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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Ellie Davis

Best summer dresses 2022: Midi and maxi dresses for the warmer months

Summer dressing was and always has been a minefield.

First you have to think about the ever-changing British weather. Just because the day starts off with beautiful sunshine does not for one minute suggest that it will end the same way.

Next, consider breathability, especially when navigating a heaving sauna of a commute. You’ll also want to factor in how much skin you want to show if you’re dressing for work. This is a fine balance that can go seriously wrong.

We believe that there’s one foolproof item you need in your warm weather arsenal to see you through your social and office commitments. A summer dress.

Going to the pub? Tick. Returning to the office? Tick. Picnicking with friends? Tick. Restaurant outside? Tick - but remember tights and/or layers.

See our pick of the best floaty frocks to see you through the summer and beyond.

Omnes Rosalyn Mini Dress in Pink Zebra

If you’re looking to break away from classic floral designs this summer, animal print is a good direction to take. It has a level of neutrality that seems surprising and can be paired with just about any accessories, while working for all occasions. Zebra takes a starring role on this piece with a pink and red design set on a classic wrap silhouette. The piece is made from EcoVero Viscose sourced from renewable wood resources.

Buy now £55.00, Omnes

Rebecca Vallance Iggy cutout printed linen-blend mini dress

It is with impeccably cut pieces, vibrant prints and feminine cuts that Rebecca Vallance’s eponymous label excels and these are the elements that make up the Iggy mini dress pictured. Crafted from a linen fabric that is breathable and summer-ready, it is given occasion appeal with a geometric print, voluminous sleeves and the cut-out back.

Buy now, Net-A-Porter

Sleeper + NET SUSTAIN Boheme feather-trimmed ECOVERO-satin mini dress

Ukrainian label Sleeper is best known for its party pyjamas but the brand turns to another traditionally home ensemble, transforming underwear to outerwear. The classic 90s slip dress is given added elegance with the label’s signature feather detailing. It sits at a mini length using trademarked ECOVERO satin. For all your festivities this summer (wedding guest aside, of course).

Buy now £240.00, Net-A-Porter

Never Fully Dressed Black And Leopard May Dress

Leopard print pieces can sometimes land you in Pat Butcher’s wheelhouse but not this elegant number from Never Fully Dressed. The piece sets the fierce design on a midi with a black neckline and puff sleeves in a black hue. It has a satin feel and can be dressed up or down depending on your day to night needs.

Buy now £89.00, Never Fully Dressed

Louisa Ballou Heatwave starfish-print mesh mini dress

You may have spotted this dress on your Instagram feed as it’s already a hit with some of the most stylish names on the platform. It is designed by Louisa Ballou, a Central Saint Martins graduate who draws inspiration from her seaside upbringing. This starfish design not only instantly transports you to golden sands but has been hand-painted by the designer herself set on Italian mesh. Alter the asymmetric hem with the toggle side.

Buy now £345.00, Matches Fashion

Mango Knit dress bra effect

Mango should be one of your first ports of call this season. The high street hero has seriously stepped up the summer-dressing stakes with its offering that includes this sophisticated knit. While ‘knit’ and its long-sleeve construction may not immediately ignite thoughts of summer, this is the UK after all and there is bound to be days that call for a little extra in the way of warmth. The red colour is universally flattering and the bra is given added refinement with a scallop trim.

Buy now £49.99, Mango

Staud Seashore striped ribbed cotton-blend midi dress

LA label Staud is on hand to inject colour into your monochrome winter wardrobe with aplomb. The midi is made from a ribbed cotton blend and given the eye-catching colourway of lively yellow, green, orange and pink contrasting stripes. There’s a slit on the side for a subtly sensuous touch but also to make it easier to walk. Who said fashion couldn’t be functional too?

Buy now £260.00, Net-A-Porter

& Other Stories Puff Sleeve Linen Midi Dress

Linen is perhaps the fabric most synonymous with summer and you’ll be thanking the designers at & Other Stories for using it to create this red mini dress when you’re squashed between armpits on your morning commute. The fabric is airy and light. The colourway is endearing too in a bold red but if you’re looking for something more demure, it also comes in white. This dress is a boardroom to bar worthy option.

Buy now £95.00, & Other Stories

Reformation Morgan Dress

When it comes to cutesy summer fashion, Reformation has got it spot on. The extensive offering of silhouettes in varying patterns leaves something for every taste - but the one that has caught our eye is this romantic style. The mini dress is adorned with a heart print, puff sleeves and a tie detail.

