Styling Sundresses: A Comprehensive Guide To Create Standout Sundress Outfits

Sundresses, they’re a summer staple that’s as versatile as it is comfortable. But how do you take this simple piece from casual to chic? That’s the question we’ll be exploring today.

Whether you’re headed to a brunch, a beach, or a bar, there’s a way to style your sundress that’ll make you stand out. We’re here to guide you through the process and inspire your next outfit.

Key Takeaways

  • Sundresses, born out of 1950s fashion, have evolved into versatile wardrobe staples that transition seamlessly from beach to bar. They are available in numerous styles to suit every persona, including mini to maxi lengths and varied prints.
  • Dressing up a sundress isn’t limited to grand events only. A versatile sundress can be styled for occasions such as brunches, beach trips, and evening parties, each requiring a unique set of accessories to shift the outfit from casual to chic.
  • Material, fit, and length are significant factors when selecting a sundress. Cotton and linen are ideal for casual wear due to their breathable nature, whereas silk exudes elegance suited for dressier occasions. Dress length might depend on the event, with minis being perfect for beach days and midis or maxis apt for evening functions.
  • Statement jewelry, belts, and scarves serve as vital accessories. They not only accentuate the look of the sundress but also add a personal touch to the outfit, transforming it into a complete ensemble capable of seamless day to evening transition.
  • Footwear significantly impacts a sundress ensemble’s overall impression. Heel variations like stilettos and wedges add elegance and class suitable for special occasions, while sandals and flats offer a casual yet chic vibe ideal for daytime wear.
  • Layering options such as denim jackets and blazers can further enhance a sundress outfit and make it more adaptable to varied seasons and weather conditions.
  • Makeup and hairstyle also play pivotal roles in creating an ensemble that complements the relaxed and unfussy aesthetic of a sundress. A natural, sun-kissed makeup look and easy-going hairstyles sync with the dress’s laid-back nature.
  • Adding unique elements like a pop of color or incorporating patterns and textures can significantly transform the sundress ensemble into a high-fashion look. It’s essential to pair wisely, ensuring these additional details complement and not overshadow the sundress.

Understanding the Versatility of a Sundress

As this article continues, maintain your focus on the versatility of sundresses. Remember the ways you can transition from a casual beach day to an evening bar outing with a few style tweaks. Unveiling the versatility of a sundress requires an understanding of its evolution in fashion and suitable occasions for dressing it up.

The Rise of the Sundress in Fashion

Your connection with sundresses deepens when you understand their rise in fashion. Sundresses didn’t merely drop into the fashion scene; their establishment took several decades, beginning in the 1950s. This was a period attractive for feminine fashion — full skirts, cinched waists, print dresses. Among these trends, the sundress found its voice. Lightweight, easy, and free, it was the warm-weather choice for modern women.

By the 1960s, designers took notice. Iconic houses of fashion like Dior and Chanel introduced sundress collections, with variations in prints and hemlines. It was no longer just a simple, casual dress. The sundress had evolved into an adaptable style compatible with both beach trips and cocktail parties.

Presently, its popularity holds firm, with countless variations available. From mini to maxi, solids to prints, sleeveless to strappy, there’s a sundress for every woman’s style.

Occasions for Dressing Up a Sundress

Taking your sundress styling up a notch isn’t a task reserved merely for grand events. Several occasions call for a dressed-up sundress, the right accessories turning your outfit from casual to chic.

For brunches, strike a playful yet sophisticated tone. Add a denim jacket to a floral sundress and finish off with strappy sandals. On beach trips, embody an easy yet standout look. Throw a light shirt over a sundress, pack a statement beach tote and put on chic sunglasses. In bars or evening parties, rule in a smooth, sensual outfit. Pair a sundress with high heels, a structured blazer, and bold jewelry.

Choosing the Right Sundress

Your choice of sundress plays a pivotal role in dressing up. Factors such as material type, fit, and length bear significance. They influence not only the look and feel of the outfit but also your comfort.

