These Affordable Summer Dresses Look Way More Expensive

Who What Wear columnist Em from A Style Album shares her must-have summer dresses...

The sun has finally decided to show up, and I’m making the most of it with my outfit choices. My summer dresses are finally getting an airing—good job, as I have a few crammed into my wardrobe. I’ve rounded up my fave places to buy the coolest summer dresses that will work whatever the occasion when the sun is shining. Dresses that will look great at the beach and for a wedding, but are also perfect for every day when dressing down with a trainer.

I’m a sucker for a pretty dress—if it’s midi and floral, I’m usually sold. This means I have to make the most of them and make them work for multiple events, so it’s all about switching up the accessories. My go-to stores for dresses on the high street are Topshop and & Other Stories.

I also love to find alternative options away from the high street that are still affordable. Sure, these prices are a little higher but not quite in the designer bracket. For this, I turn to Réalisation, Reformation and a new discovery, Magali Pascal. I have Reformation dresses that are years old but still feel current, and I pull them out every year without fail. The summer dress will always be a wardrobe staple of mine. Long may this warm weather last.

Keep scrolling to see how to style affordable summer dresses and where to shop them now.



Topshop is winning at the high street dress game right now.

On Emma: Spot Front Floral Back Dress (£49)


Kitri Studio
(Image credit: Victoria Adamson)

Kitri is a such a gem that you won’t want to share the website with your friends.

On Emma: Kitri Tita Sunshine Dress (£125)

Related: 36 Iconic 1980s Fashion Moments We Never Want to Forget


(Image credit: Victoria Adamson)

Uber-cool sustainable fashion label Reformation specialises in summer dresses. Look to this U.S. label if you’re after a something a little different.

Related: These 35 Wedding Guest Dresses Are Next-Level Beautiful


(Image credit: Victoria Adamson)

You may have seen this brand flooding your Insta feed, but I still can’t get enough of Réalisation dresses. The prints and the cuts of these frocks make them the perfect piece to slip on for instant cool-girl, summer-in-the-city chic.

On Emma: Réalisation The Violette (£176)


& Other Stories

For dresses that look almost designer but without the price tag, it’s & Other Stories every time. 

On Emma: Floral Maxi Wrap Dress (£79)

Related: 9 Easy Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas That Work Every Single Time


Magali Pascal
(Image credit: Victoria Adamson)

This brand is a new discovery of mine. I love the pastel print and the cut (although not ideal with the British wind, as I had a few Marilyn moments). This Australian label makes dresses that are a perfect addition to your holiday wardrobe.

On Emma: Magali Pascal Sophia Dress (£268)

Lou and Em, A Style Album

Who are your style icons? 

Lou: Mira Duma 

Em: Elena Perminova

Who are your 3 favourite people to follow on Instagram?

Lou: @lizzyvdligt @thefashionguitar @oneteaspoon_

Em: @tashsefton @damselindior @jenniferfisherjewelry

What are the fashion essentials you can’t live without? 

Lou: Shoes. My current favourites are Gianvito Rossi Portofino.

Em: Jeans. Topshop, Rag & Bone and J Brand are my go-tos.

What's the beauty essential you can’t live without?Lou: Wild About Beauty’s Lou Bronzer.Em: Dr Frances Prenna Jones’s Formula.

What would be your desert island album?

Lou: The Definitive Collection, by Stevie Wonder.

Em: Chaos & the Calm, by James Bay.

See more of Lou and Em's fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle coverage on their site, A Style Album.