Style Tips: Styling Summer Dresses

Summer dresses have become a recent passion of mine since moving to Europe. They’re effortless, breezy, comfortable, and don’t require matching a top and a bottom, which is always a plus. While I owned dresses in the US, I didn’t wear them as much due to my geographical location. In the last couple of years, I have purchased my fair share of summer dresses and I can’t wait to share them (and the styling tips!) with you. Just because they’re easy to throw on doesn’t mean we shouldn’t step up our styling game.

Linen Summer Dresses (And Alternatives)

I may or may not have a slight obsession with this dress. It’s 100% linen and the biggest problem that I have with it is wanting to wear it ALL the time when I go out! However, a dress like this is a statement on it’s own. It has a high slit, a print, little bows, and the neckline is a little lower than some other summer dresses out there. With that being said, you want to keep the styling to a bare minimum here.

styling summer dresses
When a dress is this much of a statement, it’s best to let her speak for herself.

Now is not the time to whip out bold, statement necklaces. Opt for a smaller, more dainty option such as a delicate gold chain with a subtle diamond or pendant. You want to keep the same theme for earrings and go for studs or smaller hoops. As for shoes, it depends on the vibe you’re going for. For an everyday look, I prefer a classy sandal. For an evening look, a summer wedge or chunky heeled sandal does the trick. Finally for a purse, I recommend either matching the color of your shoes or pulling in a color from the dress if it’s a print.

summer floral dresses
This dress is quite flattering on the waist. So much that I also bought it in black!

If a linen dress like my Reformation one is a bit out of budget or you aren’t sure about the style, opt for something more affordable like the red Shein dress above! While I don’t like shopping from online boutiques/fast fashion like Shein, there is no problem doing it in moderation. Don’t buy for the sake of buying because it’s cheap! I use fast fashion when wanting to test out a new trend, but I’m not ready to invest the big bucks yet. In this case, I wanted a red monochromatic look for the summer and I ended up loving this dress and purchased it in black as well for evenings! You can always find hidden gems, even in fast fashion if you know where to look. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Silk Slip Dress

Ahhh the elegant slip dress; my go-to for nicer evenings a couple years back. I do plan to bring this back out this summer as it’s just so chic. While I tend to avoid silk during the day as it tends to absorb moisture and cause stains, it’s perfect for cooler evenings. Not only does it look elegant and refined as a whole, but it’s so fun to dress up.

silk slip dress for summer styling
Silk does easily wrinkle, so keep that in mind!

Depending on the temperature, one of my favorite things to do with a slip dress is to add a blazer and than a belt over top of it to cinch in the whole look. It adds an edge of sophistication. If it’s a tad bit too hot for that, skip the blazer, but keep the belt (maybe a chain option).

However, it looks great on it’s own, too. Go for a fancier pair of heels, a matching bag or clutch, and some nice jewelry! Personally, I prefer statement earrings than a necklace in this case, but it’s all up to you. A slip dress can be quite plain on it’s own, so make sure to spice it up!

Short, Easy To Wear Summer Dresses

I mean, would this even be a blog post about summer dresses if I didn’t include a short number?! The first option already has a bit of extra detailing as the back is open with lace up detailing, but the front is simple! I’m a huge fan of turning these types of dresses more casual with a pair of Converse or sneakers because it’s unexpected.

summer floral mini dress open back

Another excellent option is a simple cotton dress in a fun color! Already, wearing a bright color in the summer makes you stand out, especially in southern Europe. Women tend to live in whites, beiges, and creams. I do like to play up the femininity of these types of dresses by adding some type of heel. In this case, I opted for a pair of lace up wedges, but a daytime block heel or a mule would work, too.

casual summer dresses with wedges
Cute. Simple. Tailored at the waist. Sold!

Summer mini dresses are a fun and easy way to look cute in the summertime, stay cool, and you can easily play with the style by simply changing the accessories.

A Structured Dress

I own quite a few of these from my corporate days, and thankfully, they were a little tight on me when purchased so I’m still able to wear them now! While I don’t tend to reach for these as often as my floral numbers, I’ve been gravitating towards them more, especially the blue one featured here. If I’m going to a meet a client in Monaco, it’s my go-to for that elegant, elevated look.

elegant dresses
My white Louis Vuitton Alma would’ve worked here, too!

An easy way to style this is to pick a neutral color and choose all of your accessories in that color. For the blue dress, I always go for white. I’ll pop on my white belt, white sandals, and either my white or blue purse depending on the mood.

You may recognize this photo from my business website!

With tailored dresses, I love a monochromatic moment. Monochrome in itself is quite elegant, so pairing them together levels up your outfit effortlessly. The trick with nailing a monochromatic look is to play with different textures and shades. In this case, a pair of patent leather gold block heels and a gold-toned purse would’ve been perfect.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to styling summer dresses, keep in mind the details of the dress, the accessories, and most importantly, enhancing your figure. Here are a few tips to keep in mind next time you want to whip out that cute little summer dress.

  • If the dress is boxy, add a belt so you don’t loose your waist and appear wider. Even a crossbody purse can help the dress appear more fitted.
  • Less is more with accessories on a heavily detailed dress.
  • Want to achieve a classy look? Go for a tailored dress, have a monochromatic moment, and play with different textures/shades.
  • Do you want to style a printed dress like a pro? Pull colors from the print itself and match your accessories to it.
  • Want to switch up a feminine look? Take inspiration from the tomboy style and wear shoes such as Converse or Vans and gender neutral bags.
  • Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ Play around with different looks and experiment and see what works best for you.

Outfit Details:

Check out my last post about Jimmy Choo here and my styling business, Dressed By Tess, here.


Make sure to subscribe in order to get a weekly email reminding you of my new blog post. ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate you!

XO, Tess

**Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something using my link. You donโ€™t have to use them if youโ€™d prefer not to. You do NOT get charged extra for using the above links.


Leave a Reply