Material Matters: Cotton, Linen, or Silk?

Material selection, a key aspect, warrants careful attention. Cotton, linen, and silk each offer their unique features.

  1. Cotton sundresses, exemplified by Billy T and Maeve designs, tend to be lightweight, breathable, and ideal for casual, daytime wear. They absorb sweat, making them perfect for hotter climates.
  2. Linen sundresses, like those by Faithfull The Brand, provide similar characteristics to cotton. Yet, linen’s loose weave makes it significantly more breathable compared to cotton. It offers a slightly more textured, chic look.
  3. Silk sundresses offer elegance and sophistication. Respective examples, Vince and Zimmermann, present flowing, shiny dresses suitable for dressier occasions. Silk, though less breathable than cotton or linen, exudes luxury.

Choose the sundress material based on your lifestyle, weather, and occasion.

Selecting the Perfect Fit and Length

Getting the fit, another crucial factor, right ensures the sundress flatters your body type.

  1. A-Line sundresses work well on most body types, creating a balanced silhouette. Consider Shoshanna’s A-Line designs for an exemplar.
  2. Empire waist sundresses, like those from LoveShackFancy, can help spotlight your upper body while subtly hiding a belly. They’re ideal for apple or pear-shaped figures.

As for the length, it’s mainly a personal preference.

  1. Mini sundresses, examples being Reformation creations, sport a youthful, fun look. They focus attention on your legs.
  2. Midi length sundresses, like those by Ganni, provide a more conservative option, ideal for semi-formal occasions.
  3. Maxi sundresses, known from brands like Free People, offer the greatest coverage and often breeze a boho-chic vibe.

Remember, dress length might dictate suitability for certain events. A mini might be perfect for a beach day, whilst an evening function might call for a midi or maxi. So, consider the venue and nature of the event while selecting the length of the sundress.

Accessories to Elevate Your Sundress

After selecting the perfect sundress for an occasion, the next paramount step involves accessorizing. Adding the right accessories to your sundress will not only accentuate the look but also adds your unique personal touch. These additional items transform a simple dress into a complete outfit, allowing it to transition from day to evening effortlessly.

Statement Jewelry that Complements

Statement jewelry significantly contributes to elevating a sundress. Picking the right pieces plays a vital role that can’t be ignored. It’s a misconception that these need to be grand pieces. Even smaller, distinct pieces can leave a stylishly bohemian or minimalist impression.

Consider chunky metallic bracelets or a necklace with well-cut geometric shapes, for a modern, chic appearance. Conversely, for boho-lovers, wearing layered neckpieces with elements of earthy tones like terracotta or turquoise enhances your sundress’s appeal.

Pearls and stones embedded in delicate neutral-toned jewelry can also be a classic choice that goes impeccably well with a monochrome or pastel-colored sundress. Remember, the intention is to complement the sundress and not overshadow it.

The Right Choice of Belts and Scarves

Belts and scarves, two highly versatile accessories, can transform your sundress depending on the look you’re aiming for.

A simple but strategic addition of a belt can help accentuate the waistline, giving structure to looser fits. Belts like woven rattan, leather, or wide fabric belts are excellent picks, each providing a distinct aesthetic. If your sundress is of a solid color, belts with prints, patterns, or a mix of vibrant colors can often add an element of surprise.

Scarves, on the other hand, can be a fantastic tool to convert your casual day sundress to a classy evening get-up. Imagine a silk scarf draped artfully around your neck or shoulders with a sundress – the sophistication it brings cannot be replicated. Alternatively, a cotton or linen scarf in lively patterns or colors can add allure to your beach sundress.

In the fashion playbook, accessories are often considered as the final brushstrokes on a masterpiece, transforming an ordinary canvas into a breathtaking art piece. Make sure you select yours to best complement and uplift your sundress.

