this thing's incredible

I Buy Tons of Slip Dresses. This £7 One Gets Me the Most Compliments

Photo: Grace Banks

A few weekends ago, I was at a close friend’s wedding just outside Barcelona in the sort of cozy fishing town Peggy Guggenheim and Salvador Dalí once loved. I’d braved EasyJet cancellations to make a rare wedding-guest appearance (I’m a romantic but not someone who stacks summers with international weddings and their accompanying humblebrag Insta posts).

The night before the wedding, at an impromptu drink in the town’s oldest cerveceria, a stylish woman came up, looking me up and down. “Oh, God,” she said. “I’ve been holidaying with my in-laws for the last couple of weeks in a remote part of France, and it’s so nice to see well-dressed people again.” An unexpected, flattering zinger. She was talking about my slip dress, which was actually a zebra-print nightie. At this point, I let her in on my secret: It’s from UK Amazon shop Atania, is nightwear, and costs £7.

It’s a tricky thing to find, that elusive multi-season dress, not too girlish or too plain. I bought the zebra nightie on a whim last year after searching “animal print slips” on Amazon, and it’s since become one of the hardest-working pieces in my wardrobe. It’s low cut, just so, with a hem that hangs below the knee for me. I’ve amassed a collection of slip dresses over the year — some secondhand from eBay (Per Una’s 00s ones are incredible), some fancy ones from Maison Essentiele. But this nightie leaves other slips in the dust for a hat trick of reasons: It has stayed silky after a dozen washes, is rich in colour, and, being satin rather than silk, creases much less than other slips I have (read the Amazon reviews!).

From £9

In a few concrete ways, it’s practical as well as pretty. The nightie’s loose enough to layer over knits or to bundle under a huge belted teddy coat as you step out on a winter evening. It’s lightweight enough to tuck into long skirts or to slip over jeans for a full aughts look. I’ve dressed it up for milestone career events and worn it with trainers to while away hours in galleries. And, of course, its satin looks great on its own too.

Beyond my zebra print, the dress comes in black, red, and three other styles, and stock can fluctuate. A leopard-print one reminds me of a hard-to-track-down discontinued ’90s Halston slip dress. And during the time I spent writing this article, a spicy red-and-white zebra colourway landed on the site. I may not be enjoying holiday life in Spain anymore, but the magic of the dress hasn’t worn off.

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I Found the Slip Dress of My Dreams for £7 on Amazon