18 Under-$40 Dresses You'll Want to Wear Out and at Home

Whether you’re strictly staying in or stepping out for the occasional socially distanced walk or picnic—mask on, of course—my unsolicited advice is that throwing on a dress can make all the difference in both your appearance and mood. As someone who has spent a good percentage of the last three months not just at home but in athletic or loungewear, the times I’ve decided to “dress up,” even if it was ever so slightly, have actually made my everyday activities feel just a little more exciting. Plus, according to some of our favorite fashion people, this act of donning a frock for the house seems to be a legitimate trend, which makes me all the more inclined to join in on the action.   

If my rant has officially gotten you on board with this frivolous pursuit, then you’re ready for the next step, which is acquiring summer dresses that are no-frills enough to wear at home but forward enough to step out in. After all, why spend on something that checks only one box when you can cover both? Anyway, this is where our Who What Wear collection comes in. Below, you’ll find 18 dresses that not only do all of the above and more but are all conveniently under $40, too. To get started shopping and see a handful of them in action along the way, just keep scrolling.

This print is simply too good to let slip away.

This dress just makes sense for hanging at home but will be just as cute for a picnic.

Glad I'm not the only one who loves to wear black, even in summer.

Florals and ruffles are a match made in sartorial heaven.

Summer's answer to the LBD.

I'd like to emulate this whole vibe starting with the dress, of course.

Cyber-raise your hand if you're currently brainstorming ways to re-create this photo yourself.

Not all animal prints are created equal. This abstract take is a perfect example of one that's just better than a lot of its counterparts.

Let our very own editor Judith remind you that sometimes, all you need to add is a pair of slides.

A lesson I've learned over the years is that when you find a dress that looks this good with sneakers, you buy it.

For those who are still interested in dressing up (even if it's just at home), let this be your inspo.

A flowy mini is not just easy on the eyes but also ideal for beating the summer heat.

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