There are certain things that universally signify summer—the smell of barbecues in the evening air, ordering your first Pimm's, and the fact that it's light at 9 p.m. However, to us fashion types, nothing feels quite so summer-like as stepping out in a gorgeous dress (without the need for tights). And right now, as we delve deeper into the warmer months, we've started to see specific dress trends emerge as the stars of the season.
Below, I've listed the eight dress trends that I think you'll see throughout all the stages of the relaxing of lockdown restrictions. Long-sleeved, denim and knitted dresses are perfect for the next few months of daily walks, while the bright-pink dresses and fun minis I've found below have rescheduled weddings written all over them.
I've been sure to include a mix of classic, basic styles and more fashion-forward silhouettes and bolder options for those who want to just have fun with fashion again. So keep scrolling to see the new dress trends I really love for summer.
1. Long-Sleeved Dresses
Long-sleeved dresses are a perfect option for a British summer, as they are a little bit warmer for those days when it's still quite chilly. Either opt for an oversized, billowing sleeve or puff sleeve or something a little simpler.
Fil de Vie Merieme Balloon-Sleeve Bamboo-Twill Dress (£788)
& Other Stories Collared Twist Detail Midi Dress (£85)
Zanini Belted Balloon-Sleeve Cotton-Blend Dress (£2800)
Sleeper Atlanta Relaxed Midi Dress (£245)
2. Dresses With Collars
Statement ruffle collars have been popular for several seasons, and we largely have Ganni to thank for the revival of this Princess Diana trend. Whether it's a mini, midi, or maxi, a collar is a welcome addition to any dress.
River Island Pink Gingham Dress (£40)
& Other Stories Statement Collar Floral Mini Dress ($75)
Neon Rose Plus Midi Dress with Collar (£35)
& Other Stories Voluminous Sleeve Crochet Collar Mini Dress (£85)
3. Bright-Pink Dresses
The overriding message coming from designers and buyers for summer 2021 is that we want our clothes to be joyful, and this is mainly manifested in lots of bright pink. Designers such as Molly Goddard and Tove have created beautiful dresses in vibrant pink.
Mango Frill Cotton Dress (£20)
Arket Pleated Dress (£24)
Dodo Bar Or Roberta Stretch-Cotton Jersey Midi Dress (£525)
Stine Goya Rosen Pink Plissé Midi Dress (£210)
4. Black Sundresses
Sometimes it's important to make sure you have the basics covered, and for summer, it doesn't get more useful than a black sundress.
COS V-Neck Scuba Dress (£69)
Loud Bodies Florence Dress (£155)
Free People Violet Mini Dress (£98)
& Other Stories Voluminous Cut Out Midi Dress (£85)
5. Knitted Dresses
Knitted dresses soared in popularity in 2020 as the perfect option for those who want to find the perfect middle ground between getting dressed properly and still feeling comfortable. Either opt for a tunic style that you can layer over trousers or a more fitted silhouette that you can wear with simple sandals.
H&M Knitted Dress (£25)
Mango Violeta Knitted Dress (£30)
Sandro Long Knitted Dress (£196)
Anthropologie Pointelle Knitted Midi Dress (£98)
6. Fun Minidresses
Over the past few years, it has been all about the midi dress. However, for summer 2021, designers such as Jacquemus, Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton all had several playful minis in their collections.
Alessandra Rich Natalie Bow-Embellished Satin Mini Dress (£1250)
De la Vali Christabel Yellow Belted Mini Dress (£250)
Selkie The Rainbow Puff Dress (£240)
Bernadette Lisa Bow-Embellished Mini Dress (£290)
7. White Summer-Is-Coming Dresses
Fashion decrees that everyone should own at least one little black dress, but there's an equally viable case to be made for the little white dress. Whether you opt for something loose and relaxed in linen or cotton or something more formal with puff sleeves and lace embellishment, a white dress has long been a warm-weather staple.
Zimmermann Puffed-Sleeve Linen Midi Dress (£495)
LoveShackFancy Kalani Cotton-Lace Sun Dress (£750)
Sleeper Paloma Off-Shoulder Linen Dress (£250)
Endless Summer Having a Moment Dress (£88)
8. Denim Dresses
Denim dresses aren't an obvious part of the season's top-line trends. However, if you look closely, this classic dress is featured in many of the collections from Gabriela Hearst to Wales Bonner. Who What Wear Editor in chief Hannah Almassi writes, "Perhaps its innate combination of practicality and sass puts it in a prime position to win when many day-to-day schedules now centre around being comfortable but smart and many wardrobes are leaning to well-curated, hard-working staples."
Karen Millen Curve Zip Godet Denim Dress (£55)
Per Una Denim Belted Midaxi Tiered Shirt Dress (£55)
Gabriela Hearst Virginia Sweetheart-Neck Linen-Denim Dress (£774)
Stella McCartney Belted Denim Dress (£750)
Next up, see our guide to the key trends for autumn 2021.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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