5 Ways to Style A Simple Summer Sundress

With hot weather and sun comes sandals, shorts, and (of course) sundresses. But sometimes that perfect summer sundress can feel a little boring, especially late in the summer when it feels like you’ve already worn the same one 30 times. Although the sundress is hands-down the most popular summer wardrobe staple, its popularity is exactly what can make it seem so...unexciting.

The simplicity of a sundress makes it perfect for a sweltering summer day - throw it on with a pair of sandals and you’re ready to go to the beach, a barbeque or anywhere where there’s sun. But some days you might feel like wearing something more stylized, more interesting, and less mundane.

Here are five unique ways to elevate your sundresses to show off more of your personal style.

1. Layer it over shorts


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Usually dresses are worn on their own, but why not spice it up by layering one (unbuttoned of course) over a cute pair of shorts, pants, or even another dress. It’s definitely a fashion risk, but it’s one that will definitely pay off in the end.

If you’re looking for a place to find the perfect summer dress to wear a hundred new ways (if you don’t already own a good few), “Target, Old Navy, and H&M have some more affordable prices for great dresses.” says Zoë Kaplan, a sophomore at Wesleyan University.

2. Throw it on over a leather jacket

Unexpected but surprisingly cool, pairing your sundress with a leather jacket can take your outfit to a new level. The contrast between the light femininity of the dress and the toughness of the jacket is unique and visually exciting. Plus, the combination is perfect for those cool summer nights.

Faux leather jackets are super affordable and can be found at almost any clothing store. They’re great quality and give the same look of a real leather jacket, but without the steep price tag and steeper moral cost. Try out this pale pink one that’s perfect for summer ($69.90, Zara.com).

Related: 7 '90s Style Trends You Should Embrace This Year

3. Wear it over a T-shirt


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Layer, layer, layer.

Perfect for the early-aughts look that’s coming back into style, layering your light sundresses over a tee shirt adds an instant dose of cool. Sliding a  slip dresses over a simple white tee is one way to go, or you can layer a strappy tank dress over a blouse or puff-sleeved top for an even more exciting take on the classic 90s look.

Whichever way you go, your simple sundress will be taken to a whole new level.

4. Pair it with an unexpected shoe


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“Sundresses are great because they can be so versatile — pair them with sneakers, wedges, fun hats, or jewelry to make them work for whatever occasion!” Zoë says.

Set aside the traditional strappy sandal and sundress combination and swap the expected for the surprising. By simply switching shoes you can have a whole new look, so how about trying a completely unique shoe. From “dad sneakers” to summer booties and even the loafers-with-socks trend, your simple look can be completely transformed.

But if you want to keep it simple, mules are so on trend right now. Caroline Pirozzolo, a recent grad from UNC Chapel Hill says she's absolutely loving mule sandals for summer, and her favorite pair comes from Urban Outfitters. According to Caroline, these mules are "super comfy," super cute and really affordable.

5. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

From wide-brimmed hats, to layered necklaces and statement belts, you can completely change an outfit with just your accessories. When all else fails, be as maximalist as possible and you’ll have a completely new look every time.

“I love wearing them with Vans & a tied flannel if they’re plain colored to add some fun prints!” says Abbey Williams, a senior at the University of Wyoming. And her favorite place to find cute dresses? Thrift shopping! “They’re usually super cheap and one of a kind” she says.

And if you’re looking for statement jewelry that are completely on trend, check out these tassel earrings ($48, BaubleBar) or this belt bag ($42, BaubleBar).

Maybe summer’s answer to the simple “jeans and a T-shirt” doesn't have to be so boring after all.