How to style a summer dress

a woman wearing a red and white spotted long-sleeved summer dress

Summer dresses are a versatile staple of the warmer months - one that’s sure to stay in style. To make the most of this wardrobe essential, you may be looking for some tips on what to pair with your dresses. From jackets, to shoes, to accessories, there are so many options to choose from that you really can wear the same dress in dozens of different ways

Want those style tips? Just keep reading to learn exactly how to style a summer dress.

How to choose a summer dress

Of course, the first step to styling a dress is to own the dress. With summer dresses being so popular, you may find the variety overwhelming – there are so many colours, patterns, lengths and styles to choose from. So what should you be looking out for?

Ideally, your summer dress should be the focal point of your outfit, so bold, flashy patterns could be the way forward. That way you can pair your dress with any number of neutral colours on your shoes, jackets and accessories without clashing.

Alternatively, if you love the monochrome look, why not try a block colour summer dress in one of your favourite shades? Nothing says summer like sunshine yellow or sea blue – and if you can match it with your shoes or accessories, the colour can really pop.

Summer dresses in neutral colours can also be a great investment as they can be paired with almost anything in your wardrobe to create a brand new outfit. A white sundress with gold jewellery and sandals, for example, can give you a Mediterranean beachy look. Wear it again with trainers, a denim jacket and silver jewellery, however, and no one will even realise it’s the same dress!

What jacket to wear with a summer dress

You might think that jackets won’t pair well with a summer dress, but there is a whole world of possibilities for you to try. Light jackets or blazers can elevate your look or give it a casual edge – whichever you prefer. More importantly, they can take your outfit right through to nightfall, making them ideal for nights out at restaurants or barbecue parties.

For a beach outfit, you may want to bring a jacket as a cover-up to protect your shoulders from the sun. Ideally, you’ll want something light and airy, such as an oversized button up shirt or a thin, loose-knit cardigan. A denim jacket can also work well for a chic look.

Alternatively, if you love the monochrome look, why not try a block colour summer dress in one of your favourite shades? Nothing says summer like sunshine yellow or sea blue – and if you can match it with your shoes or accessories, the colour can really pop.

Planning a more formal outfit? A fitted blazer can be a great addition to a long, flowy summer dress to make you look self-assured and confident. Alternatively, try a cardigan with a shorter summer dress for a slightly more relaxed look.

What shoes to wear with a summer dress

The shoes you decide to wear can depend on many factors, but don’t make the choice lightly. Footwear can make or break an outfit – particularly if they’re not fit for the purpose of whatever you’re doing that day. If you’re going on a long walk, light, thin-soled sandals aren’t the best choice, so why not try pairing your summer dress with hiking boots for a practical look.

For a day at the beach, sandals or flip flops are ideal. Opt for easy-to-remove styles like slip ons rather than shoes with complicated fastenings – that way you can easily slip them off for a paddle!

If you’re planning an outfit for a party, a summer dress can go well with wedged sandals that give you a more elegant look without compromising on comfort or your summery vibe. 

Spending the day at the market? Try wearing trainers or espadrilles with your summer dress to give your feet the best support while providing you with a light, sporty look.

How to accessorise a summer dress

When it comes to accessories, there are so many different options to choose from. A light scarf can be tied around your neck to protect from the sun, or used as a headscarf to give a light, airy vibe. Bandanas can fulfil a similar function – bandana headbands are a great way to get a bohemian look with a summer dress.

Is jewellery more your fancy? Matching your jewellery to your summer dress is an easy way to achieve a subtle monochromatic look. However, jewellery can also be used as an accent colour – for example a black dress with all-gold jewellery or a white one with silver. You can also use brightly coloured jewellery to make neutral summer dresses pop!

Belts are another great way to change the look of your summer dress. A loose unbelted sundress can look completely different to one with a high-waisted cinch. There are a wide range of belts to choose from, including woven types, rope belts, wide belts, thin designs and many more.

So with all these options at your fingertips, why not try a summer dress for your next great look?

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