It is hard to argue against the fact that dresses are the easiest way to look and feel cool during the summer months. Dresses are the ultimate wardrobe essentials because you don’t have to stress about coordinating complicated outfits or feeling too stuffy in your separates; instead, you can just put one on and go.
That being said, with so many different styles of dresses on the market, it can be overwhelming to know which ones are going to be closet essentials for years to come and which ones are just a passing trend.
To help you achieve the summer dress collection of your dreams, here is the essential guide to summer dresses, and how to style them.
There is no denying that a maxi dress is an essential component of any woman’s summer wardrobe. After all, which dress style screams summer vibes more than an effortless maxi? Luckily, there is a wide range of maxi dress styles on the market, ranging from a more casual kimono maxi dress to an elevated formal gown.
Whatever type of maxi dress you opt to bring into your summer wardrobe, you can be assured that this is a dress style that looks incredible on every individual – which only makes this go-with-the-flow style even more special.
To achieve this summer look, dress up your favorite maxi dress with a pair of timeless espadrilles and aviator shades. Alternatively, for a more “off-duty” vibe, pair the dress with leather sandals and a large sun hat. When it comes to maxi dresses, unexpected accessories add interest, while a waist-defining belt can make a flowing maxi dress look a lot more flattering.
2. A Timeless Midi
Slightly shorter than a maxi dress, the hem of a midi dress should end halfway between your knees and ankles. For the summer, look for midi dresses that are light in both fabric and in color (white and cream are lovely). However, bolder colors such as yellow, green, and orange can work as statement pieces, although you may not get as much wear out of them as something more neutral.
When it comes to styling your summer midi dress, you have plenty of options. You can go casual with sneakers and your favorite sunglasses or girly with mules and a straw bag. Alternatively, a more formal style of midi can be paired with heeled sandals and a small clutch for an evening occasion while other styles are perfect with your go-to summer sandals and your hair wrapped in a scarf.
Keep in mind that a timeless midi is also excellent transitional wear, so in a few months you can replace your sandals and denim jacket with knee-high boots and a chunky knit sweater.
3. A Versatile Wrap
Loved by women of various shapes and sizes all around the world, there is no getting around the fact that you can’t go wrong with a classic wrap dress – particularly one in a floral print. Perhaps one of the most versatile pieces that can belong in your wardrobe, the wrap dress is filled with style possibilities, which is why it is such a go-to style for travel and weekends.
If you want to style your wrap dress a little differently (and bring some more trendy elements into the combination) this summer, then look to throw on a belt bag with it or wear colorful pointy-toe flats for a more playful spin. If you want to dress down the style and get more wear out of it, simply pair your wrap dress with some classic white sneakers and you will be good to go.
On the other hand, add a structured blazer and pumps, and you have a more formal, work-appropriate look. Alternatively, leave it open and wear it kimono style or wear it over palazzo pants for a high-fashion mix. See? Told you it was versatile!
The ‘90s-era slip dress made its way back into the fashion world a couple of years ago and has since become a staple piece. Just like the other dresses on this list, one of the main reasons it has catapulted to that position is because it is so easy to capitalize on a slip dress’s versatility. Plus, it is super comfortable; you put it on and then you are ready to go. It is also the smallest outfit you can pack, which makes it ideal for your summer getaways.
For a more casual look, wear your slip dress with flat shoes, a basket or canvas bag, an oversized denim jacket, or as a top over jeans. On the other hand, for a more elevated outfit, wear it with heels or more evening-appropriate flats, glamorous jewelry, a chic clutch bag, and a blazer.
That being said, unlike the others in this list, you can layer a slip dress even in the summer and still not be too overheated. For example, if you want to wear your slip dress to the office, then simply layer a button-down underneath, and you will be ready to work. Alternatively, add a vintage T-shirt underneath, and you will dress the silky piece down, all while looking exceptionally stylish.
5. A Chic Shift
When the summer season arrives, it can be more complicated than ever to get dressed for the office as you want to look appropriate but also feel comfortable. Luckily, in these scenarios, a shift dress is your best friend as this classic and chic style is perfect for wearing at work and then transitioning into the evening.
While it is highly recommended that you have some basic colored shift dresses in your wardrobe, this is also a perfect style to have in brighter summer colors so that you have your outfit all sorted in one. While a chic shift dress can be a faithful friend to all women, this style looks particularly flattering on hourglass figures and lean, athletic body shapes.
Add the summer look to style your chic shift dress with a block heel and a strong piece of jewelry (such as a cuff or a pendant necklace) that complements the mod vibe of this style of dress.
Last but not least, we have the Little White Dress (LWD), which is the summer sister of your beloved Little Black Dress (LBD). Unlike the others in this list, this dress can be whatever style and cut that you like; it just has to be white, summery, and confidence-boosting for you as the wearer (although, ideally, it should be an organic cotton dress).
No matter what your plans include, you are almost guaranteed to be able to style your LWD appropriately. For example, sightseeing with friends on a Saturday afternoon? Wear your LWD with trendy sneakers. Got an evening of social events? Wear the same dress with statement heels and head-turning jewelry. Running errands? A denim jacket and flat sandals will round out the outfit.
When it comes to styling your LWD, remember that a woven bag makes for the perfect summer accessory and a pair of comfortable leather sandals will always expertly finish off the look.
What are your go-to summer dress styles? Are there any from this list that you are going to be trying out for the first time this year? Alternatively, do you have any fabulous styling tips to share with the community? Let us know in the comments below!