A new dress can do wonders for your wardrobe, be it a wow-worthy number for an occasion, or an easy-to-wear style to break up the monotony of your weekly uniform. And as warm weather finally arrives, so too comes the joy of abandoning long underwear and heavy coats for spring’s biggest dress trends. When the new collections debuted last fall, it was evident that reenvisioned dresses played a huge role in warm-weather style for 2021.
Effortless, lightweight, and delicate designs are perennial staples in the spring and summer and continue to anchor the season. But designers tweaked go-to’s like daytime styles, evening-out options, and laidback designs suited to relaxing days at home or on vacation — many with an ’80s influence. A surge of cheery colors and motifs are in store, from punchy shades like hot pink and tangerine to new takes on tie-dye and poppy floral prints. Silhouettes range from voluminous mini and maxis suited to occasions to effortless midis that easily transition from the workweek to the beach. Dramatic frills, ultra-puffed sleeves, and waist-enhancing fits freshen up the continuing romanticism trend, whether you prefer an effortless, summer-white design or bolder iteration in a print or fun color. Of course, the white dresses are mainstays in warm weather, and the newest versions come with up-to-date touchers like cut-outs, balloon sleeves, and the skin-baring midriff floss trend, proving there’s something for everyone.
Below, discover the four dress trends that will be everywhere over the next few months with insights from Net-A-Porter’s fashion team, and shop the edit with options for every budget.
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The Spring/Summer 2021 Dress Trend: Joyful Colors & Prints
Vibrant colors and prints are the way to bring joy to your closet this spring and summer. Net-A-Porter invested in over 200 styles, highlighting Rixo, Dries Van Noten, and Maison Cleo as go-to buzzy brands. “Looking forward, as we hope to embrace an optimistic point of view for the season ahead, so did many designers as we saw a sea of bold, bright colors in a multitude of fabrics and textures for SS21,” says Net-A-Poter’s senior market editor, Libby Page. “The new rendition of the TOVE dress in a hot pink hue is a highlight. We had an exclusive yellow color which launched in the summer of 2020 and was the most Instagrammable piece of the summer; we’re sure this new color option will be just as popular.”
The Spring/Summer 2021 Dress Trend: White
Summer is all about effortlessness, and no dress is more quintessential than a laidback design in white. Pristine styles, ranging from feminine to minimal, are fail-safe for freshening up your outfit lineup in warm weather. This season, Net-A-Porter’s buy includes over 90 new styles, featuring new-season hallmarks like bold sleeves, tiered skirts, and relaxed midis that you can effortlessly toss on with sandals or sneakers.
The Spring/Summer 2021 Dress Trend: The Mini
According to Net-A-Porter, it’s all about the mini for spring and summer celebrations, day or night. Particularly ’80s-inspired designs with exaggerated details like oversize sleeves, voluminous skirts, and strong washes of color. “Dresses are something I rarely wore in the past, but I’m excited to get dressed up, throw on a mini dress and take my little-seen legs for a spin around my kitchen, at least until we can re-enter the world again,” says Net-A-Porter’s fashion director, Kay Barron. “The Spring/Summer 2021 collections dialed down the girlishness of the mini dress and brought a tougher attitude to this favorite, including styles from Saint Laurent, Khaite, and TOVE. I’ll be looking out for anything with a statement neckline or sleeve detail.”
The Spring/Summer 2021 Dress Trend: Daytime
Easy-to-wear daytime dresses make getting ready a cinch, with an inherent sense of femininity and sophistication. Having a rotation of versatile styles you can wear for work, daily outings, and getaways is key this season. “When finding the perfect day dress, I look for pieces that transcend seasons and can be worn multiple ways,” says Net-A-Porter’s content director, Alice Casely-Hayford. “I love a midi-length style that is comfortable enough for days spent at home but looks smart when stepping out. Add a chunky boot, gold necklace, and a blazer to a beautiful floral print dress, or simply slide on a loafer for maximum impact and minimal effort. Key styles come from the likes of Jacquemus, Paco Rabanne, Proenza Schouler, and JW Anderson.”