The Oracle

How to wear spring dresses

Whether the sun is shining or it’s bitterly cold outside, we’ve got all the outfit ideas you need to perfect transitional dressing. The key? Layering! With a few hero pieces, you can master how to dress for spring, whatever the weather.  To give you a helping hand, here are five midi dresses for your next weekend shop at The Oracle along with our top styling tips: 

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Smart spring dresses

With a colour palette inspired by the Chloé SS19 show, this look feels incredibly premium – making it ideal for your working week (and any weeknight engagements, too). Think tonal shades of khaki and beige, coppers and mustard hues. Don’t forget the print of the season (or should that be decade), too: animal print.  Thanks to its black ditzy floral print, the New Look midi dress (modelled above) has a vintage feel. Its lightweight fabric makes it great for layering as it won’t look bulky at all. Pair it with a cotton trench coat – it’ll see you through spring and beyond, and work with every outfit imaginable. Feeling the chill?  Knee-high boots are back, and we love this classic brown pair from New Look. Add a cotton roll-neck underneath the dress and you’re all set. This quirky wicker bag is an absolute find from Next, and adds a statement finishing touch. Things warming up?  Ditch the roll-neck and swap your boots for block heel courts or Mary-Janes. Sun’s out, sunnies on: grab some tortoiseshell ones to compliment the outfit.  Main image: Cotton-blend trench coat, £139.99, H&M; mustard floral long sleeve midi dress, £29.99, New Look; polo-neck top, £12.99, H&M; tan knee-high boots, £39.99, New Look; large round earrings, £9.99, H&M; tan weave circle bag, £30, Next; sunglasses, £8.99, H&M Left to right: Cream zebra print buckle dress, £38, Next; khaki leopard print tie-waist shirt dress, £42, River Island; shirt dress in dark khaki, £24.99, H&M

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Printed spring dresses

We feel pretty, oh so pretty. But this is pretty with a big ol’ dose of attitude. Go as daring as you like: pastel hues, ditzy or graphic florals, checks, spots, stripes… Look for buttoned fronts or slashes at the front, wrap dress styles or roomy kaftans, then play down the prettiness with cool sporty additions and casual denim. Perfect for all your weekend plans.  With its delicate nature print, this pink Zara frock (modelled above) certainly ticks the patterned dress box. Its silky material helps to counterbalance the jeans underneath, keeping the silhouette sleeker and more wearable. Feeling the chill?  Throw on some straight leg jeans and add an oversized marl hoodie. Pale pink and grey is such a good colour combo. Even though chunky white trainers are everywhere this season, these Next retro pair are another dressed-down option.   Things warming up?  Ditch the jeans, but keep those trainers on. Dresses worn with trainers were a huge hit last summer, and is set to continue this year too. It instantly adds edge to any dress. Sunglasses are a must, as is a tote bag – throw your hoodie in, for when the sun disappears. Can you believe this shopper is from H&M? We love it.  Main image: Pink printed dress, £39.99, Zara; Tommy Hilfiger logo fleece hoody, £80, House of Fraser; mid-rise slouchy jeans, £29.99, Zara; gum sole lace-up trainers, £35, Next; socks, £8.99, H&M; mesh shopper, £24.99, H&M Dresses: Dotted mesh print dress, £69.99, Zara; polka dot blue wrap dress, £39.99, Zara; stripe print wrap midi tea dress, £42, Miss Selfridge 

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Colourful spring dresses

Save colour blocking for a night out on the town – evening attire just got a lot brighter! There are many ways to pull off this look. First up, full on colour clashing – yellow, orange and pink go well together. You could pair colours tonally – red with purple. Or use neutrals such as caramel to tone things down.  We all need a red midi dress in our wardrobes. This versatile wrap dress from Reiss (modelled above) will see you through many spring get-togethers. It’s fluid fabric skims the body and hangs really well and, as its strapless, it’s ideal on its own for summer too.  Feeling the chill?  If it’s cold, then don’t pack away your knitwear. This gorgeous damson knit, if thrown over the top, turns your slinky frock into a slinky skirt. Stay away from black boots: we love this lace-up Victoriana pair from Whistles. The low heel makes them wearable for daytime, too. Getting hot out there?  Whip off the knitwear and swap the boots for some bright, strappy heels. It’ll still be too chilly for just a strappy dress, so swap in a yellow or red blazer instead. A magenta clutch adds (another) pop of colour.  Main image: Whistles Blouson sleeve sweater, £249, House of Fraser; Leonie wrap midi dress, £155, Reiss; Whistles Celeste kitten heel boots, £225, House of Fraser; Karen Millen folded clutch in magenta, £99, House of Fraser Dresses: Theola red dress, £89, Phase Eight; two-tone pink knit dress, £29.99, Zara; Warehouse satin frill sleeve yellow tea dress, £69, House of Fraser


Fancy some extra help updating your wardrobe for spring? Lucky for you, you can come join us at The Oracle and indulge in some VIP personal shopping. Book a free appointment with the personal stylists at Phase Eight and you’ll be taken to the private personal shopping suite.  They’ll ask you about your style, talk you through all the latest trends and new-in pieces. Then, while you’re relaxing with a mimosa, coffee or glass of bubbly in hand, the stylists will pull together a fabulous selection for you to try on.  We spoke to stylist Kinga Wiater and asked her what spring trends she can’t wait to wear: ‘SS19 will be all about strong, bright colours and beautiful floral prints, which I can't wait to wear this season!’ For more information or to book an appointment, pop into store, ring 01189 507 246  or visit the Phase Eight website.