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Summer dressing should be easy. You should spend your time planning outdoor activities and enjoying the warm weather, not fussing over an unduly complicated outfit. The best summer dresses are an easy solution that will take the guesswork out of getting dressed when the heat is scorching.
When you’re picking out your ideal summer dress, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. First and foremost, material. Natural lightweight fabrics are best for the warmer weather,” explains Nikki Campbell and Sophie Coote, founders of Australian label Sir. “Particularly linen and cotton or our lightweight Aya knit, which is perfect for layering with swim, the sheer open weave is perfect for summer.”
Another factor worth considering is a dresses’ versatility. If ease is your goal, you’ll want to invest in a style that can easily be worn for a daytime beach visit, or a fancier occasion, simply depending on how you style it. “We always have in mind the versatility of a piece so that the dress alone can work both ways,” says Monica Paolini, the designer of Sea New York. “The right jewelry and shoe pairing can help shift the look into day or night.”
As temperatures rise, take stock of your current collection of summer dresses, and consider which of the season’s upcoming trends are worth mixing in with more standard silhouettes.
Cute Summer Dress Trends for 2022
If you’re looking for the ideal summer dress to embrace, take the advice of Paolini, Campbell, and Coote and test out a few of the top trends about to take off in the months ahead.
– Artful details: At Sea, smocking and embroidery are key elements being incorporated into spring’s styles. If you’re looking for an eye-catching daytime dress, this is the look for you. Crafty designs have been a favorite for stars like Bella Hadid and Lorde, who style them with edgy accessories for a youthful twist. Since there’s so much variety in silhouette, it’s a trend that’s flattering and easy to embrace for all.
– Cutouts: “The cutout trend can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be,” say Campbell and Coote. “Look for pieces with cutouts that accentuate your best assets. Pieces with adjustability to allow you to control how open the cut out are also a great way to dip your toe in.” The cutout trend is an easy way to show some skin in a more formal setting. If you want to accentuate your waist, opt for cutouts at the sides. If your back is a favorite feature, try something that’s open across your shoulders and down your spine. And, if you’re hoping to accentuate your bust, look for something with cutouts along the neckline.
– Minidress: Shorter silhouettes may seem intimidating at first, but with appearances on major runways from Dior to Miu Miu, this leg-baring silhouette is a must try. As for styling, “for the minidress, I like a barely-there shoe such as a thin strap sandal so it’s like you’re running around barefoot,” says Paolini. Look for a style that hits mid-thigh to ensure you’ll have enough coverage. For casual events, try a cotton shift dress, for formal get-togethers, try a luxe silk slip dress.
Top Summer Dresses of 2022
- Best Strapless Dress: Likely Driggs Dress
- Best Boho Dress: Prettygarden Boho Dress
- Best Affordable Dress: The Drop Tent Dress
- Best Dress on Amazon: Relipop Summer Dress
- Best Long-Sleeve Dress: Exlura Dress
- Best Affordable Lace Dress: Astr the Label Midi Dress
- Best Draped Dress: Jacquemus Bahia Dress
- Best Abstract Print Dress: Johanna Ortiz Extravagant Vision Dress
- Best Mix Print Dress: Doen Almada Dress
- Best Plus-Size Dress: Christy Dawn Brooklyn Dress
- Best One-Shoulder Dress: Isabel Marant Solenne Dress
- Best Trendy Dress: Reformation Juliette Dress
- Best Casual Dress: Rag & Bone Riley Dress
- Best Cotton Dress: Toteme Gathered Cotton Jersey Dress
- Best Open Back Dress: Rixo Sardinia Dress
- Best Halter Dress: A.L.C. Adelle Dress
- Best Slip Dress: Rodarte Mushroom Dress
- Best Lightweight Dress: Johanna Ortiz Shells At Dusk Dress
- Best White Dress: Frame Smock Dress
- Best Mini Dress: Miu Miu Smocked Dress
- Best Summer Vacation Dress: Farm Rio Ombré Bananas Dress
- Best Smocked Dress: Rebecca Taylor Cotton Sundress
- Best Romantic Dress: Faithfull Cairo Dress
- Best Puff Sleeve Dress: Rosie Assoulin Knit-Paneled Dress
- Best Black Dress: Christopher Esber Maxi Dress
- Best Sheer Dress: Louisa Ballou Black Heatwave Dress
- Best Cozy Dress: Jonathan Simkhai Selah Dress
- Best Flared Dress: Staud Wells Dress
- Best Striped Dress: Gimaguas Ete Dress
- Best Colorful Slip Dress: Coco Shop Slip Dress
Read on to shop the best summer dresses that you won’t be able to stop wearing.
