The 50 Best; SUMMERTIME, AND THE DRESSING IS EASY

Summer-holiday dressing is one of those things women both love and hate. It should be fun forgetting about grim office uniforms and buying clothes simply for larking about in; but then there's the grief inherent in choosing clothes that - horror! - show off all your bumpy bits. So our expert stylist Lizzy Shepherd has done the legwork for you, choosing the best key summer gear: itty-bitty sundresses, sassy swimwear, vital separates - and plenty of finishing touches. Stay cool... Photographs by John Knock

1

WAREHOUSE

Splash out on this paisley-print, long-sleeved dress. Perfect for a summer evening.

How much: pounds 50.

Stockists: Warehouse: 19-21 Argyle Street, London W1; 30 King Street, Manchester; Unit 21a Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Brighton; enqs 0171-278 3491.

2

BOYD

Sweet and girlie deckchair-striped cotton dress with neat details: sheer panels across the bottom, and cool, Union Jack buttons for the Brit-babe in everyone.

How much: pounds 257.

Stockists: by Boyd at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1; Wades Smith, Liverpool; enqs 0171-385 7782.

3

JOHN ROCHA JEANS

A simple but striking white-linen peasant-style dress. Add colour with some carefully chosen accessories: the Fred Bare hat or Lulu Guinness bag (see Nos 37 & 43) would be just dandy.

How much: pounds 99. Stockists: by John Rocha Jeans at John Rocha, 60f Sloane Avenue, London SW3; House of Fraser, Glasgow; enqs 0171-838 0017.

4

TOP SHOP

Bless your beautiful hide as you swing out to the barn dance in this red gingham, spaghetti-strapped, country-gal dress.

How much: pounds 30.

Stockists: Top Shop, 214 Oxford Street, London W1; Bluewater, Dartford, Kent; Arndale Centre, Manchester; enqs 0800 731 8284.

5

JOSEPH

Cap-sleeved wrap-over dress with a cute floral design - ties under the bust to accentuate the positive.

How much: pounds 139.

Stockists: Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3; 68-78 Zicar Lane, Leeds; Cruise Reedset, 180-188 Ingram Street, Glasgow; enqs 0171-590 6200.

6

JIGSAW

Blue floral apron dress for that just-come-out-of--the-kitchen look. The neckline means visible bra-straps, though.

How much: pounds 52. Stockists: Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond Street, London W1; 61 Buchanan Street, Glasgow; 39-43 King Street, Manchester; enqs 0171- 491 4484.

7

KAREN MILLEN

Stretch white Asian-style sari dress with stunning gold-sequin design. Ideal for that Indian-summer night out.

How much: pounds 120. Stockists: Karen Millen, 262-264 Regent Street, London W1; 5 Nile Street, Brighton; 83 George Street, Edinburgh; enq 01622 664032.

8

FRENCH CONNECTION

Plain lilac dress with empire line and a drawstring neck. Good as a swimsuit slipover by day or teamed with a little cardigan for sultry evenings.

How much: pounds 70. Stockists: 249 Regent Street, London W1; 14-16 St Ann's Street, Manchester; 45 Princes Square, Glasgow; & stores nationwide; enqs 0171-399 7200.

9

GHOST

This cool and light pink crepe dress has ruffle edging, and clings in all the right places.

How much: pounds 155. Stockists: Ghost, 13-14 Hinde Street, London W1; Entrada, Unit 3, 20-21 Sun Street, Canterbury; enqs 0181-960 3121.

10

WHISTLES

A linen and lace-trim dress for day-to-evening wear. It's a versatile must-have for holidays.

How much: pounds 95. Stockists: Whistles, 12 St Christopher's Place, London W1; House of Fraser, 2 Union Road, Nottingham; enqs 0171-487 4484. ITS AT TOP SHOP

Black sheer peasant top with drawstring neckline, wispy sleeves and a slightly tapered waist. Also available in white.

How much: pounds 28. Stockists: by TS at Top Shop, 214 Oxford Street, London W1; Bluewater, Dartford, Kent; Arndale Centre, Manchester; enqs 0800 731 8284.

12

OASIS

A fresh and fun summer winner, this floral shirt has sweet half-length sleeves and can be worn with just about anything (as long as it's plain) to show it off at its best.

