Buffet dress? It’s the perfect outfit for coming out of lockdown.

Let’s face it: unless you’re one of those insanely disciplined people who love working up a sweat, chances are that over the last year – like us – you’ve let any previous dedication to squats dwindle. With Boris’ map out of lockdown announced, thoughts are turning to our imminent return to society in something other than sweat pants. 

Enter, the Buffet Dress. Before we discuss this item, let us pause briefly and mourn the loss of actual buffets and all-you-can-eat restaurants for the foreseeable. To be fair, probably a good thing because – eww, sneeze guards – but we’ll secretly miss the odd trip to the Pizza Hut lunch spread.

Anyway, back to the fashion: A term coined by Kate Hiscox of Wears My Money, the Buffet Dress is the perfect wafty saviour for those of us who aren’t quite ready to return to a lifestyle that includes non-elasticated waists. Usually a midi length, the shape is often fitted or slim to the ribs before flaring out in a flattering A-line, it’s perfect for days when the bloat is real or the heat is too much for anything form fitting. It also works well in winter styled up with a multitude of layers PLUS secret leggings – perfect for those al fresco drinks we’ll all be enjoying soon enough.

Without further ado, we present to you three print incarnations of the Buffet dress and how we’d style them.

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The Floral One

Finish this phrase: Florals, for spring? ____. Yes, they may be a cliché but we challenge you not to feel great in a pretty floral frock. You may not feel like wearing pastels hues with pale, wintery skin so this dark base version from New Look is the perfect piece to see you through until the weather warms up. The pale blue shacket will delicately pick out the detail of the print and also has enough room to add an extra layer for chillier days.

Black floral dress, £22.99, New Look

Pale blue shacket, £29.99, H&M

Speckled beanie, £8, Asos

Black chunky boots, £69, Marks & Spencer

Sunglasses, £125, Ray-Ban at Net-a-Porter

The Leopard Print One

If there’s one print we will champion until we die here at The Style Life, it’s leopard print. Cast aside your assumptions about Bet Lynch and embrace your wild side. A little bit naughty, leopard is the perfect confidence booster – add a leather jacket and plus a pop of colour with a red cross body bag and you’re good to go.

Leopard dress, £38, Asos

Leather Jacket, £190, Vero Moda

High tops, £56.99, Converse at Office

Oversized Hoodie, £69, Hush

Cross-body bag, £124, Kate Spade

The Checked One

If you find gingham too twee, this check dress from H&M is the perfect grown up alternative which can be worn with or without its tie waist belt. Throw on a classic trench and white trainers for the perfect outfit for running errands.

Check dress, £24.99, H&M

Trench Coat, £49.50, La Redoute

Baseball cap, £35, Lululemon

White trainers, £99, Hobbs

Tote bag, £189, Kurt Geiger

And don’t forget…

Those outdoor heaters will only go so far so don’t forget to add some chunky socks, a thermal top and finally, those aforementioned secret leggings – we love Uniqlo Heattech’s pair. Our top tip? Chop to mid-calf length to stop them showing!

Thermolactyl short sleeve top, £19, Damart

Thermal leggings, £19.90, Uniqlo Heattech

Thermal socks (pack of three), £10, Marks & Spencer

Imagery: courtesy of brands