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Likely Driggs Dress
Best Strapless Summer Dress
- Sizes: 00-14
- Colors: White, scarlet, sachet pink, deep orchid, ruby, black, navy
If you’re on the hunt for a great strapless party dress, try this ruffled option from Likely. “Great dress! Color and style are true to the photos, and fit were as expected based on other reviews,” writes one reviewer of the style. Since the dress is form fitting, many reviewers suggested sizing up, so you may want to keep that in mind when ordering. But, the stretchy fabric and form fitting silhouette will hug your curves and will look great in photographs. The ruffle over the bust adds a playful touch.
Prettygarden Boho Dress
Best Boho Summer Dress
- Sizes: S-XL
- Colors: Apricot, black, black brown, blue, coffee, green, grey blue, pink, polka black, spotted red, wine red
If you’re a fan of the drapey, relaxed feel of bohemian-inspired dresses, try this affordable option from Amazon. This Prettygarden dress has amassed over 2,000 reviews, with many women calling out the compliments they received when they had it on. “It’s comfortable, cute and cool for summer. The only thing that could make it better would be pockets,” writes one reviewer. With a wide range of colors available, you can tailor your purchase to whatever occasion you may be shopping for.
The Drop Tent Dress
Best Affordable Summer Dress
- Sizes: XXS-5X
- Colors: Off-black, ginger, mushroom, navy
“I bought this dress on a whim and I love it. The material is really great quality and has a good weight to it. Every time I wear it, I get compliments,” writes one reviewer of this simple tank dress. Not only does the floaty, simple silhouette offer a relaxed option for those in need of an everyday summer dress, it also happens to have pockets — a handy staple that allows you to go purse free. The shoulder straps are adjustable as well, allowing for additional versatility in terms of fit.
Relipop Summer Dress
Best Summer Dress on Amazon
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Colors: Red, black, navy blue
A sweet wrap minidress is an easy go-to during a heat spell. This dress from Relipop has over 30,000 reviews on Amazon, so you know it’s been tried and tested. Many reviewers suggest adding a button or safety pin to secure the bust if you are larger chested and in need of any additional support. Also, the short hemline is worth noting for taller women who may find it a bit too revealing. Still, it fits true to size and purchasers find it to be flattering and cute.
Best Long-Sleeve Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Black, white, black floral, blue, peacock blue, pink, purple, red, wine red, yellow floral, hot pink, polka dot peacock blue, yellow, blue, polka dot light green
Sometimes, no matter the weather you want a dress with longer sleeves. This pretty option from Exlura is romantic and floaty with ruffled long sleeves. The wrap waist helps to cinch your middle to keep the dress from appearing too baggy. The back bow detail adds an additional feminine touch ideal for girly dressers. If you’re one to dress up for daytime occasions, try this dress on for size.
Astr the Label Midi Dress
Best Affordable Lace Dress
- Sizes: XS-L
- Colors: Navy, periwinkle, pink mauve, white, buttercream, hunter green, vivid violet, black
Perhaps this summer you have a lineup of weddings and events to attend. You’ll want to make sure you have warm weather occasion dresses that will live up to all of your needs. This lace midi dress from Astr the Label is elegant for formal get togethers. “This dress is wonderful quality for the price and looks much more expensive than it is,” writes one reviewer. Try one of the brighter colors if you want to embrace a bit more playfulness this season.