Footwear to Pair with a Sundress

After dressing up your sundress with the right accessories, the next major style component to consider is your footwear. The shoes you choose contribute significantly to the overall impression of your outfit. A distinct pair of footwear can either subtly enhance or fundamentally shift the impact of your sundress.

Heels for Elegance: Stilettos and Wedges

Inject an aura of sophistication into your sundress ensemble. Opt for heels, particularly stilettos or wedges. These are classic footwears that create an elongated silhouette and add an extra touch of class. For example, consider how a pair of strappy stilettos elevates a simple midi-length sundress to a cocktail party ready attire. Or imagine the effect of wedge espadrilles paired with a maxi sundress for a polished yet comfortable brunch look. Boasting delicate beauty with every step you take, they’re a perfect companion for your sundress on special occasions.

Casual Yet Chic: Sandals and Flats

If you’re gearing up for a casual day-out, then switch up the high-heels for a pair of sandals or flats. Be it basic flip flops, chic gladiator sandals, or simple ballet flats, these types of footwear lend a relaxed vibe to your sundress. For instance, envision a striking printed sundress paired with comfortable white flip-flops on a beach day. Alternatively, see how leather gladiator sandals could upgrade a solid color A-line sundress into a boho-chic ensemble. These alternatives are all about comfort without compromising on style, making them a popular choice for daytime wear.

Layering Options for a Sundress

Layering isn’t just a style choice, it’s a strategic move that lets outfits transcend seasons and weather conditions. Let’s take a look at some layering options that can spice up your versatile sundress, keeping you effective in winter cold, summer heat, or an over-air conditioned office.

The Casual Denim Jacket

Denim jackets serve as a laid-back layering staple. Pair a rugged denim jacket with a flirty sundress, and you’ve struck a balance between tough and tender. Prefer light washes for a classic feel, yet darker shades work well for an urban chic look. Let’s not forget, its fabric carries a certain durability that challenges wear and tear. For maximum effect, play with contrasts; a light, summery dress under a robust denim jacket, for instance, generates visual interest.

Going Formal with Blazers

Not just reserved for boardroom meetings, blazers can add an unexpected air of sophistication to a sundress. For those seeking to elevate their sundress for a more formal setting, a sharp, well-fitted blazer does the trick. Opt for neutral tones like black, white, or beige to maintain a professional aesthetic. Yet don’t shy away from patterns when feeling bold–plaid, striped, or checkered blazers can inject personality into an otherwise simple sundress. Just remember: balance is key; pair patterns with solid colors, and let one piece take center stage. Following these guidelines ensures a quick change from casual to formal without needing a whole outfit overhaul. Opting for this unconventional combo may at times surprise, but it always impresses.

Makeup and Hairstyle Tips

Equally as pivotal as the sundress, accessories, and layering options, we’re about to delve into makeup and hairstyle choices. These elements play essential roles in creating a harmonious ensemble and enhancing the mood of your sundress look.

Natural Makeup Looks to Go with Your Sundress

Opt for a natural, light makeup look when you’re donning a sundress. It complements the dress’s relaxed and unfussy aesthetic, giving a summery, fresh-faced vibe. Create a sun-kissed glow on your skin with the use of bronzer, adding it to areas where sunlight naturally hits your face, such as the cheeks, forehead, and nose ridge. Peach and coral shades of blush match well with the bronzer’s undertones, giving a warm flush to your skin. Also, lighten up your look with a soft pink or neutral tone of lipstick, possibly with a hint of gloss for a moist, refreshing feel.

Moreover, choose waterproof variants for eye products like mascara and eyeliner, if you’re anticipating heat and humidity. Amplify those natural lashes with one or two coats of brown or black mascara, serving to open up the eyes. If you prefer a bit of drama, a thin swipe of eyeliner does wonders without overwhelming your look. Remember, less is truly more when it comes to sundress makeup — you’re aiming for a dewy, effortless look.

