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10 stylish summer dresses that’ll take you from work to play

These dresses are chic, functional, and perfect for transitioning back into the office.

10 stylish summer dresses that’ll take you from work to play
[Photo: courtesy Aday; Anthropologie; Madewell]
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Are you in the process of kissing your quarantine wardrobe goodbye? I will certainly miss the days of rotating between the stretchiest spandex I own and the softest brushed fabrics known to womankind. But I’m also excited for loosely structured dresses, high-waist pants, and blouses with buttons on them. Then again, it’s summer. For these next few months, as we ease back into offices and after-work delights, FC pulled together our picks of stylish, functional dresses that fight the heat, wear like a dream, and look comfortably put-together while you’re transitioning out of your leggings-heavy routine. 

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[Photo: courtesy Cuyana]
Cuyana Asymmetrical Overlay Dress
Direct-to-consumer sustainable fashion brand Cuyana lives by the mantra: Fewer, better things. The brand’s Asymmetrical Overlay Dress—made from soft swishy, Oekto-Tex-certified Pima cotton and modal—is easy elegance that does all the style tricks for you. A cropped overlay gives the dress shape and movement and a slit and dramatic asymmetrical hem add interest and length.

 

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[Photo: courtesy Lululemon]
Lululemon All Yours Tank Maxi
Lululemon’s much-loved VitaSea fabric is not only soft, breathable, and perfect for summer, it’s made with a blend of SeaCell, a sustainable fiber made from seaweed. The All Yours Tank Maxi drapes well, is a million times versatile. Heels and a necklace? Check? Sneakers and a hip bag? Also, check. Plus, it’s better for the environment. 

 

[Photo: courtesy Aday]
ADAY Over in One Dress
ADAY’s smart approach to apparel brings technical fabrication into women’s work garments—meaning less wrinkles, fabrics that wear better (and longer), and sweat-resistant, sustainable materials. We love the Over in One dress, which was designed especially for travel, for its clever shape: a simple cami dress designed to be wrapped and cinched in a number of different ways depending on your occasion and preferred fit.

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[Photo: courtesy Epoque]
Époque Évolution The One Wrap Dress
Like Aday, Époque Évolution takes a capsule wardrobe approach to style. The brand’s One Wrap Dress gives customers a multi-fit option and is made with Econyl, a regenerative nylon derived from synthetic waste. The chic little dress (which comes in both black and a medium-gray slate) can be tied at the waist to change its shape and is designed to be UPF 50 and quick to dry, making it your ideal beach-to-boardwalk fit.

 

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[Photo: courtesy Everlane]
Everlane ’90s Mini Dress
If you’re looking to indulge in some nostalgia-tinged fashion: Everlane has brought back a classic 90s sheath with thoughtful, easier-to-wear updates. The aptly named ’90s Mini Dress has capped sleeves, nearly-empire waist seams, and a cozy cotton interlock jersey knit that stretches and stays comfortable no matter the weather.

 

 

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[Photo: courtesy Anthropologie]
Daily Practice Dolman Sleeve Maxi
For another throw-it-on, look great option: Anthropologie’s house line, Daily Practice, released a number of easy-wear, soon-to-be-faves items. We particularly like this Dolman-Sleeve Maxi. Made with soft stretchy ribbed cotton, we’re into the dress’s breezy cross-back detail, cinched waist, and ankle-grazing, curved hem, straight skirt. A simple, sophisticated dress that you can lounge in before and after work.

 

[Photo: courtesy Boden]
Boden Lucinda Jersey Midi Dress
If you weren’t a “print person” before, you might be after you peruse UK-based Boden’s summer collection. The company’s
fun, not cheesy, seasonal patterns are a fresh way to add color and interest to your wardrobe. Paired with the brand’s well-fitting silhouettes and comfort-forward fabrics (the Lucinda is made with unlined viscose jersey, for a lightweight, breathable, drapey fit), and you have yourself a new go-to.

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[Photo: courtesy Madewell]
Madewell Linen Cotton Side Button Dress
Linen doesn’t have to be fussy. It can even be machine washable. (This one is!) Madewell’s very cute linen-cotton shift dress is a basic silhouette that acts as a blank canvas without being boring.

 

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[Photo: courtesy Hill House Home]
Hill House Home Nap Dress
The Nap Dress is wildly popular for a reason: If you manage to get your hands on one, you’ll probably want another. Hill House Home’s signature smocked-bodice dresses are easy-to-wear, always adorable, and created to be worn at formal weddings, casual summer gatherings, and literally laying on your couch for hours at end. Why wouldn’t you want more than one?

Halara In My Feels Dress
My beloved Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress is a difficult one to get your hands on: It flies out of stock quickly. Luckily activewear brand Halara offers a very similar In My Feelings dress. As an Exercise Dress super fan, I was surprised to see that Reddit users and YouTubers have raved about the In My Feelings dress’s quality and fit. I’m not one for copycats, but Halara’s half the price, features the same useful features (a pocket for your phone, built-in shorts and support lining), and a buttery fabric that calls my name. Pick your own adventure, friends. I think this one might be one worth taking.

Fast Company’Recommender section is dedicated to surfacing innovative products, services, and brands that are changing how we live and work. Every item that we write about is independently selected by our editors and, wherever possible, tested and reviewed. Fast Company may receive revenue from some links in our stories; however, all selections are based on our editorial judgment.