best summer dresses

The tricky thing with blogging is that to feel somewhat relevant there’s a constant demand for newness, especially when  it comes to buying stuff. I buy pieces I love and that make me feel great, so a lot of what you see on this blog is pieces I’ve owned for a while and not necessarily available to buy anymore, which I know for some can be annoying but the truth is I don’t go shopping every single week for clothes and I’m sure many of you don’t either.

When I write about style, and the pieces that make me feel empowered, my hope is to inspire you to find the same from the pieces you wear, irrelevant of whether or not they ‘suit you’, or are ‘on trend’. Even when it comes to makeup, most of what I am sent from PR’s goes into my professional makeup kit and the pieces I rely on in my own makeup bag are few and far between in terms of the makeup I wear everyday. So I hope you guys don’t mind that the dresses I’m wearing in these photos aren’t new, but I’ve linked to similar items in the shop the post section, and anything I do buy new you can find in my ‘shop style’ section in the shop.

the best summer dresses

As the weather heats up, a dress is my go to for comfort and versatility. I find accessories (in particular shoes and jewellery) can very quickly transform a dress from day to night. My fabric preference for summer dresses is a light cotton or a linen fabric as it really does keep you cooler and much more comfortable in the heat. I like dresses that cover my arms if the hem line is a little shorter as I prefer to tan my legs and keep out of the sun on my shoulders because I always burn there first, obviously there are times when only a 90’s spaghetti strap dress will do in extreme heat, but generally speaking, the dresses I’m wearing in these photos are my go to shape and length. I can wear with a pair of flat sandals for day time, and switch to a pair of heels for evening.

The blue dress is one I bought from Zara last summer and I loved it so much I also bought it in red. A gingham dress always feels timeless to me and while smock dresses can seem terrifying, this one isn’t too twee. It sits on the right side of voluminous without being too extreme. I love the sleeves on this and the shorter hem line makes it feel a little sixties.  When the weather reaches the high temperatures, this feels like I’m wearing nothing, in a good way. It feels light and airy and I think a smock dress can actually be a great summer cover up when you find a shape that you love. I tend to wear it with these Zara flats for day time and add heels to dress it up in the evening.

the best summer dresses
the best summer dresses

This white dress is a very light cotton dress I bought from topshop about a year ago and I think every woman should have a cotton white dress. It really is the epitome of summer and just makes me think of holidays, granted its not the best colour to wear when your a makeup artist though! I like the subtle nod to a Victoriana styling and the ruffles on the front panel give it a nice detail. The other accessory I’ve been experimenting with recently is head bands. Urban Outfitters has a great selection and this rustic twill fabric topknot headband is my go to beach or pool side accessory, great for keeping fringes out of the way in the heat. I bought a blue and white gingham (very fifties) and a plain navy one which I actually wear a lot with jeans and a t-shirt.

For me the perfect summer dress is slightly whimsical yet still low maintenance, and above all it should be comfortable.  I opt for dresses with a laid back feel, that work hard in my wardrobe. Pair with a basket bag (I got mine from Melrose Trading Post Market here in LA) and some gold coin necklaces and you’re good to go. Let me know the dresses you’ll be wearing this summer in the comments below.

Photos Kayla Varley