It’s a fact: warmer weather calls for sundresses. Perhaps it’s because they’re typically made from lightweight, breezy materials, or the fact that they can be thrown on and styled with minimal effort—but either way, we love any excuse to wear these effortlessly chic wardrobe staples. Well-loved for their versatility, sundresses can be dressed up or down and worn for beach trips, workdays, and any situation in between.
Sundresses come in various silhouettes, making them an excellent option for anyone, regardless of your style. Whether you love basics, brighter patterns, tighter outfits, or something a little more billowy, there’s a sundress for you. According to Net-a-Porter stylist Kacey Bellino, a sundress can accentuate any body part, you just have to know which features to look out for. “Have great legs? Go for a mini. Want to show off your toned arms? Try sleeveless. Your waist? Experiment with cut-out styles. Have an especially sun-kissed back? Try an open-back silhouette,” she explains.
To choose the sundress that makes you feel your best, we conducted hours of research and tried some best-selling options for ourselves. Once we got a good idea of which ones we liked best, we tapped a few experts to get their takes on fabrication, styling, and more. Ahead, find the best sundresses to add to your wardrobe.
Hill House Home The Ellie Nap Dress
This comfy-chic dress from Hill House took the world by storm, and we assure you that it's for good reason. Between the soft, comfortable material and pretty custom prints, you’ll want to collect them all. As the name suggests, it’s comfortable enough to sleep in, but thanks to ruffle detailing and an A-line silhouette, it’s luxe, feminine, and great for just about any situation. The sizes span XXS to XXL and it tends to sell out, so if you see one you like, we recommend snagging it while you can.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Cotton or crepe | Size Range: XXS–XXL | Colors: 20, including Cherry Stripe, Blue Botanical, Green Vine Stripe +more
Yobecho Summer Ruffle Mini Dress
With well over 11,000 reviews, you can trust that this Amazon pick deserves its glowing feedback. The sweetheart neckline and ruffled skirt add a romantic touch without going over the top and comes in 11 color variations. As for the price point, it’s super affordable, so you could very well buy a bunch to keep on steady rotation in your closet this summer.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Polyester | Size Range: S–XXL | Colors: 23, including Yellow, Wine Red, Dark Green +more
Hemant and Nandita Tula Plunged Long Dress
If you’ve got a little extra money to spend, consider splurging on this gorgeous sundress from Hemant and Nandita. A must-have in any closet, this plunge-neckline dress features frill detailing, a cinched waist, and a pretty floral design. The cotton fabric is breathable, and when paired with the high-leg slit, you can bet this style will come in handy on sweltering days. Pair it with a layered necklace or a funky chain and you’re all set for any occasion.
Price at time of publish: $549
Material: Cotton | Size Range: XS–XL | Colors: Carnation Pink
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 iconic ‘90s slip style has come back season after season and we believe it’s because of how versatile it is. The cupro fabric is just as smooth as silk (though it’s actually way more durable and machine washable) and lays beautifully on the body. It works well on its own, but we also love it underneath a blazer or a cardigan.
Price at time of publish: $128
Material: Cupro | Size Range: XS–XXXL | Colors: 6, including Pale Cerulean Blue, Brilliant Kelly, Radiant Orchid +more
Abercrombie Crinkle Textured Maxi Dress
Abercrombie produces consistently high-quality dresses at accessible price points. This particular sundress is comfortable, boasts a flattering silhouette, and is available in many colors, from hot pink and powder blue to white, black, and floral options. Between the textured fabric, ruching details along the bodice, adjustable straps, and the babydoll silhouette, this dress is a far-from-basic, fashion-forward choice. We’re also fans of how Abercrombie consistently offers Petite, Regular, and Tall fits for their dresses, helping to ensure that the length won’t be too short or too long for your body.
