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This summer, I’m happy to announce that I’ve taken a lover—my wardrobe! I’ve fallen madly in love with dressing up again, which means I’m all about making sure my closet is stocked with the newest trends and hottest must-have pieces. Of course, this season’s summer dress trends have all made the cut, so if you’re also looking to impulse-buy a few cute selects, I’ve got you covered.
A good dress can mean so many different things. I love a slinky, sexy LBD just as much as I adore a puff-sleeved floral frock. I gravitate towards figure-hugging body-con midis, but you’ll just as easily catch me on the town in a micro-mini slip dress. This summer, there’s no need to commit to just one silhouette or aesthetic; instead, make up for lost time and lean into the year’s maximalist sartorial energy by vowing to try them all.
To get you started, let’s review the top dress trends of the season. If you’re into a more feminine look, you’ll adore smocked details inspired by last year’s nap dresses. If comfort is key, wide-cut and babydoll styles with tons of flow will save you in the hot summer months.
If you want to look hot AF and make the most of your #vaxxedandwaxed summer, lean into cutouts, short slips and strappy necklines. If you’re more of a beach babe, go full coconut girl (Gen Z’s new favorite aesthetic) and style crochet cover-ups as everyday pieces.
Talk about variety! Below, read on for the scoop on each of this season’s top six dress trends—plus ways to shop ’em all.
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For a time, bias-cut midi dresses were all the rage—but now, our hemlines are getting the chop. Go for micro-minis with the same satin feel for a look that’s just as comfortable, but a touch sexier. Don’t be afraid to show some leg!
Filomena Cowl Neck Mini Dress
This slip dress by ASTR The Label comes in four shades, so I’m definitely snagging them all. Starting with gold to show off my tan, of course.
Mesh Halter Neck Open Back Bodycon Dress
If patterns are more your jam, don’t sleep on this retro-inspired swirl-printed number from PrettyLittleThing. Bonus points for the trendy halter neckline!
Nap dresses reigned supreme last summer, so it’s no surprised we’re still inspired by the look for 2021. On days when you want to look pretty but feel like you’re still in PJs, take a cue from these nightgown-esque pieces and find a dress with sweet smocked detailing at the bust.
Smocked Bodice Ruffle Dress
No joke, I think I could live in this Eloquii dress. The pale blue colorway has my heart, but classic black is always a safe bet for dressing up or down all summer long.
Nobody does a dress quite like Reformation—and the Darla is one of my favorites! Excuse me as I swoon over these dainty bow details. Plus, those thick straps mean I don’t have to spend hours figuring out the right bra.
Crochet started rearing its head last summer, but we didn’t get to give the look the moment it deserved. Now that we’re all beach-bound, make the most of it in cute cover-ups with a knit feel. And don’t be afraid to wear them even when you aren’t headed for sand!
Junio Open Knit Dress
Does the perfect crochet mini dress exist? Apparently, it most certainly does. I love that this Reformation piece uses two different crochet textures for a bit of contrast at the waist.
“The Cover Up” Crochet Dress
This piece from Fashion to Figure’s new Tabria Majors collaboration is bona fide perfection. I adore the asymmetrical hemline and fringed bottom for added movement. Now this is the kind of cover-up you want to wear out!
Babe, you’ve spent years belting cute dresses and trying to cinch in your waist—how about just letting loose? Wide-cut, floaty minis are all the rage this season, and they’re as comfortable and breeze as they are chic. I promise!
Winifred Linen Dress
This Reformation dress is by far one of the sweetest on this list. Go full-on girly with strappy sandals and a micro-handbag, or edge it up with a chunkier black loafer and statement sunnies. Talk about endless styling possibilities!
Smocked Front Mini Day Dress
I personally like a little sleeve in the summer, so this Eloquii pick feels like a godsend for a hot day when I still want to look cute. Note the smocked detailing at the neckline—we love two trends for the price of one! P.S. If you do want to show off your curves, this one comes with an optional belt for cinching.
Club attire is now brunch attire, so don’t be afraid to serve a super-sexy moment at any time of day! Cutouts are having a major moment, so showing some skin is definitely a Do. And trust me, there are ways to do it without feeling hella exposed.
Plus Black Rib Cut Out Ruched Front Midi Dress
Bring on the sexy! This PLT halter dress is just begging for a thirst trap post on your Instagram feed. Plus, it’s available up to size 26.
Julia Midi Dress
This L’Academie dress perfectly illustrates daytime-appropriate cutouts. This strappy stomach moment is sexy AF, but you won’t feel uncomfortable while you’re out and about.
A few months back, TikTok fashionistas started pulling both spaghetti straps to one side on their tank tops, creating the illusion of an assymetrical silhouette. Now, brands are serving up unique strappy styles for us, so you can skip on the uncomfortable DIY and still get the look.
Strappy Mini Dress
Believe you me—the next time I have somewhere fancy to go, you’ll see me in this Enza Costa number. I can’t get over this perfect shade of peachy pink!
Lidia Midi Dress
Finishing off our list of trendy looks is this absolute must-have piece by AFRM. The classic LBD gets a major upgrade courtesy of this sexy, strappy neckline.
A version of this article previously appeared in May 2020.