The "Naked" Dress Trend I'm Actually Buying Into This Summer


(Image credit: @abimarvel)

I'm about to initiate you into one of the biggest dress trends of the season. 

Ever since the cut-out dress revival in the spring and summer of 2020, skin-bearing dresses have become the most coveted statement piece of the summer. The trend dates back to the '60s, when Diana Rigg donned the infamous cut-out jumpsuit in The Avengers. It then funnelled into the '90s as a playful addition to liberal, slinky dresses.

What re-emerged on the runway as an editorial look is now gracing e-commerce sites as a fresh take on summer eveningwear. Be it lower-than-average scooped backs, perforated side holes or centrally aligned keyhole detailing, the prevalence of cut-outs can't be escaped. The design brings an edgy look to flirty frocks and transforms typical summer ensembles into contemporary styles with one or two mere punctures. There's no one-size-fits-all, either. The cut-out trend comes in a host of variations, from barely-there crevices (no wider than a bra strap) to exposed side panels to O-shaped holes.


(Image credit: _marisamartins_)

Perhaps most famed for its cult style is the aptly named Cult Gaia. Its sultry Serita dress gained cult status with celebrities and influencers alike in the summer of 2020. The release of sweeping side-to-back cut-out styles coincided with the penultimate UK lockdown lifting, and it suddenly became the "going out" dress.

More recently, designers including Staud, Jonathan Simkhai and Christopher Esber are fashioning knee- and floor-length dresses with cut-outs as core pieces in their collections. The high street is following suit. Retailers from Mango to Free People have introduced cut-out pieces to their collections for the second year running. No retailer is left behind on this hot trend—even conservative labels have released styles as an ode to the peek-a-boo creation.


(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

It may be a dominant trend right now, but I believe we'll be revisiting this conversation in summer 2023, too. Keep scrolling to see my edit of the most beautiful cut-out dresses from high-street to high-end.

Cut-Out Dress Inspiration 


(Image credit: @chrissyford)

Who says you need to stick to midi hemlines? Mini cut-out dresses are a vibe all on their own.


(Image credit: @laurennicolefk)

This colour is so 2022—kudos to Lauren-Nicole for picking up on that. 


(Image credit: @claudia_berresford)

You can never go wrong with a white cotton dress. 


(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Cut-out dresses can work for those with minimalistic aesthetics.


(Image credit: @ali_tate_cutler)

This Cult Gaia dress has been crazy popular. 

Shop My Edit of Cut-Out Dresses

Up Next: Suddenly, Everyone's Wearing Dresses With Giant Holes in Them

Freelance Fashion Editor

Avalon Afriyie is a freelance writer and storyteller based in London. She specialises in sustainable fashion, health and the narratives of marginalised communities. She has a background in fashion show production and styling, having previously worked on The Clothes Show and with the Lyst Group. Since graduating in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in English and contemporary media, she’s worked as a feature writer for an independent publication and a contributor for Quill’s creator network. She now marries her passion for words and style, writing for some of the most esteemed fashion and lifestyle publications, Who What Wear UK and Stylist. Avalon also provides copywriting services, creative consultancy, and visual media for independent businesses, including travel guides, interviews, press releases and blog posts. Her work has been featured on Lush, Contiki, Youswim and Ohne. She spends her days writing to her heart’s content for business and pleasure, shooting on film and dreaming of residing a stone’s throw away from the ocean with her love and a pup (clad in a sweeping frock, of course). She’s currently penning ideas for a book of personal essays and free verse poetry on love, life and the stages in between.