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.
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.
Here are our picks of the best maxi dresses available to buy right now.
Staud Baya printed dress
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 (net-a-porter.com)
Les Rêveries floral print V-neck silk dress
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 (selfridges.com)
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
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
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 (net-a-porter.com)
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
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 (Selfridges.com)
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
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 (matchesfashion.com)
Opening image: Staud
Product imagery: courtesy of individual brands