Ah, the summer dress. Not only are they comfortable and cool enough for even the hottest of days, they’re perfect for making that stylish first impression as the world begins to open up again. And with the increase of flowy, breezy options (we’re looking at you, nap dresses and cottagecore styles), there are a ton of dresses out there that aren’t just practical but also super stylish.
“Wearing a dress during the summer is the most liberating feeling,” shares model and social media influencer Erica Jean Schenk.
“I love that wearing dresses simplifies the process of summer dressing,” shares celebrity stylist Samantha Brown, who’s worked with clients like Karrueche Tran and Olivia Rodrigo. “Instead of overthinking the layers, you’re one and done.”
Whether you’re searching for the perfect everyday style to slip into, an adorable sundress perfect for outdoor events or a breezy maxi dress just right for a beach weekend, we’ve rounded up 26 summer dresses that are stylist-approved, highly rated, or tried, tested and loved by us.
Astr The Label Balloon Sleeve Midi Dress ($89; nordstrom.com)
Astr The Label Balloon Sleeve Midi Dress
When it comes to dressing up for any sort of summer occasion, Brown recommends “flowy A-line shapes, ruffles and chiffon.” Not only does this dress check all those boxes, it also features other perfect-for-summer trends like puffed sleeves, a sweetheart neckline and a dainty floral print. It’s available in solid black, white and sage options too.
Printed Sleeveless Tiered Swing Dress (starting at $24.97; oldnavy.gap.com)
Printed Sleeveless Tiered Swing Dress
Take your pick from five cheery summer prints in this adorable swing dress, which more than 500 reviewers love. It features adjustable straps, smocked detailing across the bodice and a loose swing fit.
Rixo Floral Mock Neck Cascade Ruffle Dress ($60; target.com)
Rixo Floral Mock Neck Cascade Ruffle Dress
Brown highlights florals as one of her favorite textiles for summer. This dress from Target is a beautifully structured and polished piece, perfect for a dressy brunch or a more formal work event. The high neckline and smocked cuffs reference more vintage styles, while the cascading ruffles at the bottom of the skirt add a bit of drama and movement.
Gala Ready Lavender Off-the-Shoulder Ruffle Midi Dress ($88; lulus.com)
Gala Ready Lavender Off-the-Shoulder Ruffle Midi Dress
“Ruffles are everywhere this season,” shares Brown. “At the neckline, hemline, sleeves — everywhere!” And if you’re looking to fully embrace the ruffles trend, why not go all out with something like this dramatic midi option? The dress might be head-turning, but you’ll still be comfortable all day long, thanks to an elastic off-the-shoulder neckline and shift-style bodice.
Astr The Label Floral Ditsy Ruffle Neck Ruched Dress ($79; nordstrom.com)
Astr The Label Floral Ditsy Ruffle Neck Ruched Dress
Speaking of ruffles, this ruched option is romantic, dreamy and adorable all at once. While the ruching makes for a curve-skimming fit, it’s also a unique style among a sea of A-line and wrap dresses. Our favorite detail is definitely the ruffled hemline around the neck and open back.
Smocked Fit & Flare Cami Midi Dress (starting at $24.97; oldnavy.gap.com)
Smocked Fit & Flare Cami Midi Dress
Fitted with smocking through the waist, this is the ultimate easy, breezy dress from Old Navy. With more than 600 glowing reviews and an easy midi length that can of course be full-length on a petite individual, we’re partial to the olive floral and white version, which has pops of bright flowers.
Marlowe Dress ($98; reformation.com)
“A little black dress is a night out essential,” shares Schenk. “And during the summer, you can adjust the style and your fit to work with the heat.” This LBD from Reformation is slim-fitting without being skintight, so you can highlight your shape while staying comfortable.
The V-neckline and front slits are flirty touches, bringing this classic option up just a notch. And if you’re not into black dresses for summertime, this dress is also available in 10 other colors and prints.
