A Fashion Insider’s Guide To Minidresses
A Fashion Insider’s Guide To Minidresses

A Fashion Insider’s Guide To Minidresses

While regular columnist Anna Bromilow takes a summer break, SL’s fashion broadcaster Polly Sayer is taking over – and this month she’s talking minidresses. If you’re apprehensive about shorter hemlines, here are her top tips for making them work in a grown-up way – plus, the styles she recommends for everyone.
By Polly Sayer

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In the grand scheme of things, minidresses don’t have mass appeal. Understandably, shorter hemlines and the idea of flashing a bit more skin make many of us feel apprehensive – the fear being they’re always going to be suited to younger women. I’m here to argue the contrary. I think minidresses are one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe and making them feel grown-up is all in the styling. Forget about having thin legs, either. A bit of beauty prep, and making considered choices when it comes to lengths and shoes are all you need to think about.

My biggest tip when it comes to minidresses is to keep the hemline really short. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but trust me when I say a hemline that sits just above the knee can look dowdy. Keep things shorter and you’ll make your legs look miles longer. Also, keep the rest of your body covered up if you want to do minidresses the proper way. It’s not a hard and fast rule – if you feel comfortable having your arms out as well then go for it – but my suggestion would be not to go for both.

I find I rely on mini dresses for a variety of occasions, whether it’s something extra or a more casual day date. Here are some of the styles I think are worth having…

Blazer Dresses

It goes without saying that a strict office dress code won’t allow for a minidress in any capacity, but if you’re looking for something a little smarter, then a blazer dress works nicely. I love how this Anine Bing mini nips in at the waist; it adds a feminine touch to an otherwise quite masculine silhouette. Just add some kitten heel slingbacks and a leather clutch.

Florals With An Edge

I often find floral minidresses a bit too predictable. To avoid looking cliché, find details that make the dress feel a bit more interesting, like this Cheongsam-inspired design from Kitri. The asymmetric fastening stops the floral print from feeling too twee. Add a leather jacket to make it even cooler – the perfect choice for a date if you want to look sexy without trying too hard.


One of my favourite ways to style a minidress is with a denim gilet and western boots. It’s a combo that works best when the dress is very feminine – the juxtaposition is super cool. Of course, this look is very Isabel Marant; think pretty without being too frou-frou. Suede boots are a great way to transition your minidresses into autumn, too, as it feels softer than black leather.

The LWD (Little White Dress)

A little white dress is a useful piece to own for holidays, festivals and gigs. Free People has a particularly strong offering of bohemian-inspired designs, while Reformation is one of my favourites for dresses that sit somewhere between sultry and classic. They also work with denim, leather and suede, as well as sandals or boots. I’ll be swapping sandals for a pair of Dr Martens or Western boots when autumn hits.

The Party Dress

Finally, I couldn’t discuss minis without mentioning how important it is to have a killer party dress or two. My favourites styles generally have sleeves to balance out the amount of leg on show but the more extra, the better. Rotate Birger Christensen is a brand I come back to time and again for statement party dresses – whether it’s PVC or an exaggerated shoulder, you can count on them for unexpected designs that’ll turn heads. This black, faux leather number would look great with a simple white heel – so 80s.

For more fashion inspiration, follow @PollyVSayer on Instagram.

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