Price at time of publish: $110
Material: Polyester, elastane, viscose, and nylon | Size Range: XXS–XXL | Colors: 5, including Pink, Blue, White +more
House of CB Carmen Bustier Sundress
Behold your new favorite dress from House of CB, known for its hourglass silhouettes and flirty styles. The Carmen Bustier Sundress 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 slit that shares a peek of leg. The array of dreamy shades makes it even more sweet, feminine, and garden party chic. Consider this the “it girl” ensemble of the summer—guaranteed to be your most complimented piece of the season.
Price at time of publish: $225
Material: Cotton, nylon, and polyester | Size Range: XS–XL | Colors: 4, including Buttercup, Rose Print, Red Rose +more
Hollister Eyelet Mini Dress
The ideal sundress for those triple-temperature days is something as light and breezy as possible. This Hollister mini fits the bill with a playful silhouette accentuated by the wrap-style skirt and flattering midsection. The tailoring creates an hourglass figure for all who wear it, and we especially love that the style comes in short, regular, and long lengths, as well as adjustable straps that ensure a perfect fit. Made for those sun-soaked, laid-back days, it’s a versatile summer staple you could easily transition from day to night.
Price at time of publish: $39
Material: Cotton | Size Range: XXS–XXL | Colors: White and White Floral
Faherty Lakeview Linen Dress
Considering this dress is made from pure linen (minus the metal adjustable enclosures on the cotton straps), it’s an incredible value garment from Faherty. The breezy skirt and the breathable material are ideal for the humid summer heat that tends to make clothing stick to your skin. The quintessential summer dress is exactly like the ones you remember from childhood, down to the smock bodice and spaghetti straps. Keep in mind that linen is prone to wrinkles, but we think that only adds to the lived-in effortlessly cool aesthetic of the ‘fit.
Price at time of publish: $188
Material: Linen | Size Range: XXS–XL | Colors: Blue Bombay Stripe
YanYan Leon Maxi Dress in Dawn
Yan Yan specializes in eclectic knitwear and this dress is certainly among their best items. The designers incorporate Chinese heritage in a modern, youthful approach and include bright colorways in each design. This knit calf-length dress is one of a kind, down to its space-dyed yarn and intricate blanket stitch. We’re big fans of how vivid the orange sunset-hued color is reminiscent of Impressionist artwork (and how gorgeous it looks during those golden hour selfies).
Price at time of publish: $350
Material: Space dye linen and space dye viscose rayon | Size Range: S–L | Colors: Dawn Orange
Free People Embrace Strapless Convertible Maxi Dress
Strapless dresses accentuate the décolletage, collarbone, and whatever jewelry you’re sporting on your neck. This easygoing strapless number from Free People is a great piece to have in your wardrobe as you get two looks for the price of one, all you have to do is flip it around. You can either leave the ruching on the front of the dress for a more conservative look (and leave the cutouts on the back) or flip the dress and let the cutouts do the talking.
Price at time of publish: $78
Material: Viscose, elastane | Size Range: XS–XL | Colors: Scuba Blue and Black
Lulus View from the Meadow Bright Orange Off-the-Shoulder Dress
Designed with a ruffled smock bodice, a 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 lowkey picnics and cocktail parties alike.
Price at time of publish: $69
Material: Rayon | Size Range: XS–XL | Colors: 8, including Cream Floral Print, Slate Blue, Olive Green +more
Reformation Frankie Linen Dress
Whether you’re attending a beach or outdoor wedding, this Reformation dress guarantees elegance while still maintaining the easy comfort of a sundress. It features a fitted bodice that adds more structure to the look while the tasteful back slit allows for comfortable movement. Pair it with strappy wrap-around heels and gold accessories to dress up for your next formal event (or wear it with flat sandals and a floppy hat for your own "White Lotus" moment.
Price at time of publish: $248
Material: Linen | Size Range: XS–L | Colors: White, Willow, and Admire
If you’re looking for a sundress so comfortable you could sleep in it, we can’t recommend the Hill House Home Ellie The Nap Dress enough. The super popular dress is far from shabby, though; in fact, it features ruffles and an A-line silhouette that make it a great option for the office, date nights, more formal events, and everything in between. For something more affordable, check out the Yobecho Summer Ruffle Mini Dress, a dress that comes in upwards of 20 colors and has well over 11,000 glowing reviews on Amazon.
