The Smocked Dresses You’ll Live in for Summer

You’ll wear these stylish smocked dresses all season long.

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 28: Celine Bethmann wearing black Claudie Pierlot sandals, black By Far bag and Zara flower dress on July 28, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

At long last, warm weather has arrived, and while you might have rued bundling up during the cold days of winter, the sweltering summer heat can be rather trick to dress for, too. When in doubt, a breezy summer dress is the solution, and right now, we’re all about a smocked dress, which combines the best of comfort, ease and style.

While smocked dresses have been worn for decades, they’ve become even more relevant over the past few years, especially with the ongoing popularity of the cottagecore trend and the coastal grandmother aesthetic. Smocked dresses are stylish, flattering and comfortable, which is something you shouldn't have to sacrifice for fashion.

Smocked dresses are typically identified by stretchy gathered material, most often at the bodice or waist of the frock. The smocking adds a comfortable structure to the dress that’s flattering without being too constricting. Like any good wardrobe 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. They also work any time of year; wear one in a thicker fabric with tights when it’s cooler out, or a linen frock during summer. A silkier fabric is chic for a special occasion or dressier affair. Your outerwear choice can also change the feel of a smocked dress; layer with a leather jacket or denim topper if there’s a chill in the air, or perhaps a blazer, for a more professional look.

Below, see the best smocked dress to shop now.

Hill House Home The 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. The solid hues are super versatile, but why not branch out into a pretty floral, like this tiered midi dress?

$178, SHOP NOW

Hill House Home. Hill House Home

Dôen Stanza Dress

Few brands do the cottagecore aesthetic quite as well as Dôen. This short-sleeve midi frock—one of the many smocked options from Dôen—is an absolute dream, with a smocked bodice, ditsy floral pattern and delicate bow tie.

$328, SHOP NOW

Dôen. Doen

Ciao Lucia Gabriela Dress in Black Cotton

You can’t have too many black dresses, and Ciao Lucia's black midi dress is sure to be your new go-to when it comes to warm-weather dressing. The cotton is ultra-breathable, while the delicate, adjustable spaghetti straps are ideal for a feminine yet practical summer frock. Pair yours with a simple sandal for daytime or dress it up with a stappy heel.

$295, SHOP NOW

Ciao Lucia. Ciao Lucia

Rails Rumi Dress

The wide shoulder straps and midi length add a subtly modest note to this sleeveless linen-blend dress, making it an ideal choice for an office-to-dinner wardrobe option. The smocked bodice is flattering and comfy, and we're obsessed with the whimsical seashell pattern.

$238, SHOP NOW

Rails. Rails

Poupette Mini Dress Camila

This adorable v-neck floral dress has a smocked waist and flowing flutter sleeves, and is just as suitable to wear as a beach cover-up as it is to sport as a summer sundress.

$350, SHOP NOW

Poupette. Poupette

La Ligne Strapless Vivian Dress

For a minimalist '90s feel, look no further than La Ligne's elegant strapless Vivian dress. The shirred bodice adds a bit more support on top, so you won't constantly be yanking your dress up, while the skirt (with pockets!) adds a modern edge that's still utterly timeless.

$295, SHOP NOW

La Ligne. La Ligne

Everlane The Gauze Off-the-Shoulder Dress

For a romantic yet ultra-wearable silhouette, try an off-the-shoulder neckline. The smocked bodice makes the look a bit more daytime and casual, but the black hue ensures you can easily dress it up.

$168, SHOP NOW

Everlane. Everlane

Alix of Bohemia Caeli Primrose Bhutti Mini Dress

This feminine ditsy floral print smocked mini dress features a high neckline and tiered skirt, for a playful yet pulled together look.

$690, SHOP NOW

Alix of Bohemia. Alix of Bohemia

Loretta Caponi Erika Embroidered Striped Poplin Midi Dress

'Tis the season of the preppy, nautical frock. This striped poplin dress is handcrafted in Italy, with a comfortable smocked top that seamlessly transitions into a pleated midi skirt. Wear it with a straw bag and brown leather sandals for the ultimate summer look.

$780, SHOP NOW

Loretta Caponi. Loretta Caponi

J.Crew Clio Dress In Textured Gauze

This breezy, buttercup yellow midi features smocking at the waist and gathered details at the square neck, along with ties at the shoulders. The ruffle hem adds an extra dose of texture to the gauzy fabric.

