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The Fashion Memo

20 of the best summer dresses

From floor-sweeping hems and retro minis to riotous prints and romantic ruffles, these dresses will evoke sun-drenched days, no matter when you wear them

Chloé, Stella McCartney and Valentino SS19

Is there a more feel-good piece of clothing than the summer dress? If there is, we’d like to meet it. Even just holding one up against your body has the power to make you feel lighter, transporting you to carefree, sun-kissed days. The secret to finding the perfect style for you? Think about where and how you want to wear it then choose a dress that fits the brief.

Looking for something pretty with an element of prim to see you through summer in the city? Seek out Rejina Pyo, Prada or Maje for ladylike midi dresses. Off to a festival? Try LoveShackFancy or Racil for ’90s-inspired styles – team with chunky combat boots and you’re good to go. If you’re heading to the unspoiled side of Ibiza, exploring a Moroccan souk or lazing on a Goan beach, channel the season’s bohemian mood by opting for Loewe’s scarf-print designs or Chloé’s crotchet dress. Off on a city break in search of nightlife? Pack a scene-stealing mini in a suitably saturated shade: Balenciaga’s jewel-tone designs and Jacquemus’ playful fuchsia showpiece are summer standouts. If garden parties are on the agenda, choose fresh, palette-cleansing pieces like Stella McCartney’s diaphanous mint gown. Save your floral gowns for wedding season: Oscar de la Renta and Etro sent ravishing printed dresses down the runway, but if you really want to outshine the bride (we won’t question your motivation) then it has to be the kaleidoscopic masterpiece Kaia Gerber wore at the Valentino show – ‘best-dressed guest’ status, guaranteed.


  • Chloé
    Fringed crocheted cotton-blend maxi dress
  • Stella McCartney
    Ruffled floral-print silk-crepon mini dress
  • Cult Gaia
    Theia cutout printed linen maxi dress
  • Khaite
    Delphine shirred pleated cotton-poplin dress

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