There’s nothing quite like the ease of a dress in summer. The ultimate throw-on-and-go piece, the right one will see you through countless holidays and special occasions, as well as off-duty days. Here, we take you through 10 timeless dress trends worth welcoming into your wardrobe, this season and beyond.
If you’re used to wearing dark colours throughout the autumn and winter, switching to pale tones for spring and summer can feel jarring. But you don’t have to – a black dress for summer is a classic option. Go for light fabrics, like linen, gauze and cotton, to keep cool, and home in on midi-to-maxi hemlines. It’s also worth noting that black is a completely appropriate option as a wedding-guest outfit (despite what some might say).
Tie-dye and shibori-style prints come back each summer, so are a worthy investment. Opting for deep, inky colours, like blue, purple and indigo, is the grown-up way to do it. At Altuzarra, a tie-dye maxi dress was paired with trainers – the perfect partner for day – while at Ulla Johnson, a frill-tiered style was dressed up with a tasselled bag and nude midi heels. Whichever way you wear it, it’s a statement print that will always feel fresh.
The shirt dress is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe. It can be formal or it can be relaxed – it’s just a question of how you style it. For a more feminine look, try ones that are nipped in at the waist, or for something more relaxed, go for straight-cut styles that feel more like an oversized shirt.
Boldly go where you may not have been before with rich shades of orange – from zesty tangerine to more muted marmalade tones. The key is to find the shade that works best for your skin tone – darker skin can pull off the brighter end of the scale – and work with it. Gold and silver accessories enhance the colour beautifully, and for daytime wear, try pairing with tan sandals and a denim jacket – blue and orange are direct opposites on the colour wheel, which means they complement each other well.
The off-the-shoulder silhouette is timeless. Though it may be a shape typically reserved for evening wear, it can work equally as well for the day. Stick to muted, neutral colours. We loved the juxtaposition of this ladylike style teamed with chunky-soled flat sandals at Gabriela Hearst.
There’s something eternally chic about a white dress. When it comes to accessories, it acts as the ultimate blank canvas – add metallics or a little sparkle to dress it up, pair it with sandals or trainers for a fresh daytime look. For summer, go for crisp cotton or linen (white silk can stray into bridal territory).
Fringing may, at first mention, make you think of questionable festival fashion, but think again. On the catwalk, it was an elegant addition to event-ready dresses. Whether you go for bold tab-like fringing, as seen at Awake, or thread-thin, as seen at Michael Kors, fringing is nothing to be scared of. Give it a try.
This season, more is more when it comes to denim. We’ve seen it in every iteration, from trench coats to maxi skirts, worn head-to-toe, and doubled or even tripled up. Denim is a staple in every classic wardrobe, so translating it into a dress is an easy new-season twist. It’s a bold look, so keep accessories minimal and pared-back – the dress is the hero.
The beauty of the column dress lies in its simplicity. Clean lines, neutral colours and a floor-skimming hemline, this is a style you can adapt to your preferences. Just see the catwalks for proof – black and sleeveless at Brandon Maxwell, stony-hued and halterneck at Max Mara, and pure white and long-sleeved at Tibi. A simple piece to dress up or down – pair with chunky sandals for day and barely-there heels for evening – and one you’ll find yourself turning to routinely.
In style, florals are a true perennial; they simply never date. Their form may change – sometimes big blousy blooms are everywhere, other times it’s tiny, ditsy florals – but the essence is always the same. This summer, we’re seeing painterly florals on boho-style dresses – think frills, relaxed draping and easy-breezy styling.