Jacquemus Bahia Dress
Best Draped Summer Dress
- Sizes: FR 32-46
- Color: Orange
Parisian label Jacquemus is beloved for its sultry summer pieces and the Bahia dress is a core style that sells out season after season. For 2022, you’ll want to pick it up in a bold tangerine hue. The front has a low-cut neckline and is draped at the waist, so if you want to show some skin, but are still looking for something formal, this dress is it. The long sleeves are loose, so you won’t overheat or feel restricted. Style the look with a pair of strappy sandals and statement earrings to finish off the look.
Johanna Ortiz Extravagant Vision Dress
Best Abstract Print Dress
- Sizes: 0-12
- Color: Black
The cutout dress trend has been on the rise over the last few seasons, and don’t expect it’s popularity to slow down this summer. Johanna Ortiz’ take features an oversized floral print and slick silhouette that feel more sophisticated than past takes. With cutout sides and a small center cutout, you won’t feel too exposed. The silk material is light and soft to the touch, meaning you’ll stay comfortable. The dress also hits just above the ankles, meaning it was meant to be worn with a pair of statement shoes.
Doen Almada Dress
Best Mix Print Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Atticus mixed print
L.A.-based label Doen is known for its floaty, romantic maxi dresses. This season, you’ll want to check out the Almada dress, a mixed print iteration. The combination of checks and florals is eye-catching without feeling overwhelming. Plus the square neckline and ruffle detail add a playful touch. To finish, style with flats.
Christy Dawn Brooklyn Dress
Best Plus Size Dress
- Sizes: 1X-3X
- Colors: Dandelion floral, lapis aster garden, black cosmos floral, lapis
This playful floral dress is a best-seller from Los Angeles label Christy Dawn. The puff sleeves and ruched bodice lend themselves to the romantic, floaty aesthetic the brand is known for. This piece is also made from organic cotton and is digitally printed using organic dyes. The dress is made in India through a partnership the brand has with the Oshadi collective. So, consider this a thoughtful investment in addition to just something pretty.
Isabel Marant Solenne Dress
Best One-Shoulder Summer Dress
- Sizes: FR 34-44
- Color: Pink
The one-shoulder minidress is a summer party staple. French label Isabel Marant’s colorful iteration is just the look for your warm evenings out. The pink and orange floral pattern is eye-catching without being over-the-top. It’s made from a stretch crepe that will fit snugly but still allows for comfort. And, the shoulder drawstring detail allows for versatility in terms of fit.
Reformation Juliette Dress
Best Trendy Summer Dress
- Sizes: 0-12
- Colors: Emerald, Angelica, lazuli
Reformation may already be your go-to for trendy summer dresses, but this summer there’s one style that should be on your radar. The Juliette sundress is the ideal mix of romantic and easygoing. “I had this in my wishlist for a long time, a little hesitant about the price. Worth every penny,” writes one reviewer. Online, purchasers suggest going up a size, so you may want to keep that in mind when shopping for yourself. Consider this dress a must for any summer weddings ahead.
Rag & Bone Riley Dress
Best Casual Summer Dress
- Sizes: XXS-XL
- Colors: Sage green, ivory
A sheer, knit maxi dress is an easy throw-on-and-go piece when you know you’ll be out and about all day. This simple silhouette from Rag & Bone is a no-brainer. Made of polyester and cotton, its light weave is breathable for the hottest summer days. The sleeveless silhouette is simple, so consider throwing a denim jacket on top as a classic styling combo. Finish with sneakers and you’re ready to tackle your to-do list.
Toteme Gathered Cotton Jersey Dress
Best Cotton Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: cream
Toteme is a minimalist dresser’s dream. The Swedish brand is known for its tailored, elegant staples and this simple cotton dress is no exception. The buttery hue has a slight hint of color but still plays towards the minimal. The waistband is flattering as it draws the eye to your true waist. The dropped shoulders add a relaxed element to the construction. And lastly, the ankle length hem makes this dress a great option for a warm day at the office.
Rixo Sardinia Dress
Best Open Back Dress
- Sizes: UK6-20
- Color: Blue
British brand Rixo has a sophisticated take on the crochet trend that you just might want to add to your Summer collection. This blue crepe dress has a light, summery feel, but the crocheted bust and sleeves give it an instant boost over other summer styles. Crochet has been a popular trend for the last few years among industry insiders, and this is a foolproof way to ease into it without feeling too homespun. To style the dress, try pairing with a pair of nude flats and a coordinating purse. Consider this your ideal brunch outfit.
