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Real clothes: All decked out

Slip into a floaty, strappy dress for a long, languorous summer
One of the pleasures of summer is knowing that you can get away with wearing just two items of clothing: a dress and a pair of pants. (Only really sad people who think they're being risque, and babies, don't wear pants.) The bigger busted among us will, of course, also have to wear a bra which is where a bit of a gripe of mine comes in. I hate women who can wear spaghetti-strapped dresses without having to strategically position their bra straps or wear little T-shirts underneath. And I'm sick of finding perfectly glorious dresses that have these straps, thus eliminating my being able to wear them. Perversely - as it has such a reputation for being a teenage hang-out - my favourite shop for all things summer and well priced is Top Shop. If you can fit into its size range (6-14 with the odd 16, and yes I am always banging on to them about doing bigger sizes), then this is a great place to buy your dresses. Drawstring necks are this summer's detail: length can be long or short although the latter is more fashionable. The Whistles dresses shown are great for holidays as you get three looks out of them: you can wear them layered one over the other, or separate. And, glory! The sales are on, and for once they are well timed - bargain hunt while the sun's still shining. Dresses at Warehouse and Oasis are particularly cute, from pounds 20.

Photographs by NEIL MASSEY

Styled by ZOe BROWN

Clockwise from right:

Pink silk dress (sizes 6-16), pounds 150, orange slip (worn underneath, sizes 6-16), pounds 75, Whistles, 20 The Market, London WC2; Princes Square, Buchanan Street, Glasgow (tel: 0171 487 4484). Pink sequin flip-flops (sizes 3-8), pounds 285, Gina Couture, 9 Old Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 409 7090).

White linen dress (sizes 8-16), pounds 39.99, Oasis, 292 Regent Street, London W1 (tel: 01865 881986), silver leather flip-flops (sizes 3-8), pounds 185, Gina, 9 Old Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 409 7090).

White and pink floral dress (sizes 8-16), pounds 50, Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll Street, London W1; 22 Albion Arcade, Unit 4 Shopping Plaza, Leeds (tel: 0207 841 3000).

Pink/turquoise crochet dress (sizes 10-16), pounds 89.95, Karen Millen, 262- 264 Regent Street, London W1 (tel: 01622 664032).

Lilac dress (sizes 8-16), pounds 70, French Connection, 249 Regent Street, London W1; 14-16 St Ann Street, Manchester (tel: 0171 399 7200).

The Independent on Sunday team stayed at the Grand Lido Negril, on the west coast of Jamaica, set on a two-mile crescent of white sand in 22 acres of grounds. For further information on all inclusive holidays, call SuperClubs (tel: 01749 677200).

Hair & make-up by Sharon Willmore using A la Carte. Modelled by Stacey.