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We revel in summer weather and the fashion that comes with it: barely-there strappy tops, pedicure-baring sandals, woven totes. But on the thickest, most searing days, the best loose dresses are our saviors. The kind so lightweight and effortless, you nearly feel uncovered without actually revealing anything. We’re talking breathable cotton and linen fabrics, airy silhouettes that bare skin (though not too much), and more importantly, dresses with empire or no waists at all that float around your body rather than cling to it. Dresses that don’t constrict and give way to breeziness with every step.
Now, before you presume all non-clingy dresses to be shapeless, let us detail the stylish variety on offer. Firstly, it’s about fabric. Cotton poplin, hemp, and flax are among the top natural fibers for heat-proof style. Each one boasts breathability with structure, pulling away from the body for a comfortably airy feel. And then there’s linen, which is really the best fiber to wear on the hottest of days. We like a floral option from Johanna Ortiz, a hunter green dress by Reformation, and a loopy strapped dress from Jonathan Simkhai—all in linen and linen blends.
Silhouette is another primary factor. Spacious kaftans and empire waists are, indeed, quintessential for scorching days—labels like Merlette and Hill House Home are goldmines for such styles. For a more ventilated feel, you might size up in your preferred design—the sweaty havoc of extreme humidity is no match for it.
Even styles with sleeves can feel refreshing in floaty fabrics and a-line silhouettes. We like shirt dresses from Veronica Beard and Marques’Almeida that offer all of the polish of a crisp oxford with all of the breeze of a caftan. And speaking of caftans, they’re the ultimate stay-cool garb. Tory Burch makes a great one.
No matter where your summer takes you, ahead, discover 42 stylish dresses sans cling.No Waist Dresses
The best loose dresses are able to float around your body because they have no waist at all. Consider these zero-waist frocks ideal for summer’s dog days.
Rails Caralyn tiered ruffle minidress
Hill House Home the Caroline nap dress
Nap babydoll bohemian dress
Oscar de la Renta cap-sleeve drop-waist cotton poplin dress
Merlette Soliman cotton trapeze dress
Staud mini Meadow babydoll dress
SAKS FIFTH AVENUEThe Roomy Shirt Dress
You can still look polished when going anti-clingy. Buttons up the front will do the trick.
By TiMo tiered gingham cotton midi-dress
Sea eyelet button-down midi-dress
Veronica Beard Jemila shirtdress
Marques'Almeida asymmetric patchwork dressLinen Dresses
Whether a one-shoulder, tie-strap, or halter neckline speaks to you, a linen dress is your most quintessential in the summertime.
Johanna Ortiz Galapago printed linen one-shoulder maxidress
Jonathan Simkhai Georgia tiered linen-blend midi dress
Reformation Jacqueline linen midi dress
Lisa Marie Fernandez Carolyn V-neck linen-blend maxi dress
Fil de Vie Gloria linen maxidressTiered Dresses
From ultra-billowy to gently flared, tiered dresses are the ultimate in non-cling. Plus, they’re wedding guest-friendly!
Bird & Knoll Luna cotton tiered maxidress
Cinq à Sept Yanin pin-striped chambray flutter-sleeve tiered dress
Cara Cara Harbour Island cotton midi-dress
Tanya Taylor Gia midi-dress
Ciao Lucia Gioia seersucker tie-back midi-dress
Ulla Johnson Lune floral poplin tank dressKaftan Dresses
A hot-weather hero piece for many cultures, the kaftan is a leisure staple. But don’t discount it for weekday wear—with sleek accessories, it’s a win for anti-cling style.
Tory Burch Iris embroidered linen caftan
Cuyana deep V-neck maxi caftan
Etro embroidered cotton-blend dress
Le Sirenuse Positano New Cappa printed cotton-voile caftan
Pippa Holt No.245 embroidered cotton caftan
Gucci floral-embroidery organic-linen caftanEmpire Waist
A close cousin to the no-waist dress, empire waists catch you just below the bust and then swish over your body everywhere else.
Sleeper Atlanta off-the-shoulder shirred linen midi dress
Rosie Assoulin puff-sleeve printed cotton off-the-shoulder maxidress
Hill House Home the Athena nap dress
Cecilie Bahnsen Helena balloon-sleeve organic-cotton midi-dress
Anaak Josephine scoop-back silk-habotai midi-dress
Zara dress with cutwork embroidery