My designer dress guide is crafted to help you spend your money well. There’s no point in forking out for a dud, is there? Don’t assume you are just paying for the branding. You are paying for what the brand stands for. There are ‘hallmarks’ of good design you have the right to expect. A good designer dress should deliver a flattering fit, precision tailoring and a quality fabric. When these three things come together you can start to contemplate parting with your hard-earned cash.

A Flattering Fit

A flattering fit is surely the holy grail of dress design. You want sensible sizing and a dress that flatters the female form. I can think of at least one household name designer who is a fantastic tailor but is let down by sizing issues. Of course, you must understand your body shape but all things being equal sizing should be honest – the designer should have a ‘real woman’ in mind when designing. Top designers, know how to produce an overall balanced design with flattering neck and hem lines. A dress should not ‘pull’ when worn. You don’t want excess fabric unless it’s part of the overall design, but you want enough.

Precision Tailoring

Designers like Dolce and Gabbana have a knack for putting seams in all the right places and know when to dart and when not to. What happens on the inside of a designer dress is just as important as the outer layer. Having a feminine pattern is one thing, but how it’s put together is equally important. Not all designers can cut patterns for a feminine frame but those that can – like Dolce and Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood have dedicated fans. The art of folding, gathering and pleating fabric comes into its own here. Just some of a designer’s tricks used to produce superior tailoring.

Designer Dress Fabric

If you are paying good money for a dress, you want a decent fabric that will last if you follow the instructions on the care label. A quality dress will often be made of a blend of natural fibres but don’t discount dresses made of manmade fibres. The selection of fabric isn’t always about cost parameters. A complex, vibrant print might be difficult to execute in natural fibres. All being said, silk or a silk blend, is a popular option, uncommon on the high street. Some designers make a virtue out of their prints, so they become a signature feature of their collections. Lining is common but not a prerequisite, particularly for summer dresses. The fabric complements the dress design.

Not an exhaustive designer dress guide but enough of a steer to help you spend wisely.