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Best summer dresses for 2020

Whether you're making a quick trip to the shops or setting up your sun lounger in the garden, stock your wardrobe with these Mumsnet favourites and soak up the sun in style.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jul 14, 2021

Selection of summer dresses

M&S Linen Shift Dress, from £10

Light and breathable, this dress isn't just a summer wardrobe staple – with most falling just above the knee, you can wear it all year round. Simply layer up with a cosy knit in the chillier months. Fabulously versatile.

“I have two – one in navy – and everyone comments on how nice it is.”

iShine V-neck Maxi Dress, from £13

Ideal if you're looking for a summer beach dress, this strappy number comes in a variety of colours and styles. Its soft composition makes it gloriously comfortable. Throw it into your suitcase for a maxi you can dress up or down. Simply add some jewellery for a nighttime look.

“For wafty comfort I've picked up a few of these from Amazon – they look great and, another plus, dry in minutes.”

Related: Planning your next family adventure? Check out Mumsnetters' 10 favourite places to go on holiday in the UK

Hush Lilium Dress, £50 (was £85)

According to the aficionados over on the Style & Beauty boards, a key part of looking put-together all summer long is draping oneself in floaty, slightly oversized dresses – just like the Hush Lilium. With gently flared sleeves and an elasticated waist, you'll easily be able to achieve a relaxed, fluid silhouette.

“I'd recommend Hush. Their dresses are easy to throw on and you look like you've made an effort.”

“Hush have some great dresses but you need to size down as they come up big.”

Buy now from Hush

ASOS Maxi Tea Dress, £25 (was £35)

This number has got 'pretty summer floral dress' down to a T. And yes, we know, they're not very groundbreaking, but sometimes it's nice to feel like you're wearing a meadow. The splits down the front make it a little more striking than sweet – as does the plunging neckline, which transitions into a button placket running all the way down to the hem.

“The ASOS own brand dresses are really good value, and the return policy being reliable and easy is definitely a plus.”

Buy now from ASOS

P.S. ASOS also do a maternity version of this dress.

Boden Phoebe Dress, £30 (was £60)

It's no secret that Mumsnetters love a dress with pockets, but that is only one of the reasons they love this Boden dress. They also love the flattering cut, soft cotton jersey, and range of prints to choose from. The pockets are pretty great though: they're cleverly stitched into the seams meaning they're roomy but basically invisible to the untrained eye. Its muted shade also makes it the perfect summer work dress.

“I'm finding this dress very handy for work in the summer, but because it's jersey and has lovely roomy pockets, I don't feel overdressed wearing it casually too. I have it in navy but thinking of getting one of the prints too. Looks great with sandals or ballet pumps, and with or without a cardigan.”

Buy now from Boden

ASOS Curve Kimono Pleated Maxi Dress, £27.20 (was £40)

Looking for a touch of drama? This gorgeous maxi is all pleated skirts and flowing sleeves. Composed of a lightweight chiffon, it's the perfect summer dress to float about in. Dress it up with heels for an occasion or a night on the tiles, or wear it in the daytime with some simple earrings and a pair of sandals.

“I'd absolutely recommend ASOS. They do the best plus size clothing.”

Buy now from ASOS

Boohoo Dahlia Dress, £13.50 (was £18)

As well as being an absolute bargain, these Boohoo swing dresses are surprisingly versatile and flattering. They might look a little skimpy, but they're unbeatable on a hot day and a real Swears By favourite. Plus, with eight colours to choose from, you'll struggle to pick a favourite.

“I've got two of these. They're super comfortable, a pretty style, can be dressed up or down, and don't need ironing. I'm wearing one today, I've had it for at least two years and it still looks new.”

Buy now from Boohoo

The ultimate summer accessories

Sloggi Long Briefs, from £9.70

Skirts and dresses are a great option for keeping cool all summer, but with their less restrictive shape also comes the threat of the dreaded thigh chafe, or, as it's affectionately known on MN, “chub rub”. Not to be deterred from making the most of their summer wardrobes, MNers are always swapping tips on how to dodge the discomfort and these Sloggi shorts get rave reviews. Made from Sloggi's usual quality cotton-Lycra blend, these long-leg knickers are super-comfy and won't ride up.

“Yes to Sloggi long leg knickers! Can get them on Amazon, pure cotton and an absolute life-changer. In the past year I've gone from a size 18-20 to a size 10-12, but I will still be wearing these this summer​.”

“For day to day I love the Sloggi long legs. Cotton, really light, and have a little bit of elastic on the thighs so they don’t ride up.”

Buy now from Amazon

Udderly Smooth Chamois Anti Chafing Cream, £8.89

Alternatively, if you don't fancy adding an extra layer, try this smoothing butter. It was developed for runners and cyclists to prevent chafing, so it will certainly be long-lasting enough for day-to-day use – no matter how much running round you have to do. Plus, if you need to top up on the go, it also comes in a nifty handbag-sized tube.

“I use Udderly Smooth Chamois cream on my thighs which revolutionised my summer wardrobe. No more chafing!! Put it on once and I can walk all day in comfort.”

Buy now from Amazon

If you want even more tips, check out Swears By a weekly roundup of the best shopping recommendations from Mumsnet users.

If you are looking for womens fashion discounts and deals check out Mumsnet Discounts.