12 red dresses to brighten up your summer wardrobe

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Often an overlooked wardrobe staple, a simple red dress can be transformative, adding an injection of joy into any occasion. Here, we’ve rounded up the best red dresses to shop now.

There are a few items that we have come to know as wardrobe classics: a little black dress, a crisp white shirt and a tailored jacket. If we prod a little deeper into the dresses section of our wardrobe essentials, we might also find a white cotton sundress, a shirt dress, a polka dot dress and maybe a holiday gown (you know the one that billows romantically in the wind). There is one dress that is often missing from this list of must-haves though, and this is a red dress, and this is by far the most powerful piece in your arsenal of dresses.

You see a red dress is quite unlike any other. A black dress might make you automatically feel done and elegant. A white dress is puritan dressing at its best. A navy dress is grown-up chic, and a neutral coloured dress plays into the Scandi minimalism that we all love. But a red dress is something completely different, because it immediately feels like a celebration: joyful, bright and playful, but powerful, too. No wonder it packs a serious sartorial punch.

The most recent spring/summer catwalks reminded us just how much we had been missing this dress from our line-up. Balenciaga gave us a huge red velvet ballgown, Christopher Kane served up a red tiered dress with heaps of volume and Michael Kors and Moschino served up red polka dot dresses. 

For some the idea of a red dress is quite daunting, but it’s as easy to wear as your trusty black dress. For an easy day time look team your dress with a throw-on denim jacket and trainers. For an evening or an occasion think ‘less is more’ and wear yours with simple gold jewellery and barely-there sandals.

Heat up your summer wardrobe with our edit of the spiciest red dresses. 

  • Ganni

    Ganni tiered dress
    Best red dresses: Ganni

    With some occasions back on the cards this year like intimate weddings and family gatherings, we can finally dress with celebration in mind. And if Ganni’s tiered floral dress doesn’t scream celebration, we don’t know what does. 

    Shop red dress, £205, Ganni

  • & Other Stories

    & Other Stories red dress
    Best red dresses: & Other Stories

    With its puff sleeves and flared hem, & Other Stories’ red linen dress is about as close to the dancing queen emoji as we will ever get. Finish the look with simple gold hoops. 

    Shop red dress, £95, & Other Stories 

  • Asos Curve

    Asos Curve
    Best red dresses: Asos Curve

    We love the sweet tie detail on the straps of this Asos Curve red patterned dress. Picnic dressing never looked so good. 

    Shop red dress, £30.40, Asos Curve 

  • Sika

    Sika red striped dress
    Best red dresses: Sika

    Sika is inspired by the rich and diverse culture of Ghana, where every fabric has been carefully selected in Ghanaian markets. Whether you’re banking this dress for your next holiday or a special occasion, it is guaranteed to make you feel joyful.

    Shop red dress, £195, Sika 

  • H&M

    H&M red dress
    Best red dresses: H&M

    If you’re looking for a throw-on red dress, H&M has got you covered. Team yours with simple sandals and a chic basket bag for an effortless summer look. 

    Shop red dress, £24.99, H&M

  • Lisou

    Lisou red dress
    Best red dresses: Lisou

    As some of us get reacquainted with our workwear wardrobes, we will be looking for an injection of newness. Try Lisou’s bold dress for a powerful addition. 

    Shop red dress, £273, Lisou 

  • Asceno

    Asceno red dress
    Best red dresses: Asceno

    Asceno’s red Ibiza dress is crafted from breezy linen and sports a gathered round neck that secures with whimsical ties, then falls to a sweeping hemline panel. Slip it on with leather sandals and a woven bag. 

    Shop red dress, £380, Asceno

  • Free People

    Free People
    Best red dresses: Free People

    Mini dresses are back with a bang this season. Try Free People’s tie-waist dress with a pair of slip-on mules of an elegant evening look. 

    Shop red dress, £48, Free People

  • Zara

    Zara red dress
    Best red dresses: Zara

    Zara has put easy-to-wear at the top of its red dress agenda. Thanks to its midi length and off-the-shoulder neckline, this dress will fast become your summer go-to. 

    Shop red dress, £49.99, Zara

  • Navabi

    Navabi
    Best red dresses: Navabi

    Fans of a throw-on dress are going to love this tiered smock dress from plus-size brand, Navabi. 

    Shop red dress, £105, Navabi

  • Whistles

    Whistles red dress
    Best red dress: Whistles

    Cut in a clean, straight silhouette, this midi dress from Whistles shows how simple design can make just as much of a statement. Try it with block heel sandals and an equally bright bag. 

    Shop red dress, £129, Whistles 

  • Arket

    Arket red dress
    Best red dresses: Arket

    Arket is known for its fuss-free dressing and the same can be said for their red dress offering. A simple satin dress with v-neck silhouette is just what minimalist shoppers will want from this trend. 

    Shop red dress, £40, Arket

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