Buy now £248.00, Reformation

Mango Crochet cotton dress

To complete your holiday wardrobe, introduce this crochet piece. The openwork design is chic and timeless, destined to be worn year after year in warm weather destinations around the globe.

Buy now £79.99, Mango

H&M Linen-blend dress

This linen mini dress from H&M is a surefire win no matter your summer arrangements. With its ditsy floral design, you can pair with trainers or strappy sandals whether you are going smart or casual.

Buy now £19.99, H&M

Self-Portrait Cutout ruched stretch-crepe mini dress

You may notice a theme to some of the dresses in this roundup and it’s the ubiquity of green hues. From apple green to lime, the shade is everywhere on the high street and beyond. Tap into the trend with this Self-Portrait mini dress. It has a flattering ruched design, cut-out and ties that make it sultry in all the best ways, while it’s still covered up enough to be wedding outfit fodder.

Buy now £320.00, Net-A-Porter

M&S Pure Cotton Printed Midaxi Tiered Dress

Dreaming of warmer climes? Dress the part with this zebra print piece from M&S. While the print is bold, you’ll be surprised at its versatility. From beer gardens to birthdays - this is a statement dress that is relaxed and easy to throw on.

Buy now £39.50, M&S

Mango Cut-out detail dress

This cut-out frock just ticks so many boxes. It’s sensual yet sophisticated, demure yet exposes just enough skin. It also adheres to the neutral palette for colourphobes everywhere. Add to basket before it’s too late.

Buy now £59.99, Mango

ROTATE Birger Christensen Thora jacquard maxi dress

After the dreariness of our lockdown wardrobes, this is the mood-boosting, feel-good frock you didn’t know you needed to put a smile on your face. ROTATE Birger Christensen has got your wedding guest dressing covered with an eye-popping neon green number that has immense wearability and a surprising timelessness.

Buy now £250.00, Net-A-Porter

MISBHV Monogram Print Mini Dress

The perennial appeal of the 90s rages on with this high hemline dress. Prepare to heat up your summer styles and flash your pins with the logo-embellished mini from the hyped about Polish label MISBHV. Let the dress do the talking and go minimalistic with accessories or enhance the piece with bold and bright jewels or a neon bag.

Buy now £270.00, Browns Fashion

Warehouse Textured Tank Vest Midi Dress

Whether you are Greek island hopping or staycationing this summer, this Warehouse midi brings the holiday feels home. With its cheery striped print, this is one of those dresses that will form the basis of your summer wardrobe for years to come.

Buy now £34.30, Warehouse

Mango Bow knitted dress

Mango has nailed this basics with this knitted dress. While it looks sophisticated and put together, it has a throw-on-and-go quality that is the perfect sartorial stepping stone from our baggy cold weather wear. A hard-working summer staple, it has a tie-detail at the back of the neck.

Buy now, Mango

The Amelia dress in Nudité

Clothing-related woes are rife at the moment so adding a frock like The Amelia to your wardrobe and you’ll never experience the panic of what to wear for a last minute rendezvous.

Formal occasion? Wear gold or silver jewellery, strappy sandals or heels. Casual? No problem - flats and colourful beaded pieces will do the trick.

Buy now £210.00, Realisation Par

Hush Orchid Gathered Mini Dress

This feminine number has won our hearts. When it comes to summer dress shopping, florals may not be groundbreaking but they are a foolproof solution to answer any warm weather related sartorial panics. hush has set the ditsy print onto a mini with a flattering ruching and puffed sleeves.

Buy now £99.00, Hush

Jigsaw Shadow Ditsy Tea Dress

This is the perfect piece to set the pace of your social summer life at the sweet spot between subtle and statement. Heading to the office won’t be a sartorial shock to the system when the temperatures rise as you’ll be prepared with a frock that can take you from work to the weekend with ease. On brisk evenings or in air-conditioned rooms, you’ll be thankful for the sleeves.

Buy now £165.00, Jigsaw

Nobody’s Child Ella Midi Dress

This dress will put the spring in your step with a feel-good warm weather look no matter what the British summer throws at us. This easy, breezy style is an effortless wardrobe win. It has a smock design with voluminous puff sleeves.

Buy now £89.00, Nobody’s Child

Hunter Bell Lilah Dress

We may not be all be heading to Coachella this summer but that shouldn’t stop us from dressing the part. Channel the desert vibes with this festival-ready crochet dress. It’s deliciously boho with a hand-crochet construction.

Buy now £595.00, Hunter Bell

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