How much: pounds 29.99. Stockists: Oasis, 292 Regent Street, London W1; 2 Cheap Street, Bath; 12 Albion Street, Derby; enqs 01865 881986.

13

MODERN SAREE CENTRE

This Indian fine-silk tunic is a bit on the delicate side, so it's more for the beach in Goa than the trek across the Himalayas. Cheap enough to buy a few, though.

How much: pounds 6.90.

Stockists: Modern Saree Centre, 26-28 Brick Lane, London E1 (0171-247 4040); and sari shops nationwide.

14

KOOKAI

Deep-red cap-sleeved wench's top. It can be pretty and girlie or just plain sexy, depending on what's worn with it.

How much: pounds 49.99. Stockists: Kookai, 399 Oxford Street, London W1; 1 County Arcade, Leeds; 66 King Street, Manchester; enqs 0171-937 4411.

15

JIGSAW

When the evenings start getting milder, this boat-neck turquoise sweater is ideal; just wrap it around your waist or shoulders. Shame to hide its most fashionable feature, though: judging from recent catwalk shows, the three-quarter-length-sleeves look will be a key trend this summer. How much: pounds 145 in cashmere or pounds 22 in cotton.

Stockists: Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond Street, London W1; 61 Buchanan Street, Glasgow; 39-43 King Street, Manchester; enqs 0171-491 4484.

16

WAREHOUSE

Lilac top with frill detail round the bust and hem. Best worn without bra-straps showing, although brightly coloured swimsuit straps will look just fine.

How much: pounds 30. Stockists: Warehouse: 19-21 Argyle Street, London W1; 30 King Street, Manchester; Unit 21a Churchill Sq Shopping Centre, Brighton; enqs 0171-278 3491.

17

INWEAR

Light and loose-fitting, biscuit-coloured, drawstring linen trousers. These can't be topped for comfort and wearability.

How much: pounds 39.99. Stockists: by Inwear at DH Evans, John Lewis & Debenhams in Oxford Street, London W1; 120-22 Victoria Quarter, Leeds; 19-21 St Ann's Square, Manchester; enqs 0181-871 2155.

18

ACCESSORIZE

Wrap this pink-and-silver sarong around the Joseph bikini (see No 34), and get up to all sorts of argy-bhaji on the beach. On a practical note, it's equally suitable for evening wear.

How much: pounds 14.99.

Stockists: Accessorize, stores nationwide; enqs 0171-313 3000.

19

JOSEPH

Denim pedal-pushers with zip detail on the outside of each leg. These are tight fitting, so best worn by those with a classic hour-glass figure. For accessories, think Marilyn Monroe headscarves and Jackie O-look sunglasses (see No 47).

How much: pounds 79. Stockists: Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3; 68-78 Zicar Lane, Leeds; Cruise Reedset, 180-188 Ingram Street, Glasgow; enqs 0171-590 6200.

20

AGNES B

Another item on the late-Fifties theme, these lilac capri pants are perhaps more for the waif-like than the hour-glass, but they have an understated cool, and can be teamed with floral shirts to great effect.

How much: pounds 62. Stockists: Agnes B, 40-41 Marylebone High Street, London W1; 90 High Street, Oxford; enqs 0171-935 5556.

21

NEXT

Get into the navy with these classic stylish sailor shorts. They are best worn with an all-over tan, and are cut for those who feel more comfortable in hot pants then Bermudas.

How much: pounds 19.99.

Stockists: Next, stores nationwide; enqs 08702 435435.

22

TANA LAWN AT LIBERTY

This cotton floral skirt with a ruffle hem looks best with a plain top and flat slides (the Enrico Antinori ones, see No 40, would be perfect). This one is only available in London, but most high-street stores are selling their own version.

How much: pounds 75. Stockists: by Tana Lawn at Liberty, Regent Street, London W1 (0171-734 1234). NICOLE FARHI

Versatile royal-blue swimsuit with a skirt that can be ruched up and a top half that looks good enough to be worn with trousers, shorts or a skirt.

How much: pounds 79.

Stockists: Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond Street, London W1; Harvey Nichols, Leeds; Doyle's, Old Town Hall, Church Street, Market Harborough; enqs 0171-499 8368.

24

LIZA BRUCE AT DOROTHY PERKINS

It's Liza Bruce, affordable, and available on the high street. Though a bit "court jester meets a slice of Battenburg cake", the cut is flattering, and those colours look fab with a tan.

