‘Wardrobe Stories’ is a series in which I discuss the most beloved items in my closet. They are the pieces I turn to season after season, year after year, and that never go out of style.
The Avoca dress pictured above has been a summer favourite of mine for years. I love the mix of floral patterns (featuring one of my favourite Liberty fabrics), pretty beading around the waistline and the fact that the dress can be worn with flats or heels for a fuss-free day to evening transition. It was warm enough over the weekend to pull the dress out again, ready for exploring the gardens at the Geffrye Museum and drinks in the sunshine.
Several of my favourite summer dresses are in fact by Avoca Clothing. I first discovered the brand years ago on holiday in Jersey, where I stumbled upon a boutique that stocked some pretty Avoca dresses, skirts and their classic ballerina-style wraps. Since then, I’ve been quick to spot their signature floral prints in boutiques in London, and this dress I in fact bought at a shop in Lewes whilst on my way to my first visit to Charleston.
Avoca takes its name from the brand’s location, and I would love to pay a visit to Avoca, Ireland myself sometime, not least to visit the lovely sounding shop and weaving mill, which is apparently the oldest in Ireland. The village looks utterly charming, nestled in a valley alongside the River Avoca. I shall definitely get there one day!
In the meantime, visiting some of London’s prettiest gardens is curbing any pangs I have for an escape to the countryside. The Geffrye Museum is one of my favourite places in the city, and it has charming gardens and a leafy courtyard that offer peaceful refuge on a hot day. Devoted to domestic history, the museum is well worth visiting too, with its series of rooms that show the evolution of English living rooms over the last 400 years (my favourite is the 1950s room!). In the summer months, though, I especially enjoy the Geffrye’s gardens.
The gardens at the Geffrye consist of a walled herb garden (with plenty of benches in cosy nooks to read a book or chat to a friend) and several period gardens. The period gardens offer a further insight into British domestic history, as they are based on drawings and recorded plantings of urban middle-class gardens, from the 17th – 20th Century. I particularly delight in the 19th and 20th Century period gardens, with the former featuring a truly Victorian looking greenhouse and the latter a pergola covered in roses (or wisteria, depending on the season). I felt I blended rather nicely into the background in my floral dress!
If you’re in the mood for refreshments (I always seem to be), then it’s worth heading to the cafe for a pot of tea (and perhaps a brownie. Unfortunately, some of the cafe cakes tend towards being rather too dry, but I can report the brownie is gooey and tasty). The cafe is light and airy and overlooks the 20th Century period garden, as well as some bee hives.
There’s also a Mini Moderns pop up shop presently at the Geffrye, where I stopped to pick up some gifts for upcoming birthdays (I’d been to their press release earlier in the week and had to go back for more!). The main shop is very nice too (they stock a particularly good selection of cards – I can never resist picking up one or two!).
If you’re looking for ways to escape the heat in London at the moment, then I definitely recommend throwing on your favourite cotton floral dress and finding a shady spot in the Geffrye Museum gardens!
What are your wardrobe staples for summer? Do you have a dress you pull out every year?
P.P.S. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has filled in the Miranda’s Notebook Reader Survey. I have absolutely loved reading all your comments, and I’ve found all the feedback so helpful. I was really touched by how many people bothered to fill it in, and you’ve got me very excited for some plans I intend to start implementing in the Autumn!