We shan’t compare it to a Summer’s Day, but we will say, fashion’s eternal and unfading staple—the printed dress—is deserving of its own love letter!
Aug 10, 2020
Ah, Printed dresses—let me count the ways in which I love you. Romantic, wistful and delicate, you’re an undeniable wardrobe staple, one upon which I would stake my life. Okay, okay, that might be hyperbole, but seriously, I cannot remember making it through a single season without relying on you. So, let me indeed count the ways:
Photo: Nia Dress. Courtesy of Doreen Mashika.
YOU’RE ALWAYS THERE
No matter the time of year or the place, anytime I want you, all I need do is simply open my closet or login to my favourite online shopping destination — and there you are. In the blazing summer heat, you’re the first one I turn to, your mini and midi iterations providing relief from warmth with their knee and thigh-grazing hemlines. In Doreen Mashika’s red floral Nia Dress, you exude a holiday-makers reverie, your Zanzibar-inspired, prints calling to mind walks along white sand beaches. As the tiered Fahari dress, you are a cotton-lover's tropical dream. But this isn’t the only moment in which you shine; in the cold, winter months, your longer-sleeved form is cut from thicker, richer fabrics and paired with thick stockings, oversized coats and sturdy boots. Quite honestly, there’s not a single season I’d go without you because there’s not been a single season in which you’ve let me down.
Photo: Sing Dress. Courtesy of Studio 189
YOU’RE UP FOR ANYTHING
Oh, the endless styling choices you give me! Paired with a clean pair of classic, white sneakers, you become the focal point of a look that is casual and yet polished. Coupled with towering, classic heeled sandals, you allure and disarm, all while exuding a sense of feel-good femininity. But it’s when you arrive in the form of a shirt dress that things really get fun. As the Pouf Sleeve Shirt Dress by Studio 189, you’re a kind of blank slate against which almost anything could stick. Hand woven by local artisans to create chic, linear patterns that evoke the clean, crisp, comfort of minimalism, your clean palette is perfect for pairing with outerwear or accessories in splashes of bold colors, and versatile enough to be worn under gloriously luxurious coats.
Photo: Mandevo Shirt Dress. Courtesy of Taibo Bacar
YOU’RE A TOUCH DRAMATIC
Though your dependability may not betray it, we all know you’ve got a bit of a flair for the dramatic. From exaggerated sleeves and full silhouettes, to jaw-dropping patterns and gathered fits, you’re always invited to the party; and it’s in Christie Brown’s Fit and Flare Corset Dress that you really dial up the volume on the symphony. Featuring bustier-detailing that dramatically highlights the female form, your white and brown peacock wax print is singular and commanding enough not just to turn heads, but to hold their attention. As Taibo Bacar’s Mandevo Shirt Dress, you embrace the idea that ‘more is more’. Set off by faux feathers and crystal embellished sleeves, your silk-satin incarnation wins hearts with its joyous, uplifting air and bold, bloom prints.
Photo: IA SS‘20 Campaign. Printed Shirt Dresses, Doreen Mashika and Studio 189
Sure, this one’s a little bit obvious. But it’s true: You’re gorgeous. Your versatility allows for creative minds to easily imagine you in varying forms and, each year, you show up a little differently. The prints you’re adorned with are constantly shifting; classic florals have made way for more avant-garde patterns, while stripes and polka dots continue to hold their own. As Studio 189’s Mandarin Shirt Dress, you become the bearer of an age-old tradition; the batik technique, which involves drawing a pattern on wood or foam and then carving out the shape. These are then used as stamps and each shape is ‘stamped’ upon you by hand. Your snap fastening and mandarin collar are fine touches, while your subdued, green shades feel as though they were plucked directly from the tropics. I’d wear you in a simple manner so as not to detract from your natural beauty; with easy-going, flat sandals, or a pair or chunky, ankle boots, depending on the weather forecast.
YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE
Ultimately, the real reason I love you is that you are, more often than not, all I need. You’re safe, but never boring. You’re playful but know how to reign it in. You’re dependable yet full of surprises. You’re the stress-free answer to nearly every closet conundrum. Like any other garment, I know you have your challenges but it’s all the fun that we have together that I couldn't live without. This, dear printed dress, is why I love thee.
Shop the edit
in the spotlight
AFRICA AND THE ORIGINS OF LUXURY, ACCORDING TO IAMISIGO
Mar 3, 2023read more
WHY WE NEED AN AFRICAN FASHION RENAISSANCE
Feb 24, 2023read more
5 LUXURY SPAS IN AFRICA PERFECT FOR A SOLO RETREAT
Feb 16, 2023read more
THE NEW ROMANCE: THE BEST PIECES TO LOVE YOURSELF IN THIS VALENTINE’S DAY
Feb 13, 2023read more
in the spotlight
THESE AFRICAN BRANDS ARE LEADING THE CHARGE IN CIRCULARITY AND TEXTILE INNOVATION
Feb 2, 2023read more
in the spotlight
NIGERIA’S LAGOS SPACE PROGRAMME IS CREATING NEW AFRICAN NARRATIVES USING HISTORICAL CRAFTS AND ARTIFACTS
Jan 27, 2023read more