When shopping for new summer clothes, it's all too easy to get caught up in the boldest statement pieces and wind up with a daring dress or top that’s not quite your vibe. So if you've been searching for an easier trend or otherwise need more summer style inspiration, let us present to you one of the most versatile items on our shopping lists this season: smocked dresses.
Smocking is a beautifully gathered design detail that draws in to highlight areas like your waist, neckline, or shoulders, all with an unfussy aesthetic suited to summer, thanks to plenty of stretch. Though smocking often boasts an intricate pattern or design of some sort, the style's recent boost in popularity means you can easily find a dress in almost any color, material, or silhouette. This makes them a win for pretty much any occasion—drinks, a dinner date, a work function, even a wedding—and their throwback sensibility recalls some of the freest moments in the '60s and '70s, which we love in the heat.
But even if you’re not an aspiring flower child of decades past, fret not. Designs run the gamut, including many a minimal take, so there’s certainly one to suit your aesthetic and styling preferences. Of course, this also means the decision is yours when it comes to accessorizing: heels, sporty sandals, sneakers, or lug soles are all flawless finishes with your smocked dress of choice, and bags and jewelry can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. Scroll on to discover 33 of our favorite smocked dresses to shop for summer.
An accessible offering from New York-based designer Christopher John Rogers, this plaid halter dress was made for picnicking in the park.
How dreamy is this puff-sleeve number? Available in sizes XXS to 2X, it's ready to accompany you to all varieties of outdoor gatherings.
If you swoon for vintage-inspired designs, this sky blue baby is for you.
You’ll be the belle of the garden party in this smocked lime green midi dress.
Lean into the volume trend with this A-line smocked dress, which features bold sleeves, a standout pattern, and a full skirt.
On the hottest days, this smocked dress will accentuate your waist while keeping you cool, thanks to its crisp cotton poplin material.
We love this smocked dress with a swirly tie-dye motif for a fresh take on wedding guest attire.
It doesn’t get more romantic than this smocked floral midi with flouncy, sheer sleeves.
The only thing sweeter than the sunny vibes this summer mini will bring to any occasion is that it comes in sizes XS to XXXL.
Look pretty in peach for cocktails or dinner by opting for this off-the-shoulder number.
This eyelet midi is the loveliest addition to your summer white assortment.
Name a better smocked dress for a weekend in the countryside. We’ll wait.
Organic linen is the way to go on super-sunny days, especially in a cheery color.
With drapey sleeves and a frilled square neckline, this smocked dress gives us nostalgic vibes perfect for all those wanting to channel the Bridgerton aesthetic.
You’re practically guaranteed a standout moment in this pink and orange gingham midi.
Smocking doesn't have to be solely about the waist or neckline—sleeves are a darling way to embrace the trend.
A dropped waist, like on this smocked maxi dress, will elongate your line while feeling feminine as ever thanks to the floaty skirt.
Live your best fairytale life in this lilac midi, featuring short puffed sleeves and floral embroidery.
Few dresses scream summer quite like this vibrant, color-blocked design from Tanya Taylor.
Give this smocked mini dress the ’90s treatment by styling yours with chunky sandals and a coordinating scrunchie.
Whether for a garden party, bridal shower, or outdoor brunch, this floral-print dress just begs to be dressed up.
Offset this highlighter hue with a pair of sneakers for low-key cool that stands out from the crowd.
With a subtle sheen, this light blue number from Hill House's ever-popular Nap Dress line pairs perfectly with silver accessories for dressed-up occasions.
With its easy, airy silhouette, consider this your ultimate smocked dress for strolling the farmer’s market on Sunday morning.
This smocked dress with an alluring, vibrant print is finished with subtle pockets, making it a great easygoing pick for summer.
Channel your inner flower child by opting for this beautifully embroidered maxi dress, ever so effortless in a neutral tone.
It doesn’t get more idyllic than a floral print with smocking and frilled sleeves.
Vacation, anyone? We're finally able to start traveling again, and this sunshine-colored maxi dress is how to make the most of it.
This checked dress is a summer wonder for picnics, park hangs, porch drinks... you name it.
Sweet as ever, this smocked floral mini comes with plenty of ruffles and a fun, flouncy hem.
We love a checkered dress for summer, especially when it's one made from breathable, gauzy cotton.
You’ll feel nothing short of cheerful in this smocked poplin midi dress, whether you wear yours with flat sandals or fanciful heels.
With its grown-up floral print and allover smocking that accentuates your figure, consider this the ultimate smocked mini dress for date night.