There are so many glorious dresses to choose from come summer, but which is the best to wear in the heat?
Believe it or not, it’s not long until the sun is set to shine on the grey UK. The clocks are set to change at the end of March, bringing with it lighter evenings and longer days.
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It always comes as a huge shock when I have to swap out the thick jumpers and rain coats for lighter and shorter clothes, but it’s a task I welcome with excitement. Who doesn’t love the summer?!
The first item I start wearing is the trusty summer dress. For those who love wearing skirts over trousers, especially in the heat, it’s one of the easiest items to style. You only need a few and your summer wardrobe is set.
So which is the best? As a stylist, I’m sharing my top tips.
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Which dress is best in summer?
My first answer would be the dress that makes you feel comfortable and confident, which is always my answer when it comes to anything style-related.
What’s comfortable though? For me, it’s lightweight, so linens and cottons are my first port of call.
Then it’s the length makes the difference between awkward and easy to wear. Anything too short, and I feel like I have to hold it down. Anything too long, and I feel bulked down in fabric.
Midi dresses are my personal favourite, or anything that sits just above the knee. In warm climates, you won’t need to worry about your dress blowing up but if it’s a windy day, I avoid anything too short.
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What about sleeves, I hear you ask? If you’re self-conscious about your arms, I’d opt for a sleeve that sits at the forearm or elbow.
Personally I prefer sleeveless or short sleeved dresses, as I’m not particularly insecure about mine.
I feel most at ease in longer-length dresses, particularly those that are loose fitting – aka tent dresses.
My definitive answer? If I had to pick one, it would be a cotton sun dress. Linen tends to crease really easily, so if you’re taking it on holiday, you’ll need to make sure there’s an iron at your accommodation.
One trick I’ve learnt from my travels is to wet a linen dress and leave it to dry in the sun. It will dry without creases (and it’s much less effort than ironing!).
What is the coolest fabric for summer dresses?
Cotton, linen and silk are the most commonly recommended summer fabrics. They’re absorbent and light, meaning you won’t need to worry about awkward sweat patches when you stand up.
Silk is a little less absorbent than cotton and linen though, so it’s best to avoid it in areas that touch your arm pits.
In recent years, crochet has also gained popularity. It’s not the coolest fabric ever, but the holey appearance means it’s not the warmest either.
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Which fabrics should you avoid?
It probably goes without saying that heavy fabrics like denim and corduroy will leave you feeling way too hot in warm weather, but I’ll tell you again. Avoid these like the plague!
Polyester is water resistant, so it traps sweat and can leave you feeling super toasty too.
Where to buy good summer dresses
If you’re shopping on the high street, you can find some great summer dresses from H&M, Zara, Mango and ASOS. The latter has a huge selection, and all are affordable.
For mid-range shoppers, COS, Arket, & Other Stories and Ganni are amongst my favourites.
You can also find some gorgeous made-to-order summer dresses from independent brands like Molby the Label, By Megan Crosby, and With Love Evie.
Shop summer dresses
Linen blend shirt dress, £49.99, H&M – buy now
Knit Cotton Dress, £29.99, Zara – buy now
Relaxed linen dress, £69, Arket – buy now
Collared Linen Mini Dress, £75, & Other Stories – buy now
Cotton Broderie Maxi Dress, £275, Me+Em – buy now
A-line Striped Slip Dress, £89, COS – buy now
Phoenix, Linen blend midi dress, £298, Reiss – Buy now