I Searched Through Thousands of Summer Dresses—These 40 Impressed Me the Most

The volume of dresses landing online and in stores at this time of year is both overwhelming and exciting. The good news is there's so much choice! The bad news is there's too much choice. If you're anything like me (i.e. an indecisive shopper), your dress wish list is probably long and confusing. On the one hand, your inner minimalist is pulling you in the direction of simple linen midis and LBDs, while the competing maximalist part of your brain lights up every time a pretty summer print lands in your inbox. I get it.


(Image credit: @katherine_ormerod)

Katherine wears Reformation's Liya dress.

But for a dress to actually end up in my repertoire, it must tick certain boxes. Firstly, I have to genuinely believe I'll reach for it long into the future. I'm not about wasting my money on something I'll wear for just one season, keeping in mind the environmental and financial impact of such a habit. That box is non-negotiable. For a style to make the cut, it also has to go with my existing shoes and accessories. If I'm immediately hit with the impulse to buy a particular pair of heels that I need to make the dress look even better, it's not the one. Among other important considerations are the fabric choice, colour palette (I'm not a neon girl), and whether the dress in question fills an existing gap in my wardrobe.

This still leaves us with a lot of options. So, to narrow it down, I've tackled the challenge head-on and sifted through hundreds, if not thousands, of summer dresses at various price points to pluck out the very best. Now, you can enjoy the fruits of my labour. Your own criteria will no doubt be different to mine, but on the off-chance there are overlaps, check out the 40 dresses that have most impressed me below. 

40 of the Best Summer Dresses:

Next Up: The Iconic High-Street Dress Brand That Comes Fashion-Editor Approved

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.