There’s a lot to be said about the little black dress – it’s classic, timeless and always elegant. It was the go-to style staple for fashion icon Audrey Hepburn, after all.
But while black is a safe choice all year round, we’d like to suggest a bolder choice for the warmer summer months; one that highlights and celebrates the light and brightness of the season – white.
The purest and crispest of all the shades you could wear, white is both innocent and flirty at the same time. No color palette is quite as sophisticated yet simple. Choose a little white dress and you’re instantly polished in top-to-toe glamour and understated elegance. While black is safe and demure, white is fun and flirty.
So next time you’re stuck with nothing to wear, why not take inspiration from our round-up of must-have little white dresses? From easy shift dresses to over-the-top evening ensembles, let white be the star of your summer wardrobe.
The classic A-line shape of fit-and-flare dresses is undeniably feminine. As the silhouette is fitted at the smallest part of your frame – the waist – it gives the wonderful illusion of a womanly hourglass shape. You get the effect of a curvaceous figure while still looking slim and sweetly feminine.
1. Tea Time Pretty
The skater style is fun and flirty enough to wear to just about any event – from a casual brunch with friends to a night of dancing at the club. Subtle details like thin spaghetti straps over the shoulders and slight ruching at the waist add interesting elements to the basic simplicity of the all-over white color.
2. Picnic Perfect
This one is the epitome of a feminine style staple. The cut and silhouette of this dress is undoubtedly girly and is the perfect choice for women with more weight around their hips. The full skirt wonderfully accentuates feminine curves – no wonder this style is a favourite among ultra-feminine celebrities like Eva Longoria and Blake Lively.
3. Office Chic
It’s no secret that white is elegant and sophisticated – so why not bring some of it into the office? The midi length of this dress creates a classic effect, combined with elbow-length sleeves and a subtle scoop at the neck. Pair it simply with white stiletto heels and you’re good to go.
4. It’s a Wrap
Made popular by Diane von Furstenberg in 1997, the wrap dress has become a firm fixture in every fashionista’s spring wardrobe. The shape is classic and timeless, designed to bring out the positive features in every woman’s figure. Wear it simply with strappy sandals and an easy clutch purse – the perfect daytime attire for the modern woman on the move.
There’s a reason the lace trend has remained so popular year in and year out. Conveying a sense of old-school glamour and sophistication, a white lace dress is sweet, innocent and ultra-feminine. If it’s a more risqué look you’re after, try a lace number that shows off a little more leg or has a lower neckline.
5. White Lace & Promises
White lace is pure and innocent – no wonder it’s the choice of so many brides looking for a romantic wedding gown. To steer clear of the bridal look in everyday wear though, opt for a shorter hemline and simple ballet flats or strappy flat sandals. Also keep your hair and makeup natural with little to no accessories.
6. High Tea Dressing
Eyelet detailing puts a modern spin on the traditional lace trend. Pair the old, traditional style with current trends by going for a midi-length fit-and-flare style in classic white. Pointy-toed nude stiletto heels add to the glamour and class of this overall look.
7. Lace on the High Street
Lace can be cool and casual too, just ask Olivia Palermo, seen here in an easy-fit pinafore-style white dress with delicate lace detailing. Crisp and comfortable, the effortless style is perfect for a day of carefree shopping.
8. Off-the-shoulder Chic
If you thought crochet only belonged in quilts and scarves, think again. This eye-catching crocheted number proves quite the opposite. Fitted all across the body, a lacy overlay falls off the shoulder and covers the upper bodice – an unusual addition to a simple body-con style which works beautifully.
Just like the basic white T-shirt, a simple white T-shirt dress is the summer staple you need in your wardrobe. Because they’re plain and fuss-free, these dresses provide the ideal backdrop for bold, colourful accessories. They’re versatile too – a little white shirtdress looks equally great worn with strappy sandals as with Converse sneakers.
9. Keeping It Casual
This is simplicity at its most practical. A deep V-neck keeps this dress from being too plain, while the looser fit still keeps it fun and carefree. You’ll be equally at home wearing this from the beach to the shopping mall.
