These five standout styles are worth adding to your closet, ASAP.

By Samantha Sutton
Jun 10, 2020 @ 4:48 pm
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Alejandra Vzqz

It's likely your summer plans look a tad different this year, but something that hasn't changed? The heat, and the need for clothes that are suitable to wear on an 85-degree day. While investing in high-waisted shorts or a gingham romper is never a bad idea, we're still partial to the easiest seasonal staple of them all: summer dresses. They work no matter where we're headed (or, you know, not headed), and it's a stress-free process to throw one on with a neutral pair of sandals or sneakers and call it an outfit.

For summer 2020, the best dress designs are slightly nostalgic, whether they're channeling the '90s with halter tops and ribbed fabric, or bringing back the '80s with voluminous puff sleeves. However, no matter what decade we're reminded of, our favorite styles all make a statement. In other words, save your LBD for fall — it's all about bold colors, prints, and texture for the next few months.

Ribbed

Alejandra Vzqz

Remember those ribbed shirts and dresses that were big in the '90s, usually styled with a plastic choker? They've returned, and lucky for us, they're extremely versatile, too. Backyard hangouts, socially distanced dining, a return to the office — this dress style is great choice for it all. Pair it with a sleek pair of wedges, slides, or sneakers during warmer days, then swap out those shoes for boots come fall.

Shop Similar: Frame Baja Stripe Dress Citrine Multi ($195; frame-store.com)

Striped

Alejandra Vzqz

Stripes are a part of our wardrobe year-round, but there's something about the summer months that makes us want to wear them all the time. Rather than go nautical this year, try a diagonal print. Also, halter-neck styles, like the one pictured, are a worthy way to switch things up from your rotation of short-sleeved and tank dresses. Shop Similar: Diarrablu Marieme Dress ($195; diarrablu.com)

Cutout

Alejandra Vzqz

At some point during the summer, you'll likely encounter a day that isn't exactly hot, but definitely isn't cold — and that's where cutouts come in handy. They'll keep you warm but are also breezy, and you can wear long sleeves while also showing some skin. These dresses also tend to be fancier and unexpected, so they're great for date nights or special occasions.

Shop Similar: Aje Allégro Gathered Smock Dress ($375; shopbop.com)

Puff-Sleeved

Alejandra Vzqz

Oversized sleeves were pretty popular last summer, and the trend continues to get bigger and bigger — literally. This is a great detail to look for when shopping for long blanket dresses, as it adds an element of fun to an otherwise simple and classic design.

Shop Similar: Faithfull the Brand Margherita Polka Dot Mini Dress ($169; net-a-porter.com)

Colorful

Alejandra Vzqz

If your style happens to be more understated, and you're not quite ready for eye-catching prints or ginormous sleeves, there's still an option for you: bright colors. You can still wear the lace shift or cotton maxis you've always loved, but swap your typical neutral choice for yellows, pinks, or greens, all of which will help make your outfit pop.

Shop Similar: J.Crew Eyelet Midi Dress with Flounce Hem ($248; jcrew.com)

Photographs by Alejandra Vzqz. Model: Geordette from New Icon NY. Styling by Melinette Rodriguez, assisted by Alexis Ayala. Hair and Makeup by Arpita Brahmbhatt.