How much: pounds 40. Stockists: by Liza Bruce at Dorothy Perkins, 189 Oxford Street, London W1; Lakeside, Thurrock, Essex; 66-68 Church Street, Liverpool; enqs 0800 731 8285.

25

JOELYNIAN AT BHS

Creations from dynamic design duo JoelyNian are now available in a store not usually known for its cutting-edge fashion. Typically, this glamorous shiny black swimsuit is unlike else on the market. Original, inventive - and affordable too. How much: pounds 40. Stockists: by JoelyNian at BHS stores nationwide; enqs 0171-262 3288.

26

NEXT

This asymmetric design comes in black and plum, with one shoulder-strap. It's a sophisticated style, though you may get a rather original tan line.

How much: pounds 19.99.

Stockists: Next, stores nationwide; enqs 08702 435435.

27

ERES

It's not cheap, but this cubist swimsuit with square neckline is ideal for Baywatch-babe figures.

How much: pounds 88.

Stockists: by Eres at Selfridges, London W1; Harvey Nichols, London and Leeds; enqs 0171-235 5000.

28

KNICKERBOX

Bright, multicoloured swimsuit with high-cut leg - but with those horizontal stripes, you'll need to have succeeded in your ready-for-the-beach diet to carry it off.

How much: pounds 30. Stockists: Knickerbox, 28 Sloane Square, London SW3; Arndale Centre, Manchester; 135 Victoria Centre, Nottingham; enqs 0171-284 1744.

29

APC

Sporty-looking navy bikini with stomach-covering bottoms and a top that would also look great with the Next sailor shorts (see No 21). An athletic body would be a bonus, too.

How much: tops and bottoms sold separately, pounds 15 each.

Stockists: APC, 40 Ledbury Rd, London W11 (0171-229 4933).

30

WAREHOUSE

Team this Hawaiian-print halter-neck yellow bikini with flip-flops and cheap sunglasses for that white-trash trailer-park-chic look.

How much: pounds 18.

Stockists: Warehouse: 19-21 Argyle Street, London W1; 30 King Street, Manchester; Unit 21A Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Brighton; enqs 0171-278 3491.

31

NEXT

Bronze bandeau bikini that will avoid strap-lines when you're tanning but won't suit all body shapes. There is boning on the sides of the top to give shape and support.

How much: pounds 19.99.

Stockists: Next, stores nationwide; enqs 08702 435435.

32

LA REDOUTE

Bright, diagonally striped bikini, which will look best on the smaller busted. It's available by mail order only, so you can try it on in the comfort of your own home.

How much: pounds 22.99.

Stockists: La Redoute; mail order 0500 777777.

33

OASIS

Pink-and-turquoise halter-neck bikini that ties up at the front, so it's easy to take on and off if you're going for that all-over tan.

How much: pounds 18.98.

Stockists: Oasis, 292 Regent Street, London W1; 2 Cheap Street, Bath; 12 Albion Street, Derby; enqs 01865 881986.

34

JOSEPH

Lilac string bikini that will look better towards the end of the holiday when your body's got a healthy glow. We're saying: not for the pasty.

How much: top pounds 35, bottoms pounds 45. Stockists: Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3; 68-78 Zicar Lane, Leeds; Cruise Reedset, 180-188 Ingram Street, Glasgow; enqs 0171-590 6200. THE JACKSONS

Funky, fresh white-paper hat with a green trim. This handy little titfer rolls up to fit into your bag. Just pull it out and pop it on.

How much: pounds 15. Stockists: The Jacksons, 5 All Saints Road, London W11; mail order and enqs: 0171-792 8336.

36

RIVER ISLAND

Hawaiian prints are good to go this summer. But be prepared for a fight to keep your bloke's hands off this little bargain.

How much: pounds 8.99. Stockists: River Island, stores nationwide; enqs 0181-991 4759.

37

FRED BARE

This pinky-brown hat with cream stripes looks better on than off. It will set off any number of simple outfits, and the brim will fold and turn back for added versatility.

How much: pounds 50. Stockists: by Fred Bare at Caroline Charles, 56 Beauchamp Place, London SW3; Morgan Clare, 3 Montpelier Gardens, Harrogate; enqs 0171-247 9004.

38

AGNES B

You don't need to be mad for it to wear this Liam-style fisherman's hat - but it helps. There are similar (cheaper) ones to be found elsewhere, but this little number's pure quality.

