Buying a designer dress is a big deal for most people, even for those fortunate enough to indulge on a regular basis. No matter what your shopping habits are, it's always nice to feel as though you're getting your 'moneys worth', whether the item in question is last years Topshop dress or this seasons Peter Pilotto. If like me, the designer splurges are few and far between, I think it's even more important to apply logical buying strategies to the way you shop. Do you want to be the centre of attention at a once in a lifetime event, without experiencing that heavy feeling of buyer's remorse? Then commit yourself to finding a classic and instantly recognisable dress that you can wear again and again rather than an outlandishly on-trend piece.

If you're shaking your head at the thought of wearing the same dress multiple times, then I urge you to look at your wardrobe. Chances are you're a spontaneous buyer who has at least one piece in the back that still has tags on/hasn't been worn (don't worry, we've all done it) but the truth is, nobody should shop like that - it's bad for our bank balance, our emotional state, and the environment! Dame Vivienne Westwood is well known for expressing her views on mass consumption, and promotes a "buy less, choose well, and make it last" policy; something we should surely all aim for in todays climate. We know it's not easy to pull yourself out of bad shopping habits, but by choosing quality over quantity, you can work towards a beautiful wardrobe filled with timeless pieces.

To give you an example of how to shop guilt free, I've chosen this cotton-twill dress by Carven. The Parisian brand, which is steeped in couture heritage, creates inspirational yet accessible pieces, and this dress is no exception. Its polished, classic shape is perfect for any event whilst the crossover back ensures the dress is fresh and playful. You can wear it in a multitude of ways to create a new and exciting look every time. The only hard part will be deciding which colour you prefer!

Carven cotton twill dress £375 from Net-A-Porter

CARVENDRESS1.jpgThis dress looks amazing with a shirt or blouse underneath it. For the office, wear a crisp white shirt and team it with black tights and heels. For a relaxed summertime BBQ, a printed shirt with the sleeves rolled up, bare legs and a pair of sandals are essential. If it's an everyday outfit you're after, choose a colour popping blouse and brogues - put your own stamp on the look by experimenting with the shirts in your existing wardrobe!

The yellow Carven dress is a little tricker to pull off, but perfect for those who prefer punchy brights to soft neutrals. Inside of wearing something underneath, create a different look using coats, blazers, and jackets. Embrace your inner rock chick with heavy duty biker boots, fringed leather jacket, smokey eyes and a skinny black belt, smarten up with a blazer and court shoes, or go country girl chic with a pair of wellingtons and an oversized coat.

With minimal effort you can transform this dress from day to night - just add heels! The higher and more colourful the better. For a relaxed grunge feel, introduce tights and a slouchy pair of boots. The brogue is the perfect accompaniment for this gorgeous dress, whether it's colour blocked, snakeskin or metallic - accessorize to suit your mood.

All featured items from Net-A-Porter