Must-have summer dresses

I didn't do a trend report this season for multiple reasons. For one, I didn't feel like (or have the need to go) shopping for new things this spring, because I've been staying at home since mid-March. For another, I'm trying to buy less, so following trends kind of seems like a recipe for disaster. That said, I have been shopping a bit, and now that it's finally summer and I am starting to venture out into the world, I've had one thing on my mind, and that's dresses. I will probably never tire of buying summer dresses—they look great, they're comfortable (even more so than sweats, I believe!), and they're just so effortless. There are some trends emerging this year, and basically, the key look is a boho prairie thing, with puffy sleeves, a voluminous tiered shape, and a ditsy floral print here and there. You can often find more than one of those elements in a single dress, if you want to get even more bang for your buck. So without further ado, my top summer dress picks are below, plus I'm trying new widgets that let you shop even more of my favorite styles—let me know what you think! 


The square-neck, smocked-bust trend has been happening since last year, and this year there are even more great options: with or without sleeves, printed or solid, mini or maxi. I love this style because it flexes for all bust sizes, and empire waists can accommodate a food baby (or a real one). 

More smocked dresses:


It's hard to call wrap dresses a trend because they've been around forever, but this season's wraps tend to be longer and more drapey, and pretty much feel like glorified bathrobes, which I'm totally okay with. This is also a great silhouette to combine with puff sleeves and/or ditsy prints. 

More wrap dresses:

Puff sleeve

Sometimes actual puffs, other times more like giant balloons, this season's sleeves are all about the volume, which is awesome if, like me, you have a little arm dingle-dangle that you prefer to keep covered. Plus, lengths can vary from full to short, accommodating a range of summer weather. 

More puff sleeve dresses: 

Ditsy print

Of all the summer trends, this can be one of the trickier ones to wear, because it can look juvenile if the style of the dress is too precious. So stay away from too many ruffles or cutesy details for this one and look for more chic, streamlined shapes—it's all about contrast. 

More ditsy print dresses:


The tiered babydoll kick started last summer—when I was in Scandinavia in July, it's what all the women were wearing—and it's still going strong this year. This can also be a tricky one to wear; I've found that sizing down tends to help tame the volume. 

More tiered dresses: 


Okay, white dresses aren't exactly a trend either—I tend to buy a new one every year—but they're a great way to incorporate more than one of the above elements. For example, this LPA dress has puffy sleeves, smocking, and tiers. 

More white dresses:


Laura B said...

These are all such cute picks!

Tracy said...

I love all of these picks especially the puff sleeves!


Shelbee on the Edge said...

So many cute dresses! I love all the boho and prairie styles. So my jam! Thanks for sharing and linking up with me, Cheryl.