Every summer I ask myself the same question when I bring my warm weather clothing out of storage: how to style a long summer dress? It seems like there should be an obvious answer, as the dress itself will make up almost the whole outfit, save for the shoes. But that’s not the whole case.
What about in the evening, how will I transition the dress from day to night? And in the day can I wear the dress with other footwear besides sandals? What about accessories? I want easy answers NOW!
With all of those questions in mind I decided to create a long summer dress style guide, full of quick tips and tricks to share with you. Let’s beat outfit decision fatigue together and learn how to create simple go-to long summer dress outfits.
How to style a long summer dress
The best way to style a long summer dress is with a hat and other summery accessories that compliment the colour palette of the dress. In the evening, wear a long summer dress with a cropped, brightly coloured jacket to keep your shoulders warm whilst maintaining a summery style.
Now we’ve answered the basic question, here are four ways to wear a long summer dress, including pictures for inspiration…
1. Wear with a bright cropped jacket for summer evenings
Throwing on a cropped brightly coloured jacket over your long summer dress is an easy way to transition your outfit from day to night, and keep your shoulders warm as the sun sets.
In the above image I styled a long floral summer dress with a bright cropped mustard jacket with zipper detailing. The cropped jacket doesn’t take away from the long silhouette of the dress, and instead adds to it by creating dimension.
Top tip: Avoid hip length jackets with long summer dresses as they will make the outfit look boxy and less put-together.
Cropped jackets create a really trendy look, without distracting from the dress. A brightly coloured jacket is a great way of keeping colour in your outfit during the evening, to maintain a fun and summery style.
2. Pair with summery accessories that compliment the colour palette of the dress
Take a look at the colour and pattern of your long summer dress and compare it to the accessories you have in your wardrobe.
I find pairing a neutral toned bag, such as a rattan or a linen cloth bag, to a light long summer dress creates a beautiful and timeless style, with a rustic edge (as demonstrated in the above image).
If instead your dress is brightly coloured add accessories that are complimentarily coloured, to create a bright and fun outfit.
3. Add a hat to elevate the outfit by creating simple chic detail
Breaking up the ‘blocky’ effect of a long dress with a hat is a great way to add dimension and detail to an outfit that can sometimes appear a little plain.
A long dress is usually comprised of one pattern, colour or material, and can look a little un-styled. A hat fixes this by adding a fun and chic twist.
Choose a hat that matches to the colour of your dress, as pictured in the above images. Pairing natural toned hats with white, orange, beige or dusty pink long summer dresses is an easy way to add style to the outfit without too much though involved.
Working from home this summer? You may enjoy this article: 10 SUMMER Work From Home Outfits – Style Guide
4. Don’t be afraid to wear your long summer dress with with sneakers or boots
I often fall into the habit of only pairing my long summer dresses with heeled sandals, or at a push wedges. But this doesn’t need to be the case, as there are no style rules around which footwear is the most suitable for long dresses.
Most summery long dresses are going to be worn for casual wear on the weekends, so pairing them with boots or sneakers is perfectly fine! Wear sneakers with long summery dresses made from jersey material for a trendy yet casual look, as pictured above on the right.
To dress up the look add instead a pair of tan heeled ankle boots, as pictured in the above image on the left, for an outfit that is perfect for lunch with the girls. I find a long cotton summer dress and brown heeled boots looks great year on year, and never seems to go out of style. Match with a brown handbag for a polished finish.
Thank you for reading this ‘How to Style a Long Summer Dress’ guide – I hope you now feel inspired to style your long summer dresses with my easy tips in mind!
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Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).