Five Summer Dresses That Will Make Your Wardrobe Endlessly More Interesting

From the modern mini to the classic wrap and a high street collab with a street style star, here are all the dresses you need this summer

best dresses street style

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

It's white, rather dotty and everywhere you damn well look. Not Boris Johnson, but a £39.99, ankle-sweeping dress from Zara. It’s got its own Instagram account – the snappily-named @hot4thespot, dedicated to cataloguing its appearance in ‘the wild’ – and it really is ubiquitous. I’ve clocked at least one person wearing it every day over the past few weeks, while Lauren Bravo, writer of this parish, recently tweeted: ‘So far I have seen four different women in that black and white Zara polka dot dress. If I spot a fifth I think I get a free prosecco.’ It figures. You see, every summer there’s a hit dress, often something with sleeves that sweeps down to the mid-calf and has a tendency to sell-out. It’s super comfortable and also reliable.

‘They’re so versatile,’ says Tank’s fashion director – and regular street style star – Caroline Issa. ‘From the office, just add a belt, some major earrings and a great pair of heels and you’re ready to paint the town red. A good dress does all the talking for you.’ She’s such a fan –she admits that 40 per cent of her wardrobe is made up of dresses – that she’s collaborated with Next's Label/Mix to produce a seven-piece capsule that includes six fabulously printed frocks that most definitely tick the versatile box. The collection, which launches today, is inspired by archive prints and Caroline’s stash of vintage dresses. There’s something for everyone - from the cinch-waist, puffed-sleeved number to comfy wrap dresses - and the patterns are instant happy-makers.

But don't panic if you're a block colour kind of person. A printed number is just one of your options. The ultimate summer dress, according to Issa, ‘needs to be lightweight, no-fuss and high-impact’. Here are our five key styles for now:

The modern mini

Arket babydoll dress

BUY: Arket, Short Ruffled Dress, £79

A modern mini dress is actually a very good idea for most body shapes. It nips in below the bust, flares out over the bum and cuts off at that flattering mid-point on your thigh. The Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen is the market leader in tiered minis that look like wearable meringues. Style with chunky flatform sandals.


SHOP: Three of the best modern minis

Cecilie Bahnsen dress1 of 3

Cecilie Bahnsen, Mabel Pleated Sateen Shirtdress, £718

Ganni dress2 of 3

Ganni, Printed Georgette Dress, £120

Stine Goya dress3 of 3

Stine Goya, Jasmine Dress Indigo, £217

The printed lady

Caroline Issa x Label/Mix dress
Caroline Issa x Label/Mix, Floral Shirt Dress, £109

BUY: Caroline Issa x Label/Mix, Floral Shirt Dress, £109

A printed dress is a wardrobe staple in summer. What else will disguise grass/sangria stains? Caroline’s come patterned with blossoms, but you can take your pick from checks, suns or polka dots on the high street.


SHOP: Three of the best printed dresses

And/Or dress1 of 3

And/Or, La Galeria Elefante Jody Star Maxi Dress, £195

French Connection dress2 of 3

French Connection, Lavande Gingham Square Neck Button Dress, £85

Mango dress3 of 3

Mango, Floral Linen Blend Dress, £59.99

The wrap

Rouje's Gabin wrap dress
Rouje, Robe Gabin, £150

BUY: Rouje, Robe Gabin, £150

The Duchess of Cambridge is a fan, and you probably already have one in your wardrobe. Yup it’s official, the wrap is staying put for summer 2019. The French label Rouje’s sellout Gabin is always a safe bet - if you can get your hands on one - but Kitri also does a brisk trade in the style.


SHOP: Three of the best wrap dresses

Kitri polka dot wrap dress1 of 3

Kitri, Polka Dot Wrap Dress, £145

Warehouse wrap dress2 of 3

Warehouse, Daisy Tiered Maxi Dress, £65

& Other Stories wrap dress3 of 3

& Other Stories, Floral Handkerchief Wrap Midi Dress, £69

The nighty

Olivia Von Halle silk slip
Olivia Von Halle, Remy Ivory Silk Nightdress, £310

BUY: Olivia Von Halle, Remy Ivory Silk Nightdress, £310

We’re not advocating a nighty in the office, per se, but for lounging on the beach or wandering through a French market? Nothing could be better. The dresses and robes from Sleeper, Three Graces London and Toast are just as good for getting 50 winks and they are for wafting through summer.


SHOP: Three of the best nighties

Three Graces London Celia nightdress1 of 3

Three Graces London, Celia Nightdress, £495

Sleeper robe2 of 3

Sleeper, Belted Striped Linen-Gauze Robe, £185

Toast nightie3 of 3

Toast, Organic Cotton Smocked Nightie, £85

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