Whether you choose full on bright colours or just a pop of colour for your summer clothes, one thing is for sure, bright colours are going to be big news this summer.

The brightly coloured summer clothes that are proving so popular for the summer are a world away from the neutrals that have predominated over the last few seasons. But don’t worry, if you have grown rather attached to your neutrals, you can still wear them. Just add a brightly coloured accessory or pair of shoes for a pop of colour.

colour block summer dress

colour black summer dress

You an even wear brightly coloured block with a neutral block on your summer clothes for a key trend of the season. Panelled dresses are a great way to wear your colour blocks.They are body con but very flattering as the panels  help to elongate and slim the torso. Add a pair of killer heels and the seasons must have white blazer for a night out or a summer party. You can also look out for shorter mini and shift dresses with bright block colours for a sixties feel.  This colour block dress from the Star by Julien McDonald range at Debenhams is the perfect balance of white, black and yellow.

summer maxi dress

summer maxi dress

If you are brave enough, you could also go for an outfit that is all one colour perhaps a blue dress or red dress. This look was seen at the Prada catwalk shows (amongst others) for SS11 and works particularly well with bright primary colours like blue and yellow. For a really eye-catching look try adding accessories in a clashing colour. Some great combinations would be a red dress and an orange bag or an electric blue dress with a yellow accessory as seen at Issa. If you do choose to wear one very bright colour all over, you should look for a simple shape which won’t detract from the impact of the colour. Maxi dresses, sheath dresses and shift dresses are all good choices. This Oscar Bandeau maxi dress by Oasis is a great way to wear one bright colour for a special occasion.

shift dress for the summer

shift dress for the summer

Another key trend for SS11 is neon colours. Whilst these are a brave choice they can look stunning. A simple t shirt or shirt style dress in neon yellow can look great when teamed with tan accessories. If you want to make your neons stand out and increase the intensity, add black. To tone them down and get a more sporty look add white. This yellow satin shift dress by Boohoo is a great way to wear neon without looking ‘nu rave’.

shift dress for the summer

If neither colour blocking or bright pops with neutrals are your thing, you can also add colour to your summer clothes with a striped dress in bright stripes as seen at Prada or a feminine floral dress. This black floral shift dress by Dorothy Perkins combines just a little bit of colour with a striking black and white combo.

The Debenhams designer range has always packed above its punch in providing affordable designer high street collections but now you can shop for summer clothes by some great new contemporary designers at Debenhams with the launch  of  the new Edition collection.

Edition is a new designer concept which will bring between two and four designers to the high street (or internet) at one time. The prices are completely affordable allowing everyone to bag them self some fashion forward summer clothes. The designers will constantly change keeping it fresh and giving us shoppers a great selection of pieces by some of the hottest designer talent to emerge at the moment.

We think this collection rocks as it features some amazing pieces without the hype and exclusivity that has surrounded some of the other designer high high street collaborations. No queuing all night to get a piece from the Debenhams Edition Collection and the prices really are comparable with Debenhams usually prices.

The range launched on Valentines day with collections by Preen, Jonathan Saunders and accessories by Jonathan Kelsey.

Jonathan Saunders is one of the top names in up and coming talent in the UK fashion industry. He is well know for his bold use of colour and prints. His collection for the Debenhams Edition range features some very wearable pieces for the summer which combine simple clean lines and fresh colours.

classic shift dress

This black mesh insert dress is a great alternative to the classic shift dress for the summer, it would also work really well as a summer party dress. The collection also features some great dip dye and colour panelled pieces as well as some classic styles including macs and blazers.

Preen is name of the label which is created by duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. It combines masculine and feminine aspects in designs which are minimal but with a strong silhouette. This label is ultra cool at the moment and it is well worth investing some summer clothes from the collection if you want to effortlessly stylish this summer.

day dresses

This White circle print dress by Preen is an interesting version of the summers must have white dresses, light and fresh but with a contemporary circle print. It makes a great day dress for the warmer weather or can be teamed with a biker jacket for the spring. It is a very wearable pieces that exudes understated style. The collection also features some relaxed day dresses and more statement pieces including a snake print drop waist dress another great alternative to the classic shift dress.

