Baking hot sun, stifling humidity, pouring rain and cold snaps – our fair isle’s summer season gives us weather like no other, and we never quite know what to expect.
Although it’s always a good idea to have a warm jumper close to hand, we’re here to prove that those cute summer dresses you normally reserve for vacations can be worn for almost any summer occasion.
How to pick the perfect summer dress
There are a few key things to look out for when choosing your summer dress – naturally, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be comfortable, feel confident and look great even if you’re just wearing it on the grocery run.
1. Choose the right shape for your body type
The first thing you should consider when buying your summer dress is your body type; this will help you choose the fit that looks best on you!
Although we firmly believe that anyone can look great in any kind of dress, we have some top tips for finding a shape that’ll make you feel your most confident.
If you’re tall, opting for a midi or maxi dress will work best for you, as shorter dresses may not provide enough cover. Opt for details like ruffles or floral prints to show off your stature!
If you’re petite, shorter or midi sun dresses will suit you best, as a maxi dress could swamp your smaller frame.
Shift dresses, belted dresses and wrap dresses are all winners when it comes to hiding various lumps and bumps, whereas ruched or babydoll dresses can soften an angular frame.
2. Choose a breathable fabric
Summer is all about sun, so your summer dress will need to keep you cool on hot days spent outdoors. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and viscose to keep things easy and breezy – plus, these materials all make for wonderfully romantic, swishy summer dresses.
3. Print or plain?
Perhaps the most difficult part, choosing between print or plain can be incredibly confusing when faced with an array of beautiful summer dresses.
Our top tip is to consider the clothes you already own: if your wardrobe is packed to the brim with prints, you know what to do! If it’s mostly plain fabrics, choose a block coloured summer dress, or be bold and use this as an opportunity to switch things up and add print. Summertime is made for adventure, after all!
How to dress for summer: styling your summer dress for any occasion
So you’ve found the perfect dress, why leave it hanging in the wardrobe waiting for the perfect summer’s day? Here’s how to get the most wear out of it, and beat the weather while you’re at it.
At a barbeque
A much-loved summer weekend activity, a summer dress is practically made to be worn at a barbeque.
Go for a looser fit, like a wrap dress or a floaty maxi dress, to ensure comfort all evening long, and avoid plain white dresses in case of ketchup spills.
When it comes to styling your summer dress for a cookout, we love adding a pair of flat sandals or trainers to give the outfit a casual edge, then add some delicate gold or silver jewellery to balance things out.
Plan ahead and incorporate a warm jacket or cardigan into your outfit for when the sun (and temperature) goes down. Shorter summer dresses look great with a chunky knit cardigan thrown on top, whereas a flowing maxi dress will be perfectly in proportion topped with a cropped leather biker jacket.
Don’t forget a glam pair of sunglasses to complete the look!
For a wedding
Although they may come across as casual, summer dresses are incredibly easy to glam up, and can even be appropriate for wedding guests.
Fabric is key when choosing a summer dress for a wedding; you’ll want to choose something high-quality and thicker than the likes of a beach dress. Print or plain both work well, as do short or long summer dresses – the choice is yours!
The trick for making a summer dress wedding-appropriate is accessorising. Opt for a sleek pair of stilettos to elevate your look, or wedges if you’re not very steady in heels (they’ll give you more support). Add statement earrings and a chic clutch bag (we love matching the colour to our shoes for a coordinated look) and you’re wedding ready!
At a family party
Communions, confirmations, graduations: you name it, there’s a family party for it.
A simple summer dress allows you to forgo those weeks spent stressing about the perfect party outfit, and how to match those trousers with that top… just throw it on with a comfortable pair of espadrilles or a low block heel, pop a tailored blazer on top, and you’re good to go.
Depending which occasion you’re attending, it’s best to choose thicker fabrics and midi styles for communion or confirmation parties; opt for a bright shade or fun print to elevate the look.
For a night on the town
Outdoor dining is here, and there simply is no better joy than getting dressed up to meet your friends for a night out.
Go all out: opt for a summer dress with ruffles, an off the shoulder style reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot, or a satin slip dress and match it with a pair of strappy sandals, your favourite shoulder bag and most importantly – a warm jacket! We love an oversized blazer or effortless denim jacket for keeping cosy.
Where can you buy cute summer dresses?
Luckily, Littlewoods stocks a full range of summer dresses, from classic maxis to the trendiest minis.