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 Sundresses
The main thing to look for in a sundress is “something soft and breathable for hot summer days and nights,” according to Casi Stewart, a stylist and the founder of Kismet Collective. She says cotton or linen (which can be found in the Faherty Lakeview Linen Dress) is ideal, but polyester (like that in the Abercrombie Crinkle Textured Maxi Dress), viscose, and rayon are also commonly used materials that can come at a more affordable price point. Bellino adds that “dresses made of chiffon, silks, and crepes, for example, are more suitable for evening, and can be worn for a date night or even a wedding.”
As always, go for whatever fits you comfortably and works with your proportions. “Silhouettes really depend on your body type, but I’ve yet to meet a person that A-line doesn’t work on,” says Stewart. Some occasions can dictate a certain silhouette; maxi and midi dresses, like the Reformation Frankie Linen Dress for example, are better suited for work and fancier events while mini dresses—like the Hollister Eyelet Mini Dress—work well for more casual, daytime activities.
Consider playing around with fun sleeve options, necklines, and cuts to add more flair to the typical sundress. We love strategically placed cut-outs to enhance your figure and add more of a distinctive twist to your dress. “Length and neckline are a great way to change things up,” says celeb stylist Michael Fusco. “A trendier sundress style with cutouts or bolder hues really helps you stand out.” The Free People Embrace Strapless Convertible Maxi Dress is a great choice, as it has the option of front or back cutouts and comes in a bold shade.
What is considered a sundress?
“A sundress is a closet staple for easy, summer-ready dressing,” explains Bellino. “Sundresses are cut in silhouettes that keep you cool throughout the warmer months and are commonly made out of lightweight, breathable materials. They’re no longer just for the beach but intended to be styled up for work or even a wedding.”
How do you style a sundress?
One of the beauties of sundresses is that they’re so versatile. They can easily be dressed up or down with items like a leather jacket for an edgier effect or a cardigan for that soft feminine aesthetic. You can opt for accessories like a belt or a “fun straw purse, a pop of color, and a funky shoe,” Stewart says.
Naturally, however, styling a sundress often comes down to where you’re going. “For the beach, style a sundress with a bright swimsuit underneath, some sunnies, a flat sandal, and your beach bag,” Bellino says. “A day event calls for lace-up sandals, a raffia bag, and stacked gold and beaded jewelry.” If you’re wearing a sundress to a wedding, consider high heels, a woven clutch, and simple fine jewelry, she adds. Finally, if you’re wearing a sundress to the office—be sure to throw a denim jacket on top or an oversized blazer and retro sneakers, Bellino says.
How do you transition a sundress from day to night?
“Transitioning a sundress from day to night only requires a few simple changes; for daytime, beach jewelry is perfect—think beads, pearls, and shell motifs stacked heavily on the wrists and ears,” Bellino says. “For evening, swap out the more casual pieces and substitute them for more delicate, refined jewelry (like a gold necklace and rings), trade your flats for a kitten-heel mule or heeled sandals, and swap your beachy tote for a clutch that can be tucked under your arm.”
What shoes can you wear with sundresses?
Fusco recommends wearing leather slides, sneakers, or espadrilles for more casual settings and heeled strappy sandals, gladiators, or open-toed pumps for the evening. We’re also huge fans of knee-high or cowboy boots for a more trendy look.
Why Trust Byrdie
Caitlyn Martyn is a staff commerce writer at Byrdie, where she covers all things beauty and style. An avid product tester, she likes to try the latest and greatest in makeup, skincare, and fashion to let readers know what’s worth it and what’s not. She considers sundresses an essential part of her summertime wardrobe. Her collection has picks from brands like Reformation, Abercrombie, Aritzia, and more.
Rachel Lee is a Byrdie contributor and style editor who has been with Dotdash Meredith since 2021.