Low-grazing hemlines are a summer essential that never goes out of fashion. Both flattering and comfortable, the maxi dress requires minimal effort to wear (and generally doesn’t involve flashing much flesh). To make sure you pick the perfect long-line piece, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best maxi dresses on offer this season.
1. Mango Buttoned Gown: £59.99, Mango
We love the pared-back aesthetic you get with this earthy pink floor-length dress. Made from soft, flowing fabric with a side slit hem, it comes with an adjustable drawstring waist for those who prefer a little more definition. The patch pockets and the button-down style add to the casual vibe. This is effortlessly stylish yet modest and if we only bought one maxi this summer, this would be it. It’s also available in ivory and light brown.
2. H&M Ribbed Dress: £24.99, H&M
This season, stripes are taking on a whole new identity with bright, clashing colours and this calf-length dress from H&M has nailed the trend. Golden yellow, turquoise, navy and white are certainly a bold combination but it works on this easy-to-wear dress. The scoop neck, slender shoulder straps and slit in one side help to make it more flattering than you think.
3. Self Portrait Guipure Lace Maxi Dress: £320, Net-a-Porter
Celeb favourite brand Self Portrait is known for its signature guipure lace cut outs and this sky-blue maxi dress is another example of the brand’s feminine, intricate pieces that have a super-contemporary edge. Here, there are romantic-looking ruffled trims and an elegant tiered skirt combined with a black contrasting waist band and sheer hem. This is an investment piece that will turn heads.
4. Cos Long Layered Silk Dress: £150, Cos
As the saying goes, this dress is all business at the front, party in the back, but thankfully with far more finesse than a mullet. Made from pure silk, this light beige maxi looks modest at first glance but the layered front design is taken through to the rear with diagonal draping that leaves a portion of your back on show. It epitomises the label’s simplicity and easy elegance while remaining fashion forward – the perfect option for those who like to make an impact.
5. Dorothy Perkins Ivory Animal Print Maxi Dress: £40, Dorothy Perkins
If summer brights aren’t your thing but you’re looking to liven up your wardrobe, this could well do the trick. Ivory and black animal print covers this full-length shirt dress. Despite the loud print, the smart collar, mid length sleeves and tie waist pare it down meaning this is a dress that could easily take you from day to night; couple with tennis shoes for a more relaxed feel or slinky heels for a touch of glamour.
6. Warehouse Pleated Dress: £69, Warehouse
Pleats are set to be a massive trend this season and if you’re going to buy one key piece, we suggest it’s this bright green dress from Warehouse. Super-simple in its design, it has a straight, fluid shape but don’t let this put you off as the all-over pleats provide just the right amount of swish as you walk. For added detail, the thin shoulder straps join together to create a racer back and we think it would look fab layered over a simple tee.
7. Frame Le Wrap Silk-Charmeuse Maxi Dress: £340, Net-a-Porter
With its founders from L.A. and London, Frame manages to fuse laid-back Californian style with the UK capital’s more urban aesthetic. The dress is no exception. Made from luxurious silk-charmeuse, it feels great against the skin. The loose-fitting wrap style can be cinched in with a self-tie belt and the short turnover sleeves and dual front pockets give the otherwise pared-back look some added depth, and we can’t get enough of that deep blue colour.
8. New Look Black Ditsy Floral Print Lace Up Back Maxi Dress: £22.99, New Look
Nineties grunge is back with full force and this black maxi is a great way to tap into the trend. The shoestring straps and lace up back enhance the rock 'n' roll aesthetic, while the front split and all over ditsy florals add a touch of femininity. We think this floor sweeping design would look great paired with chunky sandals and that it’s versatile enough to see you through next season too – just add a pair of ankle boots and biker jacket.
9. Miss Selfridge Black Embroidered Maxi Dress: £99, Miss Selfridge
Seventies-inspired bohemia has been around for a while now but this stunning embroidered dress will have you feeling like Joni Mitchell in an instant. With a whole host of superfluous detailing from hand embroidery, lace embellishment and a daring low back, this dress will certainly make an impact wherever you choose to wear it. Beautifully elegant and care-free, this floor-sweeping gown is a certified show stopper.
10. Oh My Love Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress: £49, Topshop
The so-called “cold shoulder” is a hot trend for summer and it works brilliantly on this ethereal-looking maxi. With a watercolour-style floral print in indigo, green and violet, the slight A-line of the skirt makes it flattering and airy – and that flash of shoulder adds a bit of glamour.
For us, the summer is all about care-free dressing, so our favourite has to be Mango’s dusky pink shirt dress. It’s effortlessly stylish but you’ll still look put together. We also love the fact it’s available in three summer-appropriate colours, so there will be one that suits your skin tone. If you’re looking for something a little more glamorous, we’d have to go with Self Portrait’s lace offering for a take on feminine formalwear.
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