Jonathan Kelsey worked as a designer in the shoe industry for Jimmy Choo, Mulberry and Pucci. He has a clear trademark style which is unashamedly sexy but also modern and smart. For the Debenhams / Edition range he has turned this talent to designer some very desirable handbags.

summer accessories

Our favourite bag in the Jonathan Kelsey Collection is the ‘Karla’ large satchel handbag. A lady like style in a natural colour which is perfect for carrying with the summers neutral colour day dresses. It feature the on trend satchel style and a really striking gold chain logo. There are also some great small shoulder and clutch bags which will look amazing with a summer party dress.

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Ethical summer clothes are looking to be one of the biggest fashion trends of the season. They are losing the unfashionable image that seems to have haunted them in previous years are now up there with some of the key brands to be seen in this summer. Ethical fashion no longer means wearing just an organic cotton summer top or a hemp ladies day dress, it now encompasses a much wider range of fabrics, styles and initiatives than ever before. From the cutting edge ethical designer collections at London Fashion Week to the high street collaborations and established ethical labels there is now something to suit ever budget and style.

Most notably there has recently been a well publicised collaboration between ethical fashion pioneers, People Tree and actress Emma Watson. People Tree have also collaborated in a collection with high street chain Laura Ashley. Online fashion retail giant ASOS have their own range that is made in Africa and H & M have even got in on the act with their own ethical collection of summer clothes.

The great thing about the latest ethical summer clothes is that they incorporate the principles of sustainable design. Not only are they made from a sustainable fabric but they feature handcrafted details from co operatives around the world from batik beach dresses to beaded summer dresses. The reduce waste and recycling principle have also thrown up some very interesting designs with vintage fabrics being a key feature and new cutting techniques to minimise waste also adding to the design process.

Ethical fashion and summer clothes also tend to be less reliant on fashion and trends than many of the high street labels allowing the wearers to look individual and also invest in a piece that will look stylish for many years to come. This is not only good for the environment but also the purse!

Here are some of our favourite ethical brands for summer clothes and summer dresses in 2011:


summer dresses

Jackpot has beautiful and wearable clothes like this polka dot ladies day dress. It works with MADE-BY an umbrella organisation of socially and ethically committed fashion labels. Jackpot have recently increased the amount of organic cotton that they use in the products and also introduced certifications to ensure good working conditions for those working to make the clothes.

People Tree

summer dresses

As mentioned before People Tree are pioneers of ethical fashion. They are made of Fairtrade and organic cotton certified by the soil association. Their designs are simple flattering cuts like this Lula Party Dress and feature the interesting embellishments and details that you don’t often see on high street clothing.


summer dresses

If you are looking for a beach dress or summer clothes with beautiful prints then Komodo is a great place to start. This Fairtrade Peacock One Shoulder Tunic dressis made from sustainable Rayon. Komodo also focuses on an ethical and sustainable production process where all workers are fairly paid. Their collection of summer dresses for 2011 also feature a kaftan and maxi dress in this same beautiful peacock print.

The floral shift dress is one of the most versatile and on trend pieces of clothing for SS11. It is the perfect choice for occasion wear but can also work well as a ladies day dress for lunch with the girls or a colourful work outfit. A shift dress is a really classic piece of clothing that will flatter a variety of body shapes. It will be a worthy edition to your wardrobe as it will never go out of fashion. It is also a great way to add some colour to your wardrobe.

Florals are a key fashion trend for SS11 with D & G leading the way with their collection of vibrant floral prints on dresses, bags and other pieces.  There were also plenty of beautiful florals at the catwalk shows of Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti, Diane Von Furstenberg, Erdem and Louis Vuitton. From bold and bright to pretty and delicate, there is definitely a floral print to suit everyone. On the high street, there are also plenty of http://www.summerdress.org.uk/the-floral-shi…dress-for-ss11/smart dresses with floral prints which can be teamed with a tailored jacket for work.

