Compared to finding a strapless bra that actually stays up or a well fitting swimsuit that actually feels good (the struggle!), shopping for the perfect summer dress is supposed to be easy—right? But trying to find a dress that isn’t too young (step away from the clingy, way-too-short minis of your youth) but also isn’t too mom-ish (leave the high-necks to your own mom) is harder than you might think.
Or at least it was harder than it should have been until we discovered the hidden gem that is Universal Standard. The fashion brand best known for its size inclusivity and super soft fabric has a whole line of summer dresses that are just begging to be lived in this summer and all summers. Whether it’s a basic tank dress or a silky satin sheath, you’ll want one (or all) of these hanging in your closet this season. Need maternity? Yup— that’s in here, too.
To help you upgrade your summer style a la Universal Standard, we’ve rounded up our favorite summer dresses from their collection. Bonus: Universal Standard has recently come out with a face mask made of the same jersey fabric their dresses are famous for, so you can match your mask to your dress. Win-win.
In celebrating that the holiday weekend is finally here, the entire summer collection is 25% off from July 2-July 7. You can even shop early with this special code, EARLYACCESS, at checkout.
We love a good LBD as much as the next woman but in the summer, we love an SLBD even more (that’s a satin little black dress, of course). And one of our favorite SLBDs this year? The new Sonya dress from Universal Standard. In the same flattering V-neck silhouette of the brand’s most popular Teresa dress, this satiny sheath is super silky, super soft, and most importantly, super lightweight. Available in both jet black and dusty caramel, the Sonya dress hits just below the knee so you won’t have to worry about a sudden gust of wind (or a handsy toddler) and it has just the right amount of fit and stretch to hug your body without being too tight.
We get it: We all want to look like a million bucks without, well, spending a million bucks. Fortunately, you can do exactly that with the Tesino Dress from Universal Standard. “My favorite part of this dress is the fabric—it’s soft and feels expensive,” one reviewer describes of the lightweight jersey material. “Every time I’ve worn it, I felt comfortable and confident all day and received multiple compliments. Highly recommend!” Other happy mamas say they’ve bought it in all three colors (black, navy, and olive) and love that you can wear it for almost any occasion, no matter how casual—or how dressy—it is.
T-shirts are great. But T-shirt dresses are even better. After all, you get all the comfort and casual-ness of a tee but without the struggle that is wearing pants (praise be!). That’s why so many women love the Halie T-Shirt Dress from Universal Standard. Available in black and bright red, the soft cotton dress features a flattering relaxed fit, an equally comfortable crew neck, and a high-low hem that provides ample coverage. And if you aren’t yet convinced that this could be THE dress of your summer, consider this—it also has roomy pockets (we know!) that are big enough to tote around all your essentials like chapstick, keys, and, of course, plenty of snacks.
Being pregnant in the summer is hard (so hot! so uncomfortable!). And while you can’t change the fact that you have to survive 90+ temps while also carrying around a baby in your stomach, you can make it a little more bearable with the Geneva Dress from Universal Standard. It’s made of a lightweight and breezy Peruvian cotton blend (read: you won’t feel like you’re suffocating) that also happens to be pilling-resistant and durable. Available in six pretty colorways including basic black and vibrant eggplant, the Geneva Dress can be dressed up or dressed down—i.e. it’s exactly what your mama-to-be wardrobe needs this season.
Ah, the dress that started it all. Aka the ultra soft, ultra flattering Teresa Dress that earned Universal Standard its cult-favorite status. We’re not exactly sure how one simple piece of jersey fabric can feel and fit so ridiculously good but we are absolutely here for it. It drapes over your body in a way that clings to all the right places (and flows away from all the wrong ones—looking at you love handles!) and has a V-neck that’s just deep enough to hint at a little sexiness (without dipping into risque territory). It’s the perfect solution to those “I have nothing to wear” days when you need something simple yet stylish to toss on. (Backyard BBQ’s with flip flops totally works!)
Things every woman needs for summer: a trashy beach read, a 30-pack of White Claws, and a basic tank dress. The first two are on you (Amazon and the local liquor store can help you out there) but the last one you can get with the Foundation Dress from Universal Standard. Like an upgraded version of the cheap Forever 21 bodycon dress you wore in college (RIP), it clings to your curves in all the right places and is made of an ultra lightweight ribbed material that’s thick enough that you can wear the dress on its own yet thin enough that you can easily layer it under other pieces, too. Versatile much?!
As a mom, you do a lot of things. So it only makes sense that you want an equally versatile dress. Enter the Nailah Dress from Universal Standard. Part tunic, part dress, it can be worn any number of ways. Unbuttoned as a beach cover-up? Done. Buttoned all the way for the perfect weekend dress? You got it. Tied up into a chic summer blouse? Why not?! The Nailah does it all (just like you, mama!). Made of the sheerest, most breathable, so-light-you-forget-you’re-wearing-it fabric, the ankle-length dress has an oversized fit that’s ideal for those hot July afternoons and comes in black, white, and the most stunning shade of azure blue.
Another easy dress for mamas to be, the Rachel. Because A, there are not enough maternity dresses that you really can wear before, during, and after, and B, because there are not enough dresses in the world with ruching just where we all need it. Plus it’s a cap sleeve (because pregnancy=sweaty) and it’s a drapey jersey that flows with you without sticking to you. Neutral caramel and black are just right for working on the front porch but will look great at the office (if and when we finally get back there).
Need more summer style ideas? Browse our favorite fashion picks here, including the comfiest bralettes and summer sandals.