French Connection Birch Poplin Puff-Sleeve Minidress ($98; nordstrom.com)
French Connection Birch Poplin Puff-Sleeve Minidress
“While a little black dress is super classic,” notes Brown, “summer is also the season for color, and it’s nice to experiment with something brighter.” This bright pink minidress is a perfect way to incorporate some bold color into your wardrobe. The crisp cotton poplin material is airy yet structured, which perfectly complements stylish features like the dress’s puff sleeves and tiered skirt.
Short-Sleeve Ruffle Wrap Minidress ($59; abercrombie.com)
Short-Sleeve Ruffle Wrap Minidress
Schenk describes her ideal everyday summer dress as “a wrap style about mid-thigh length.” This option from Abercrombie features a V-neckline, an adjustable tie at the waist and a flirty ruffled hem. It’s available in eight perfect-for-summer patterns — from a navy blue checkerboard print to a neutral plaid. Plus, Abercrombie stocks this dress in six sizes and three different lengths — petite, regular and tall — so you can ensure your pick is also your perfect fit.
Rou Dress ($98; reformation.com)
If you’re going to be walking a lot during a busy day, Schenk suggests opting for a longer dress option that you can wear bike shorts underneath — a perfect way to avoid any dreaded chafing. This midi length dress is short enough to show off some leg (and any cute shoes) while still being long enough to comfortably sport your comfiest bike shorts. The fit and flare cut is a timeless silhouette, while the scoop neckline makes for a more casual look.
Christopher John Rogers Sleeveless Ruffle Shift Dress ($50; target.com)
Christopher John Rogers Sleeveless Ruffle Shift Dress
“An ideal summer dress is breezy and comfortable without sacrificing style and tailoring,” shares Brown. This option from Target checks all those boxes. Made from cotton poplin, the versatile material paired with the dress’s ruffled tiered hemline makes for a polished and structured yet totally comfortable look. Plus, the wide neckline is super elegant and the bright orangey red color is unbeatable for summer.
Linen-Blend Alexandra Button-Front Minidress ($88; madewell.com)
Linen-Blend Alexandra Button-Front Minidress
This option from Madewell has quickly become our go-to dress for summer. The linen-blend material is breathable, the dress’s cut is cute and totally freeing and it can super easily be dressed up or down.
The Japanese GoWeave Slip Dress ($98; everlane.com)
The Japanese GoWeave Slip Dress
On beating the summer heat, Brown recommends dresses that won’t show moisture — aka sweat stains. She also mentions that despite all our mentions of trends and popular styles, don’t opt for something just because it’s trendy. This classic slip dress is a wardrobe staple, particularly for the summer — though it’s something you can easily wear and style in different ways throughout the year. Made from a unique Japanese fabric that’s crease-resistant and cooling, this Everlane dress will keep you looking fresh throughout the day.
Wayf Floral Tie Strap Satin Maxi Dress ($99; nordstrom.com)
Wayf Floral Tie Strap Satin Maxi Dress
When it comes to maxi dresses, Brown recommends considering a print that will most complement your body type. For petites, she recommends smaller prints or patterns that won’t overwhelm your frame. This satin dress features ruffles and ruching, details that won’t make the dress seem too big or baggy if you’re shorter. The delicate floral pattern is a perfect complement to the dress’s girly touches like shoulder ties and a ruffled hem.
Christopher John Rogers Floral Puff-Sleeve Tiered Dress ($55; target.com)
Christopher John Rogers Floral Puff-Sleeve Tiered Dress
If you’re curvier, don’t shy away from larger prints, Brown shares. This option from Target is amazingly dramatic, sporting a voluminous A-line skirt, tiered hemline and puff sleeves. The print is unique, juxtaposing a dark backdrop with bold and bright yellow and blue florals.
Sleeveless Maxi Dress ($24.99; hm.com)
Sleeveless Maxi Dress
This sleeveless dress from H&M features a square neckline and open back with ties, which gives the simple style a slightly more boho feel. While a minimalist maxi dress like this one can easily be dressed up or down, Brown recommends pairing it with “flats or casual summer wedges” — the perfect way to embrace the ease and breeziness of summer.