A.L.C. Adelle Dress
Best Halter Dress
- Sizes: 00-14
- Color: Russet multi
A great beach dress is one that you can easily throw on over a suit and yet still look polished and put together. This cotton option from A.L.C. is laid-back but still plenty of fun thanks to the punchy print. The tiered skirt allows for breathability and plenty of swing as you move. The neckline can be tied as a halter, or you can choose to wear the dress strapless if you prefer. If you’re looking for beach-day versatility, look no further.
Rodarte Mushroom Dress
Best Slip Dress
- Sizes: 2-14
- Color: White
Psychedelic mushroom prints were all over the runways for Spring and Summer. But, there was no option quite as playful as Rodarte’s offering of mixed shrooms.The slip dress is made from 100% silk, and drapes elegantly on the body, so you’ll be comfortable and unconstricted when you put it on. And, while it’s easy enough to wear for casual occasions, silk is delicate so you may want to reserve this for fancier events. Pair with heels and a colorful necklace for a polished evening look.
Johanna Ortiz Shells At Dusk Dress
Best Lightweight Summer Dress
- Sizes: 0-12
- Color: Red
Made from organic cotton poplin, this one-shoulder dress is an eye-catching option if you’re in need of a wedding guest dress that will turn heads. This oversized, abstract floral print feels casual enough for a daytime celebration, but with the right accessories, you could easily dress the style up as well. The elasticated waist allows for maximum comfort, so though it will create a cinched shape, it won’t constrict or hug too snuggly. In addition, the single shoulder tie detail is playful, but also is not a neckline that will leave you fidgeting or uncomfortable. Slide into this dress, and the rest of the night will be a fuss-free breeze.
Frame Smock Dress
Best White Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Blanc
Summer is all about keeping things simple. Sometimes, that means the recipe calls for nothing more than a great white dress. Frame’s smocked style hits just below the knee, and is the ideal lightweight summer frock. It’s made of 100 percent ramie, a tough but breathable fabric that is similar to linen. The dresses adjustable straps allow for you to easily fix the bustline to your desired height. Add a pair of coordinated white sandals and your outfit will be set.
Miu Miu Smocked Dress
Best Mini Summer Dress
- Sizes: IT36-40
- Color: Yellow
Short silhouettes are on the rise this season, and no one has led the charge quite like Miu Miu. (The brand’s ultra-mini skirt has been an editorial favorite this season). This sweet yellow dress is made from cotton in a light yellow gingham. The smocked skirt clings to the body, flattering your figure without hugging too tight. The bust hangs a bit looser, allowing for breathability and comfort. So, if you’re ready to bring up the hemline, here’s your starting place.
Farm Rio Ombré Bananas Dress
Best Summer Vacation Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Light pink
The best vacation dresses are easy to pack, versatile, and don’t put you at risk of looking wrinkly. This playful banana print dress from Brazilian brand Farm Rio should top your packing list. The warm color palette is perfect for the season, and the silhouette is easy to dress up or down. Try a pair of lace-up heeled sandals for a fancier occasion, or try a suede slide for more casual events. Either way, this fruit-laden dress will make a splash.
Rebecca Taylor Cotton Sundress
Best Smocked Dress
- Sizes: 0-16
- Colors: Suzanne Fleur Snow
Don’t underestimate the elegance of a smocked dress. The shirring style gives dresses a flattering fit that hugs to the body, but because it also adds stretch, you don’t have to worry about a dress being too tight or constricting. This floral maxi from Rebecca Taylor is ideal for fans of Bridgerton. It’s romantic, elegant, but still unfussy. Plus, the dainty floral print is pared-back enough to be easily styled with other prints in the same color story.
Faithfull Cairo Dress
Best Romantic Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Color: Cairo Floral Print
If you’re on the hunt for a sweet minidress that could almost pass for a comfy nightdress, look no further than this white floral option from Faithfull. The label was founded in Indonesia in 2012, and since then has become best known for its mix of dresses, swimwear, and warm-weather coverups. This sweet dress is made from 100% cotton, so you know it will be comfy and breathable. The square neckline and puff sleeves add romantic touches that will make you feel so special when you put it on.
