On hot, humid days, when most of our clothing feels sticky and constricting, a cool summer dress is often the perfect hot-weather outfit solution. We’ve gotten through some scorchers with the help of floral maxis and silky slips, but while these staples will always have a spot in our rotation, it doesn’t hurt to add a few more to the mix — especially since 2023’s summer dress trends are essentially classics with bold new twists.
This year, you’ll want to take into account occasion and personal style. Are you looking for a dreamy romantic vibe for a summer wedding, or, perhaps, an easy way to embrace the mermaidcore trend for the festival circuit? Flowy, cascading ruffles might be your best bet. Is your goal this season to show off a ton of skin, but to do so in a sleek and subtle way? Well, you’ll be able to choose between tons of sternum cutouts and leggy fit-and-flares.
The top 2023 summer dress trends also offer plenty of versatility. Crocheted dresses, for instance, will not only work for weekend brunch plans but they can then be worn as swimsuit coverups after you’ve finished your meal.
Ahead, five summer dress trends that will be everywhere from May until September, with shoppable options in a range of prices (with plenty of designs below $100!).
Summer Dress Trend 2023: Cascading Ruffles
Between the rise of mermaidcore and the continued reign of Y2K, it makes sense that cascading ruffles are one of this year’s hottest dress trends. Those soft, flowy details can be casual yet fancy at the same time, so footwear and accessory choices will end up determining your outfit’s overall vibe. Sneakers or flat sandals and delicate jewels will be more than enough to complete a laid-back daytime look, while strappy heels and a rosette choker can amp things up for a more formal summer soiree.
Summer Dress Trend 2023: Lace Trims
Some lace dress designs come across as too classic and prim-and-proper. Not this season: This summer, it’s all about that subtly sexy, lace-trim dress. It’s a no-fuss, low-effort way to nail the everyday lingerie trend, and, by opting for moodier colors (like black, which is surprisingly big this season), these pieces will feel a bit tougher and grungier instead of feminine.
Summer Dress Trend 2023: Crocheted Material
Just like florals for spring, crocheted summer dresses aren’t that groundbreaking. But after seeing them all over the Spring 2023 runways, being showcased at brands like Gabriela Hearst, Proenza Schouler, Khaite, and Carolina Herrera, we’re now seeing the material in a whole new light. Instead of going with a simple beige maxi this season, try a design that’s brighter and bolder, or one that includes playful embellishments such as ruffles or a fringe detail.
Summer Dress Trend 2023: Mini Fit-and-Flares
If the words “fit-and-flare” bring up memories of your early 2010s twee phase, it’s time to be reintroduced to this dress trend, which is much more versatile in 2023. This summer, you’re bound to see sweet A-line shapes popping up everywhere, from nylon workout dresses fit for action-packed days to corseted alternatives perfect for a night out.
Summer Dress Trend 2023: Mid-Section Cutouts
For summer 2023, both side- and front-cutout dresses appear to be popular, convincing us that, at the end of the day, placement doesn’t matter much — it’s simply time to show off that torso. Although cutout minis are always cute, play around with proportion by choosing a midi or a maxi design. That pop of skin will add an element of surprise and make longer lengths feel less stuffy.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Summer’s Biggest Color Trends Feel Fresh
Mango x Simon Miller Collab Is Vacation-Ready
17 Summer Outfit Ideas Perfect for Vacation Season