Your guide to summer black, part 1: dresses

beard dress

Despite my best efforts, I still wear black more than any other color, and this doesn’t change once summer hits. Black dresses are just so easy and versatile, and I like to keep things interesting with bright accessories and maybe more jewelry than usual. I bought this Veronica Beard dress last summer (and probably showed it to you then) and I’m not surprised to see they brought it back, because it is so sexy and curve-flattering.

reverie dress

Here is a nice, flowy option for days so hot you don’t want to wear anything at all.

the great dress

sundress is a slightly young look, but one that I still really like, and you can always cover up with a light cotton cardigan.

free people dress

A sweet and flirty little confection.

wrap dress

A simple wrap dress that I’d accessorize with a bunch of necklaces.

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This shirtdress has a very subtle black-on-black textured stripe thing going on that I like a lot.

silk dress

A pretty silk dress that’s pretty well-priced for a silk dress.

gal dress

Such a feminine choice, but not too girly either.

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A cute cotton embroidered number that looks like it could be Nili Lotan, but is in actual fact Mango.

jackie dress

The neckline here is just lovely.

theory dress

I feel like this is a slightly dorky picture of this Theory dress, and that it would be quite graceful in person.

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I like the slightly asymmetrical hem here.

fisher dress

A good T-shirt dress is just a smart summer investment.

sandro dress

I like the Grecian details here.

tank dress

A simple tank dress works quite well as a beach cover-up too.

twist front dress

I really dig the twist-front detail here.

zero dress

If you’re feeling flush, here’s a gorgeous specimen from Zero+Maria Cornejo. It exceeds the GOACA price limit, but I promise you’d get infinite wear out of it.

tie waist dress

I’d wear this with bright espadrilles and an armful of bracelets.

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This is an extended sizes option, which I’m pointing out because it’s not that obvious from the picture. I think it’s pretty adorable.

allsaints dress

I’m not really showing prints in this post, but I made an exception for this striped, ruched Allsaints tank dress because it is just so good. It lingers in my shopping cart as I type.

cap sleeve dress

The ruching is quite strategically placed here.

vince dress

I’m pretty certain I showed you this Vince dress before, but now it is marked nicely down. With a belt it would be aces.


A silky popover shirtdress to throw on whenever.

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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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14 Thoughts on Your guide to summer black, part 1: dresses
    14 Jun 2018

    Thank you for this! I too love wearing black, even in summer. For me it feels sophisticated to wear a black dress with lightly tanned skin and either bright or nude shoes.


    14 Jun 2018

    I personally avoid black like the plague in the summer. I’m a PALE ass natural blonde, so not only do I look like a ghost in it, I hate the sun/being hot and it attracts the sun! But some of these are so great I may rethink my policy 🙂


    14 Jun 2018

    The Mango
    The Eileen Fisher
    and that outstanding AllSaints
    are all ones I’d wear and wear and wear….

    good golly my poor checking account!

    SideNote: I did take the plunge and purchased the Everlane elastic waist chinos. In coral. I may look like I’m wearing scrubs for a children’s hospital, but most colors were already sold out in my size!! Talk about popular!


    14 Jun 2018

    Your round-ups are always so good, Kim, but this one is wonderful. Mango is making killer stuff, and the Free people and Veronica Beard dresses are amazing.

    (Small voice) so sundresses skew young, right? I got one which is old/vintage Lanz. It does seem junior but it goes well past the knee, has pockets, and is just flattering- the cut is kind of empire-ish.


      14 Jun 2018

      I’ve seen a lot of GOACAs who look great in a sundress. As long as you feel good in it, wear it and enjoy it!


    14 Jun 2018

    Both the Mango dresses are so cute, I clicked on over to see about buying. But the largest size they offer is an 8. GRRRRRR.


      14 Jun 2018

      That bummed me out too. I loved the white-button one.


    14 Jun 2018

    I love this post. When I saw the header I knew it was going to be a dilly and you surely hit it out of the park. I can’t wait for part 2 (or 3 or 4 😄). Hope your book is going well, can’t wait to read it!!


      14 Jun 2018

      And thank you for featuring one from Violeta!!


    14 Jun 2018

    Yes, thank you for the Violeta one! SO CUTE. Sold out in my size, sob, or I would have bought.

    And PLEASE pull the trigger on the Allsaints dress. I try not to urge others to, y’know, conspicuously consume, but it is SO FREAKING CUTE.


    Krista Campbell
    15 Jun 2018

    Every one of these dresses is AMAZING!!THANK YOU!!


    15 Jun 2018

    I love so many of these, thank you!

    Black is my favorite color, but it is tricky in summer, a season that always leaves me wondering how to dress.

    Last year I bought a black silk Sezane wrap dress with 3/4 sleeves. I wore it last winter with boots and sliver jewelry and big scarves, but I think it will also work in summer with tan-colored sandals and gold jewelry. I’m going to stalk that Veronica Beard as well—hopefully will go on sale or hit the consignment sites!


    15 Jun 2018

    P.S. I have the Eileen Fisher tank dress, and while it can look frumpy on the page, in reality it’s great—very versatile and also just a bit sexy. And if you want the length just a bit shorter than shown, order the petite.


    23 Jun 2018

    I love the Nili Lotan dupe from Mango! It’s something I’ve been looking for (But it’s got to be larger than an 8! Anyone have an idea for me? So 14)

    The ruching on the Theory is very appealing, as well.



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