Rosie Assoulin Knit-Paneled Dress
Best Puff Sleeve Dress
- Sizes: 0-10
- Color: Yellow
Quirky-cool New York label Rosie Assoulin is known for designs that take a classic silhouette and take it to the next level. This puff-sleeved dress gets an instant infusion of cool thanks to the cable knit upper. The retro-inspired silhouette has a full skirt bottom that falls elegantly at the ankle. Consider it a playful take on formal dressing. Just add quirky heels to match.
Christopher Esber Maxi Dress
Best Black Summer Dress
- Sizes: UK4-14
- Color: Black
Australian label Christohper Esber has become a fashion girl favorite for its sexy, sophisticated cut-out designs. This may look like a sleek black dress from the front, but behind, the open back adds a touch of intrigue. The cotton blend material is soft, but still lends structure that creates an elegant line when wearing the dress. Pair with minimalist gold jewelry, and you’ll feel instantly confident in this look. Plus, the dress’ pockets mean that you can leave your purse at home if you so desire.
Louisa Ballou Black Heatwave Dress
Best Sheer Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Black
Dare to style a sheer dress over your favorite swimsuit this summer. Louisa Ballou is a favorite of celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Dua Lipa, and it should be yours too. The bold prints and sheer fabric make for an electric combination to test out. The adjustable drawstring allows you to play with the skirt length based on the rest of your look, too. So, if you’re looking to participate in hot girl summer, here’s the dress to help you pull it off.
Jonathan Simkhai Selah Dress
Best Cozy Summer Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Multi
L.A.-based designer Jonathan Simkhai has the pulse on fashion that’s equal parts sexy and easygoing. This cotton-wool midi dress is the ideal style for a night out when you know the temperatures might cool off a bit. The long sleeves and maxi silhouette will keep you cozy once the sun sets, but the striped print and side cutout add a trendiness that elevates the look overall. To dress up the piece, try a square toed block heel and chunky chain jewelry. It’s a Los Angeles-approved styling that will look chic no matter where you are.
Staud Wells Dress
Best Flared Summer Dress
- Sizes: 00-14
- Color: White
Equal parts sporty and romantic, this flared dress from Staud is a must if you’re looking for a fresh take on the minidress. The flared silhouette is youthful, and the colorful piping adds an instant playfulness to your overall look. Up close, you’ll see that the dress is embroidered with soft swiss dots. If you’ve been hesitant to try shorter silhouettes, this take may feel a bit more comfortable as it doesn’t hug as tightly to the body. Try styling with white sneakers for a sporty daytime look.
Gimaguas Ete Dress
Best Striped Summer Dress
- Sizes: S-L
- Color: Brown
In need of a lightweight option for the beach? Gimagueas’ woven dress is made at local workshops in Barcelona. The halter straps and slight sweetheart neckline set the style above other more relaxed designs. And, the above-the-knees hemline is ideal for taking from daytime to dancing. Add a woven bucket hat and you’ll be the coolest woman on the beach.
Coco Shop Slip Dress
Best Colorful Slip Dress
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Color: Navy
Coco Shop was first established on the island of Antigua in 1949, but was revived in 2019. The bold, colorful designs are perfect for packing on any impending vacations. This colorful cotton slip dress has a defined waist and structured neckline, offering a bit more formality than silkier slips. The bold checkerboard pattern is reminiscent of vintage tiles, and the color palette is ideal for warm summer sunsets. Pair this dress with your favorite slip-on kitten heels and hit the town.
Meet the Experts
Nikki Campbell & Sophie Coote are the founders of the Australian label, Sir.
Monica Paolini is the designer of Sea New York.
Meet The Author
Aemilia Madden is a writer, editor, and brand consultant who has worked in the fashion industry for over eight years. She’s an Oakland, California native and Brooklyn resident. When she’s not writing about the latest trends, Aemilia is running in prospect park, testing new recipes on her friends, and trying to keep up with her New Yorker subscription.