$138, SHOP NOW

J. Crew. J. Crew

Apiece Apart Siempre Tank Maxi

Apiece Apart's sleeveless organic cotton dress is a lesson in classic minimalism, with a smocked bodice and crew neckline in a solid thyme green.

$295, SHOP NOW

Apiece Apart. Apiece Apart

Mirth Janeiro Dress in Songbird

This lightweight smocked midi dress is so effortlessly chic; wear it with sandals during the summer, or add a cardigan sweater or denim jacket during transitional times of the year. The adjustable straps ensure a perfect fit.

$310, SHOP NOW

Mirth. Mirth

Figue June Floral-Print Ruffle Halter Maxi Dress

Make a statement in this dreamy floral-print halter dress, with a ruched bust and smocking along the back for a comfortable yet stylish fit. The tiered ruffle skirt adds a final feminine touch to the blue-and-pink cotton frock.

$598, SHOP NOW

Figue. Figue

Gaâla Lucette Smocked Dress

This flowing smocked dress features chic capped sleeves and an elegant square neckline, with a shirred bodice and tiered skirt. It's the ultimate summer go-to.

$275, SHOP NOW

Gaala. Gaala

Polo Ralph Lauren Smocked Cotton Dress

There are certain dresses you know you'll turn to time and time again, and this timeless navy Ralph Lauren number is one of them. From the cami-inspired smocked bodice and straight neckline to the slightly flared skirt and thin straps, this dress is one of the most versatile and comfortable pieces out there.

$398, SHOP NOW

Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren

Farm Rio Yellow Delicate Fruit Garden Smocked Maxi Dress

If there's any time of the year perfect for a bold hue, it's summer. And what's bolder than a bright yellow frock? The lace-up detail on the strapless smocked bodice adds a Western saloon-esque edge to this fanciful dress, while the sunny yellow color and lush garden motifs keep you thoroughly in the summer mindset.

$298, SHOP NOW

Farm Rio. Farm Rio

Hutch Collins Dress

A trending drop waist offers a fresh take on the smocked dress, and the slightly flared, full skirt balances out this cotton midi.

$238, SHOP NOW

Hutch. Hutch

Aerie Pool-To-Party Tie Back Maxi Dress

It's the perfect time of year to start trying out bold hues, like this cheerful orange maxi. It's soft and super lightweight, with a smocked front and adjustable straps—it's just as suitable as a cover-up as for a breezy day strolling around town.


Aerie. Aerie

Sleeper Atlanta Linen Dress

Sleeper’s dreamy smocked long-sleeve midi dress has a laidback, boho vibe, and feels like it would surely be Sleeping Beauty-approved—it’s no surprise it’s a best-seller for the brand.

$320, SHOP NOW

Sleeper. Sleeper.

Altuzarra Lily Smocked Midi Dress with Eyelet Embroidery

Looking for a splurge-worthy summer piece? Consider Altuzarra's sky blue midi dress, for a modern-day Alice in Wonderland look. The short, almost capped sleeves, A-line silhouette and eyelet details add to the romantic allure, while the square neckline adds some dimension.

$1,895, SHOP NOW

Altuzarra. Altuzarra

Reformation Laly Dress

Lady in red, anyone? Reformation's scoop-neck midi is just daring enough, with a peekaboo opening you can adjust with the tie straps, and smocking that behinds below the bust and ends at the hip, reminiscent of a corset style—but *so* much more comfortable.

$248, SHOP NOW

Reformation. Reformation

Matteau Shirred Organic Cotton Mini Dress

Those that prefer a mini length will adore this Matteau babydoll dress, with a peasant style-inspired look complete with puff sleeves and a flared, pleated skirt. Oh, and there are pockets, which is always a plus for us.

$440, SHOP NOW

Matteau. Matteau

Aspiga Billie Short Sleeve Dress

This organic cotton tiered maxi dress is the epitome of summer ease, with a shirred waistband and loose short sleeves with a frilly touch at the cuff.

$225, SHOP NOW

Aspiga. Aspiga

Saloni Lea Smocked Crepe Maxi Dress

While the smocking on this colorblock maxi dress is more subtle than the traditional full bodice, it’s just as easy, chic and comfy, thanks to the ruched material at the v-neck, bust and short sleeves, and the material and length make it perfect for dressier occasions—in fact, it's an ideal wedding guest frock.

$615, SHOP NOW

Saloni.  Saloni.

Unsubscribed Strappy Shirred Dress

This strappy shirred dress is an easy and comfy staple.

$398, SHOP NOW

Unsubscribed. Unsubscribed

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