I am very strategic when it comes to ‘lunch-dressing’. Such is my obsession with food, my outfit is not governed by dress codes, rather, food codes, meaning I always think about what will be on my plate rather than what should be around my waist.
But I have learnt this the hard way; a victim (or rather perpetrator) of flying buttons, broken zippers and those pesky clasps which, to be honest, aren’t very sturdy in the first place. While the ol’ post-lunch unbutton is a personal favourite of mine, at swanky events – or really any public place – unbuttoning pants which have become the casualty of a little post-pasta bloat could have you arrested, truly.
But is tent-dressing appropriate for fashionable feasting? And more importantly, is it chic? (gasp!) Let us turn to a faraway yet superbly stylish land where all the most interesting, cool-as-a-cucumber trends are born: Scandinavia. When girls arrived at Copenhagen Fashion Week in dresses so big and so absurdly billowy they appeared a mere floating head, I jumped for joy. Yes! I can have my cake and eat it too (and still look stylish doing so). Because let’s face it, if it’s cool, the Dutch are doing it, thus making trapeze-dressing not only totally acceptable but by style standards, very in vogue, too.
So before you poke someone’s eye out with an airborne Attico button, consider these foodie-approved, all-Australian, magnificently capacious dresses, so you don’t have to stop before you pop. Now let it all hang out and let the good times roll.
I have been quietly fawning over Pippa Holt’s kaftans since their launch in 2016, but always from afar (through a laptop screen) – that is until last week. Seeing the collection in its expertly-crafted, artisanal flesh, the handmade kaftans are even more sublime in real life (unbelievably one kaftan takes one whole month to make). With an eye-popping palette made for good times, this will be my summer throw-on for when lunches turn into long lunches, and dinners turn into very long dinners.
Kaftan No. 36, Pippa Holt, $1409.70. shop now
Arguably the the queen of the big, billowy, blouson dress, it’s near impossible to pick just one style for the summer. A go-to in my wardrobe for when both chic – and lunch – calls, I can’t go past this floaty cotton shirtdress, both dreamy and delicious. Just like being on (fashion) cloud nine.
elsie puff-sleeve cotton shirtdress, lee Mathews, $699. shop now
Sophie Holt’s recent Oroton redux has been something of a revelation for style savants. Ushering in an effortless yet superbly chic aesthetic, this puffy-sleeved column dress in silky sunshine yellow is just the thing for a festive feast by the water’s edge.
silk full sleeve column dress, Oroton, $449. shop now
Nothing has caused quite the ripple on resort wear as Matteau’s tiered sundress. The vintage-inspired frock has seen sell-out success (cut in everything from classic back to syrupy ’70s paisley), and is now reimagined with a little extra length and a lower back in this rich shade of rust. The ultimate dress for a day in the sun, its billowy volume allows for infinite wining and dining, and I plan to wear mine all summer long.
The tiered low back sundress, Matteau, $540. shop now
Hansen & Gretel
A little lunar and a lot of fun, Hansen & Gretel’s sheeny Paros maxi dress is out-of-this-world good. In shiny floral lurex, its flowing body and sexy side splits means you can dine and dance until the stars come up.
Paros Dress Lunar Floral, Hansen & Gretel, $689. shop now
I first saw this dress against the brilliant backdrop of Sydney’s sparkling Harbour, its abstract bottlebrush print both sublime and striking against a dusty, pink-dipped sky. With bold strips of painterly banksia, its silk-linen blend makes it the perfect dress for a more formal occasion, while its A-line shape means you can stockpile canapés and indulge as many Champagnes as you please.
Banksia Strip Gown, Aje, $895. shop now