No matter how many dresses I have squeezed into my overstuffed closet, I can always justify browsing the year’s summer dress trends and buying a few more. Don’t worry, I’ll donate the ones I don’t wear anymore! I’m all about splurging on staples I’ll wear forever—I have simple cotton sundresses and silky shifts that have been in my wardrobe for years—but that doesn’t mean I won’t treat myself to a trendy piece or two when the seasons change.
Summer is definitely one of the most fun times of the year to play around with your style, but since you can’t as easily layer on pieces as you could in cold winter weather, it’s important to ensure the base of your look is strong. For me, that’s more often than not a great dress, which is why I take dress trends very seriously. What’s in for 2020? So glad you asked. Bold patterns from florals to fruits to polka dots (and feel free to clash them with a bit of pattern play, while you’re at it!), square necklines, belted and wrap waists, and of course, the puffiest of sleeves. If you leave this article and remember only one thing, let it be this: You need a puffy-sleeved dress in your wardrobe ASAP.
Of course, you can wear whatever your little heart desires, but if you happen to be in need of some inspo, I rounded up a few shoppable dresses that embody the season’s cutest trends. Just suggestions! Read on to see if any of the 20 knockouts below strike your fancy.
1. Striped Bias-Cut Slip
If you like the look of tie dye sweats but want a more elevated option, the Young Fabulous & Broke Sweetie Slip Dress will suit your summer wardrobe just fine. Bonus points for the sexy AF cowl neckline.
2. Square Neckline + Belted Waist
Opt for a square neckline to emphasize your collarbone, and while you’re at it, go for a dress with a matching belt that chinches your waist effortlessly. The Eloquii Square Neck Fit and Flare Dress checks all the boxes.
3. Shirred Mini
This sweet little AE Tiered Off-The-Shoulder Mini Dress hugs your figure like a bodycon going-out dress, but it’s a thousand times stretchier and more comfortable. The perfect summer day-drinking dress has arrived, ladies.
4. Collared Neckline + Eyelet Accents
Palm Beach Lately collaborated with Vineyard Vines on a ton of summer staples, and the VV x Palm Beach Lately Tiered Eyelet Shirt Dress is one of my all-time faves.
5. Breezy Wrap Dress
The Milumia Wrap Asymmetrical Maxi Dress is the ultimate “brunch to errands to happy hour” look. Who doesn’t love a dress that does it all? I’m also partial to the sky blue hue and oversized floral print.
6. Shimmery Slipdress
The mermaid-but-make-it-fashion vibes this Express Sequin Cami Slip Dress is giving me are too. damn. good. Who says a nude shift has to be boring?
7. Button-Front + Bow Chest
Looking to amp up your cleavage? A dress that ties at the chest lets you control how much you show, while the sweet bow and button-up details keep it from looking ~too~ scandalous. The ECOWISH Tie Front Midi Dress is definitely the kind of thing I’d wear on a summertime first date.
8. Tiered Skirt + Texture
It’s hard to find the perfect lightweight, long-sleeved dress, but this A New Day Clipspot Tiered Dress from Target is a winner. It comes in white, too, but I love the dreamy mint green. Long tiered skirts are a huge summer trend, and the textured dots make this modest look playful.
9. Ladylike Puff Sleeves
Take me on a day date in the Banana Republic Linen-Cotton Puff-Sleeve Dress, I beg of you! This is the kind of thing every human being needs in their closet. A total star-of-the-rom-com fit.
10. Ribbon Details
If you can’t tell, I’m big on puffy sleeves. If they feel a little too old-fashioned to you, opt for an ultra-mini fit to modernize the look! This For Love & Lemons Leigh Dress is truly the best of both worlds. I also adore the ribbon detail across the square neckline!
11. Dalmatian Dots + Leg Slits
You don’t need to be walking a red carpet to rock a leg slit this summer! An opening on a more a-line skirt can really elevate a basic sundress like the Yidarton Boho Maxi Dress. If you need a fresh animal print, swap your usual cheetah spots for Dalmatian dots and just try to tell me you aren’t obsessed.
12. Babydoll + Baby Sleeves
If you aren’t into an oversized, blousy puff sleeve, consider a micro-sleeve to offer some coverage without taking over your look. I love the idea of pairing a baby sleeve with a floaty babydoll fit, and this UO Wonderland Tie-Back Dress features the most beautiful, summery take on a beach pink toile print.
13. Chambray Shirtdress
Denim is a summer staple, so when it’s too hot for your fave mom jeans, throw on the Ryllace Sienna Shirtdress instead. In the words of CoverGirl, this dress is easy, breezy and beautiful. And denim.
14. Printed Wrap Dress
Again with the leg slit! I love the balance of sexy and boho vibes this PrettyGarden Wrap Dress serves. Wear this one and be crowned the queen of the backyard BBQ.
15. Floaty Florals
Every girl needs a dainty floral mini dress, and this Light Blue Shirred Hem Skater Dress from Torrid is ideal for a picnic or ice cream date on a hot summer’s day.
16. Satin + Chain Straps
17. Maximalist Patterns
Whether you’re mixing patterns or rocking one statement print from head to toe, this summer is all about standing out. The bolder the better! I’m a fan of the blue-and-red floral on this Milumia Button Up Dress, and I love the cinched waist and tassel detail, too.
18. Tie-Front Bust + Ruffle Details
I’m sure you’ve noticed an abundance of tie-front busts on this list, so just to make it clear: Yes, it’s a big trend and you need to try it. Might I suggest the Yobecho Ruffle Sleeve Mini Dress? It comes in quite a few colors and patterns, and there’s even long-sleeved and tank top strap options, so you can stock up and solidify your summer look.
19. Oversized Shift
While I totally understand that the idea of a large-and-in-charge shapeless shift dress might not sound chic, the YESNO Empire Waist Dress is exactly the kind of boho maxi I’m throwing on for a busy summer day. Wear it with tan sandals, statement earrings and a wide-brimmed sunhat and choose from 37 (!) colorways.
20. Pink Eyelet + Scalloped Hem
Eyelet, crochet, you name it—cutouts and textures are in this season. They can add so much to a basic silhouette, and this BerryGo Spaghetti Strap Dress is a perfect example. Can we talk about the pearl button details? I’m swooning.
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