Dressing for summer is all about looking stylish and staying comfortable without spending a lot of money. Here are nine hot designer looks at surprisingly cool prices.
9 Summer Dress Styles for Less
Maxi dresses priced in the triple digits fill the racks in stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The MinkPink Little Blooms printed wrap-effect maxi dress with spaghetti straps and fluid skirt is a delicate and vibrant example of the style, but it's tagged at $119 at Bloomingdale's.
A similar flowing style, available in solid black or printed chiffon, sells for $32 at Old Navy. Spaghetti straps and a keyhole cutout in back add detail without showing quite as much skin as the pricey look-alike. Accessorize with a colorful bubble necklace and a cardigan for wedding season.
What's no illusion is finding the same style in the same type of fabric at one-third the price. A crochet belted maxi dress by Lily Star is likewise available in black or ivory. Although it comes from Target's junior department, the cut flatters a range of ages and body types, and the sheer maxi overlay adds a whiff of femininity. At $33, it's hard to go wrong.
Playing with the hemline of a dress -- higher in the front than the back -- adds visual interest to an outfit. Designers have given this style a lead spot on the runway, with upscale price tags to match. The black NSR high-low midi dress priced at $78 at Nordstrom is a good example of what wows the crowd.
Big geometric prints are making big waves on designer racks this summer. They bring texture and color to any outfit and make a bold statement out on the town. An exemplar from Chico's features a large blue and green print and elbow-length sleeves -- along with a $129 price tag.
Shift dresses lack a defined waistline for a silhouette that suits a variety of body types. This style fits more loosely than other summer dresses -- one reason for its wide appeal. Nordstrom sells a slip-on Charlie Jade printed shift dress for $148 that features a short drop-shoulder sleeve.
A shirtdress can be either casual or dressy depending on the fabric, color, and cut. It can also be fitted or loose, and the option of defining a waist with a self-tie belt gives the same dress more than one look. The Madewell Courier denim shirtdress is a classic, with its button front, pointed collar, and shirttail hem, priced at $98 at Nordstrom.
A dress with just one shoulder is a fetching and edgy summer look, cute and sophisticated all at once. The Ralph Lauren one-shoulder cape dress comes in classic navy with white detail, a small cape on the back, and a straight skirt to the knee. It's just right for a warm summer evening, except for the price: $144 at Macy's.