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How to wear... the knitted dress

Fashion may not be top of your list in the season of stormy weather, but you can find a stylish compromise to stay warm and look chic at the same time, writes Meadhbh McGrath

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Zendaya attends the launch of the Collection TommyXZendaya on October 03, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

Zendaya attends the launch of the Collection TommyXZendaya on October 03, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Zendaya. Photo: Getty Images

Zendaya. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Margot Robbie. Photo: GC Images

Margot Robbie. Photo: GC Images

GC Images

Spain's Queen Letizia. Photo: Getty Images

Spain's Queen Letizia. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Puff sleeve, €25.95 from Zara

Puff sleeve, €25.95 from Zara

Camel, €129 from H&M

Camel, €129 from H&M

Pink, €95 from M&S

Pink, €95 from M&S

Green, €52 from Topshop

Green, €52 from Topshop

Burgundy, €62.50 from SimplyBe.ie

Burgundy, €62.50 from SimplyBe.ie

Grey, €130 (sale price) from Reiss

Grey, €130 (sale price) from Reiss

White, €39.95 from Zara

White, €39.95 from Zara

Black, €136.50 (sale price) from Maje at Brown Thomas

Black, €136.50 (sale price) from Maje at Brown Thomas

Earrings, €155 from InnerIsland.ie

Earrings, €155 from InnerIsland.ie

Knee boots, €89.99 (sale price) from Mango

Knee boots, €89.99 (sale price) from Mango

Belt, €39 from & Other Stories

Belt, €39 from & Other Stories

Leather bag, €99.95 from Massimo Dutti

Leather bag, €99.95 from Massimo Dutti

Ankle boots, €107 from Office

Ankle boots, €107 from Office

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Zendaya attends the launch of the Collection TommyXZendaya on October 03, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

With fierce storms battering the country, the desire to look stylish takes a backseat to the need to stay warm. But the two can reach a compromise - in the cosy, comfortable and effortlessly chic knitted dress.

It's the kind of one-and-done outfit you can throw on with tights and boots before wrapping up under various coats, scarves, hats and gloves, and you'll still look put-together when you take them all off.

Spain's Queen Letizia made a strong case for the knitted dress this week in Madrid, wearing a COS version, cinched at the waist with a wide belt, and slouch boots.

And while it may look decidedly wintry, the knitted dress had a starring role on the spring-summer catwalks too. The most popular style was the striped dress: at Kate Spade, Antrim-born designer Nicola Glass presented a short-sleeved purple dress, worn with trainers and a cross-body bag.

Tibi offered high-neck, space-dyed midis in green and purple, styled with platform boots, while Marc Jacobs went bohemian with a blue and orange crew-neck maxi, finished with a leather cross-body and a statement necklace.

The French have long embraced the knitted dress as a wardrobe staple, from easy, breezy T-shirt minis to figure-skimming maxis. Jacquemus proposed a long, pink and white striped version for spring-summer, low cut with a thigh-high slit.

The colours were fresh, but the mood was classic Parisian boho.

The fit varies, from body-hugging columns to a more relaxed, oversize cocoon. Zendaya included a 70s-inspired rib knit dress in her recent collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, which looks striking on her slim frame, but really sings on a curvier figure (and is available up to size 24 on Tommy.com).

When shopping, bear in mind that a thin material can give rise to unwanted stretching and transparency. You don't need to go for a really heavy, bulky wool, but make sure you give the dress a good once-over from all angles in the fitting room.

Look out for practical details such as side slits - seen on Margot Robbie in The Row earlier this month - which can help to ease movement. The shape of her dress is the ultimate chuck-on style, yet the solid, subdued cream colour and mock neck lend the look polish. With a camel coat on top, the effect is timeless, and supremely cosy - just swap the mules for knee boots and you'll be braced for the wind and chill.

In Irish weather, the knitted dress is effectively a year-round hero piece, but if you want to ensure your buy is spring-appropriate, look for a lighter interpretation. It could be a shorter hemline, which you can wear with tights and chunky boots now, and bare legs and trainers when the weather lets up.

Elsewhere, a number of brands offer backless and cut-out options, like Maje's black dress, or you can go sleeveless. Zara's cable-knit style will look just as sophisticated with sheer tights, brown knee boots and layers of outerwear in the cold as it will with heeled sandals in the warmer months.

The best part about the knitted dress is how well it adapts to any occasion. Running late to work? Looking for a snug and simple weekend outfit? Want to try something a little different for date night? Whatever the event, the knitted dress is the solution to just about all of them.

Irish Independent