My love affair with summer dresses goes way back, there is simply no better piece of fuss-free clothing in my mind, especially after a season of layering. You don’t need to worry about coordinating complicated outfits, just throw it on, add a pair of shoes and a designer handbag – and you’re done.
The beauty of the humble dress, is that it doesn’t need to be fussy, especially if you’re not a dress person to begin with. In fact, some of this season’s biggest trends are around paired-back, minimalist dressing, and I’ve found the very best summer dresses to suit all tastes.
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Summer dresses: trends
This season, as we slowly ease out of lockdown, summer fashion trends are all about the feel-good factor, and that translates into over-the-top tulle ballgowns, acid-hued florals, ribbon detailing, feel-good colours and puff sleeves galore, as seen at the likes of Molly Goddard, Simone Rocha and Rodarte.
But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about making a statement, Jacquemus, Victoria beckham and Khaite all proved that the most minimal monochrome styles can bring just as much joy, especially with a discreetly placed cut-out detail.
Length-wise, while midi dresses are still king, hemlines are getting a little longer in a nostalgic nod to the noughties, so do think about investing in a straight length maxi dress. Even better when styles with chunky flip flops (The Row have conveniently just re-issued last summer’s sell-out Ginza sandals).
Whatever your fancy, I’ve cherry picked best summer dresses from my favourite designers and high street stores so that you don’t have to go on a hunt to find what works for you.
This black Gwyneth dress is crafted from sumptuous silk satin with a liquid drape, reflecting La Collection's affinity for fluid lines. It's made with an elegant cowl neck and falls to sweeping hem and has a simple buttoned nape and a concealed zip.
Nipped in at the waist and finished with a riot of ruffles, this dress is the perfect accompaniment to sun-kissed skin.
Team this dress with a chunky flip flop for the perfect chic but casual look.
A perfect thrown-on dress: the tiered gathered maxi dress with clean square neckline and fine spaghetti straps.
Knitted dress are big news this season, and I'm loving this 70s-inspired one.
Part of the labels collaboration with Birkenstock, the Mudlark dress captures Faye Toogood’s coveted effortless aesthetic. Cut for a relaxed fit its cinched at the waist by toggled drawstrings to a tempered silhouette. Style yours with sandals and trainers alike.
You can style this versatile dress with the straps up or down. I love the 80s vibe the puff ball skirt gives it.
You can never go wrong with a simple floral dress.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this silk t-shirt dress, this chic item will see you through many seasons to come and elevate the simplest of shoes.
Bassike is closely involved with every step of the production process, from fabric development to manufacturing and adhering to strict quality control standards. Cut from breezy cotton-poplin, this dress has a square neckline framed by thin shoulder straps that cross over and tie at the back.
This dress is cut from tightly ribbed jersey and has a sleek racer-back. Wear yours solo with flat sandals or layer it under a jacket.
The Australian label is without a doubt one of my go-tos for statement summer dresses, and this colourful style doesn't disappoint.
A white dress is the best investment you can make when it comes to summer dresses. This simple style by Scandi label Rodebjer will see feel timeless in years to come.
Made from planet-friendly linen, this shirt dress is circle cut to create an oversized fit with elbow-length sleeves and a roomy body. You'll be hard pressed to find a more classic style.
TOVE has reimagined its cult Phoebe dress in hot pink for SS21, and it's already got a hefty waitlist.
Team this puffy mini dress with chunky boots or hiking sandals to steer it away from the saccharine.
No one does slip dresses like Réalisation, and they're so easy to style too.