There comes a time every summer when it feels as though the sweltering temperatures could not possibly rise any higher—that is, until they do. During this particular time of year, the mere thought of having to put on any form of clothing aside from a swimsuit evokes a sense of pure dread, because how is anyone supposed to put on any semblance of a cute outfit when just stepping outside feels like entering into an aggressively heated sauna? It makes getting dressed a total slog, especially when you’d prefer to still look *somewhat* presentable and put-together, despite the insufferable heat.
During these dog days of summer, it’s key to remember that this season’s dressing is all about comfort and ease, which is why an effortless summery frock is always a reliable choice. There’s one particular style that we’re especially fond of during the summer (and all times of the year, to be honest), and that’s the smocked dress.
Smocked dresses are typically identified by stretchy gathered material at the bodice, though some have the smocked fabric higher up or lower at the waist. The smocking adds a comfortable structure to the dress that’s flattering without being too constricting.
While smocked dresses have been worn for decades, they’ve become even more relevant over the past few years, especially with the rising popularity of the cottagecore trend and, more recently, the coastal grandmother aesthetic. Smocked dresses are stylish, flattering and, above all, comfortable, which is especially appealing after all those months so many of us spent at home in sweatsuits and leggings, because there’s no reason we should have to give up comfort even though IRL events and obligations are back up and running again.
Like any good wardrobe (and especially summertime) staple, smocked dresses are super versatile; you can dress them up or down depending on the occasion. They come in a plethora of silhouettes, whether you’re looking at a babydoll mini, a demure ankle-length frock or a long-sleeved bohemian-inspired style. Linen is always a good idea during summer, though a silkier fabric is chic for a dressier affair. Below, see the best smocked dresses to shop now.
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Hill House Home The Collector's Edition Ellie Nap Dress
Hill House Home’s comfy yet sophisticated nap dresses have become a cool girl favorite for good reason; these smocked frocks are so adaptable for any occasion. If you want an extra special version, try this dressier, baby blue, sheer lace fabric.
Doen Siena Dress
Embrace the cottagecore vibes in this puff-sleeved frock, with a smocked bodice, ditsy floral pattern and delicate bow tie.
Rails Rumi Smocked Organic Cotton Blend Midi Sundress
A classic black dress is key for any capsule wardrobe, and this pretty cotton midi proves that the darker shade works for summer, too, especially when there’s lovely eyelet detailing.
Ciao Lucia Gabriela Smocked Cotton Poplin Midi Dress
The spaghetti straps and subtle peekaboo cutout add a flirty touch to this frock, and the bold tangerine hue is a fun shade for summer.
Poupette Bandeau Dress Claire
This adorable strapless number is perfect for all your upcoming beach trips.
PatBo Zamia Off-The-Shoulder Maxi
If you’re looking for a smocked frock that’s comfy yet suitable for a dressier occasion, try this PatBo off-the-shoulder printed maxi.
Faithfull The Brand Bryssa Dress
This bubblegum pink dress has a smocked bodice that seamlessly transitions to a flowing cotton skirt.
& Other Stories Smocked Mini Dress
Go for a whimsical babydoll look in this periwinkle blue long-sleeved mini.
Sea Esme Maxi Dress
This floaty and feminine dress has romantic ruffled sleeves and a subtly tiered skirt. Pair yours with simple leather sandals for a daytime look or dress it up with a minimalist strappy heel.
Ann Taylor Smocked Scalloped Tiered Maxi Dress
For a preppier take on the trend, consider this navy halter, with a long maxi skirt and scalloped details.
Staud Landry Dress
Love the corset look, but don’t actually want to wear a corset? Look no further than this flirty mini from Staud, which as accentuated cups and a smocked bodice, with a sweet flouncy hem.
Farm Rio Yellow Flower Dream Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress
This marigold patterned dress has more of a maximalist aesthetic, with flower appliqués, puff sleeves and beaded tassels.
Sleeper Atlanta Linen Dress in Roses
Sleeper’s dreamy rose-printed linen dress feels like it would surely be Sleeping Beauty-approved.
Mirth Mykonos Dress in Saltwater
This lightweight cotton maxi is the perfect way to beat the heat while still looking effortlessly put together.
Reformation Inka Dress
This romantic floral midi has pretty ruffled cap sleeved and slinky slit.
Magic Linen Avilla Dress
You’ll live in this classic black frock, with a smocked bodice and bow-tie straps. Oh, and there are pockets!
Abercrombie Puff Sleeve Smocked Bodice Midi Dress
When it comes to transitional seasonal dressing, this puff-sleeved green dress fits the bill.
The Westside Dominique Dress
This chic and floaty black dress has voluminous long sleeves and a subtle cut out in the back, for a peek of skin.
Baum Und Pferdgarten Admore Floral Print Smocked Organic Cotton Dress
This high-necked, tulip-patterned dress has ruffled sleeves and a modest below-knee hem. It’s giving us ladies-who-lunch vibes, in the best way.
Eileen West Grace Peri Gingham Day Dress
This tiered gingham frock is demure yet flirty.