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Rocking a Back Detail {And the Straw Bag You Need In Your Life}

Author: Lisa Soeno

I am a BIG fan of a dress/sweater/tee with an interesting back-detail. Whether it’s an unassuming top with a gorgeous pleated back, or a dress with a pretty bow detail to the back, I think that little touch can take an item of clothing from wow to WOW.

And it may be that I’m getting old but I just don’t feel like wearing low-cut tops or putting my pins on show any more. But find me a dress with a subtle peekaboo cutout at the back like the Topshop frock above and I’m sold. There is something sexy but demure about a flash of shoulder blades, don’t you think? Yes, there’s the dilemma of which bra to wear, but I’m hoping some of you enabling sorts are able to recommend a good backless bra in the comments box below…

Here are some more garms with interesting zips/frills/bows/bells/whistles to the back that I’ve spied on the high street or online recently, and the all-important accessories you should be wearing them with.


Guys, it’s happened. I’ve finally found a new favourite shop to replace Topshop, which I was probably getting too old for anyway. There’s not many times when, scrolling through a store’s website, I want everything. But I’m currently obsessed with each and every single item at Whistles at the moment.

I’m particularly taken by these silk bodycon dresses with the Whistles signature zip detailing which runs all the way from the top of the back of the dress to the hem at the bottom. I tried on a couple of the bodycons at the weekend: they are carefully structured, with clever gathering at the front to disguise dreaded mum-tum, and uber-flattering. And as for the Verity leather rucksack? All the heart eyes. It’s practical, beautiful, and being leather will last you forever.

  • Whistles Bodycon
  • Whistles Rucksack
  • Whistles Block Heel Sandals


It was this Boden jumper which I featured in my rainbow fashion post, with its colourful stripe-detail panel to the back, that sparked my love affair with an eye-catching back detail. Team with colour-pop loafers and a cross-body bag.

  • Boden Cross Body Bag
  • Boden Loafers
  • Boden Jumper


Could someone please hide my bank card to stop me from spending all my money in Hush? I’ve just ordered this leopard print day dress (IT HAS POCKETS), and this V-back dress in ‘blueberry’ is on my summer wishlist. Wear with the Santorini straw bag (if that doesn’t scream summer, I don’t know what does. You probably need it in your life. It also comes in black. #justsayin), and Woodstock sandals.

  • Hush V-Back Dress
  • Hush Santorini Bag
  • Hush Sliders


This ¾ length sleeve sweatshirt has been my saviour over the last couple of weeks. It’s perfect for the in-betweeny weather we’ve been having recently where a thick winter woolly is just TOO toasty, but donning only a T-shirt leaves me shivering. It’s true to size, is excellent quality (thick but not too heavy), and the coral contrast zip gives that little splash of colour and interest. (Without that detail, it would be a regular Breton top). I’ve been wearing mine with skinnies but I think it looks ace with the raspberry chinos that the Joules model is wearing. The mustard version is bang on trend, and the pastel blue version is perfect for spring. And all three colourways would look ace with Joules’ reversible tote (IT’S BASICALLY TWO BAGS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE), and has a zip section for all your valuables.

  • Joules Reversible Tote
  • Joules Chinos
  • Joules Sweatshirt


I know I said above that Whistles is my new Topshop, but fear not Toppers, you’ll always have a place in my heart. Particularly if you carry on giving good ditsy dresses. Topshop have gone all Victoriana on us this season with the inevitable spring florals in frilly midi dresses (as per the frock in the header with its just-plain-gorgeous bow detailing and peekaboo back). If I owned that dress, I’d be teaming it with these Netty block heel mules and a straw tote bag.

  • Topshop Straw Bag
  • Topshop Block Heel Sandals
  • Topshop Midi Dress

Have you bought any bits with an eye-catching back detail recently? Is anyone else obsessed with all things Whistles?

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
This post may include affiliate links.

18 thoughts on “Rocking a Back Detail {And the Straw Bag You Need In Your Life}

  1. Lisa – just wanted to say love these suggestions! I am the same about Hush by the way, I keep seeing ‘must haves’ on their site, need to hide my card too 🙂

  2. Ooh I love back detail on clothing – I have quite a few bits and pieces which look quite plain from the front but have lovely back detailing – most purchased from Massimo Dutti (essentially ‘posh’ Zara). I’m very tempted by that Topshop dress for a wedding reception we’re going to on 19th May (Alas not the royal one ;-)) and I’ve not looked at Hush for a while – used to love their clothing but then it just seemed to get so expensive. I might take a sneaky peek again now you’ve mentioned it. Thanks in advance for the bashing my credit card is about to receive!

  3. I think Hush is my ultimate fave now. Everything they do feels very me – so good when you find a shop like that isn’t it! I really love those sliders! x

  4. Oh no! Too many nice things! Love the Whistles dress, and the leather back pack, and the Breton shirt… Need to atop looking! Now!
    Seriously lovely recommendations!

  5. I’m with you in the Hush front Lisa! I have a massive wish list! It doesn’t help they sent a spring catalogue and my husband commented on how nice the stuff was and that slot of it was very ‘me’! I’m obsessed with their pjs (brushed cotton in winter and then their lightweight cotton ones spring/summer!) also my mum got me a tshirt for Christmas and was admiring the quality (essentially my family have become my enablers!).

    All the heart eyes for whistles too!

    1. Their catalogues are always so lovely. And yes a pair of Hush pjs are on my wish list. Really cute prints. Love that you have an enabling family! X

  6. Hush it new to me! But I love what I’m seeing. Is it online only or are there high st shops too? (Spot the pregnant lady who’s been avoiding clothes shops like the plague).

  7. Absolutely ADORE Whistles, always at the top of my wish list although at 26 I have to wait for the sales and make do with Zara and Warehouse. Gorgeous pieces Lisa! Thanks for sharing 😊

  8. Lisa, you are so bad for my purse!!!

    I have the v back hush dress in my virtual bag too, and the blueberry jumpsuit that I already have in last year’s colour!! I never even heard of hush until you and now I’m obsessed…. I’m going to try not to look at whistles for now cos I’m officially on a spending ban for the rest of this month xxx

    1. Su the v-back dress would really suit you methinks. Just have a lil peek at Whistles, you’ll love it all x

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