I like to think of the dress as the chameleon of the closet. Pair a short summery dress with a Panama hat and Converse sneakers and you're ready to walk the farmer's market; strap on some metallic-heeled sandals and throw on a pair of statement earrings and you're ready for date night. With that logic, perhaps we should all have a dress-only wardrobe?
In my previous post about putting together a summer capsule wardobe, I upped the dress count suggested by Caroline Rector of the style blog Un-Fancy from two to four because, frankly, two just didn't seem like enough for summer! That number breaks down pretty easily into four distinct types of dresses you should aim to have in your closet:
- The Make-You-Feel-Pretty Dress: This is the dress you put on and instantly feel girly, beautiful and maybe even goddess-like.
- The Maxi Dress: These can be tricky, especially for the vertically challenged, but if you're handy with a sewing machine or needle, they're pretty easy to hem to your ideal length. Maxi dresses are incredibly versatile. Dress one up with wedges or go casual with a pair of classic sneakers or strappy sandals.
- The T-Shirt Dress: I could probably live in a T-shirt dress all summer, honestly. It's easy, it's breezy...what's not to love? Look for cotton and jersey materials for ultimate breathability (particularly with a little stretch to avoid looking like you're wearing a nightgown.)
- The Linen/Chambray Dress: Summer screams for wearing linen or chambray. Both fabrics are incredibly lightweight and easy to wear.
Now, here are the resources for the first batch of dresses I originally suggested, followed by more picks for each must-have category:
The Make-You-Feel-Pretty Dress
- Top row: Kimchi Blue La Palma Crochet Inset Mini Dress in Ivory at Urban Outfitters, $89 / Palmstripe Halter Dress at Loft, $79.50
- Bottom row: Tiered Linen Midi Sundress at Asos, $49 / Off-The-Shoulder Dress at Zara, $35.90
The Maxi Dress
- Top row: Swing Maxi Dress in Natural Stripe at Asos, $41 / Sunday Morning Blue Tie-Dye Wrap Maxi Dress at Lulus, $58
- Bottom row: Tommy Hilfiger Ramone Striped Maxi Dress in Blue Multi at Macy’s, $44.75 / Fresh Influence Dress at ModCloth, $69.99
The T-Shirt Dress
- Top row: The Fifth Label ‘Close Your Eyes’ Rubbed Knit T-Shirt Dress at Nordstrom, $82 / Vanity Room Knit Swing Dress in Berry at Nordstrom Rack, $21.97
- Bottom row: Softspun Knit T-Shirt Dress in Grey Marle at Gap, $47.96 / Joe & Elle Juniors’ Striped T-Shirt Dress in Natural at Macy’s, $13.99
The Linen/Chambray Dress
→ See all our clothing picks for putting together a summer wardrobe here.