Forget Skirts for a Second—These 6 Trending Dress Styles are Taking Over London This Summer

Having lived in London for 13 years, I've been spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing restaurants, bars or new exhibitions to head to at the weekends. But often, during summer, it will always come down to which places have the best al fresco area (because as a summer person, you'll always find me outside).

This is mainly to catch the rays as soon as the sun makes an appearance, but it's also to people watch—my favourite hobby. At home, or even better, on holiday, there's nothing I love more than getting some outfit inspiration whilst sipping on an Aperol. Am I right? And recently, it's the dresses everyone has been wearing now that warm weather is finally here that are piquing my interest the most.

Instead of the usual white linen dresses or puff-sleeve styles I've seen a lot of in recent years, I'm seeing shirt dresses heading south into maxi versions, retro A-line and shift shapes taking over when it comes to minis and midis; and one colour coming through as a particular favourite at my local brunch haunt.

Here are the six dress styles I've been seeing all over London recently, and some easy-to-copy outfits anyone can try.

6 Summer Dress Outfits I'm Seeing All Over London

1. Slip Dress + Trench Coat + Heels

Monikh wearing slip dress

(Image credit: @monikh)

Style Notes: As a Who What Wear UK columnist, we can always trust Monikh Dale to put together a winning ensemble. Seeing as London weather is so unpredictable, a just-in-case trench coat is always a good idea and works well with a simple slip.

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2. A-line Dress + Mesh Flats

India wearing spot dress

(Image credit: @theindiaedit)

Style Notes: Making a fancy dress work for the day is a skill many of the most stylish women in London have mastered. I love how India Cardona wore this polka-dot style with casual mesh flats, aviator shades and timeless gold jewellery.

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3. Brown Dress + Woven Bag

Francesca wearing brown dress

(Image credit: @francescasaffari)

Style Notes: Chocolate brown is one of the chicest shades around, no matter the season. Whilst it's usually worn with gold jewellery, I love how Francesca Saffari has styled her brown linen dress with silver—a look I'll copy and paste whenever I need to look particularly chic on a warm day.

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4. Maxi Shirt Dress + Sleek Accessories

Marilyn wearing shirt dress

(Image credit: @nlmarilyn)

Style Notes: Recently, I've seen more white maxi shirt dresses than linen dresses on the streets of London. Make like Marilyn and elevate the look with simple but impactful accessories.

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5. Dropped-Waist Dress + Basket Bag

Lauren wearing drop waist dress

(Image credit: @laurennicolefk)

Style Notes: Bandeau shapes have been around for a while, but it's the dropped waist that's taking the silhouette into summer 2024. Lauren-Nicole shows how London women are also taking the style to warmer climes, so don't be surprised if it becomes your new favourite holiday hero as well as a city staple.

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6. Button-Down Minidress + Heels

Eniwearing mini dress

(Image credit: @eniswardrobe)

Style Notes: It's finally minidress weather! Strappy, crochet and linen iterations will never fail, but Eni has made a case for the button-down shift style I've been seeing from the likes of Aligne, Reformation and Posse.

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Freelance Fashion Editor

Harriet Davey is a freelance fashion editor who has been part of Who What Wear's extended team since 2017. She previously worked in print at Look magazine and has since worked across print, digital and social for many other titles, including British Vogue, Stylist, Grazia, Refinery29 and Marie Claire. Also a stylist, Harriet has had the pleasure of producing cover shoots and editorials along with commercial shoots for brands including Boux Avenue, Watches of Switzerland, Benefit Cosmetics and Revolution. To add to this, Harriet also works in live TV styling for ITV’s This Morning. Back to Who What Wear. With hundreds of published stories on site, Harriet knows what the WWW reader wants. Keeping up to date with the latest It buys and runway trends, she can guarantee to keep you one step ahead of the most stylish people. When not writing or styling, Harriet loves to go shopping (yes, more fashion). If she’s not in a local Hackney bar or restaurant, you can find her forever searching for her next holiday destination.