Warmer weather calls for breezy dresses that are comfortable and lightweight, and can be thrown on and styled with minimal effort. The sundress is an iconic wardrobe staple for these sunny days. Well-loved for their versatility, they can be dressed up or down, worn for picnics, brunch, running errands, or even elevated for the workplace and evening occasions.
Sundresses come in a variety of different styles and designs that can cater to your personal tastes, whether it be romantic florals or modern basics. We love how these all-in-one garments are so effortless but still make you look stylish and put-together.
To choose the sundress that makes you feel your best, Kacey Bellino, stylist at NET-A-PORTER, suggests to “focus on the feature you want to show off: great legs? Go for a mini. Toned arms? Try sleeveless. Your waist? Experiment with cut-out styles. Sun-kissed back? Try an open back style.”
Get ready to discover your new favorite wardrobe essential. After conducting hours of research and consulting with stylists and wardrobe experts, we’ve hand-selected the following styles to add to your wardrobe.
Ahead, find the best sundresses to create an effortless yet chic look.
Abercrombie & Fitch Cinch-Front Poplin Mini
Abercrombie produces consistently high-quality dresses at accessible price points. This particular sundress is comfortable, boasts a flattering silhouette, and is available in a variety of prints. The lustrous linen fabric, tiered skirt, and plunging v-neckline elevate it from basic to a more fashion-forward choice. We’re also fans of how Abercrombie offers Petite, Regular, and Tall fits for their dresses, helping to ensure that the length won’t be too short or long for your body.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: 55% Linen, 45% Viscose | Size Range: XXS - XL
Yobecho Summer Ruffle Mini Dress
With almost 10,000 reviews, you can trust that this Amazon pick deserves its glowing feedback. The sweetheart neckline and ruffled skirt add a romantic flair that we love. It comes in eleven color variations of the contemporary pattern and the material feels just the right amount of flowy and fun. And, for the affordable price point, you could very well buy multiples and be stocked with the perfect go-to sundress for all your summer outings.
Price at time of publish: $34
Material: 100% Polyester | Size Range: S - XXL
Andrea Iyamah Xena Vanilla Maxi Dress
Every collection by Nigerian fashion powerhouse Andrea Dumbei Iyamah features stunning designs that are sure to leave an impression wherever you go. The Xena Maxi is a glamorous gown of a sundress worth the splurge to make you feel like royalty. With its sweeping skirt, Grecian goddess-inspired neckline, and ruching of the shoulders, this luxe item will elevate your vacation fit. It’s ideal for vacation getaway lounging and certain to create an ethereal effect wherever you are.
Price at time of publish: $335
Material: 97% Cotton, 3% Spandex | Size Range: XS - XXL
J. Crew Gwyneth Cupro-Blend Slip Dress
If you want a sundress that is chic but still comfy, consider this J. Crew best seller. The style is a nod to the ‘90s classic slip silhouette and the fabric is cupro, which is just as smooth as—and way more durable than—silk, plus it’s machine washable for easy care. It works well on its own, but we also love it under a blazer or cardigan for versatility.
Price at time of publish: $128
Material: 100% Cupro | Size Range: XS - XXL
Reformation Locklin Dress
Behold your new favorite midi dress from Reformation, known for high-quality sustainably made, and on-trend garments. This simple yet sophisticated midi dress can easily be dressed up or down with its classic prints and hits at the perfect length. The back waist tie makes it adjustable to create a more fitted silhouette, allowing you to cinch your waist tighter if you so desire. Style with platform sandals and a raffia bag for a picturesque picnic-ready look.
Price at time of publish: $198
Material: 53% viscose, 47% rayon | Size Range: 0 -12
Free People Cross of Sunlight Mini
The ideal sundress for those sweltering hot summer days is something as light and breezy as possible. This Free People mini dress fits the bill with a flirty and playful silhouette that’s accentuated by waist cutouts. We love how tailoring helps to create an hourglass figure for every body type. Dramatic wide sleeves and a voluminous skirt add balance to the design, and an open back helps keep you cool. Made for those sun-soaked, laidback days, it's a versatile summer staple you could easily transition from day to night.
Price at time of publish: $78
Material: 92% Cotton, 8% Linen | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Puff Sleeve
House of CB Tallulah Midi Dress
The Tallulah dress from House of CB is a viral favorite on TikTok for its flattering silhouette. Its design is tailored to complement your shape—the bodice cinches you in with its corset-style boning, the cups are lined and well-supported, and it has a flirty side split in the skirt for a peek of leg. We love how sweet and feminine this sundress is and that it comes in an array of dreamy florals. Consider this the “it girl” ensemble of the summer—guaranteed to be your most complimented piece of the season.
