There’s always room in our wardrobes for a classic black dress – especially one we can pull out year after year and that can be adapted to any social occasion by simply adding the right accessories.
So, if you're on the hunt for a new classic number to see you through Christmas party season, allow us to introduce you to the Marks & Spencer's Star Print Button Through Midi Smock Dress, which is not only super versatile, but also priced under £50.
Holly Willoughby was the one who brought it to our attention. In a recent Instagram post, the This Morning presenter - and M&S brand ambassador - shared her latest find from the retailer.
"You just can’t go wrong with a black dress for a classic evening look – and this one, with its elegant detailing, is one of my favourite pieces from my November edit," she captioned a photo of herself wearing the dress.
Why we rate it
If you're not one for full-on glitz and glam and prefer a more subtle nod to the festive season, then this frock's subtle star pattern is the perfect compromise.
You might miss this gorgeous detail at first glance, but when you see the fabric up close, the star print embellishment makes an impact, while not being too OTT.
The sheer blouson sleeves also add a great luxe touch, making the dress look classy and expensive, with a side order of subtle sex appeal.
Then of course there’s the flattering softly gathered waist that nips you in and gently floats out into an A-line skirt that reaches mid-calf.
The silhouette is complemented by small buttons that run all the way down the front of the dress. But if you want to accentuate your waist even further, M&S paired the dress with a glitzy £19.50 crystal belt to add a touch of bling.
However, you could easily give the classic black number a festive glow-up by adding silver or gold accessories and a great pair of heels. We think heeled ankle boots, a statement shoulder bag, and stand-out earrings would be a great combo.
Willoughby added a diamanté belt and velvet heels to her look on Instagram, which we think is perfect for party season and Christmas cocktails with friends.
What the reviews say
The M&S Star Print Button Through Midi Smock Dress is such a newbie, that there’s only two reviews – both are five-star ratings, of course.
One shopper said: “I bought this dress on a whim and it’s lovely. Beautiful fabric that in my opinion looks more expensive that the price I paid,” the customer raved. “I went for a 12 although I’m often a size 10 in Marks trousers and there is plenty of room in it I could have possibly sized down but I wanted it loose fitting.”
Another wrote: "Lovely dress, well worth the money. I'm delighted with it, it's so comfortable and very dressy."
Be aware though, we noticed hundreds of eyes were on it while we were writing this – the secret is clearly out so we suggest snapping it up, pronto, before everyone else does…
Shop now: Star Print Button Through Midi Smock Dress | £45 from M&S
5 other M&S black dresses that have caught our eye
Jersey Sparkly Round Neck Midi Tiered Dress | £35 from M&S
If you’re after a touch of shimmer, this is the dress for you. It’s sparkle-infused jersey, nips in at the waist and we love the frill at the bottom. “This dress will be perfect to wear at Christmas,” said one customer. “Not too sparkly. I have the same dress in different colours and sleeve lengths. It suits my shape and is easy to wear. Good length as well.”
Jersey Tie Neck Belted Midaxi Tiered Dress | £29.50 from M&S
“Lovely soft, comfortable black dress. Very slimming,” wrote one reviewer. The soft jersey has added stretch, and the slim belt flatters your waistline, while the midaxi length flowy, tiered skirt gives it an ‘elegant boho’ vibe.
Embellished Round Neck Midi Column Dress | £45 from M&S
Elegance personified, this has diamanté detail around the neckline and the sleek column shape is belted at the waist. Any wonder this customer calls it her ‘Audrey Hepburn’ dress. “I love this dress. It is elegant, slimming, good material and a good price. I particularly love the embellishment which is glamorous but understated. I call it my Audrey Hepburn dress and in my head that is who I look like when wearing it.”
V-Neck Draped Midi Skater Dress | £29.50 from M&S
A wardrobe classic, this has an elegant drape at the front, nips in gently at the waist and the fabric has stretch for extra comfort. “Well made and classy, sizing just right, beautiful material,” wrote one of the many happy customers.
Embellished Midi Shirt Dress | £55 from M&S
A shirt dress is one of the most versatile wardrobe pieces, and can be paired with boots or heels for formal occasions or dressed down with trainers for lunch with with friends. We love the subtle sparkle trip on this style which is perfect for party season and beyond. One happy shopper said: "it’s absolutely gorgeous, great quality, understated elegance." What more could you want?
Watch: The comfy bra everyone is talking about