10. Fun & Flirty
Whether it’s a beach bar or a coffee date, the sweet off-the-shoulder style of this mini dress will go down a treat. With a looser fit along the waist and hips, it’s comfortable and easy to wear regardless of the occasion. Pair it simply with flesh-colored shoes and accessories to really make your tan pop. Summer sorted!
11. Shirting the Issue
We all know the sexy simplicity of a white button-down shirt. Now take that effect and wear it as a dress, as seen here on Cinderella actress Lily James. The fit throughout the length of this dress is relaxed and easy-going, adding to the effortless feel of this outfit. Buttons all the way to the hem plus a cheeky tie around the hips make this one interesting summer style must-have.
12. Playing It Cool
Tennis, anyone? Channelling the women of Wimbledon, this style features the classic button-down style with the added benefit of blocks of pleated sections throughout. Versatile enough to be worn both smartly and casually, this little white dress will keep you stylish for many seasons to come.
Maxi dresses were created for every woman’s body type, regardless of its shape. They flatter every figure out there by creating the perfect female silhouette. Add the elegant simplicity of white to the mix and the effect is breathtaking. Remember to keep all other accessories simple though – too many adornments could make you look more bridal than you expected!
13. Grecian Goddess
With a delicate air of romance to this style, this maxi dress is subtle enough to be worn on a dreamy dinner date or a fancy black tie do. With maxi dresses, it’s all about the accessories. Here we see fine silver accessories tastefully added to let the crisp white of the dress be the star of the show.
14. Regal Elegance
It’s a fine art to combine tasteful with sexy, and this dress achieves that balance perfectly. Fine pleats adorn the length of this dress, with a high neckline adding a conservative touch. A slit up the leg rounds off the look perfectly, creating a playful, flirty effect.
15. Beachside Beauty
White must be one of the most versatile colors to wear. This maxi dress, for example, is striking not only for its unusual neckline and flowing silhouette but also for its cool, crisp color. You’ll be equally at home at a poolside party as at a family gathering.
16. Blushing Bohemian
This is the classic maxi shape, made famous all those years ago. It’s a testament to the longevity of this trend that it is still as popular today, if not more so. The basic V-neck, fitted band around the waist and flowing length creates a beautifully feminine silhouette, further enhanced by the crisp simplicity of the color white. This is one style purchase you’ll never regret!
Night-time dressing usually conjures up images of all-black glamour à la Audrey Hepburn. Why not put a spin on the trend and really stand out in an all-white evening dress? Particularly striking in summer, top-to-toe white can be fresh and eye-catching, not to mention ultra-sexy. Again though, remember to choose your accessories carefully to avoid looking too bridal.
17. Hi-Low Glamour
A sexy mini dress from the front, and an ethereal floating silhouette from behind – that’s the combined beauty of a hi-low dress. Wear it in classic white and the overall effect is striking and ultra-glamorous. For the dress to be the highlight of your ensemble, keep your shoes simple in a nude color and all other accessories light and barely-there.
18. Body-con Beautiful
Peplum style dresses are always sexy and extremely flattering to the female form. Completely fitted throughout yet featuring a girly ruffle that accentuates the hips, this one works for every frame – think everyone from Victoria Beckham to Beyoncé Knowles. Wearing it in bright white only makes the effect even more striking.
19. Striped & Fitted
Here is the classic fit-and-flare shape at its most glamorous. The bodice is fitted with a slight mesh fabric at the top, while the skirt is slightly pleated and fully rounded from the waist down. But it’s the shiny strips of glossy white that really bring the glamour. Add to it striking scarlet red stiletto heels and you’re designed to attract loads of onlookers.
20. Bridal Influence
Keen to make a glamorous entrance? This bridal-inspired mini dress is French style at its finest. The bodice is simple and fuss-free while the voluminous skirt adds heaps of drama. Ideal for all body types, this style perfectly hides extra weight around the hips while lengthening the legs too.