The 12 Best Places and Online Stores to Buy Summer Dresses in 2021

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As the warmer weather approaches, we start putting our bulky wool sweaters and jackets into storage, replacing them with lighter and brighter options. One of the best things about summer fashion is summer dresses!

They are comfortable, cute, and classic pieces that offer a lot of versatility. They can be long, flowing, and bohemian or short and fitted. Perfect for Sunday brunch or a night out.

With the perfect summer dress, you can go to the office, to after-work drinks, and then to dinner, looking sleek and stylish the entire time!

Last year you may have had many gorgeous summer outfits, but you couldn’t show them off in the way you wanted – this summer will hopefully be a bit different, and you can show off your summer fashions.

If you are looking to update your summer wardrobe, here are the best places to buy summer dresses!

1. Free People – American bohemian apparel and lifestyle retail company

Free People is an American fashion label that embodies courage, spirit, and femininity. The brand is known for its more bohemian looks, often with 70s influence.

Free People clothing is well made, as the line originated as an exclusive line for Urban Outfitters. The brand has since matured and can now be found in major retails like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

This is where you want to shop if you want loose, flowy, and feminine dresses. Often in muted tones, florals, and paisley prints, the dresses are both stylish and comfortable.

Just check out the cassis printed chiffon dress! It’s a perfect representation of the style and quality you can expect from Free People. Their sizes run from extra small to extra-large.

Cassis Printed Chiffon Dress, $168 at Free People

Go the boho route in this flowy floral tiered midi dress from Free PeopleGo the boho route in this flowy floral tiered midi dress from Free People

2. Nordstrom – American luxury department store chain

As you likely already know, Nordstrom is a large American-based retailer that sells high-end fashion, shoes, and bags. Although they have plenty of physical locations, you’ll find the biggest selection of summer dresses and sizes online.

Nordstrom carries several excellent brands that make beautiful summer dresses like Fourteenth Place, Topshop, BP, and Good American.

BP. Plus Short -Sleeve Rib T-Shirt Dress, $35 at Nordstrom

Perfect a casual-cool vibe in BP.'s short-sleeved rib t-shirt dress, made from stretchy rayon-spandexPerfect a casual-cool vibe in BP.’s short-sleeved rib t-shirt dress, made from stretchy rayon-spandex

You’ll also find inclusive sizing and plus sizes like the BP. Plus short sleeve rib t-shirt dress. The sizes range from size XS or 00 to 4X or 28W+. There are also maternity and petite options available.

3. Asos – British online fashion and cosmetic retailer

Asos is one of the biggest online fashion retailers with summer dresses for all occasions. Whether you are looking for something cute and flirty, sexy and formfitting, or formal – you’ll find a big selection here, and you’ll also be able to get the coordinating accessories and shoes! The styles tend to be on the trendier side, catered to a mid-twenties demographic.

Shopping on their website is super easy. You can select the size category, which includes petite, maternity, and plus size.

ASOS DESIGN Cami Midi Sundress with Raw Edges, $40 at Asos

You'll never go wrong with a flowy white sundress, like Asos Design's Cami Midi dress, for summerYou’ll never go wrong with a flowy white sundress, like Asos Design’s Cami Midi dress, for summer

If you typically prefer to try on summer dresses before buying, Asos has made the online shopping process stress-free. They offer free returns; you just need to drop the return package off at a local UPS.

4. Zara – Spanish apparel retailer

As a new season approaches, Zara goes under a complete make-over. The fashion they carry is heavily dictated by the seasons, so of course, as the warmer weather rolls in, we start to see plenty of floral sundresses, straw hats, and espadrilles.

With roots in Spain, many of Zara’s summer dresses have Spanish influence with openwork embroidery, lace, ruffles, and bright floral patterns.

Whether you are vacationing in Europe or spending the day sipping sangria in your backyard, the openwork embroidered dress with smock elastic detail, and tonal embroidered eyelet will leave you feeling and looking good!