How much: pounds 31. Stockists: Agnes B, 40-41 Marylebone High Street, London W1; 90 High Street, Oxford; enqs 0171-935 5556.

39

PAUL SMITH

These Chinese-style floral slippers may not be the most durable of footwear, but they look gorgeous, and are adaptable enough to suit a whole host of summer occasions.

How much: pounds 20. Stockists: Paul Smith, 40-44 Floral Street, London WC2 (0171-379 7133).

40

ENRICO ANTINORI

It would be a shame to ruin these red-leather slides on the beach just because they're up to the task. Best to save them for the pool-side sun- lounger.

How much: pounds 75.

Stockists: by Enrico Antinori at Bertie, 36 South Molton Street, London W1; department stores nationwide; enqs 0171-380 3800.

41

DELPHINE CHARLOTTE PARMENTIERE

Flip-flops for evening wear? When they're adorned with black sequins and matched with the Warehouse dress (see No 1), you'll not only get away with it, you'll positively steal the show.

How much: pounds 90. Stockists: by Delphine Charlotte Parmentiere at Fenwick, Bond Street, London W1; Les Parisiennes, 63 Frith Street, London W1; Matches, London SW11; enqs 0171-287 7700.

42

FAITH

Black-and-white leather shoes with a decidedly Sixties feel. Think Christine Keeler, Swinging London, Diana Rigg, and then think - Sixties? Nineties? Modernism? Post-modernism? Who cares, as long as it looks good. How much: pounds 50 Stockists: Faith, 192-194 Oxford Street, London W1; Arndale Centre, Manchester; 81 North Street, Brighton; enqs 0800 289297.

43

LULU GUINNESS

How many bags does one girl need? Who's counting? This multicoloured raffia one is beach-friendly and the ultimate carry-all day bag.

How much: pounds 95. Stockists: Lulu Guinness, 66 Ledbury Road, London W11; Harvey Nichols, Leeds; Hetre, Arlesford, Hampshire; enqs 0171-221 9686.

44

CALVIN KLEIN

This straw-coloured woven bucket bag with leather handles is just the trick for transporting holiday souvenirs.

How much: pounds 55 Stockists: by cK at Harvey Nichols, London and Leeds; enqs 0171-235 5000.

45

GENERAL TRADING COMPANY

Fun, stripy, woven plastic beach bag: it's hard-wearing, and can be used in the supermarket when the holiday's over.

How much: pounds 18.95.

Stockists: The General Trading Company, 144 Sloane Street, London SW3; 10 Argyle Street, Bath; 2-4 Dyer Street, Cirencester; enqs 0171-730 0411.

46

ACCESSORIZE

This blue denim and raffia bag with leather straps will look a picture teamed with the Jigsaw apron dress (see No 6).

How much: pounds 21.99.

Stockists: Accessorize, stores nationwide; enqs 0171-313 3000.

47

AGNES B

Ever popular, these chic, black-framed Jackie O-look shades have good- quality UV lenses, though they're not the best shape for the narrower face.

How much: pounds 85. Stockists: by Agnes B at David Clulow, 41-43 Wigmore Street, London W1; Bluewater, Dartford, Kent; 13 The Galleries, Bristol; enqs 0181-864 4040.

48

FABRIS LANE

Though these glasses are on the nerdy-specs theme, with tortoiseshell frames and brown lenses, they are subtle and flattering, offer good protection and look great on almost any face.

How much: pounds 99. Stockists: by Fabris Lane at Harvey Nichols, London and Leeds; House of Fraser stores nationwide; enqs 0181-974 1642.

49

CUTLER & GROSS

Aviator-style sunglasses with graduating lenses that are available in a variety of colours. Up to you which one of the following looks to choose from: Chips, Top Gun, Chloe-on-the-catwalk, or the Beasties' Sabotage video.

How much: pounds 109. Stockists: Cutler & Gross, 16 Knightsbridge Green, London SW1; House of Fraser stores nationwide; enqs 0171-581 2250.

50

CEBE

Sporty and practical chrome-framed shades. They're light, and just the thing if you feel like a little more activity than simply lying back in the sunshine and soaking up those rays.

How much: pounds 45. Stockists: by Cebe at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1; Blacks stores nationwide; enqs 01364 631270.

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