Loveappella Maxi Dress ($68; nordstrom.com)
Loveappella Maxi Dress
One thing Brown notes when it comes to maxi dresses is that you should be sure to hem your dress depending on the shoes or type of shoe you plan to wear with it. If you’re on the shorter side and want to avoid a trip to the tailor, we’d recommend opting for a midi dress as opposed to a full maxi style — or pick up a petite maxi dress, like this one from Nordstrom. It’s available in five different petite sizes, and various colors.
Rixo Floral Puff-Sleeve Lace Inset Swing Dress ($50; target.com)
Rixo Floral Puff-Sleeve Lace Inset Swing Dress
“I’ve noticed the cottagecore trend is still going strong,” shares Schenk. This maxi dress option, available up to a size 30, feels very “Bridgerton”-esque, with its dreamy light blue color, slightly puffed sleeves and elegant lace detailing. It’s perfect for all sorts of occasions, from picnics in the park to a romantic evening dinner.
Topshop Tiered Puff-Sleeve Cotton Dress ($85; nordstrom.com)
Topshop Tiered Puff-Sleeve Cotton Dress
“I love a good white dress that’s light and airy,” shares Schenk. “Keeping comfortable during the summer is absolutely a priority, so fabric choice is crucial.” One of the fabrics she opts for during summer is cotton. This dress from Nordstrom, made from a crisp cotton poplin material, is an all-around classic option with romantic tiers and puffed sleeves.
The Luxe Cotton Side-Slit Tee Dress ($50; everlane.com)
The Luxe Cotton Side-Slit Tee Dress
If you want a simple, everyday cotton dress that isn’t high-maintenance, opt for a T-shirt dress. This option from Everlane is available in a couple different colors and features a side slit — a cute detail that takes this closet staple up a notch.
The Retro Jersey Polo Dress ($58; everlane.com)
The Retro Jersey Polo Dress
Another option from Everlane, this equally effortless dress is made from 100% organic cotton. Details like a big buttonless collar, a relaxed dropped shoulder and an oversized boxy shape contribute to a very retro vibe that pairs perfectly with chunky sandals and a baseball cap.
Cotton-Linen Tiered Maxi Dress ($87.99, originally $110; jcrew.com)
Cotton-Linen Tiered Maxi Dress
“Cotton blends with linen or viscose work well in the summer,” shares Brown. This cotton-linen blend dress from J.Crew is quintessentially summer, with a ruffled neckline and tiered skirt.
Relipop Short-Sleeve Print Dress (starting at $19.99; amazon.com)
Relipop Short-Sleeve Print Dress
“If I’m looking for the perfect brunch dress,” shares Schenk, “it’ll be a bit shorter with a pastel or flower color scheme.” This option from Amazon is a classic mini wrap dress that’s available in a ton of different patterns and colors.
BTFBM A-Line Swing Midi Dress (starting at $20.99; amazon.com)
BTFBM A-Line Swing Midi Dress
Schenk mentions pastels as a perfect summer color, and this pastel blue dress option features adorable polka-dot detailing along with ruffled sleeves and a waist tie. The midi length is perfect for pairing with heels or cute sandals for a sweet look that would work perfectly at a family gathering or a dressy brunch with friends.
PrettyGarden Sleeveless Floral Maxi Dress (starting at $25.99; amazon.com)
PrettyGarden Sleeveless Floral Maxi Dress
When it comes to summer wardrobes, Brown highlights florals and colorful prints as some of her favorite trends. This maxi dress sports both those things, in addition to an elegant halter neck and elastic waistband for a cinched waistline.
Ecowish A-Line Midi Dress (starting at $17.99; amazon.com)
Ecowish A-Line Midi Dress
Another floral option, this dress features a more delicate pattern — though there are tons of different prints and patterns available on Amazon. What makes this a standout option is the unique and eye-catching front tie detail, which also creates a flirty cutout effect.