Dresses are an important part of many women’s wardrobes. Though there are always women who prefer pants to skirts and suits to dresses, a dress can be one of the easiest items to throw on when it’s hot outside, the humidity in your apartment is uncomfortably high, and you want as little fabric touching your skin as possible. The problem is that most of the dress silhouettes women think of as the most flattering aren’t necessarily the most comfortable, especially not in the heat. But there are actually many styles of dresses that will both make you look great and make you feel great even on the sunniest days. Ahead, try out these six dresses for a figure-flattering take on the comfy summer dress.
1. The midi dress
The midi dress doesn’t immediately sound like the most flattering cut. After all, isn’t a length that hits below the knees going to look frumpy on anybody without a statuesque model build? Just take a look at this T by Alexander Wang midi dress for the perfect example of why you should give this style a try. The black jersey is lightweight and comfortable, and while the silhouette is figure-hugging, the midi length ensures that you won’t be worrying about a short hemline riding up. The spaghetti straps can easily transition from casual to dressy, depending on how you style this piece.
2. The shift dress
A shift dress isn’t the most figure-hugging style out there. But with the right neckline, a shift can be just as flattering as any other cut. This Equipment dress features a plunging neckline that offers an interesting counterpoint to its loose but comfortable silhouette and its wide shoulder straps. And the best news of all? It’s constructed of silk, which will feel light and breezy.
3. The cutout dress
A fit-and-flare silhouette may not have the sexiest reputation. It’s usually a demure silhouette more associated with elegance than sex appeal. But the fit-and-flare is actually wildly flattering on just about every body type, particularly when paired with a well-placed cutout or two. This Mason by Michelle Mason dress pairs the fit-and-flare silhouette with a flattering cutout — the perfect demonstration that a comfortable, ponte dress can feel party-ready, too.
4. The tulip hem dress
In addition to changing up your neckline, you can add some oomph to your selection of dresses by trying out a new hemline. This Cynthia Steffe dress demonstrates the big difference that a simple tulip hem can make. This style is fitted, but not fussy, since it doesn’t have straps or sleeves to fall down or get in your way. But the tulip hem does a great job of showing off your legs (whether you’re working on your tan or, like us, slathering sunscreen on at every opportunity).
5. The tank dress
The jersey tank dress is a standby for hot summer days and trips to the beach. But incarnations with crewnecks and printed graphics aren’t typically the ones we’d reach for if we want to get dressed up for a date or a drink with friends. Upgrade yours with a jersey tank dress that shows a little more skin, like this ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo style. It features a figure-hugging silhouette as well as a plunging neckline, but it’s still just as comfortable as the jersey dresses you’ve been wearing every summer.
6. The maxi dress
We love simple jersey maxi dresses for the pool or the beach, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit we’d like a maxi style with a little more drama. This Michael Kors dress is a great example of the styles that make an upgrade worth it. The style is still long enough (and loose enough) to keep you covered up, but the v-neckline, grommet details, and pleated georgette make this a style we’d gladly transition from day to night.