Summer really snuck up on me this year. In LA it was just so overcast and “chilly” until basically two weeks ago. So while sure, I could have “prepped for the inevitable 95-degree weather,” I simply wasn’t in the right headspace. But ya know what quickly gets you in the right headspace??? Overheating, sweating, and only having maybe two clothing items that will prevent you from melting onto the sidewalk. I’ve gone through some body fluctuations since last summer so I am in desperate need of some new pieces I feel good in. I’m not willing to suffer which is something I would have done in the past. So in order to have a suffer-free summer and wanting to also look mildly put together, I went on a “won’t totally break the bank” causal summer dress hunt and found some pretty great options for all of us. Here they are in case anyone else is in need as well:)
Had to start with this dress because it’s the same (exact?) wonderful shape as the dress that Emily is wearing in the opening photo but at a fraction of the price! I feel like this is such an easy, flattering shape and is from one of the shops, Quince, that we recommended in our “More Than Madewell” post you all loved so much. I love that bright orange but if you prefer cooler colors it comes in a few other options. I am really excited to get more into this brand!
Man, this one is cute! The pattern is fun yet simple and you can easily wear it with a strapless bra (or no bra if you want!). I do find that this cut is a little hard on me since my boobs are a bit larger and they tend to tent out more than I’d like but that’s just my preference. Regardless, it’s fun and easy!
While I don’t go into an office anymore, I think this is such an easy yet breezy option for those hot days when you still need to look professional but don’t want to overheat, obviously. Now, what’s great about this dress is that you can also dress this down with a simple sandal and woven hat or even transition to a cute night look with heels and some fun jewelry. Basically, it can work for a bunch of different occasions. If white isn’t your thing, it also comes in a couple of cute stripes and a solid black.
If you loved Em’s blouse from the farmhouse entryway reveal then this dress/cover–up might be for you! The fun pattern and the beautiful blues are stylish and happy. I also love that there are TWO ties on the v-neck so you have options in terms of how much skin (or cleavage) you want to show off. I’m not a big fan of when dresses only have one tie at the very top because when it’s tied up it looks VERY conservative but also can show too much boobage because of the gap. WHO IS THIS HELPING?? The reviews say it runs large so maybe size down but this cutie can take you to the pool and to a fun lunch.
This is another WINNER that depending on how short it is on you it can be another work/play dress! Emily bought the navy blue strip version for a shoot and had this to say about it:
From Emily: I found this super cute striped shirt dress at Target last week for the Real Simple shoot. The thicker stripes make it look expensive and there’s a cute shoulder detail. When I want to give myself a little more shape, my new thing is to just tie a sweatshirt around my waist. Also, it’s not thin like poplin, it holds its shape well. But the shape is definitely oversized so don’t size up! Such a good spring/summer dress!
If you want to see it on her head here!
1000/10. Do I own this dress? Not exactly but I have this one which is the same but in a different color that sadly doesn’t have those cute cutouts. I love how it fits, and not that this matters, but it’s also just really flattering. But the real gift is that even with my full D-cup boobs, I don’t need to wear a bra with it. Cue the trumpets! I know my boobs aren’t that big, but finding summer dresses that have cute skinny straps and also don’t require the need for a bra is not easy. Now, I haven’t tried the white version on so there might be a need for pasties to avoid wondering if everyone can see your nipples. However, it is lined so you might be in the clear!
I had a working lunch with Arlyn earlier this week (y’all she now lives 10 mins from me and it’s the best gift ever) and I asked her opinion on what I had picked. There was just one plus-sized dress that she wasn’t in love with so she suggested this one and per usual she was right! This is the perfect dress-up, dress-down piece that you could get so much use out of. It also comes in two other colors too!
This one is for my gals who want to look cute and stay very covered. Does this not remind you of Em’s old The Great dresses (but for way less $$$)?? I think this is super chic and versatile! How cute would we look strolling through the grocery store in this little number or window shopping on our summer vacations? Well, on my imaginary summer vacation:)
As I was searching, I found this awesome clothing company on Esty! I loved this one because it’s a fun and easy, comfortable dress (with pockets:)) you can throw on. They have a lot of other great options as well like rompers, tops, etc. Has anyone bought from them? I love finding cool clothing brands on Etsy.
One word. ROMANCE! Get outta town with how pretty this dress is. I LOVE the ruffled off-the-shoulder, the billowy sleeves, and the overall loose fit. But as you can see with the model in the teal version, you can easily throw on a belt to give yourself a little more shape if you want to mix it up. I just want to pretend I’m on a Greek island falling in love with a man named Kostas and this dress would really help my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fantasy:)
Another easy dress to throw on and feel cute in. I love the long yet lightweight sleeves and the fact that you can choose to chinch the waist or not! No belt needed:) Also, those tassels are so sweet and add an extra layer of playfulness. This cutie is only $85 during Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale so if you like it you are going to want to get on it asap. It also comes in black!
This dress looks like it was made for strolling down streets in beautiful foreign cities. It’s conservative enough that you should be fine to go into most temples and churches but breezy enough that you won’t overheat. It’s also another great summer office dress if you are looking for one! Oh, and it’s only $50 and comes in seven other colors!!!!!!
Are you going on vacation, to a wedding, a fun dinner? This dress can do it all! Those sleeves are so cute (very Emily), the body is nice and loose for comfort, and the length will keep you cool. I think this dress would look great on so many different body types and comes in four other colors and prints.
This dress is definitely one of the ones I’m highly considering adding to cart (well TBH the maxi version really has my heart but was over $150). I’m trying this “new thing” that a stylist recommended on The Deep Dive podcast about describing your style in three words and only buying clothes that fit into that description. Not a new idea, obviously, but has been helpful! Of course, I’ve bought some pieces that are slightly outside of what I said (chic, simple, architectural…you know I love a shoulder pad). To me, this dress and this whole brand, DISSH, really hit those descriptors. Their sizing sucks and only goes up to 12 but hopefully with some pressure (LIKE THIS POST) that will change.
J. Crew nailed this linen shirtdress. How effortless does this woman look? Can I be her?? I don’t know if there’s much to say other than we know that their quality is great, those cuffed sleeves are perfect, and if “flax” isn’t your color they have four other options to choose from:)
I think this is SUCH a sweet dress that not only has pockets but it appears to be bra-friendly!! Thick shoulder straps AND a wide band in the back. What a dream! I just love the color and how casual it is.
Ok, that’s it from me today! Hope this was helpful if you too are in the market. If you have any other dress recs under $150 drop them in the comments!! Oh, and never forget the thigh magic of Thigh Resue chaffing stick…we don’t have to always suffer in shapewear either:)
Love you, mean it.
Opening Image Credit: Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: 5 Flattering Dresses, 1 Cute Matching Set, And A Romper That’s Actually Comfortable: Emily’s Warm Weather Wardrobe Review