The mercury’s rising, ladies. It’s long past the time we switch from leggings to dresses to stay cool while still looking fab — even if the only people who see you these days are your neighbors and your housemates. From bold patterns and colors to dresses that feel more like loungewear, summer dress trends offer a taste of any vibe you might need to brighten your day and your wardrobe. Here are seven trends we’re going gaga over, along with 14 dresses that are on our wish list.
7 Best Summer Dress Trends
1. Fabulous florals
Floral dresses trending in summer? Shocker! So maybe this trend runs on repeat each year, but 2020 demands we all take a piece of the outdoors with us wherever we go — since you’re probably spending way too much time inside these days. This trend, too, has a place in your work dress collection, whether you’re back at the office or still working remotely. Your options range from large prints that command your attention to more subtle looks that feel so sweet and pretty. You’d be hard pressed not to find a fun floral dress to rock throughout summer.
Unleash your inner flower child with something that’s as mod as it is modern like this smock puff sleeve dress from Only. The refreshing orange-red base is adorned with small black and white flowers and pink petals, giving you a look you can easily dress up or down with accessories to take you from day to night. The Under the Stars dress by Yumi Kim is also a stunning choice that’s sure to catch the eye of that special someone (or future someone special) in your life. With its ruffle detailing and sheer sleeves, this lightweight floral crepe dress is pure romance from every angle.
2. Stripes steal the show
Whoever said stripes weren’t flattering clearly wasn’t paying attention. Designers are working overtime to kill the bad reputation stripes earned years ago, and you’ll see them everywhere this summer.
For days when you want some color in your life, reach for this rainbow striped knit dress from ModCloth. You’ll stay cool with that flowy fit. And, a lightweight stretchy fabric ensures the perfect fit no matter how many sweet summer treats you’ve been enjoying.
Madewell’s button front striped midi dress is a modern spin on classic seersucker that has us daydreaming about wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sipping fresh lemonade on a porch somewhere.
Drop waist dresses have gone by the wayside in favor of the boho babydoll cut. Whether you pair it with sandals, flats, booties, or even sneakers, you can’t help but look cool, calm, and casual with this look. A sweet, simple choice is the eyelet babydoll dress from A New Day. The fun flair and detailing on the sleeves, as well as the empire waist, make the dress look extra fabulous and never frumpy. It’s available in a wide range of sizes, too!
For a more casual and breezy look, the Gilli Best of Botanical babydoll dress can’t help but bring a smile to your face. The small scale of the white flowers against the kelly green backdrop make an impact, while the tiered hem and tie-shoulder details add an extra touch of style.
4. Lovely lace
Wearing lace is a tricky thing. You don’t want to step into doily territory, so stay with bright colors and modern details. Free People’s Lottie lace mini dress is the perfect Woodstock throwback, complete with modern touches that will have you feeling peace, love, and oh so stylish. The eyelet lace detailing and ruching at the waist add a sense of carefree romance and femininity. While it comes in ivory, black, the tarragon color is perfect to rock this summer.
Keeping with the cool, casual vibe, how about this sleeveless tiered swing dress from Wild Fable? The subtle lace detailing around the neckline and armholes is the perfect way to embrace lace without going overboard. And at such a reasonable price ($25), you’ll want to snag one in every color.
5. Polka dots hit the spot
Move over, Minnie. This summer, polka dots are for everyone. One of our favorite dresses right now is this sleeveless polka dot dress from Ava & Viv. Without a hint of fuss in sight, it’s versatile enough to dress up or down, making it an instant wardrobe staple. The high neck collar lends it an effortless look that makes it a total standout.
For something a bit more dressy, we’re heart-eyes over this ruffle tiered black and white polka dot maxi from Lipsy x Abbey Clancy. The high-low hem gives it some movement and keeps it light and airy while adding a bit of sex appeal, perfect for taking a spin on the dance floor (or dancing around your living room for a stay-at-home date night).
6. Sporty chic
If you’re the type of person who loves the idea of wearing dresses but feels like they’re always too dressy for your style, you will adore this summer dress trend: sporty-chic, jersey. Bonus? They’re lightweight and super low-maintenance.
Whether you’re having an active day or not budging from your couch, this heathered grey jersey knit maxi dress from H&M is perfection. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to wear your favorite comfy t-shirt from head to toe, here’s your chance to find out. The V-neckline and waist detailing prevent boxiness, while side slits keep you cool.
The Destination maxi dress from Athleta is just as cool and comfy, but the high neck, tight fit, and solid color options give you some wiggle room that allow you to dress it up if you like. Available in several colors, you’ll want to live in this stylish sporty dress until the sun sets on summer.
7. Colors tie-dye for
Tie-dye has reinvented itself in recent years, earning itself a spot in every fashion gal’s rotation. You can definitely get in on this dress trend without being mistaken for a Deadhead (not that there’s anything wrong with that…).
This tie-dye tiered mini dress from Express is as sweet as can be, with ultra-feminine ruffle detailing and a pretty pastel palette that will have you feeling as cheerful as you look. For something a bit more subtle and modern, we love this sleeveless tie-dye midi dress by Fraiche by J. The midi length and simple silhouette make it perfect to style for any mood and occasion.
Summer dress trends recap
These are the summer dress trends we love this season:
- Babydoll cut
- Lace details
- Polka dots
- Jersey dresses
- Modern tie-dye
Try H&M and Target for the most affordable options. Express and ASOS have great selections, too.