Sponsored By Saks & Collective Voice
Typically I stick to fairly conservative styles for my summer dresses (longer lengths, nothing too low-cut, no high slits, etc). I’m a relatively conservative gal when it comes to fashion choices, and I gravitate toward styles that are pretty classic in design.
But recently, something has TOTALLY gotten into me! I’ve been inspired to break away from my usual formulas — to be a bit daring, even… and try some of this summer’s dramatic “WOW!” dresses!
Gorgeous Summer Dresses & The Charm Of Unexpected Details
A wildly gorgeous long (or midi) summer dress made in cotton or linen is my absolute warm-weather outfit of choice. Has been for decades now. Elegant, comfortable, and stylish, with the added benefit of being a one-and-done easy getting-dressed-for-the-day decision.
As I was perusing Saks incredible selection of long summer dresses these “WOW” dresses kept jumping in my cart.
You know the dresses I’m referring to…the ones that have a special detail that makes them shine. The dresses that we can’t get out of our heads long after they first cross our online shopping paths. The dresses that are truly hard to ignore.
Think cotton and linen dresses in classic midi and maxi lengths, BUT with something a little dramatic: bold cut-outs, daring backless designs, unexpected high slits, voluminous puff-sleeves, glamourous off-the-shoulder details, or breath-taking sweetheart necklines. Many different ways to create a HUGE wow factor for a variety of personal styles.
Shop Cotton & Linen Summer Dresses With Dramatic Details
How I’m Choosing Stunning Summer Dresses
There are a few main qualities I personally am looking for in a gorgeous summer WOW dress. The key to falling in love with (and actually being comfortable wearing these types of dresses that are sometimes out of my fashion comfort zone) is the right balance.
I’ve figured out that a dress that has dramatic cut-outs or a high slit CAN work for my personal style as long as those types of details are balanced with classic design and high-quality natural fabrics. Here’s how I think about it…
1. Select A Dress With “WOW!” Dramatic Details
This is the fun part. Pick a dress with a wow factor you’re comfortable with. I’m small-chested, so it’s easy for me to wear backless dresses without a bra or with stick-on bra cups. I also ADORE beautiful low-cut sweetheart necklines.
Interesting voluminous sleeves, glamourous off-the-shoulder designs, bold cut-outs, or high slits are other wow factors that might better fit your personal style and fit preferences.
This cut-out AND backless Staud dress is QUITE something. Super dramatic and fun — both Shana and I had it in our carts as soon as we saw it. I’m picturing wearing it on a date night once Philly gets hot and humid as well as packing it for warm-weather vacations.
And true to their reputation, Reformation’s attention to detail and sweet-yet-flirty styles charm every time.
The high slit on the Reformation dress below is very VERY high on my 5’2 frame. Shana rocks this type of incredibly high slit, but on other Reformation dresses, I’ve had the slit sewn together at the top a few inches to make it more wearable for me. I will likely close the slit just a tiny bit on this one.
2. Balance The Drama With An Elegant Shape & Design
I love the dramatic details in these types of dresses best when they’re paired with gorgeous classic shapes and designs. Midi and maxi elegant lengths and cuts often make the dramatic details pop. My Staud dress has a relaxed airy fit that is a perfect balance to the bold cut-outs and backless design.
I am drawn to the elegant navies and blues right now, but there are dresses out there that have a similar vibe like this 100% cotton stunner from ALC in black or this silk-cotton white backless beauty from SIR.
3. Choose Dresses Made From Linen Or Cotton For Effortless Charm
Cotton and linen are my favorite fabrics for ALL summer dresses. The balance these natural fibers provide to some of the more dramatic features in these WOW dresses works especially well. Refomation’s relaxed beautiful linen is so lovely in person. Breathable and comfortable to wear, Reformation’s linen dresses always have an effortless charm.
- Staud Vanessa Cut-Out Midi Dress In Cotton Poplin: Wearing size S. Easily adjustable fit with the double tie back. As you can see, this is longer than midi length on my 5’2″ frame, but I think this dress looks quite beautiful at various lengths.
- Reformation Belgium Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress In Linen: Wearing my typical Reformation size 8. I size up in Reformation dresses. For reference, I’m 32B bra size, 5’2″, 138 lbs.
Juuuuuust in case you were curious, here’s some of my fave summer accessories that pair well with a WOW dress.
- Naghedi St. Barths Mini Graphic Geo: My new favorite summer travel bag. I love my basket bags in summer, but these Naghedis are MUCH easier to fit into a suitcase.
- Vince Coline Strappy Leather Pumps: WAY more comfortable than I expected — nice cushy footbed with a walkable not-too-high heel. Size down. I’m wearing my typical size 7 here, but the back strap is looser than I would like and I should have gone with a 6.5.
- Isabel Marant Cat Eye Sunglasses: These come in red as well, but the black squarish cat eyes are my top pick.
- Alexis Bittar Gold-Plated Pyramid Stud Earrings: Small, but mighty. I’ve been wearing these for both everyday and dressy.
Is anyone else branching out this summer and trying some unexpected styles? Date night, vacation, girls’ night out… my summer definitely just got more exciting with these dresses in the mix!
photo credits: Redfield Photography
Thank you so much to Saks and Collective Voice for sponsoring this post. Saks is my absolute favorite place to shop for fabulously gorgeous dresses, and I am always delighted when I have an opportunity to take a look at their summer dress selection. Saks has a tremendous selection of truly special pieces. Thank you also to all our TME readers…your time and support are SO appreciated.