My search for the perfect white summer dress
As far as specific pieces of clothing go, there’s something undeniably classic and fresh with a white dress for summer. Whether in cotton or linen, plain or accented with broderie anglaise or lace, I feel as if the perfect white dress for the warmest season has constantly eluded me. Many have come and most have gone – either sold to the pre-loved market or donated, sent on their way to live a better life with a new owner.
Today on the blog, I wanted to share what is probably the closest thing I’ve found to the perfect white dress for summer… the empire mini dress by Zimmermann. A dress so simple that at first glance it may not catch your eye… yet this is precisely one of the reasons why I adore it so much. Unlike most of the dresses which the Australian designer has become renowned for, this one is pared back. It’s classic, elegant, simple… and practical.
It’s a dress which I initially wasn’t drawn to as a “must have piece” whilst I was pouring over Zimmermann’s ready to wear (“The Postcard”) and resort swim collections for 2022. I was far more entranced by the bright popsicle colours and floral prints adorning most of their new-in designs. I did notice this dress but it seemed so understated that it didn’t make the top of my wish-list. If you’re interested in discovering which pieces I added to cart in my first order for the current RTW and R/S collections, then you can check out this Zimmermann haul & review video here on my YouTube channel.
Wearing: Zimmermann empire mini dress in white; Hermes Oran Sandals in tan/gold; Chanel cat eye sunglasses in black; Chloe Nile bracelet bag in biscotti beige; Hermes Clic H bracelet in white enamel with rose gold hardware; Dior Tribales earrings (limited edition).
To size up or size down?
One weekend in-store at the Westfield Sydney Zimmermann boutique, I decided to try this dress on and it was an instant “hand my card over the store counter” moment. The empire mini dress cuts a strikingly feminine silhouette with a bateau neckline, puffed elasticated cuff sleeves and a fit & flare style. Made from 100% linen, it feels soft and light and is lined with 100% cotton. I originally purchased this dress in a size 0 (as I was unsure as to whether their petite size may have been too short in terms of the length for my liking and didn’t think to try that size on in-store). The size 0 was okay but it wasn’t as fitted in certain places as it was designed to be, so after trying it on again at home I then decided to go back and exchange it for a size 0P (which is the size range specifically designed for petites). This was an improved fit, particularly around the bust, bodice and waist and there wasn’t too much of a difference in terms of the length.
Keeping cool in the heat
Wearing it for the first time on what was quite a humid summer day in Sydney just after new year, I was relieved this dress possesses both style and substance. This is truly one of the most comfortable summer dresses I’ve ever owned in terms of both breathability and comfort. I was slightly concerned the elbow length puff sleeves might mean I’d feel a bit warm, compared to a sleeveless dress, however this wasn’t the case. Often in the past, I’ve made compromises in terms of comfort when it comes to either the design, fit or material. Wearing this dress, the light as a feather feeling was undeniable and allowed me the ability to forget about what I was wearing and to be in the moment.
This dress deserves a “best supporting style piece” award
Another reason I adore this Zimmermann linen dress? The simple design provides the opportunity for accessories and footwear to shine. It works just as well dressed down with flats as what it does with heels, for an elevated look. I decided to wear a pair of flat tan leather sandals and a crossbody bag – this seemed like the perfect outfit for an early brunch down by Balmoral beach on a sunny morning.
Zimmermann dresses certainly have a distinctive “look” about them. The Aussie designer regularly refreshes specific designs in new prints, switching up details such as belts, embroidery and necklines. This little day dress has been released in multiple colours and prints, in both mini and midi versions, in their current collections. And whilst I do love the other colours, lengths and printed options…for me, nothing beats this one as my perfect white dress for summer.