How To Wear A Sundress When You’re Over 40

It’s officially summer (in the northern hemisphere at least), so naturally our thoughts turn to clothing that will work even when it is insanely hot outside. And what’s more comfortable than a lightweight little dress? Nothing else is quite as comfortable as a breezy sundress on a hot day. Here is how to wear a sundress when you’re over 40.

How To Wear A Sundress Over 40

While some sundresses can seem juvenile, tween, or are just way too revealing (who wants to fuss with a strapless bra when it’s 90 degrees out anyways?), there is a perfect sundress out there for everyone and they can be surprisingly refined and chic, especially for something that is so easy to just throw on and go.

What’s more, sundresses are ideal for everything from throwing on over a bathing suit or hanging out on the couch to attending an appropriately spaced out party or going out to eat – they might actually be the most versatile piece of warm weather clothing.


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So when you are hanging out in your backyard or going on a walk or grocery run, let this be the summer of the sundress (and the caftan). Here are some of our favorites.

How To Wear A Sundress Swing Dress
Old Navy Linen-Blend Jersey Swing Dress for Women, $15

How To Wear A Sundress: Swing Dresses

If the quarantine fifteen has gotten to you, there is nothing quite as forgiving as a swing dress that will skim over everything from the chest down. Old Navy has linen-jersey blend swing dresses for great prices ($15 on sale!) in a variety of colors, so you can live in them all summer.

H&M Short Shirt Dress, $19.99

Dark Florals

We love a floral print with a black or dark background all year round, and there are lots of chic options in these types of prints out there now. This lilac print shirt dress from H&M is perfect with sandals for summer, but you could layer it with tights and a long cardigan in the fall as well.

leaf print Tropical Summer Maxi Dress,
Huskary Sleeveless V Neck Tropical Summer Maxi Dress, $25
R.Vivimos Chiffon Print V Neck Long Sleeve Tie Waist Maxi Dress
R.Vivimos Chiffon Print V Neck Long Sleeve Tie Waist Maxi Dress, $38.99

How to Wear a Sundress: Leaf Prints

Want to bring a tropical vibe to your patio? A vibrant leaf print dress like this deep blue and green one from Huskary on Amazon would be simply amazing poolside or beach-side (just add a fruity cocktail or mocktail), or you can channel your inner J.Lo at your next socially distant gathering with this R. Vivimos chiffon style, also via Amazon.

How to Wear a Sundress Tie Waist Midi Dress
Treasure & Bond Sleeveless Tie Waist Midi Dress, $79

The Not-So-Little Black Dress

A black or dark colored maxi dress is a surprising summertime workhorse. Dress it up with jewelry and statement shoes, or down with flat sandals and a simple scarf or headband. This Treasure & Bond black dress with an adjustable cinched waist is a stellar example of a day-to-night sundress that would work for all but the dressiest occasions.

Ann Taylor Square Neck Button Dress
Ann Taylor Square Neck Button Dress, $149

The Little White Dress

Or wear a dress in cream or ivory, depending on which pale neutral works best with your skin tone. Something like this button-down dress with a face-framing square neck from Ann Taylor is light, breezy and elegant. We suggest pairing it with a floppy straw hat and having a picnic – even if it is only on your lawn or local park!

How to Wear a Sundress architectural balck and white dress
ALICE + OLIVIA Coley Colorblock Shift Dress, now $114
AllSaints Lisen Dress Architectural sundress
AllSaints Lisen Dress, now $48

How To Wear A Sundress Over 40: Get Architectural

We always love a good statement piece, and this colorblocked black and white sundress from Alice + Olivia looks like it could be super flattering. Want to stick with all black? The drapey Lisen dress from AllSaints is a steal at $48. Proof that you don’t have to spend a lot or wear something stiff and tailored to get that sophisticated structured look.

While it’s definitely possible to rock a sundress at any age, there are some elements best left to those who are in their teens and twenties. This inclides bows, smocking, babydoll silhouettes, some types of puffed sleeves, eyelet, and most types of lace. If it resembles a pinafore or reminds you of Laura Ashley or Gunne Sax, you might want to leave it on the rack.

This also goes for sundresses with cutouts in strange places or require odd underpinnings that more closely resemble torture contraptions than actual garments. If a sundress isn’t simple to toss on and be super relaxed in, skip it.

Shop Sundresses for Women Over 40

What styles of sun dress are you wearing this summer? Share your favorites in the comments or in our Growing Younger Facebook group!

– Jacqueline Zenn

You may like to read more of Jacqueline’s fashion posts like Pajamas for Day Versus Pajamas for Night and The Best Sweats For Women Over 40 To Wear Now.

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