7 summer dresses for every sun-drenched summertime activity

Dressing up for summer.

There’s little more uncomfortable than the drag of rough, heavy denim on skin come sweltering, humid summer days in Hong Kong; the kind that prompts rolling beads of sweat that rush down the body in embarrassing rivulets. The kind of day better spent within the square-footage realm of a functioning air conditioner. The kind of day better spent, still, alongside a sparkling body of water, ice-cold spiked lemonade firmly in hand.

Take it from a local; your summertime uniform should be something easy. Something one-and-done. Something you don and promptly forget about. These dresses — rendered in breezy cotton jersey, linen-silk and, on one occasion, crocheted cashmere — are our uniforms for stylishly surviving the scorching days of summer. A Hong Kong summer, no less.


Marie France Van Damme’s tasseled printed washed-silk kaftan

Summertime activity: Poolside luxuriating

If there’s a designer synonymous with dressing for the tropics; for vacation; for luxuriating under scorching sunlight, it has to be the singular Marie France Van Damme. Washed-silk kaftans like this piece — printed all-over with a full forest of waving palm trees — are signature for Van Damme; she happens to call them ‘Bou Bou’ after her adorable dog. We’d wear this all summer long with raffia totes, open-toed platform sandals, a fresh neon pedicure and a generous slather of SPF.

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Zimmermann’s ‘Wild Botanica’ tie-back cut-out midi dress

Summertime activity: Picnics at Tamar Park

We’re plenty obsessed with this sunshine-yellow Zimmermann dress from the brand’s S/S 21 ‘Wild Botanica’ collection, with its draping, fluttery straps that cascade dramatically down the cut-out back; a detail that will look so pretty fluttering with every striding step. The linen-silk composition of this piece is just the breezy kind of frock you’ll yearn for come humid, summery Hong Kong days. We’re envisioning this piece worn to a picnic date with strappy sandals and a beautiful tan.

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Gabriela Hearst’s ‘Ocon’ crocheted cashmere maxi dress

Summertime activity: Beachside strolls at sunset

The siren call of cashmere typically sounds in the early, autumnal days of October. Hong Kong summers, though? Almost unheard of. The crochet ventilation of this ‘Ocon’ dress from Gabriela Hearst, however, makes an excellent case study for summertime knitwear — as does the rows of rainbow-coloured striping gradating from top to toe and the curving panels dipping in at the waistline that carves out a really flattering, hourglass fit. Hearst sent this piece down her S/S 21 runway with chunky leather loafers, but we’d probably wear this with flatform thonged sandals.

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Totême’s ribbed jersey midi dress

Summertime activity: Late-for-work attire

You know those summer mornings. You’re comfortably ensconced in an air-conditioned room, snuggled in a comforter cocoon of your own making. You’ve, somehow, missed all five alarms. You’ve had to settle for a true no-makeup day; hair haphazardly shoved into a top-knot. Now, this Totême dress is easy. Scored in tight columns of ribbed jersey in a trendy mocha brown that will look so good against sun-kissed, freckled skin. We’re sprinting out the door in this and a slip-on pair of sandals.

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Ganni’s shirred floral-print mini dress

Summertime activity: Zuma brunch dates

There are so many sugar-sweet elements making up this Ganni mini dress. The shirred, squared-off bust, for one. The ditsy, buttercup-yellow floral daubs, for another. The still-going-strong puffed sleeves — ruching at the elbows — are perfect summery grace notes, delivering this piece easily into the territory of cottage-core, prairie-adjacent mood-boards. Consider an irreverent 180º spin by pairing this feminine piece with cool-girl combat boots.

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Valentino’s floral-print maxi shirt dress

Summertime activity: Sipping on sundowners at Repulse Bay

Ultra-voluminous dresses are a beautiful way to ease out of our lock-down uniforms of easy loungewear and elasticated waistbands; after all, a trapeze shirt dress like this stunning number from Valentino falls into a super forgiving silhouette that’s skims past the body — unlike the body-conscious sculpt of so many other skin-baring summery designs. The archival florals abloom on this piece have history to them; they’re first made famous by Anjelica Huston in 1972.

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Jacquemus’s ‘Saudade’ open-back ruched twill maxi dress

Summertime activity: Art gallery openings

You’ll probably recognise the shape of this Jacquemus ‘Saudade’ dress; new-mother Gigi Hadid famously wore a beige version of this slinky frock at the brand’s presentation, complete with a confident, commanding strut and swaying, Rapunzel-long hair. The ruched side of this piece tethers to a thigh-high split hem, while the strappy open back musters up as much sensuality as any little-black frock. And then some. The elder Hadid wore hers with strappy heeled sandals and shiny gold-hoop earrings — we will too.

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