Blue skies and sunshine are a great mood-booster, but languid summer days can sometimes make it difficult to think about anything, least of all what to wear. A summer dress can help take the guesswork out of putting together a warm-weather ensemble, leaving you more lounging time and an outfit that will keep you feeling cool all day.
While summer dresses can be found in an array of styles, there are two key points to remember when purchasing one for hot weather: a loose cut, and breathable fabric – anything else could leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. If you have yet to add your own to your collection (or you’re in the market for a new addition) here are eight summer dress ideas to inspire you.
1. The Day-to-Night Number
If you are looking for the perfect “18 hour dress” that can take you from day to night, there are two main things to consider: the first being simplicity: look for a dress in a classic cut (be it maxi, mini, or somewhere in-between), in a block color or neutral that you can subtly change the look of as the sun starts to set. The second: a bag large enough to stow away a change of shoes, plus a jacket, should temperatures drop.
2. The Festival-Ready Frock
While your festival moodboard might be full of sweeping, maxi-length boho style dresses, they’re not the most practical of items to wear, especially in wet or muddy conditions or in crowds where your hem could get caught or trip you up. Instead, wear something knee-length or shorter. If you’re packing light, you might even consider something with a built-in bra, and add a pair of comfortable boots or sneakers for dancing in.
3. The One for Your “Main Character Moment”
The summer dress has appeared onscreen in various guises, but as far as iconic moments go, there are a few recurring themes that reappeared over the decades. Look to styles inspired by your favorite movies: think Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman polka dots, a sweet gingham print (Jane Birkin, La Piscine), or a 50’s-inspired A-line hem (Dirty Dancing; Grease), just perfect for dancing through those summer nights.
4. The Wedding Guest Go-To
For many couples, summer is the season to get hitched, and if you are currently in possession of an invite, you might be wondering what to wear. Rather than get a dress for each occasion, look for a versatile style (a-line or trapeze in a block color are both good) that you can accessorize according to the theme of the wedding. The simpler the style, the easier it will be to switch up your look.
5. The One You Can Wear Year-Round
If you’re looking to maximize your cost-per-wear, look for a dress that will see you through to winter. Floral prints or block colors are both great options as they pair equally well with sweaters and boots as with a pair of simple sandals. In terms of fit, make sure it works with layers: whether that’s a turtleneck worn underneath a pinafore style dress, or a sweater worn over the top.
6. The Mom-Friendly Option
While grass stains and sticky, ice-cream stained fingers might rule out the possibility of wearing white, there are plenty of other options to choose from. A “throw on and go” tiered dress in a cute print is perfect for running about in, or a pinafore-style dress you can layer over a crisp tee shirt (bonus points if they have pockets).
7. A Dress for People Who Don’t Like Dresses
While owning a summer dress isn’t an absolute necessity, having at least one on standby can help on days when it’s too warm to wear anything else (or if you just feel like a change). If you prefer a less overtly feminine look, there are a few styles you can try: anything that is an extension of a shirt: a simple tee-shirt or button-down shirt dress is ideal, as they can be worn with bare legs and sneakers, or layered over a pair of jeans.
8. The One to Keep Cool In
Whether you prefer a more modest style of dressing for spiritual, personal, or practical reasons, a long, flowy summer dress in a light and breathable cotton will see you through the warmest of days in style. Long sleeves and longer hems also provide added protection from the sun’s rays while keeping you cool. Our best tip is to head to Dainty Jewells for modest dresses in a range of beautiful styles.