Price at time of publish: $209
Material: Stretch cotton poplin | Size Range: XS-XL
Best "Little White Dress"
BSL Tie Front Mini Dress
We all know and love the iconic LBD. Now enter the “Little White Dress” as a summer essential wardrobe statement. Timeless and fresh, it’s a look that will never go out of style. This romantic embroidered mini is gives total carefree vibes, while also keeps you cool (white fabric won’t attract heat ). We’re fans of experimenting with colorful neon accessories for a lively contrast against the crisp white cotton.
Price at time of publish: $95
Material: 92% Cotton, 8% Linen | Size Range: XS-XL
Vici Collection Strapless Cutout Cotton Midi Dress
Strapless dresses accentuate the decolletage and collarbone, with a delightfully charming aesthetic. The twisted peek-a-boo bodice is not only on-trend, but also universally flattering and the billowy skirt evokes such a graceful aesthetic. Although it’s a perfect choice for picnics and trips to the farmer’s market, it boasts an elevated casual look that can work for formal summer occasions.
Price at time of publish: $89
Material: 100% Cotton | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Wedding Guest
Reformation Twilight Dress
Whether you are attending a beach or outdoor wedding, this Reformation frock guarantees elegance while still maintaining the easy comfort of a sundress. It features a fitted bodice that adds more structure to the look and a tasteful side leg slit. We especially love the tie straps that add a more dainty flair. Pair with strappy wrap-around heels and gold accessories to dress this up for your next summer wedding. This is a beautiful (and sustainably made) dress well worth the price tag and comes in several sophisticated prints and colors.
Price at time of publish: $278
Material: 100% Cotton | Size Range: XS-XL
Mango 100% Linen Dress
Considering this dress is made from 100% linen, this is an incredible value garment from Mango. The flowy skirt and breathable material are ideal for the humid summer heat that tends to make clothing stick to your skin. The distinctive side slits and O-ring detailing make for a chic statement. Plus, the brilliant green color is eye-catching and trendy for the summer. Keep in mind linen can be prone to wrinkling but we think that lends to the lived-in effortlessly cool aesthetic of the fit.
Price at time of publish: $80
Material: 100% Linen | Size Range: 0-12
Pink City Prints Indigo Ikat Classic Rah Rah Dress
Pink City Prints offers a gorgeous array of exquisitely designed artisan dresses. The brand is based in Jaipur, India, and all dresses are handmade with traditional artisan techniques of the local community. These crafts include hand embroidery, block print, hand-looming, and screen print and have been passed down through generations across northern India. If you’re avoiding fast fashion and seeking a brand that has special intention and meaning behind it, consider this brand which is committed to sustainability and ethical operations, using organic and naturally sourced materials and employing local artisans.
Price at time of publish: $177
Material: | Size Range: XS-XL
Simple Retro Fannie Printed Floral Green Tea Dress
Let these Simple Retro dresses transport you to idyllic summer days, lounging on an Italian villa with a refreshing glass of white wine in hand. The timeless silhouette of the dresses evokes a vintage nostalgia but still feels young and modern. If you are a fan of the charming “cottage-core” aesthetic, this is the pick for you. Reviewers highlighted the laidback comfort and flattering fit of the dress. Bonus points for the fact that it is a female-founded and designed brand that aims for sustainability and conscientious practices.
Price at time of publish: $75
Material: 100% Polyester | Size Range: XS-XL
Zara Tiered Cotton Dress
This 100% cotton midi dress is lightweight and breezy, excellent for those hot summer days, and long enough that you won’t have to worry about it flying up. It's a simple and classic design, available in pastel blue and pink shades. Not only do the adjustable tie straps ensure comfort and customization, but the bow makes for a cute detail. We definitely see this tiered dress as a universally flattering basic you will want to have stocked in your closet all summer.
Price at time of publish: $49
Material: 100% Cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL
Farai London Gaia Mini Dress
Megan thee Stallion and Kylie Jenner stan this brand, which has made a viral splash on the fashion scene and lives up to the hype. Founded by 25-year-old designer Mary-Ann Msengi in 2020, the striking cut-out designs are here to stay as the hottest dress of the summer. With its psychedelic-inspired prints, this is truly a stand-out statement piece. The marbled variations are uniquely bold and playful without bordering on gaudiness.
Price at time of publish: $74
Material: 90% poly, 10% spandex | Size Range: XS-L
YanYan Leon Maxi Dress in Dawn
Yan Yan specializes in eclectic knitwear by a former rag & bone knitwear designer. The designers incorporate Chinese heritage in a modern and youthful approach and include bright colorways in each design. This knit calf-length dress is one of a kind, with space-dyed yarn and an intricate blanket stitch. We’re definitely fans of how the vivid orange sunset-hued coloring is reminiscent of Impressionist artwork.
