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Summer Style - your guide to selecting a great summer dress

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

It might not feel very summery with the weather we’ve been experiencing lately, but if the sunshine re-emerges here, then you may be on the hunt for a summer dress that will keep you cool and make you feel great every time you wear it.

There are so many choices available, but don’t feel the urge to panic buy because the weather suddenly changes! Think carefully about pieces you already have and select something that isn’t identical to every other dress you already own (otherwise what’s the point of the purchase?!).

Do ensure you look at fabric choices, obviously linen is a perfect summer staple to keep you cool and it also dries quickly (should you get caught in another rain shower!). However, don’t rule out other options, such as cotton and viscose which can be great in the warm weather as are breathable fabrics. One thing to remember is that these are all materials that will crease – if this is the kind of thing that would drive you insane, look at linen or cotton blends (where they’re mixed with another fabric like polyester) to give you less chance or looking like you’ve been rolling in a field by the time you arrive at your destination!

The length of your dress can also make or break whether you feel great in it or not. As a general rule I encourage clients to try and not pick dresses that sit exactly on the knee. I find that this length can age most women – so if you don’t like hemlines above your knee, aim for a midi dress, which is a really versatile style that you can easily dress up or down.

Boden Olivia Linen Shirt Dress - was £90.00, now £54.00

Different styles of straps are a great way to enhance your shape – wide or one-shoulder straps look amazing on bodies that have broader shoulders and thin spaghetti straps are perfect for balancing out curvy bottoms. If you like the idea of a strapless dress, consider how comfortable this is and whether you’ll be spending a lot of time pulling it up!

Colour is a very personal choice, if you love bright and vivid shades then a summer dress is the ideal way to showcase this. However, if you’re unsure what suits you pick a classic white or natural colour dress that will then go with all types of accessories and give you lots more wear. If the thought of a light shade terrifies you (think dogs, children or chocolate!) consider navy or khaki – both are wearable colours that work with metallic or nude sandals and are softer than black on most skin tones.

Whatever dress you pick, its job is to enhance your body shape – so don’t hide under dresses that are too big. Embrace the shape you are and wear your new summer dress with confidence!


Isabel Kelly is a fashion stylist and writer. Find her at or on Instagram @thewardrobeedituk

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