a perfect black tie wedding guest contender. Alternatively, style it with open-toe sandals and a straw clutch for a romantic date night (ideally on a picturesque balcony in Italy!)            

Style tip: take your usual size for a fitted, flattering form.

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