Midi dresses were not invented this year. They’ve been extremely popular for a while now, largely thanks to the faff they take out of getting dressed. But the past few weeks have seen them go from an item we all like a normal amount to a worldwide obsession threatening to knock rosé off its spot as summer’s favourite thing. Proving this point is M&S, which has just revealed its most searched for pieces online. And, yes, the number-one item was, in fact, a midi dress.
To be more specific, it was a navy, polka-dot midi dress with sleeves. Actually, there were two dresses that have proved to be incredibly popular and both are very similar. One is ruched at the waist and one has a belt tie, but both are a riff on the same theme. They’re both in that most democratic of colours – navy – that suits everyone and goes with everything. And while the print adds oomph, it’s one that, again, appeals to the majority and doesn’t seem too daunting.
The popularity of midis this summer could also be down to the heat. Even the most dedicated jeans-wearers I know have been forced to substitute their beloved denim for something decidedly more breezy, given that this is the first summer in recent memory that has afforded us a lasting period of hot weather. Monsoon’s Dolly dress, for example, has been restocked multiple times already. “Every time our black gingham Dolly dress drops into store and online, it sells out instantly,” Monsoon told me. Long, linen with short sleeves and a button-down front, it was so popular that the brand decided to make it in a variety of prints and colours – all just as popular as the original.
Midis feel like a democratic option – whatever your age, shape or style, you can find one to suit you on the high street without having to spend a fortune
Aside from the heat forcing us all to rethink our wardrobes, it could also be that the high street is simply responding to its customers’ wishes. As Monsoon said, “We know that the style and fit [of the Dolly dress] is what our customers love most,” which is cemented in the fact that the dresses keep selling out. And M&S is known for the customer insights it gathers every season, looking to cater specifically to its market and what they’re looking for. The price is also a sweet spot – M&S’s polka-dot dresses are both under £40, while Monsoon’s midis are £59. And then there are the likes of & Other Stories, Zara, Cos and Sezane, all of whom have produced summer midis that have promptly sold out, only to be seen on women all over the country (see this floral Zara midi for proof).
There’s also the fact that, as midis have been around for many seasons now, the high street is finally getting it right. Where once you’d walk into your local Topshop or H&M to be met with increasingly short hemlines, crop tops and skinny jeans, the midi has become ubiquitous. Even if the crop top is still going strong, there’s at least another choice for customers that perhaps feels a lot more wearable for most of us. Midis feel like a democratic option – whatever your age, shape or style, you can find one to suit you on the high street without having to spend a fortune. And brands like Topshop, ASOS, New Look and indeed M&S have some great petite and tall ranges, meaning you can find one that feels more tailored to you.
While M&S’s dotty numbers are now only available in a few sizes, you can still get your hands on Monsoon’s Dolly dress here. Or, have a look at the brilliant midis below, which you can buy now, wear now and then add tights and ankle boots and wear all winter. You can’t really argue with that.
5 of the best midi dresses on the high street