If you’re a self-professed “dress person” you likely appreciate the simplicity of styling yourself in a complete look with as few garments as possible. Or perhaps you’re admittedly a little lazy or simply enjoy the feeling of floating around in a pretty hemline. Whatever the case, the warmest months of the year are (unofficially) dress season, when the latest styles can be worn as intended, with nary an extra layer in sight. According to a handful of experts, it's also a time to try out a few new and unexpected summer dress trends — styles that step outside the box.
Buyers at major retailers MATCHESFASHION.COM, 11 Honoré, and Shopbop all agree that one of the biggest summer dress themes of 2019 is overtly romantic and frilly, as seen on Fashion Week runways ranging from Marc Jacobs to Molly Goddard. However, decidedly bold dresses are not the only ones that top insiders' lists of relevant summer frocks. Sleek, timeless silhouettes and floral prints also remain popular, with a few fresh upgrades that make them feel different than summers prior. Ahead, take a look at three experts' breakdown of exactly what to look for whether you're a 7-day-a-week dress fan or just a special-occasion wearer.
As much as ‘90s style and minimalism go hand in hand, this summer trend makes another argument. “I love the idea of a minimal slip dress in a bold, vibrant colorway or standout print,” says Shopbop’s Fashion Director Caroline Maguire. “It works for any dress code, it’s breathable for the warmer months, and you can dress it up with a great pair of statement earrings and a strappy heel.” With this in mind, keep your eyes peeled for a pared-down silhouette in playful fabrics going forward.
Modern Fairytale Dresses
Special occasion or not, one of summer 2019’s most popular dress trends is all about extravagance. “We saw a resurgence of couture-like details across a number of designers this year, which brought a sense of fairytale to dressing up,” explains MATCHESFASHION.COM’s Head of Womenswear, Cassie Smart.
Maguire's taken notice, too. “We’re seeing a lot of brands take on the uber-feminine trend with princess-style dresses. Sleeves are getting puffier, and sweet prom-like silhouettes are becoming more common.” Consider it an unapologetically imaginative alternative to your average throw-on-and-go dress.
The Universally-Appealing Wrap
Contrary to the aforementioned embellished trend, the wrap dress offers a different (read: more pared-down) approach to summer style. It's one that’s effortless and, due to its adjustable belting and figure-hugging nature, has a universal appeal. “A cotton wrap dress is a summer staple,” says Jessica Raiter, 11 Honoré’s Fashion Director and VP of Merchandising. She cites Mara Hoffman’s eco-friendly and size-inclusive versions as some of her favorites for easy dressing all season long.
Floral patterns of all kinds will arguably always be popular this time of year. “Florals are a feminine classic — perfect for day or evening,” says Raiter, citing the trend’s versatility, “worn casually for day with a flat sandal or dressed up for a wedding with a metallic heel.” While Raiter loves the clashing patterns in Tanya Taylor’s designs, Smart also denotes a different kind of flowery print to know in 2019. A “bad romance” approach, as she calls it. “This trend was really defined by Prada’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection with the use of a subversive spin on traditional floral looks.” Elsewhere, find it translated to moody color palettes and not-quite-prim silhouettes.