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First Lady Victoria Starmer wears a red ME+EM dress at Dowing Street, plus products shots of the dress in red and black© Getty Images / ME+EM

Victoria Starmer's chic Downing Street dress is sold out in red - but I like the black version even better

New PM Keir Starmer’s wife Victoria chose ME+EM’s Contrast Stitch Midi Dress for her Downing St debut

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Katherine Robinson
Senior Lifestyle Editor
Updated: July 8, 2024
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We’re all well accustomed to the ‘Kate effect’ - where the Princess of Wales sells out an item of clothing by wearing it, but how about the Victoria effect? It looks like the new PM Keir Starmer’s wife also has the magic touch when it comes to fashion.

The new First Lady Victoria Starmer honestly couldn’t have looked more elegant as she joined her husband at Downing Street for his first address after officially becoming Prime Minister.

She chose a vibrant dress from ME+EM in Labour red and X / Twitter was quickly flooded with fans full of praise for her winning look and desperate to shop the flowy chic midi dress.

British PM Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria Starmer at Downing Street© Getty Images
The new First Lady looked amazing in the vibrant red dress from ME+EM

It was the brand’s Contrast Stitch Midi Dress, and it flew off the virtual shelves at a record speed. At the time of writing, there was only size 6 left… boo, you may say - but wait. The dress is actually available in black too in all available sizes (8 to 16) and dare I say it, it’s even nicer than the red version!

Wait, hear me out here! Yes the red is lovely and vibrant, but the black is classic, timeless and elegant - and it’s more wearable. Red might not be a good fit for some skin tones or hair colours - black can be worn by absolutely everyone.

The USP of this dress for me is the contrast stitch detailing - it’s so intricate and beautiful. It can be seen much better on the black version. That’s another reason the black is better.

This is a dress that fits any occasion. I wouldn’t normally recommend black for a wedding, but I can honestly say that you could get away with this because the contrast stitch elevates it, I’ve not seen a dress quite like it before.

It’s made from crease-resistant fabric - so it looks just as good at the end of the day as the moment you put it on (which is no doubt one of the reasons why Victoria picked it) and the stitch detailing has a flattering sculpting effect.

There’s also a secret elasticated waistband for a breathable comfy fit and sculpted silhouette and you can adjust the neckline. Wear it closed as Victoria did by closing the hook-and-eye fastening, or leave it open. Oh and it has pockets - something I always adore in a dress!

At £275 it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny - I’m seriously tempted to add to basket as I know it’ll be a winner which I can roll out for special events for years to come. It would be great styled with silver kitten heels like Victoria did, or even towering silver stilettos if you’re wanting a more dramatic look.

I’d keep jewellery minimal though, and let the dress do the talking. Perhaps a pair of diamond drop earrings to add a touch of sparkle and some minimal silver bracelets.

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