Why have five dresses when one will do?

No zips, no buttons, no fancy bits - the shift is a miracle of one-piece dressing. Just sling it on and wear it everywhere, to everything, all summer
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The Independent Online

Top Shop, pounds 24.99

A pretty fabric, a great price. The only drawback with this is that it's probably too fashionable to last more than one summer - it has a slight shine, currently very popular, and this season's longer length. Available from branches of Top Shop nationwide

Kookai, pounds 59

A baby blue shift dress with kick pleats for high summer. One of the few dresses around that is cut well above the knee. Unfortunately, being made of 65 per cent viscose and 35 per cent linen, it creases badly. But that's a small price to pay to keep cool. Also available in pink, lilac, ivory and black. From Kookai branches nationwide. Enquiries on 07-937 44

Whistles, pounds 05

Satin dress available in pink, lilac or black. The neckline gives it a real Jackie O feel. Clingy satin may not be ideal for those with a fuller figure, and would perhaps be a little too much for day wear. But this is a good shape and very well made. Available from Whistles, 2 St Christopher's Place, London W and branches. Enquiries on 07-487 4484

Jaeger London, pounds 69

Even though this is part of Jaeger's cheaper line, the standard of manufacture is very high. The dress is in 00% pure new wool and is fully lined. The cut skims over the body, hiding most bulges. A shame that light beige is a hard colour to wear with a wan English complexion, but fortunately it also comes in black. Smart enough for office wear. Enquiries on 07- 494 2060

Ter et Bantine, wool crepe black slip dress, pounds 240

As soon as this dress slips on it hangs beautifully. A no-fuss, no-zips dress. The cut is loose enough to hide lumps and bumps, but is still a powerful show stopper. A perfect little black dress for all seasons. Available from Harvey Nichols, 67 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3

Oasis, pounds 24.99

Chintz-print white dress with red rose flowers. This, too, is one of those high summer numbers, and ideal for screwing up in a suitcase. The red and brown print makes a refreshing change to the usual garish colours associated with a hot climate. From Oasis, 65 Victoria Street, SW and branches nationwide. Enquiries on 07- 377 5335.