Price at time of publish: $350
Material: Marling space dye linen and Space dye viscose rayon | Size Range: S-L
Lulus View from the Meadow Bright Orange Off-the-Shoulder Dress
Designed with a ruffled smock bodice, midi skirt with two side slits, and a simple yet alluring silhouette, this off-the-shoulder dress is a sure winner. A rayon construction is gently stretchy, which makes this dress universally flattering for a range of body types. We love it for picnics and cocktail parties alike.
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: 100% Rayon | Size Range: XS-XL
EleVen by Venus Williams Ace Dress
Whether you’re playing sports or simply walking around the city, this cute mini from the activewear line of tennis star Venus Williams delivers cool comfort. Its specially designed fabric has 4-way stretch capabilities and regulates temperature while maintaining moisture-wicking and antimicrobial abilities.
Price at time of publish: $88
Material: 75% Nylon/25% Spandex | Size Range: XS-XXL
Meet the Expert
- Michael Fusco is a celebrity stylist and wardrobe specialist.
- Casi Stewart is the founder and stylist at The Kismet Collective, an online personal shopping and styling service.
- Kacey Bellino is a stylist at NET-A-PORTER.
What to Look for in a Sundress
The main thing to look for in a sundress is “something soft and breathable for hot summer days and nights” according to Casi Stewart, stylist and founder of Kismet Collective. Cotton or linen is ideal, or a blend of the two. Polyester, viscose, and rayon are also commonly used material options that may come at a more affordable price point. You should also consider the occasion you will be wearing the sundress for. “Dresses made in chiffon, silks, and crepes for example are more suitable for evening and can be worn for a date night or even a wedding,” says Kacey Bellino, stylist at NET-A-PORTER.
Silhouette and cut
As always, go for whatever fits you comfortably and works with your proportions. “Silhouette really depends on your body type, but I’ve yet to meet a person that A-line doesn’t work on,” says Stewart.
Consider playing around with fun sleeve options or halters, or criss-cross cuts to add more of a flair to the typical/standard sundress. We also love strategically placed cutouts to enhance your figure and add some more of a distinctive flair to the look. “Length and neckline can be a really fun way to mix it up!” says Michael Fusco, celebrity stylist and fashion director.
Occasion can sometimes dictate silhouette, for example, midi and maxi dresses are probably more appropriate for formal occasions such as weddings or fancy events, while mini dresses are ideal for daytime activities.
What is considered a sundress?
“A sundress is a closet staple for easy, summer-ready dressing,” explains Bellino. “Sundresses are cut in silhouettes to keep you cool through the summer and are commonly made out of lightweight, breathable materials. Sundresses no longer are just for the beach or a picnic but can be styled up for work and even a summer wedding.”
How do you style a sundress?
One of the beauties of sundresses is that they are so versatile and easy to style. They can easily be dressed up or down with accessories or other pieces of clothing. Style with a leather jacket for a more edgy effect or add a cardigan for that soft girly aesthetic. Add more excitement to your ensemble with accessories like a cool belt or “a fun purse, maybe [with] straw or a pop of color, and a funky shoe.” says Stewart.
Of course, styling a sundress really comes down to where you’re going. Bellino breaks down her suggestions for different occasions. For the beach, she says to “style a sundress with a bright swimsuit underneath for a fun contrast, sunnies, flat sandals, and your beach bag.” A day event calls for “lace-up flat sandals, raffia casual bag, and stacked gold and beaded jewelry.” If you’re wearing a sundress to a wedding, consider “high heels and a beachy woven clutch, plus simple fine jewelry,” she says. Finally, if you wear a sundress to the office—a total fashion do, be sure to “throw a denim jacket on top or an oversized blazer and pair with a flat sandal or retro style sneaker.”
How do you transition a sundress from day to night?
“Transitioning from day to night only requires a few simple changes. For the daytime, beach-inspired jewelry is perfect: think beads, pearls, and shell motifs, heavily stacked on the wrist and ears. For evening, swap out the more casual pieces and substitute them for more delicate, refined jewelry like a gold necklace and rings. Take your flat sandals or slides and trade them out for a lace-up heeled sandal, or a kitten-heel mule in a bold color. In terms of bags, a beachy tote or raffia basket bag can be traded in for a clutch worn tucked under your arm.” says Bellino.
Sundresses can absolutely be worn and transitioned to a nighttime-ready look. “Rooftop cocktails or night out? Layer some jewelry, throw on a wedge or heel, and maybe a ¾ blazer to elevate your style,” explains stylist Michael Fusco. You can also consider choosing a more trendy type of sundress—sexy cutouts are definitely in, or experiment with bold colors and interesting necklines.
What shoes can you wear with sundresses?
Fusco recommends wearing a “leather slide, sneaker, or an espadrille” for casual settings and trying a “heeled strappy sandal, a gladiator, or an open toe pump” for the evening. We also are fans of the knee-high or cowboy boot for a more trendy look.
Why Trust Byrdie
Rachel Lee is a Byrdie contributor and style editor who has been with Dotdash Meredith since 2021.