There are few items as synonymous with summer style as white dresses, and for good reason. Whether you’re prepping for a day of errands, heading to the beach, dressing up for a cocktail party or venturing out for a weekend getaway, you just can’t go wrong with the simple, effortless, polished look of a white dress. Seriously, there’s just one occasion for which a white dress isn’t a fit during the summer months, and that’s when you’re attending a wedding.
White dresses are an essential summer staple, as aside from being inherently stylish, these breezy frocks are ideal as temperatures skyrocket during these long, hot and sticky days. There are also so many variations on white dresses, whether you’re looking for a boho prairie midi, a short LWD, a gauzy tiered frock, a sheer beach cover-up or a flowing maxi dress, in lightweight fabrics like linen, cotton or silk.
Subscribe to Observer’s Lifestyle Newsletter
While summer trends come and go, we guarantee you that white dresses, albeit in different forms, will always be in style. Below, see our favorite frothy white frocks that epitomize chic summer dressing.
Zeus+Dione Ione Midi Dress
Channel your inner Greek goddess in this feminine midi dress; it’s a loose cut, with braided buttons and a slight cutout that reveals just a glimpse of skin. We think it’s the perfect day-to-night frock. $740, Net-a-Porter.
Ba&sh Byrd Dress
No summer wardrobe is complete without a white eyelet dress. This breezy, ruffle-accented midi has us dreaming of frolicking around the French countryside. $335, Ba&sh.
Kinga Csilla Recycled Santorini Dress
This billowy, crisp white long-sleeved dress belongs on your next vacation mood board, and it also happens to be made entirely of post-consumer recycled cotton. $295, Kinga Csilla.
Hill House Home Ellie Nap Dress
Hill House Home’s cult-favorite nap dresses might just be the MVP of this post-isolation world we’re living in, and this sheer white polka dot frock is so chic for summer. Comfort *and* fashion is really what we’re going for nowadays. $125, Hill House Home.
Gauge81 Adeje Short Knitted Dress
If you prefer dresses with more of a body-skimming fit, try this white knit mini. $570, Gauge81.
Faithfull The Brand x Net Sustain Camden Dress
We’re very into the ultra-flattering smocking on this cotton-terry midi dress, and the spaghetti straps are ideal for those painfully humid days ahead. $199, Net-a-Porter.
Lake Pajamas Poplin Ruffle Neck Dress
This lightweight cotton dress is perfect for those sweltering summer days when you need stay cool yet put together. It has a high ruffled neckline and loose, ever-so-slightly flared silhouette, so you can dress it up or down. $132, Lake Pajamas.
Poupette Amber Mini Dress
You can’t go wrong with a flouncy little white mini dress. $280, Poupette St. Barth.
Rails Amaya Dress
You’re sure to live in this white linen frock, with its square neckline and tiered skirt, this entire season. Throw it on over your bathing suit or dress it up with a pair of strappy sandals. $188, Rails.
Cecilie Bahnsen Heather Dress
Cecilie Bahnsen’s ethereal dresses always blend the best of high fashion with actual wearability. This spaghetti strap style has a fitted bodice with a pleated skirt that flairs out around the ankle, and it’s giving us serious garden party vibes. $1,086, Moda Operandi.
Reformation Liah Dress
As much as we adore a flowing tea-length frock, sometimes you just want to wear a little mini, like this lovely poplin dress from cool girl fav Reformation. $198, Reformation.
J. Crew Button-Front Cotton Poplin Dress
We think scoop necks are seriously underrated, as proven by this ’90s-esque button-down look. $128, J. Crew.
LoveShackFancy Divine Mini Dress
There’s a reason you’ve surely spotted LoveShackFancy’s romantic dresses are all over the place this season; the feminine dresses hit just the right note of whimsy, like this white crochet mini with puffed short sleeves. $425, Net-a-Porter.
Cider Button Down Drop Shoulder Shirt Dress
The white button-down shirt dress is a classic, but we love the modernized look of this long-sleeved number. If you want to try the silhouette without throwing down a ton of money, this is a great option. $24, Cider.
Bleusalt The Slip Dress
An effortless white slip dress is foolproof. $200, Bleusalt.
Charo Ruiz Stelle Tiered Mini Dress
This LWD (we’re making it a thing, ok?!) has everything we’ve ever wanted for a summer dress—there’s the smocked bodice, the tiered A-line skirt, the eyelet details *and* the lace-y spaghetti straps of all our vacation dreams. It’s very high up on our current “add to cart” list. $425, Intermix.
Honorine Georgia Cotton Seersucker Dress
You could just as easily wear this long-sleeved, cinched-waist midi on a picturesque trip to the farmer’s market over the weekend as for a busy day of meetings in the city. $395, Net-a-Porter.