Zara Openwork Embroidered Dress, $49.90 at Zara

Whether for vacation, afternoon tea or wine with friends, Zara's openwork embroidered dress will keep you looking chic and freshWhether for vacation, afternoon tea, or wine with friends, Zara’s openwork embroidered dress will keep you looking chic and fresh

5. Lulus – Online fashion destination

If I had to choose one word to describe Lulus summer dresses, it would be feminine. The materials, details, and silhouette of these gorgeous dresses will make you feel oh-so-pretty.

That said, all the dresses look very distinct. One of the most popular summer dresses (that’s become a viral sensation) is the Tale to Tell blue and ivory embroidered shift dress.

This dress, among others, comes in several sizes ranging from XXS to 3X. One of the best features of this website is you can see photos and Instagram pictures of real people who purchased the dress.

It makes a big difference seeing a real customer wear it versus the product image with the dress on a model.

Lulus Tale to Tell Blue and Ivory Embroidered Shift Dress, $59 at Lulus

This cute blue-and-white Tale to Tell shift dress from Lulus can be dressed up or down for any occasionThis cute blue-and-white Tale to Tell shift dress from Lulus can be dressed up or down for any occasion

6. Revolve – Los Angeles clothing company

Revolve is notorious for its Coachella parties and music festival style. Their summer dresses tend to have a shorter hem and be more formfitting. Similar to Asos and Nordstrom, Revolve carriers other designers.

Some of the summer dress brands you’ll find here include Pistola, BCB Generation, Michael Costello, and L*Space.

To help you pick out the perfect summer dress, you can narrow down your selection by event (e.g., to work, for a night on, or to a special event), or you can narrow it down by trend (e.g., bohemian, floral, spring dresses, white, sundresses).

Unfortunately, Revolve’s sizes aren’t as inclusive as many of the other stores listed in this post. They only carry sizes XXS to XXL.

PQ Ramona Dress, $134 at Revolve

You can pair the PQ Ramona dress with flat sandals, heels or boots for an afternoon lunch, a night out, or a music festivalYou can pair the PQ Ramona dress with flat sandals, heels, or boots for an afternoon lunch, a night out, or a music festival

7. Pretty Little Thing – UK-based fashion retailer

As the name describes, you’ll find plenty of pretty little things here, including summer dresses. This retailer has lots of on-trend summer dresses incorporating the latest in fashion like over-sized tie-dye t-shirt dresses and ruched body con. If your personal aesthetic involves specific colors, you can shop summer dresses based on shade!

Maxi, juniper dress, bodycon, crochet, and denim – you’ll find it all here. These are the dresses you often see on celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Teyana Taylor.

In fact, Teyana Taylor was just announced as the new Creative Director! Although the selection isn’t as large, Pretty Little Thing has a plus-sized line with gorgeous summer dresses!

Pretty Little Thing Plus Red Ditsy Floral Print Frill Detail Shift Dress, $30 at Pretty Little Thing

A shift dress-style mini frock for plus size women, Pretty Little Thing's Ditsy dress can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with sneakersA shift dress-style mini frock for plus size women, Pretty Little Thing’s Ditsy dress can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with sneakers

8. Old Navy – American clothing and accessories retailing company

Although many people associate Old Navy with jeans and classic t-shirts, they have a great selection of summer dresses and all for a very affordable price.

Like many of their other fashions, clothes are made from a comfortable fabric with stretch and breathability, making them perfect for summer adventures under the sun.

You’ll find plenty of prints, including polka dots, floral, and paisley, that are great for casual summer outings. Old Navy has a plus-size line, with sizes 1X to 4X, with many gorgeous summer dresses in various lengths and styles.

