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9 White Dresses to Get You Through the Summer Heat

  |   By Holly Jackson

Earlier this week, a group of us decided to get out of the city for a day and do some historical house touring. We’re getting into the part of the summer here that is incredibly hot—most days are 95 and above with full humidity. One of my friends is new to the city and showed up wearing a dark-colored sundress, leggings, and heels. As we wandered through the outdoor exhibits, she continually checked out all the other ladies wearing the Southern lady semi-official August uniform: white dresses and flat sandals. By the end, she was declaring her intention to stock up on white dresses, if only to survive the heat until October.

I think Southern fashion has a reputation for being a little prissy with all of the white dresses and accessories. In reality, many of the ways people dress here are due strictly to weather. In the summer, it’s hot as hell, and it rains nearly every day. White is practical, breathable and manages to look reasonably chic even as you sweat through it. We even have a city festival dedicated to it called White Linen Night. Predictably, it’s in August and outdoors. It’s followed the next weekend by Dirty Linen Night, where you traditionally re-wear your white linen pieces without fear of being the grossest one there.

plus size halloween costumes

While I own at least six white dresses that I wear to death in August and September, I also love that white presents a blank canvas to express personality. White dresses come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some have print, and some are plain. You can go traditional with pearls or go crazy with tons of colors. You can add novelty prints or statement jewelry. White offers the perfect opportunity to make your fashion thesis statement.

If you want to try it, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite curve and hot weather friendly white dress options. Stocking up on Tide To-Go pens and Oxy-Clean is on you.

Annette Dress in Mahjong by Trashy Diva:

white dresses

Annette Dress Majong Collection
Available in Sizes 2 – 18
via Trashy Diva

I didn’t fall in love with this print at first, but it’s now one of my most worn summer dresses. The cotton voile is light as air, the style is flattering, and the print has all kinds of colors in it so pretty much everything I own matches it.

Embroidered Flutter Sleeve Dress by Eloquii:

white dresses

Embroidered Flutter Sleeve Dress
Available in Sizes 14 – 28
via Eloquii

This sweetly embroidered dress is peak summer. The bright colors make it easy to pair stuff you already own with it, and the embroidery has a bit of a retro vibe that is trendy right now. Also, you can never go wrong with flutter sleeves.

ASOS CURVE Off Shoulder Sundress with Shirring:

white dresses

Off Shoulder Dress Sundress
Available in Sizes 12 – 28
via ASOS CURVE

Sometimes you want to beat the heat, but you’re going to a barbecue or some other potentially messy social occasion. A cheap off the shoulder white dress is the perfect solution to summer heat and potential spills. At $32, this ASOS CURVE dress ticks all the boxes.

Fit and Flare Broderie Dress by Bravissimo:

white dresses

Fit and Flare Broderie Dress
Available in Sizes 04 – 14 (Curvy/Really Curvy/Super Curvy
via Bravissimo

A simple, yet classic white cotton dress, that can be dressed up or dressed down. This one would be great with flip flops or heels.

Perfectly Personal Shirt Dress in White Dots by ModCloth:

white dresses

Perfectly Personal Shirt Dress
Available in Sizes XS – 4X
via ModCloth

This comfortable shirtdress features a drawstring waist and a classic cut, which makes it perfect for looking put together while running around at outdoor festivals, parties, and brunches. The polka dots give it a fun look without feeling overwhelming.

Floral Pleat Chiffon Trumpet Gown by Tadashi Shoji:

white dresses

Tadashi Shoji Floral Pleat Chiffon Trumpet Gown
Available in Sizes 4 – 14
via Nordstrom

If you need a special occasion dress this summer, it would be hard to go wrong with this gorgeous floral creation from curve friendly designer Tadashi Shoji. The sheer panels keep this from feeling too precious, while the length and cut will make you feel like a queen.

Saltwater Melodies Sheath Dress by ModCloth:

White dresses

Saltwater Melodies Sheath Dress
Available in Sizes XXS – 3X
via ModCloth

We clearly couldn’t get out of this article without a novelty print, so here’s my pick for the week. This shell inspired novelty print is perfect for summer parties and weekend getaways to the beach—but is also wearable during the week as well. I love the 60’s inspired collar and the classic sheath shape combined with the zany print.

Crepe Augusta Geneva Dress in White by Universal Standard:

white dresses

Crepe Augusta Geneva Dress
Available in Sizes XS (10/12) – XL (26/28)
via Universal Standard

I could write a sonnet (or another whole post) on why Universal Standard is changing the landscape of plus size clothing. Everyone should try them. Despite neither fitting into my “regular” look, I now own two dresses by them and am in love. I own the cotton Geneva dress and have been living in it ever since I bought it in April. This white version features luxury French satin-back crepe which feels truly incredible on (I know because I also own the Katy dress in the same fabric). This dress somehow manages to fit loosely while being super flattering on curves, so it’s the perfect summer dress.

The Georgia in White by Universal Standard:

white dresses

The Georgia
Available in Sizes XS (10/12) – XL (26/28)
via Universal Standard

I haven’t tried this one myself, but I suspect it looks awesome on and less like a hospital gown. What I love about these dresses is that you can wear them a ton of different ways—belted for more shape, loose for a more casual look, etc. This one is a fresh and unusual take on the shirtdress, which can be hit or miss for curvy women. Universal Standard’s genius ability to make sculptural pieces work for curvy figures makes this a must try for summer.

Do you wear white dresses in summer? Which of these styles would you wear?

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Holly lives in an old house in New Orleans with her husband, two dogs and far too many bras. By day she runs The Full Figured Chest, the preeminent lingerie copywriting and marketing firm in the industry. She is the number one recommended copywriter by The Lingerie Journal and her blog was recently featured in Lucky Magazine as one of the top three lingerie blogs online.