A treasury of black summer dresses

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Just because it’s getting really hot and sticky out—and wearing lighter colors just makes good practical sense— doesn’t mean I will stop wearing my default shade. I will take care, however, to make sure that the black dresses I choose are on the flowy, un-constricting side, and that I go for accessories that are  bright and lively, like for instance these No. 6 clog sandals. I feel like I would live in this knit caftan dress, because it looks so cool, breezy, and also pricey, though it isn’t that last thing.

A gauze dress from my favorite purveyor of gauzy pieces, Xirena.

I dig the deconstructed vibe of this little number—I feel like it’s a super-sophisticated take on the shirtdress.

This polo dress from The Great feels like just the thing to lounge about in on a lazy Sunday.

There is a subtle tonal gingham print on this comfy-looking dress that I’m very much a fan of.

This is Universal Standard’s Geneva dress, which I own and love—the shape is nearly universally flattering and whenever I wear it, people ask me if it’s Maria Cornejo.

The lace insets on this shirtdress make this a nicely feminine choice, but the lines are so clean that it doesn’t come off prissy.

A linen shirtdress that so totally looks like it belongs in my closet.

The graphic black and white stripes and smocked waist on this option make it standout.

Also from Universal Standard and headed for my shopping cart: this striped tee dress, which is about as appealingly tomboyish as a dress gets.

This polka dot dress just seems deeply versatile to me: I think it could totally work for the office—where I’m guessing at least some of you will be returning soon—or for a weekend sojourn to the greenmarket.

I own a version of this T-shirt dress, and it is absolutely genius for travel: it packs down to nothing and doesn’t ever wrinkle.

And finally: I actually kind of like the puffy arms here, which is not something that is usually true.

 

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13 Thoughts on A treasury of black summer dresses
    Kerri
    21 Jun 2021
    5:55pm

    I bought the Universal Standard striped dress in my usual size (10-12) and it is huge. It looks like it has some shape in the photos but it is a very loose straight cut. Would definitely recommend sizing down at least one size. But their Geneva dress is perfect and so so flattering.

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    AKGB
    21 Jun 2021
    3:13pm

    I’m not a big dress person, but I have a couple colors of the US Geneva and during the latest heat wave I ordered the US stripe tee dress. I think it will be easy to throw on with sandals or tennis shoes depending on the situation. Eyeballing a couple others on this list.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    21 Jun 2021
    7:23pm

    I ALWAYS love a black dress – summer or not. I surprise myself by actually loving the last specimen, puffed sleeves and all. (I drank the Koolade!)

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    Candy
    21 Jun 2021
    10:29am

    Love too many of these, although that Wilt dress seems to be clamoring to me the most. Just returned from So Cal, where the heat was blistering, and the cotton and linen tee dresses I brought were all I wanted to wear.

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    patty
    21 Jun 2021
    10:39am

    I snagged a Gauze Midi Shirtdress from the Gap for 19.95 and I love it!!
    At only 5’2″ I prefer knee length, so I had it hemmed and it’s perfection.

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      Jax
      24 Jun 2021
      7:38pm

      I may have gotten the same dress from Gap (in olive) and am also considering hemming it. It sorta looks ok going to my knees (I’m 5′ 1″), but Idk yet. The petite was sold out before I could snag it. I’m just a sucker for cotton gauze — in tops and in dresses, esp. in summer, though some are thick enough for a California winter too. I love that Xirena dress, it is ideal.
      Also loving the Rails dress. Interestingly, those are both aspirational shirt makers for me.

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        Jax
        24 Jun 2021
        7:41pm

        I’m also such a sucker for any styling of a dress with booties or Western boots, so the Rails dress worked on both levels.

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    kimbersam
    21 Jun 2021
    12:34pm

    The Great polo dress needs a steaming so badly, it’s making me twitchy to look at it. Also–did anyone else read the article in the WSJ about all the bright, young, things who are wearing LoveShackFancy dresses w/ Golden Goose sneakers?

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    Lisa
    21 Jun 2021
    12:49pm

    ay ay ay just fell for the Universal Standard dress but in a deep blue/green instead of black (which is already a dominant theme for me). Just when I thought I was not in need of anything….but have always wanted to try US so here I go! It is summer dress season here in the NYC area (rationalizations always work for me)

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    Cola
    21 Jun 2021
    10:02am

    I adore a black summer dress.

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    Eloise
    21 Jun 2021
    7:45am

    Great choices! I’m debating the Universal Standard T-shirt dress and (words I never thought I’d type) the Eileen Fisher. I also wholeheartedly recommend the Wilt T-shirt dress, but I’m biased. I love almost all things Wilt. I’ve been a Roxanne Heptner fan since I literally wore a pre-Wilt T-shirt to death. Here is my most recent Wilt acquisition: https://www.shopbop.com/drop-torso-dress-wilt/vp/v=1/1542718191.htm?folderID=8066&fm=other-shopbysize-viewall&os=false&colorId=38261&ref_=SB_PLP_NB_30&breadcrumb=Designers%3EWilt

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    moi
    22 Jun 2021
    5:42pm

    We just moved from a dry high desert mountain climate to a hot and humid one, and my usual uniform of jeans/blazer/jeans is going to be no bueno. I have never felt comfortable in shorts, so I bit the bullet and started looking at casual, kick-around dresses. Bought a black tiered one in a soft cotton and washed black color from Brochu Walker (at 15% off for being a first-time customer the price was semi-manageable). Left unbelted, it’s nicely loose and casual, but can be belted for a more dressed-up vibe. Contemplating a gauzy white one from Xirena as well, but not sure if I’d be comfortable in all that white. Too bridal?

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    cw
    21 Jun 2021
    7:42am

    Even though I haven’t worn black in several years, the faded black of that polo dress is sooooo appealing. It has that I’m-too-cool-to-care look about it. I’d say all these dresses seem to be very throw-on-and-go comfortable––yet another element after our Year Of Sweatpants that appeals.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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