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24 Summer Staple Dresses to Stock Up On Now & Keep Forever

By Caitlin Burnett

There’s nothing better than finding a gorgeous summer dress that you know instantly you’ll have in your closet for years. Dresses you’ll pull out summer after summer, creating new memories in and loving just as much as the day you bought it. While pieces like this are rare, they do exist and are worth holding out for.

Shopping within timeless categories is a great place to start when searching for a lasting summer dress.

Much like a classic linen shirt or a clean white sneaker, these categories are virtually trend-proof—meaning they’ll always feel fresh when summer rolls around each year. From feminine florals to tiered maxis, below are five such dress categories, plus the prettiest dress picks for each.  


Summer Whites

Crisp white dresses epitomize summer. Not only do they complement your tan, but they feel feminine, classic, and modern all at once. A simple accessory switch can instantly give a white dress a totally different vibe, making them one of the more versatile pieces in your closet. 




I know what you’re thinking: groundbreaking. But there’s a reason florals never go out of style—they’re pretty, feminine, and timeless. For summer 2021, designers are offering a slew of new iterations of the classic floral dress, featuring unexpected silhouettes, bold color combinations, and thoughtful details that are worthy of a permanent spot in your closet. 




When temperatures peak mid-summer, mini dresses are the only thing you want to wear. Short hemlines will never go out of style, and they’re trending especially hard for 2021. Plus they show off newly tanned legs in the best way. Paired with heels, flats, or sneakers, mini dresses will always reign supreme.




When it comes to details, nothing is as synonymous with summer as delicate embroidery. From eyelet details to crochet and embroidery, these pretty touches add whimsical femininity to any dress. Add a simple sandal and dainty jewelry for the ultimate summer look. 


Tiered + Ruffles


Flowing, tiered dresses are as romantic as it gets—think summer date nights, weddings, and vacations. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also unexpectedly comfortable. The tiered details make for the perfect balance of eye-catching and refined, making it a style you’ll wear for years.

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