Drop Waist Dresses Make For The Dreamiest Summer

Cue the romance.

Drop Waist Dresses For Summer
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Amidst the flowy, boxy, and often tent-like sun dresses thrown over swimsuits and such this time of year, a fresh, more contoured silhouette has entered the chat. Amidst the Regencycore and nostalgia-leaning crazes flooding TikTok of late, a more fitted drop waist dress style is becoming more prominent — and not just among content creators. Fashion labels from runway darlings Khaite and Carolina Herrera to It girl-loved brands like Merlette and RHODE have all jumped on board the ultra-feminine look, which highlights a more elongated torso, emphasized by a waist band that hits lower on the hips or at the upper thigh.

While it may be in a 21st-century renaissance, the drop waist look traces back about hundred years. The ultra-low waistline silhouette was all the rage amongst the flapper set, often worn against roomy, movement-friendly mini and midi dresses. The look evolved throughout the decades, with the waist rising just slightly to in the 1940s and 1950s to align with the fit-and-flare A-line dresses that were popular at the time. The drop waist had its last big push in the 1960s and 1980s, where it was embraced in the mod-style shift dresses and the new wave prom scene, respectively. But, for the last 25 to 30 years, the style has remained in relative obscurity — until now. Over the past couple of years, the low-slung look has been popping up in more and more designer collections, likely driven by Gen-Z’s penchant for nostalgia and all things vintage.

For designers, however, the throwback silhouette offers a new way to imagine a classic party or sun dress and show off the human form. “We like to work with drop waist silhouettes not only because they are elongating, but they are surprisingly flattering on many body types and are really elegant,” says Marina Cortbawi, founder and creative director of Merlette. “It's a really nice way of playing with proportions, especially with our voluminous silhouettes.”

San Diego-based personal stylist Cynthia Kennedy credits the growing interest around the drop waist dress to its ability to hit a sweet spot between looking put-together and feeling undeniably comfortable. “They offer a sophisticated silhouette that subtly flatters without being too flashy, exuding a chic, effortless vibe that speaks to refined taste and timeless style,” she explains to TZR. “For daytime, I love pairing a light cotton or poplin dress with chunky fisherman sandals, a cute crossbody, and a classic wide braid raffia hat — instant beach-to-brunch vibes. Or, if you’re a city girl, I recommend sleek ballet flats and a large slouchy bag to tackle all your errands.”

Ahead, shop TZR’s picks of the best drop waist dresses for summer and beyond.

This floral, hip-hugging smocked dress epitomizes the sundress style.

Break out this ivory corseted maxi for your next date night.

Between the vibrant emerald green hue and easy, elongating silhouette, this little number is as dreamy as it gets.

Need a fun and colorful option for your next summer wedding? Try this periwinkle mini from KHAITE.

A navy drop waist midi dress is a year-round essential that will easily carry you into the fall and winter seasons.

The buttery soft knit fabric and earthy cocoa color palette make this ankle-grazing maxi dress a must for your next vacation.

For a more formal affair, a drop waist midi gown can really bring the romance, especially when paired with equally dainty Mary Jane pumps.

A sultry red mini with a contoured drop waist delivers all the retro vibes.

Carolina Herrera freshens up the classic poplin dress design with a whimsical rosette and flattering drop waist.

Rhode’s Lettie style is made in a featherweight cotton-and-viscose voile so it’s as comfy as it is fun.