Old Navy Smocked Fit & Flare Striped Cami Midi Dress, $39.99 at Old Navy

Nautical striped dresses, like Old Navy's smocked fit-and-flare midi dress, are a staple in every summer wardrobeNautical striped dresses, like Old Navy’s smocked fit-and-flare midi dress, are a staple in every summer wardrobe

9. Lane Bryant – Plus-size clothing store

Lane Bryant is a clothing store with fashion exclusively for plus-sized women, with sizes ranging from 10 to 40. This is a great place to buy summer dresses that fit well and look great! You’ll find the biggest selection of styles here.

To help you narrow down your search, you can shop by dress style, including wrap dresses, midi and maxi dresses, casual parties, or fit and flare dresses.

To help you get the perfect fit (which is what Lane Bryant is all about), you can read more with their Fit Guide, which explains how their items fit and the specific measurements.

Although there are locations all over the US, many were temporarily closed because of COVID-19. As a result, they have made the online shopping experience easier. If you aren’t happy with the fit when you get it, you can return or exchange it for free.

Lane Bryant Printed Faux-Wrap Midi Dress, $79.95 at Lane Bryant

Lane Bryant's floral midi dress has a flattering faux-wrap silhouette, a v-neck, and a flowy wide ruffle along the hemLane Bryant’s floral midi dress has a flattering faux-wrap silhouette, a V-neck, and a flowy wide ruffle along the hem

10. H&M – Swedish clothing-retail company

For all your summer staples, including summer dresses, H&M is a great option! The clothes look great and are often very budget-friendly.

Denim is one of the hottest trends in summer dresses this year, and you’ll find a big selection of oversized denim dresses and denim shirt dresses here.

You’ll also find simple summer dresses that look amazing under a denim jacket like ribbed or cotton jersey dresses.

H&M Oversized Denim Dress, $29.99 at H&M

This oversized denim dress with shredded and frayed hem is a must-have for summerThis oversized denim dress with shredded and frayed hem is a must-have for summer

In addition to denim, you’ll also find a lot of feminine and bohemian dresses that incorporate chiffon, florals, and flowing sleeves. Although it varies with style, generally, H&M carries XS to XXL.

H&M Embroidered Kaftan Dress, $59.99 at H&M

A lightweight kaftan dress made from woven cotton fabric with embroideries, tassels, and raglan balloon sleevesA lightweight kaftan dress made from woven cotton fabric with embroideries, tassels, and raglan balloon sleeves

11. Kohl’s – American department store chain

Every year around Easter, you start to see the advertisements for Kohl’s summer dresses for the whole family. With a plus-size line, petites and juniors, there are dresses for everyone and all at a great price.

If you prefer more classic styles rather than super-trendy looks, this is a good option for you. The silhouettes, prints, and materials will last you more than a season and still look just as great next summer.

Kohls also has a great selection of office-friendly summer dresses. Designed by The Hills alum Lauren Conrad, the ruffled midi dress will take you from work to drinks on a patio.

LC Lauren Conrad Ruffle Wrap Midi Dress, $45 at Kohls

A chiffon wrap-style midi dress that's perfect for work, lunch, and dinner date A chiffon wrap-style midi dress that’s perfect for work, lunch, and dinner date

12. Macy’s – American department store chain

Macy’s is another great place to buy summer dresses! This historic department store has hundreds of options that will fit any occasion, and they also have a good range in sizing. When shopping online, you can select regular, juniors, plus sizes, petite, or maternity to get the perfect fit.

There are plenty of great brands like Tommy Jeans, Adidas, Style & Co, INC international, and even Free People! Each brand has a unique style.

For example, Tommy Jeans makes athletic-looking summer dresses where INC International uses a lot of floral prints in bright colors and luxe fabrics.

For a complete look, you can add a pair of strappy heels and jewelry. If you prefer to shop in person, many locations are now open across the US.

Style & Co Tie-Dyed Sleeveless Maxi Dress, $59.50 at Macy’s

What is summer without a tie-dye print dress like Style & Co's tie-dye maxi dress in swing silhouette?What is summer without a tie-dye print dress like Style & Co’s tie-dye maxi dress in swing silhouette?

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