Summer’s best dresses
Weekend: Lilly Pulitzer Winnie halter maxi dress
It’s the season for wardrobe freedom, so trade stuffy layers for one long pour of airy chiffon, and skirt suits for the relaxed ease of a wrap dress. Whether you crave cool silk, charming cotton or drapey jersey knit, summer is prime dress time. — Shannon McCarthy
The very definition of “ethereal,” this stunner of a summer dress melds an incredibly easy-wearing A-line shape – in super-breathable silk – with fresh, of-the-moment colorblocking. Cinch on a wide belt to show off your figure or leave it blissfully loose and languid during the dog days.
Weekend: Calvin Klein tie-dye color block dress
The body-skimming ease of lightweight rayon, an adjustable drawstring waist, subtle high-low hem and a tie-dye finish more haute than hippie: What else could any summer sojourner want? How about clever color blocking that instantly slims the bod, in a fabric you can toss in the washer.
Weekend: Mossimo kimono high-low dress
We’re big fans of Target’s Mossimo line of kimono maxi dresses, and not just for their impressively low prices, midweight drapey comfort and rainbow of saturated colors. It’s the way these summer staples flatter every figure: The tailoring here is simple and sleek, yet it brings out the best in all bods.
Date night: Ali Ro sleeveless lace ruffle skirt dress
Equal parts ladylike and flirtatious add up to a perfect little warm-weather date dress. Ali Ro also adds nice dollops of trend cred: a jewel-toned lace bodice, semi-sheer yoke, cool cotton construction and a flouncy short hem that creates lots of mesmerizing movement when you walk.
Date night: Donna Morgan ‘Morgan’ silk dress
Spend sultry nights the soft and dreamy way in this frothy frock crafted from layers of featherweight silk chiffon that catch every balmy breeze. A full lining and built-in corset bodice with padded cups provide the perfect foundation, while all that shirring, pleating and draping on the outside give off a goddess vibe.
Date night: RACHEL Rachel Roy sleeveless bandage dress
Temps will get positively torrid when you show up in this little number. Rachel Roy provides the abbreviated silhouette and body-hugging fit, so all you have to do is accessorize with bling and high heels to dazzle, or a cute lightweight cropped blazer or luxe length of scarf for a modest touch.
Workday: Diane von Furstenberg Julian silk jersey wrap dress
The divine Diane secured a place in fashion’s firmament with the chameleon charms of her wrap dress design. The uber-figure flattering Julian, in summer-perfect silk jersey, works at work, at play and anywhere in between. Choose a vibrant print: It nails a huge trend, and it’ll lean chic for years to come.
Workday: Calvin Klein belted peplum dress
Clean-lined and cool for warm-weather workdays need not mean “dull.” A dress lends you both trend cred and body beautification when you look to the master of minimalism for your frock. This black-and-white color combo, effortless sheath shape and very subtle (i.e., flattering) peplum create summer career wear at its best.
Workday: ELLE ruffle poplin shirtdress
Cotton poplin is one of the best fabrics to beat the heat, and we love the way it’s used here to evoke the vintage trend with a generously pleated A-line skirt perfect for summer. A ruffled bodice lends just enough flair without going too girlish, so the frock stays 9-to-5 fine.
Getaway: Nanette Lepore Beach Lover silk dress
A masterpiece of subtle color play (chalky pastels instead of expected brights) and mixed prints (swirling paisley lies outside vertical borders on the skirt) make an unforgettable impression in this supreme summer beauty. Sensual silk, a blouson bodice and bare circle neckline add to the gossamer vision.