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25 Versatile Vacation Dresses for Women to Pack This Summer

Jun 11, 2023Jun 11, 2023

By Lauren Dana Ellman

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Summer is prime vacation time, whether you find yourself jetting off to another continent to explore some of the world’s most beautiful cities or taking a road trip a little closer to home. Once you’ve finalized your mid-year travel plans, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack—which is where the best vacation dresses for women often come into play.

When shopping for vacation dresses, you’ll want to consider options that can be worn more than once: After all, space in your suitcase is limited—and, chances are, you’ll want to save a little extra room for souvenirs you’ll collect throughout your travels—so it’s important to pack thoughtfully, ensuring that the clothing you’re bringing along is versatile enough to wear multiple times across different occasions, be it at the beach or the bar. Similarly, you’ll want to look for vacation dresses made with lightweight materials that are both wrinkle-resistant and ideally easy to care for (like linen) so you don’t have to waste precious time ironing or racing to find a dry cleaner should you accidentally spill.

Overall, the best vacation dresses for women will have you looking and feeling polished and put together in essentially no time: All you need to do is throw them on, et voila. Even better? They’re available across a wide range of materials, sizes, colors, patterns, lengths, and price points, which means there's a fantastic frock out there to suit every type of traveler. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to wear this summer and beyond.

Nothing screams summer quite like a classic mini dress, which makes them a must-have for your next warm-weather getaway. Whether you prefer solids or patterns, ruffles or fringes, or neutral or bright colors, these dresses—from beloved brands like J.Crew, Outdoor Voices, Anthropologie, and more—are both functional and fashionable. Plus, there’s a mini dress out there for (pretty much) every occasion, be it hitting the beach in style, wandering around a new city on foot (consider our favorite exercise dresses), or enjoying a fun-filled night on the town. Finally, you need not spend a small fortune on your vacation wardrobe: In fact, some can be found as low as $50 and under.

Midi dresses are one of the few closet staples that never really go out of style. These effortlessly cool frocks—which, you guessed it, fall somewhere between a mini and a maxi dress in length—are incredibly versatile. Dress them down with sneakers, flats, or your choice of comfy walking shoes, or, for a more formal look, pair your midi dress with heels, chunky jewels, and a sparkly clutch. If the weather’s cooler, simply layer your favorite jacket or oversized button-down over the dress; alternatively, wrap a scarf or shawl around your shoulders to keep warm on balmy summer evenings.

Breezy and breathable, the best maxi dresses will keep you cool all summer long, which is why they’re well worth a coveted spot in your suitcase. Choose from an array of colors, patterns, and fabrics, be it cotton, linen, or mesh. For more of a statement piece, opt for a maxi dress with cute cut-outs, sultry slits, pretty puff sleeves, or a striking one-shoulder silhouette.

While jumpsuits and rompers aren’t technically dresses, we’d argue that they’re just as cute and comfortable—especially if you consider ones with elastic waistbands or roomy wide-leg silhouettes for extra breathing room. We especially love those made with durable albeit ultra-soft materials like cotton gauze. Some styles come with handy features like built-in pockets to keep your essentials within reach. Some pull double duty as beach cover-ups, while others are more geared toward a nice dinner or drinks.