Summer can be uncomfortably sweltering, but there's a bright spot through all that heat—it essentially gives you carte blanche to wear as little as possible. And the next best thing to be being au naturel is going for a daring dress. Think cutouts, short hemlines, sheer fabrics, and ultra-thin straps. Although modesty is front row and center in the form of sartorial niches like the "old money" and "quiet luxury," a few of its most prominent figures still know when to pull out a sultry dress. Take model Elsa Hosk, for example. She recently dropped a collection of seductive summer dresses with midriff cutouts and see-through fabric. The gowns border the risqué, and they're all I've been thinking about.
But even if you haven't been able to completely gel with the risqué trends peaking this season, the summer is as good as ever to pull out all the stops. Ranging from minidresses to body-hugging silhouettes, the below dresses do just that. Keep scrolling for 34 pieces guaranteed to make an entrance.
Hot off the success of Fanci's signature dresses, ruffles are an in-demand detail. This piece embodies romance in a more modest way.
A dress from Elsa Hosk's recent drop, the juicy shade of orange is enough to command everyone's attention.
Yes, this slip dress is gorgeous (and even looks vintage) and is incredibly easy to travel with.
Whenever I'm looking for occasion dresses, Rotate is one of the first brands I check first.
I actually own this dress in another print, and it's one of my most worn of the season.
If you can get over the array of thigh-baring cutouts, this dress is quite jaw-dropping.
House of CB recently dropped its European-inspired collection of summer dresses, and at least one of them should be in your suitcase.
Don't be fooled! This is indeed a sneakily constructed dress made to look like a two-piece.
No one does summer fashion quite like Simon Jacquemus, and this dress is no exception.
Louisa Ballou prints are next-level.
Sequined crochet has been popping up more and more lately, and now, I think I may be on to something…
Self-Portrait has been on a roll lately.
The way this dress has invaded my mind, adding it to my cart is the only way to go.
Rodarte turns up the heat with a midriff cutout and bold lace trim.
Indya Brown is a fashion editor, stylist, and writer living in Los Angeles. While going to school at Columbia University in New York City, she got her feet wet in the fashion industry interning at Elle magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and New York magazine's The Cut. After graduating in 2016, she joined The Cut as a fashion assistant, eventually working her way up to fashion editor. There, she worked on a multitude of projects, including styling inbook feature stories for New York magazine's print issue, writing and pitching market stories for The Cut, and serving as fashion lead for The Cut's branded content. While New York has been her home for over 10 years, she moved to Los Angeles in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 for a new chapter. Now she is a fashion market editor for Who What Wear, focusing on emerging designers, rising trends on and off the internet, interior design, and BIPOC creatives and brands. Aside from her duties as a fashion market editor, Brown is also a freelance stylist and writer, working on national print and video commercial campaigns for Sephora, The Independent, and Cadillac. Her bylines also include Harper's Bazaar, Vox, and The New York Times. But once the computer goes down and the emails turn off, she's likely eating her way through Koreatown, hunting down vintage furniture, scoping out new outrageous nail designs to try, or taking a hot cycling class.
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