Whether it’s a blazing hot day or a breezy one, there’s one item that will get you through the entire summer: A dress. No matter if you prefer mini or maxi, neutral or poppy prints, the perfect summer dress exists for everyone. “Those essential, elevated pieces are a must-have in her wardrobe to take her from day to night,” says Tara Rudes Dann, Fashion Director of L’Agence.
One of the best things about a summer dress is it’s one simple piece and you’re done—all you need are accessories to complete the look, which can take dresses in any direction for every occasion. “It’s effortless to put on a dress,” Dann says. “I feel like she’s been looking forward to having this opportunity to have a selection of dresses that she can wear every day with her open toed shoe or even a bootie to have it be casual. Every season we love for her to always feel that she has the option of a dress, but summer is when she really gravitates toward dresses.”
Since the options are endless, Dann curates the seven best summer dress styles you need in your closet now—that you can wear forever.
This silhouette just might take the cake for being both a classic and very much of the moment. “That scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts is in the dressing room with Richard Gere and she slips that camisole on, you can almost feel the silk falling on her body,” Dann says. “It’s a feeling of elegance and empowerment. A maxi slip dress is a great piece to have in your closet. You can dress it up with a great pair of pair heels and throw it on with a denim jacket with a flat during the daytime. It’s a definite essential for day to night. You can mix it up with different lengths, like the Jodie, which hits right below the knee, or a maxi, like the Serita. The Arizona is the slip dress. It has adjustable straps and the detailing of the covered buttons with the deep v is so sleek and chic that we couldn’t wait for this to come out for women to wear it.”
A simple silhouette suddenly becomes a head turner when it’s in an eye-catching print. “We’ve pretty much sold out of all of our butterfly print,” Dann says. “Women love that it’s so feminine and what better time to wear them than in the summer. We have a maxi dress called the Sachi Dress and that’s in the green butterfly print. I threw it on with our green Gisele Sandal and a denim jacket and I felt like a billion bucks.”
Cutout dress“Everyone said the cutout was such a big trend, but if it’s contoured on the body correctly, it’s not a trend—it’s an essential,” Dann says. The Porter creates the perfect little peekaboo. “A cutout right above the waist and underneath the bust gives a great slimming effect. It contours right with the perfect area that has her feeling secure. What this does is create a really beautiful hourglass contour.”
“It’s a classic because it’s so versatile,” Dann says. “It’s a sophisticated piece that will last. It’s one of those chic pieces that she can dress up or dress down and has been one of our essentials since day one. Our Cameron shirtdress is my go-to. I wear it day to night, even black tie with great jewelry. That’s such a fantastic piece to wear over a bathing suit.” It can also be worn open as a duster over a cami and jeans.
“The one shoulder silhouette has come in and out; obviously they’re back in now,” Dann says. “The Selena drapes over the body and gives a really cool, elevated vibe. It bells out at the single sleeve for a gorgeous effect.”
While the hemline has always been short for this style, the rest of it is up to you. Whether you opt for a strappy one, puffed sleeves or sleeveless, it’s all about the flirty length. “The Hannah Dress has a square neckline that contours the chest area,” Dann says. “We always do it in a pop color; that blue is just fabulous.”
“Knit dresses that are contoured to the body and in an elevated knit fabric that hugs and holds in places has her feeling complete,” Dann says. “The Shelby dress is fantastic because the knit stretches so well on the body and hugs in all the right places. A knit dress needs to fit on the body perfectly and we focus so much on that.”