The Designer Floral Shift Dress

smart dresses

This D & G Mimosa Shift Dress is definitely one of the most after pieces of the season. It vibrant and bright and would look amazing for a garden party, wedding or day at the races. Dress up with a fascinator and floral clutch bag for a slightly less formal occasion add a floral clutch and brightly coloured cardigan with ballet pumps.

The Retro Floral Shift Dress

occasion wear

If you are loving the retro styles of the sixties that are such a big fashion trend at the moment this Milly Slim Pocket Floral Dress is a great choice. It has a simple but bright floral print and a thin belt to add definition at the waist. This is the perfect ladies day dress for every day wear although it can also be dressed up for a special occasion.

The Botanical Floral Shift Dress

floaral shift dress

Botanical floral dresses are really on trend for SS11 with inspiration being taken from botanical gardens and drawings. This Kew Floral Shift Dress features a subtle and understated palette but is also incredibly eye catching.

The Oriental Floral Shift Dress

oriental shift dress

Oriental is another key trend for the summer an floral prints are a key feature of this look. This Coppola Oriental Print Dress is elaborate enough to work as occasion wear and could also be worn with black tights, shoes and accessories for the evening.

The Occasion Wear Floral Shift Dress

smart dresses

A really special occasion requires a really special like this Jacques Verte Sable Floral Shift Dress. The striking colour combination and attention to detail make it ideal as a Mother of the Bride Dress or for a Maid of Honour.

Which ever floral shift dress you choose for SS11, it is bound to be a great investment that will be worn time after time. Floral prints never go out of fashion  and will always look amazing.

It is official, one of the biggest trends for the season is ahead is stripey summer clothes. From day dresses, fashion tops, blazers and shoes, stripes will be every where this summer offering a classic or more contemporary look depending on how you wear them. Stripes are bold, they are striking and they can help to balance out the proportions or slim the figure if worn correctly, what’s not to love?

At the SS11 catwalk shows, stripes were present in a number of different guises. Most noticeably Prada showcased plenty of summer clothes with stripes for a maximum impact in bright colours and black combined with other bold prints. The collection also featured a striking blue and white jacket that is sure to make its way onto the high street in one form or another.  At Marc Jacobs there were also much thinner and delicate horizontal stripes in a range of pink and purples for a pretty and feminine look that is inspired by the seventies. At Jil Sander, there bold white and navy stripes decorating a voluminous maxi dress for a look that was difficult to ignore but also horizontal candy stripes on a maxi skirt combined with vertical black stripes on the top half.

How To Wear Stripes

Nautical Style

Striped Crop Top – Miss Selfridge

One of the easiest ways to wear stripes this summer is with simple blue and white stripes on day dresses or fashion tops. This fits well with the classic nautical look which never really goes out of fashion but is also particularly on trend now. A boat neck top with horizontal stripes is a very stylish way to balance out larger hips and if you add a pair of nautically inspired wide legged trousers you have a great figure fixing and on trend outfit. Striped fashion tops also look great when worn with jeans and a navy blazer. There are also a lot of different choices of nautical striped summer dress available.

Mixing stripes

Lottie Striped Knitted Jumper Dress

To add a more contemporary look to your summer clothes try mixing up your stripes. Wear separate striped pieces. You can look to contrast the width colour or direction of  the stripes for an interesting look. If you want to balance out a large bust, vertical stripes on the top half and a skirt with horizontal stripes will work well. You could also try looking for day dresses with graduating stripes that are thinner or the top half of the  dress and wider one the bottom half.  A striped blazer or cardigan worn over a  top with contrasting stripes is also a great way to work this trend.

Mixing Patterns

Camel Stripe Swing Mac – Dorothy Perkins

As seen at Prada, you can also mix stripes with other patterns and prints for a really striking look. Black or navy and white stripes lend themselves particularly well to pattern mixing and combined with all sort of bold and bright prints including florals, tropical prints and even polka dots. If you are worried about how to do this you could look for a summer dress which already has a mixture or stripes and patterns.