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We know a thing or two about what makes a brilliant summer dress – meet some of our favourites.

Go bright in printed summer dresses

Our favourite season is upon us: it’s finally time to wear summer dresses. Versatile, comfy, and easy-to wear, we love a good frock. And believe us, we’ve got some of the best summer dresses around. Summer is a great time to add some colour into your wardrobe, so look out for sunshine shades. Printed summer dresses are another quick win when the sun’s shining but you’re not sure what to wear. This Per Una dress ticks all our boxes: a vibrant colour, floral print, and flattering shape. It’s made from pure cotton, which will be light and comfy all summer long, and has plenty of design details for an elevated look, such as a delicate ruffle trim around the neckline-line. We’re imagining wearing it for a family BBQ or heading out to dinner on a hot holiday. If you’re wondering how to style a summer dress, you can’t go wrong with a classic denim jacket and statement sandals.

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Orange floral printed summer dress. Shop now. 
This Per Una dress is bright and beautiful
Linen floral dress. Shop now.
A polished take on a summer dress
Blue and pink strappy dress. Shop now.
Dress this summer stunner up or down
Polka dot print dress. Shop now.
Polka dots are a style staple

Get sunshine ready in a beach dress

Make sure there’s space for a summer beach dress in your suitcase – it’ll be the hardest working piece in your holiday wardrobe. Go from beach to bar in style in this square neck beach dress, which is a flattering midaxi length and has pretty straps that can be worn in a bow. We like it in clementine, but it’s also available in black. Throw over your swimwear and style with a summer hat for extra sun protection. Carry all your beach essentials in our straw tote bag, which is stylish but still sturdy.

Looking for more must-have summer dresses? Tune into our M&S Live show to find out our fashion experts are styling their favourites – watch and shop here.

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Orange beach dress with tie straps. Shop now.
Puts us in a sunshine state of mind
Pink strappy beach dress. Shop now
The perfect holiday dress
Green tie strap beach dress
Comes in three eye-catching shades
Purple beach dress with pink embroidery. Shop now.
This dress is going straight in our suitcase

Smarten up a summer dress

Summer spells special occasions, like weddings, holidays, and parties. The right summer dress will see you through everything in your diary and can be dressed up or down, depending on your accessories. Take this showstopping tea dress, which is made from a glossy satin and has floaty sleeves. Wear it with heels, gold jewellery and a clutch bag for a summer wedding or chunky sandals for a more casual summer look that’s still a bit special. This Nobody’s Child dress is another great choice for summer events, thanks to the fitted silhouette, bold print and ruffled detail. It’ll look just as good with simple white trainers on warm weekends, so it’s a smart wardrobe investment.

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Pink satin tea dress. Shop now.
A tea dress never goes out of style
Green satin slip dress. Shop now.
We love Ghost London for timeless dresses
Blue patterned maxi dress. Shop now.
Make a statement in this striking dress
Floral print midaxi tea dress. Shop now.
Delicate florals are perfect for a summer wedding

Keep things neutral

If you’re not a lover of colour or print, don’t worry. We’ve got a summer dress for you. This cream linen rich dress makes for one of the best summer outfits to have in your arsenal: minimal yet stylish. Contrast the simplicity of the dress with stand-out accessories, like chunky sandals and statement sunglasses. Black is known for being fashion’s favourite shade, and there’s no reason you can’t wear inky tones in the summer if that’s your preference. Just look for light fabrics and interesting details to prevent the look from becoming too gothic, like this linen dress with elegant shirring detailing on the bodice and puff sleeves. And of course, white is a classic in the warmer months. We’re adding this snowy embroidered midi dress with to our baskets immediately.

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Cream linen dress with thin straps. Shop now.
This linen rich dress is simple but effective
Black linen shirred midi dress. Shop now
Works for almost any occasion
White embroidered dress with puff sleeves. Shop now.
Voluminous sleeves add some drama
Black midi dress with embroidery. Shop now.
Floral embroidery for a touch of boho style

Words: Emily Sutherland