If you're the kind of person who jumps at the chance to throw on a fuchsia frock or rainbow-hued separates at the merest hint of sun, then it's best to look away now. This is an ode to the black summer dress and is dedicated to anyone who has found the prevailing summer aesthetic at odds with their personal style. My relationship with summer clothing has been an ever-evolving one, and while I think I have finally found a happy equilibrium between my penchant for tailored simplicity and practical need for warm-weather pieces, I can still find dresses hard to navigate.
It doesn't help that I've never been a massive fan of florals, and I also find that the classic fit-and-flare summer dress makes me feel about 13 years old. While my winter style can hardly be described as minimalist, interestingly, I find that the more stripped-back silhouettes are what most appeal to me during the warmer months. And when scrolling through the new-in sections of my favourite online stores, it's more often than not the black dresses that seem to fulfill my criteria.
While some may baulk at the sobriety of summer black, I find its simplicity to be chic and agelessly elegant, whether it's in the form of a billowing shirt dress, neat LBD or sultry backless number. The black dress is a canvas upon which you can layer up personality via unexpected accessories or a more unusual jacket or coat. The absence of colour also means you can experiment with more dramatic silhouettes. Case in point: Staud's Georgia cut-out halterneck dress is made infinitely more striking when rendered in black.
Some of my favourite black summer dresses for 2021 include COS's oversize T-shirt dress, which I'll wear with gold jewellery and a colourful tote. I'm also enjoying the designs that feature delicate straps and a full, voluminous skirt, such as this style from Matteau or Bassike's low-back number, both of which can be kept casual with leather sandals or dressed up with heels for a party. So if you're craving something a little more low-key but certainly not lacking in impact, scroll down to see and shop my edit of black summer dresses that have caught my eye this season.
Shop my black-summer-dress edit: