Little can match the easy comfort of a really great-fitting work dress. I’m talking the kind of dress that you can throw on in the morning with a pair of pumps and a wristwatch and be out the door in five minutes flat. Come summertime, you’ll want something lightweight and easy: that means fewer buttons, clasps, and tight-fitting collars… and absolutely nothing you need a partner to zip into. With the onslaught of the heat, sweat can be your main adversary, but there is a silver lining as well. During the hottest months most articles of clothing will need to be dry-cleaned between wears, which means you can spring for higher quality fabrics like silk and chiffon without fear of ruining them in the wash. You can also play with loose and flowy silhouettes that might otherwise be a challenge to iron. Or go basic with a grab-and-go poplin button down. We found 19 irresistible summer dresses to suit any style, keeping in mind that during the height of the summer, convenience is key.
1. A Basic Shirt Dress
The shirtdress is an office staple for a reason. A chic silhouette belted at the waist can be worn buttoned up and basic, or rolled at the cuffs for a more relaxed approach. Michael by Michael Kors striped cotton poplin shirtdress, $122 at MichaelKors.com.
2. A Tailored Sheath Dress
A tailored sheath dress in a mulberry hue makes for a great everyday go-to. French Connection ‘Lolo’ stretch dress, $100 at Amazon.com.
3. Something Loose and Layered
Gingham print chiffon is layered with daisies in this whimsical patterned dress from Simone Rocha. Simone Rocha gingham chiffon bib dress, $2,350 at HampdenClothing.com.
4. The Neutral Canvas
A simple knit dress in rosy sand belies detailed corset tailoring. The rose gold side zipper adds polish. Tibi corset knit structured dress, $398 at Tibi.com.
5. A Hip Accent
A checkered dress with a playful drawstring detail at the left hip adds structure to a simple sheath dress. Rag & Bone ‘Brighton’ dress, $550 at Rag & Bone.
6. A Modest Mini
A poppy-pink sheath dress has fitted seams along the waist for a simple dress that is sure to put a smile on your face every time you wear it. Asos ‘New Look’ tailored dress, $32 at Asos.com.
7. Boho Inspiration
A long dress can feel less boho when layered with a structured jacket. Swap out flat sandals for ones with a heel to up the ante. Red Valentino ‘Macrame Flower Dress,’ $767 at RedValentino.com.
8. Off-The-Shoulder Done Easy
Off-the-shoulder can be done office-appropriately in the right material and length. Rebecca Taylor ‘La Vie’ off-the-shoulder rib jersey and poplin dress, $295 at RebeccaTaylor.com.
9. A High-Low Print Combo
Bring on the boho sleeves with a high-low silk dress that comes sashed at the waist for effortless cool-girl appeal. BCBG MaxAzria ‘Bunty’ floral print dress, $300 at BCBG MaxAzria.
10. A Boxier Cut
Embrace fringe accents with Carven’s boxy shift that comes embellished with fraying patches. Carven ‘grunge jacquard’ dress in navy, $490 at Carven.com.
11. Ornate Accents
A peachy dress is belted and then draped with a sheer overlay, earning its origami-inspired name. Topshop ‘Floral Origami’ dress in tall, $125 at TopShop.com.
12. Mens Shirting, Styled
Mens shirting meets the cold shoulder in this breezy pinstripe dress with oversized cuffs. BCBG MaxAzria Runway ‘Shayann’ Dress, $495 at BCBG MaxAzria.
13. A Simple Shift
This gently-fitted patterned shift dress comes in the perfect midi-length. Consider its all-over navy print pattern an opportunity to let your accessories shine. H&M patterned silk dress, $200 at H&M.
14. Vintage Appeal
The silhouette feels vintage 1940s, but the terracotta huge and modern tailoring are totally contemporary. MM.LaFleur ‘Inez’ dress, $295 at MM.LaFleur.
15. Color Code
Who can resist lovely linen in a sky-blue hue? Ruched detailing at the elbows complete the look. Tibi ‘Marta’ linen dress, $325 at Tibi.com.
16. A Refined Bell Sleeve
Let bell sleeves be the main focus with a nude shift dress with subtle contrast piping at the neckline and elbows that is both playful and polished. Calvin Klein bell sleeve dress, $130 at Bloomingdales.
17. New Romantics
A dress for the true romantic, this cap-sleeved silk style from Los Angeles ec0-brand Reformation comes in four different floral prints ranging from blush to daffodil-yellow. Reformation ‘the Maddie’ dress in Etienne, $218 at Reformation.com.
18. The Wardrobe Workhorse
A deceptively simple sheath dress is impeccably tailoring for ultimate comfort that you’ll find yourself reaching for again and again. Stock up with one in black, navy, white, and dusty blue. Black Halo ‘Jeanette’ sheath dress in twinkle blue, $345 at Amazon.com.
19. That’s A Wrap
A Marc Jacobs ruffled cotton wrap dress is more than just comfortable: its quirky illustrated pattern is sure to garner compliments from your colleagues. Marc Jacobs ‘Poppy’ wrap dress, $995 at MarcJacobs.com.