What — and let’s be honest here — is the condition of the dresses in your summer wardrobe? Have you worn your breezy maxi gowns threadbare? Is your 2020-era nap dress officially on its last legs (hey, it had a good run!)? If so, don’t avoid it any longer: It’s time to restock your frocks. But before you venture aimlessly into the wild wild west that’s online shopping or head to your local retailer on an IRL hunt, consult summer 2022’s dress trends first. Because, as New York City-based trend forecaster Kendall Becker explains to TZR, there’s a huge “emphasis on dresses in the market this season.” As a result, sorting through the plethora of options can be quite overwhelming. But Becker says there’s a silver lining to the expansive range of styles: “It ensures there’s a trend for every personal style and occasion.”
Ultimately, though, the trend analyst says summer’s front-running dress options fall under three categories: “Rave, romance, and resort — all of which are quite fitting for our current state of society outside of fashion, too. Overall, the attitude this season really allows for experimentation and the opportunity to live our wildest dress dreams after far too long in sweats.” She invites you to reflect on the Spring/Summer 2022 collections for substantiative examples: New season drops from the likes of Carolina Herrera and Tory Burch, for instance, feature corseted floor-length gowns and flirty mini dresses celebrating conspicuous and unapologetic femininity — an aesthetic you likely weren’t able to emulate while shrouding your figure in loungewear.
In other words, summer 2022 is the season to throw caution to the wind and press ‘buy’ on that oblique-scissoring party dress or sheer, net maxi you’ve long been eyeing. Becker, for one, already set her sights on a few options: “I’m looking forward to expanding my night out palette from all black to integrate vibrant jewel tones, taking crochet pieces on my travels to Latin America, and wearing sweeter options with sultry corseting for date night.”
From sensual, party-ready silhouettes to gowns inspired by far-away beaches, keep scrolling to discover seven of summer’s best dress trends and an edit to shop, too.
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Dreaming Of Sunsets & Sandy Beaches
“There’s an unwavering desire for escapism that we’re seeing reflected through poplin dresses, sunsets shades, crochet, and draping that feels like nod to a sarong,” explains Becker. Moda Operandi’s Chief Merchant, April Hennig, co-signs Becker’s note about crochet, saying it’s “undoubtedly one of the biggest trends of summer 2022, as many of the season’s best dresses hone in on craft and hand-spun details.”
In particular, Hennig shouts out the emerging designer (and master of knitwear) Alejandra Alonso Rojas for having a “polished bohemian sex appeal.” She says the brand’s crochet, dip-dyed maxi gown is “a study in versatility — it can be worn over a swimsuit on vacation or paired with minimal silver jewelry for an evening out in the city.”
Isn’t It Romantic?
“Romance is undoubtedly in the air once again, too, as the evolution of the nap dress and cottagecore takes place,” states Becker. “There’s an emphasis on corseting, feminine details, and sweet details like bows and feathers,” describes the trend analyst.
Return To Nature
Many of summer’s buzziest dresses explore natural themes and patterns through a non-literal, abstracted perspective. “We were inspired by experimental abstract artists and really wanted to take that spirit and embrace a light, playful, whimsical attitude to summer by pushing how we mix color, textures, and shapes,” explains Tanya Taylor of her eponymous brand. She links the uptick in artistic natural prints to “a renewed sense of spontaneity, a more optimistic mood, and a path toward a more experimental nature. “As a collective,” Taylor tells TZR, we’re feeling alive!”
You’ll see ample floral prints, only in more painterly manifestations and unconventional interpretations of iconic fashion motifs — like Tyler McGillivary’s macro, zoomed-in butterfly dress. Hennig also spotlights Magda Butrym’s Floral-Detailed Mini, saying the designer’s going-out dresses are a perennial Moda favorite and the rosette dress is sure to also reach viral status. “Tiny hemline? Check. Cut-outs? Check. 3D florals? Check!”
Hennig says summer 2022 will usher in a slew of non-kitschy craftcore dresses intended for late-night activities. The market expert highlights Diotima’s Sade Midi Dress, in particular, dubbing it Moda Operandi’s It dress of the season.
“Diotima founder and New York-based designer Rachel Scott works with female artisans in Jamaica on many of her collection’s fabrications, merging the island’s traditional craft techniques with her modern design vision,” explains Hennig. “Her take on ‘evening’ crochet, intricately interwoven with crystals, is the coolest iteration of the trend we’ve seen — expect to see this dress at a late-night dance party near you soon.”
“With the return of festivals and events, dressing all the way up, per se, seems to be the code of choice, and sex appeal is front and center,” explains Becker. “When it comes to dresses, this is shown through mini lengths, cutouts, and vibrant hues like hot pink, lime, and electric lavender.”
Hennig echoes Becker about party-ready dresses and cites the Y2K, early aughts revival for leading the trend. “The micro-mini [holds] court as the silhouette to own for summer 2022 and harkens back to a time when a bejeweled Sidekick was the only accessory you needed for a good time out on the town,” she says.
Hennig says you want to stock your summer wardrobe with dresses “perfect for all of those ‘high-day’ type occasions that are back on the calendar in full force — baby and bridal showers, charity luncheons, and al fresco afternoon cocktail parties.”
Specifically, Hennig highlights “the ‘mid-summer mini dress’ as an essential this season. She elaborates: “With its abbreviated hemline and ease of wear, these go from day to night with a quick change of shoes and accessories. Johanna Ortiz’s ornate puff-sleeved mini captures the spirit of the trend with its belle-sleeves and wave-inspired embroidery.”
“There is also a relaxed energy within many of the collections this season,” states Hennig. Look to uncomplicated options like a slip dress that channels ‘90s-era minimalism or a cami-style frock that provides the effortless appeal of a tank top. Taylor echoes Hennig, saying “an easy elegance will mark the season, with optimistic color combinations and light airy silhouettes underpinning it.”
Hennig hones in on a micro-aspect of this trend that celebrates unbothered and skillful femininity — a mood she’s dubbed “The Talented Ms. Ripley.’” She explains: “It nods to the nostalgic glamour of the 1950s and is all about high-waisted, tailored linen, nautical stripes, and gingham.”