9 maxi dresses you need for the summer heatwave

Posted by
Kitty McGee

Hemlines are coming down as the temperature goes up. Bold, bright maxi dresses are an effortless way to stay - and look - cool this summer.

Summer 2018 was all about the statement dress, and the dress continues to reign supreme this season. Lengths have come down further from last year’s midi lengths so look for loose silhouettes and ankle-grazing hemlines for instant, on-trend chic.

Collar bone skimming straps and voluminous shapes are perfect for understated sexy summer style. Sugary pastel shades and tiered details work well for daytime with delicate gold jewellery, a canvas tote bag, a colourful fan and leather sandals

Ruffle and wrap details work best for a fresh take on summer evening dressing; just add a headband, barely there sandals and a statement evening bag

Slightly thicker linen and cotton mix maxi dresses look great in saturated shades for weekends in the garden or picnicking in the local park. Wear these with dad sandals, retro sunglasses and a crossbody bag

As autumn approaches re-think your look by layering your summer dress over a cotton t-shirt or adding a cardigan or lightweight utility jacket and either chunky casual sandals or trainers. 

Here are our picks of the best maxi dresses available to buy right now.

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  • Staud Baya printed dress

    Staud Baya pleated printed

    This elegant crepe de chine dress with flattering cap sleeves and a bias cut is the perfect choice for a summer wedding; just add a statement hair accessory and simple strappy sandals.

    Baya printed maxi dress, £300, Staud (

  • Les Rêveries floral print V-neck silk dress

    Les Reveries floral dress at Selfridges

    Headed up by New-York based cool girls Ai Ly and Wayne Lee, fashion insider favourite Les Rêveries’ signature style is the floral print silk maxi dress. This balloon-sleeved dress is the perfect length for all seasons; wear it with a roll neck and boots come autumn, with a trench coat on top. 

    Puff sleeve dress dress, £615, Les Rêveries (

  • Kitri Alma gingham smocked dress

    Kitri orange red and white Alma Gingham Smocked Dress high street contemporary designer maxi dress
    Maxi dresses: Kitri Alma gingham smocked dress

    Cotton off-the-shoulder dresses are officially no longer reserved for nightwear. This style from Kitri is the perfect weekend choice. Wear it with a basket bag and trainers. 

    Gingham off-the-shoulder maxi dress, £145, Kitri

  • Reformation floral wrap dress

    Reformation floral dress at Net

    No summer dress round up would be complete without Reformation — this floral silk georgette maxi dress, with loose kaftan-style sleeves, a tie waist and a slit up the front, is perfect for warm weather weddings. Just add a nude sandal. 

    Winslow floral maxi dress, £255, Reformation

  • Kalita Zaharamaxi dress

    Kalita Zahara printed dress

    With its side frills that add a flamenco feel to this everyday dress, the billowing silhouette of this black, one-shouldered style makes it perfect for holidays; just add black strappy sandals and a basket bag. 

    One-shoulder maxi dress, £620, Kalita (

  • Ghost Avery floral print georgette dress

    GHOST Avery floral-print georgette dress
    Maxi dresses: Ghost Avery floral print georgette dress

    This long sleeved georgette dress is a failsafe choice for weddings and summer events, and easy to wear well into autumn with some strategic layering too. Wear it with strappy white sandals for events and over a white cotton t-shirt with trainers for daytime.

    Printed pastel blue georgette maxi dress, £195, Ghost

  • Zimmerman Verity shoulder-tie striped cotton dress

    Zimmerman stripe dress at Selfridges

    With a crisp cotton fabrication and a stripey hue that reminds us of beachfront umbrellas, this tiered maxi dress from Zimmerman is an easy, effortless choice for day-to-day dressing in the heat.

    Verity maxi dress, £550, Zimmerman (

  • Three Graces Aveline dress

    Three Graces Aveline dress

    Three Graces is the ultimate brand if you are looking for timeless, elegant, warm weather dressing. This chic cotton dress in a dreamy olive hue is a great option for holidays. 

    Aveline olive maxi dress, £450, Three Graces

  • Dodo Bar Or Myra cotton maxi dress

    Dodo Bar Or maxi dress at Matches Fashion

    Does it get more 1970s than this? Dodo Bar Or’s cotton dresses are the ultimate vacation staple – printed with a bohemian pattern, this off-the-shoulder billowing dress is best worn with sandals and a basket bag in Ibiza. 

    Printed cotton maxi dress, £275, Dodo Bar Or (

Opening image: Staud

Product imagery: courtesy of individual brands


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