Hairstyles That Enhance the Sundress Vibe

Your hairstyle can significantly sway your sundress ensemble, either reinforcing its casualness or elevating it to another level. Easy-going hairstyles like beachy waves, loose braids, and simple ponytails are foolproof choices that sync with the laid-back nature of sundresses. These styles display a carefree, beachy feel — imagine rays of sunlight filtering through your tousled hair as you bask in the summer sun.

However, by selecting an updo, such as a modern messy bun or twist, or even an elegant low chignon, you transition your sundress from daytime casual to nighttime chic instantly. Adding accessories like floral hairpins, bandanas, or hairbands gives an extra personal touch, linking your hairstyle with your outfit. Whether it’s a balmy beach day or a moonlit cocktail party, your hairstyle, coupled with your makeup and sundress, ensures you radiate a panache fitting the occasion.

Special Touches to Stand Out

Dressing up a sundress comes down to adding unique touches that make your outfit stand out. Here, you’ll discover how to create a high-fashion look with straightforward additions like a pop of color and the incorporation of different patterns and textures.

Adding a Pop of Color

Make your sundress ensemble more striking by adding a pop of color. Opt for bright accessories such as a neon scarf or a vibrant clutch. Complementary colored shoes arrest attention, for instance, pair your pastel sundress with rich burgundy flats or pump up your dark-colored sundress with sunny yellow heels. Make sure the chosen color corresponds to your sundress’s hue and the occasion. Subtle pops of color also work well. Pair a minimalistic belt or a delicate bracelet in a shade that’s different from your dress, and witness how it signals high fashion.

Incorporating Patterns and Textures

Transform your sundress look by incorporating patterns and textures. Manipulating these elements can make the outfit more eye-catching and unique. Remarkably, it’s about getting bold. Wear a leopard print scarf with a solid sundress or experiment with geometric jewelry pieces.

Add texture to the mix by integrating a chunky knit cardigan if you’re wearing the sundress in a cooler temperature. The contrast between the smooth dress fabric and the chunky texture of the knit creates a stylish variance. Similarly, a denim jacket or leather vest can change a basic sundress into a piece of the edgier ensemble. Remember to pair wisely; the patterns or textures should complement the sundress and not overwhelm it.


So, you’ve now got the scoop on how to rock a sundress. Remember, choosing the right sundress isn’t just about the dress itself. It’s about the whole package – your makeup, hair, accessories, and even the layers you choose to add. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors, patterns, and textures. They can truly elevate your sundress look, making it more than just a simple beach outfit. Pair it with the right accessories, and you’ve got a high-fashion ensemble that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a casual day out or a fancy evening event, your sundress can be your best fashion ally. So go ahead, play around with these tips, and watch your sundress transform into a stylish statement piece.

Styling sundresses can be both fun and versatile, allowing you to create standout outfits for various occasions. If you want to experiment with patterns and accessories, Who What Wear suggests opting for patterned sundresses and minimalistic jewelry to make your outfit pop. For a more casual and comfortable outfit, try layering a cardigan over your sundress and adding some colorful sandals, as suggested by PureWow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the history of the sundress?

The sundress evolved from casual beachwear to refined evening attire over time, with significant contributions from several designers that reinvented its typical silhouette and style.

Q2: How to choose the right sundress?

Consider factors like the material, the fit of the dress, and the length, along with your personal style preferences, when selecting a sundress. It’s crucial that it complements your body type and feels comfortable.

Q3: Any makeup and hairstyle suggestions for wearing a sundress?

Focus on a more natural makeup look and relaxed hairstyles, such as beachy waves or elegant updos. Accessorize your hair with stylish elements for an original touch.

Q4: How to elevate a sundress outfit with accessories?

Try bright accessories, experiment with various patterns and textures, or include a layer, such as a cardigan or denim jacket, for a stylish twist. These can help create a standout sundress outfit for any occasion.

Q5: How important is the role of color in accessorizing a sundress outfit?

Color plays a significant role in accessorizing. Pops of color through accessories can transform a basic sundress into a high-fashion statement, creating a unique and eye-catching ensemble.