How to Wear a Slip Dress For Summer

Slip dresses have exploded this year, going from something your grandmother wore underneath her favorite dress to something women wear out in the open as the dress.

“[Slip dresses] are incredibly versatile because you can go from super casual to drop dead gorgeous and from sweet to tough, they’re a stylists dream,” said former Harper’s Bazaar stylist Anna Levak, whose work has appeared in Vogue and other prestigious fashion magazines.

Levak shared how to dress up, dress down and style the naturally feminine slip dress with Pulse.

Rebecca Taylor Bellflower slip dress, $495 at Rebecca Taylor boutiques. image: rebecca taylor

Rebecca Taylor Bellflower slip dress, $495 at Rebecca Taylor boutiques. image: rebecca taylor

Keeping It Simple…

Evening Glam

A slip dress for a nighttime glam look should be to the floor and “with the length, shimmer and shine you can go really minimal and keep your styling to a simple, beautiful heel and a simple, beautiful piece of jewelry,” said Levak. A bodycon fit is better for evening because it’s already elegant and a bold gold necklace and a black strappy heel complete the look.

Running Around Town

Etienne Aigner Silk Wrap Tank Dress, $475, available at www.etienneaigner.com. image: etienne aigner

Etienne Aigner Silk Wrap Tank Dress, $475, available at www.etienneaigner.com. image: etienne aigner

Opposite from form fitting, Levak suggests “a looser fit that you can swim in and run around.” This makes for the perfect throw-on summer dress, and much like the evening look it doesn’t require much effort. Strap on a simple leather sandal or one of the many flat, slip-on mules offered this season.

If you don’t just leave your dress alone, what do you with it?

Top It Off…

…with a jacket. “There are so many options, you can go the effortlessly chic route and put a tuxedo jacket over it.” Levak loves contrasting masculine and feminine, try a leather or camo jacket to add some toughness to the typically girly ensemble. “To push it towards the tough side of things, more ‘tough rebel’, throw a motorcycle jacket over a longer, brighter dress and pair it with a heel and make it read more towards the feminine glam.”

Summer doesn’t always mean hot in New York; the cool, beachy breezes make it a requirement to keep a sweater on hand. There are options here too. “Go very classic-chic summer country house casual with a gray cardigan. Another option is to take it in a more hippie direction–kimono jacket or a more casual summer daytime robe.”

Office Appropriate

“The length is key. You don’t want to wear a mini dress or a full on gown, so around the knee to mid-calf length is going to work. Put a jacket over it or style it with a simple cardigan.” If you want a stronger look, wear a structured suiting jacket. 

Layering and footwear are also things to consider when taking the slip dress to work in the summer. Putting a T-shirt or button-up underneath makes it a little less sexy and a lot more professional. Adding a heeled mule or Mary Jane pump creates an appropriate appearance.

Stylist tip: An easy way to go from casual to formal in the summer is with footwear. A simple sandal, flat mule or sneakers, ankle booties for work or running around and high heels for super-glam.