Even if you are usually a firm jeans or pants fan during the cooler months, you may still want to change your outfits up for warmer weather. So, how do you choose the best dresses for older women? Well, if you’ve been following 40+ Style for a while, you’ll already know we never take a one-size-fits-all attitude. But, generally, you may be looking for a longer length and perhaps you prefer to hide a belly or cover your arms. Take a look below at our choices of summer dresses for women over 40…

The best summer dresses for women over 40 – our picks this season

The dresses below range from sporty-style dresses to wear your sneakers with, to those you can wear to a summer party or event.

I’ve also included some jackets, shoes and accessories to wear with them and, if you scroll down, you’ll find a summer dresses capsule with many of the looks put together for you.

Casual day dresses

Of course, you can style any dress casually or more formally depending on what you wear with it, but let’s first take a look at some that lend themselves more to casual dressing.

Summer dresses for women over 40 - denim jacket and stripe dress outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Denim Tucker JacketCaslon Sleeveless Tie Back Cotton Maxi DressJohnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieMarc Jacobs The Leather Bucket BagChico’s Mixed Metals Drop Earrings

stripe dress

Simple, yet stylish, this striped dress (below) is made from cotton so it should keep you cool in warmer months.

The stripes create an elongating effect if you want to look taller and you can always wear a short jacket or a cardigan over the top if you don’t want to bare your upper arms.

We also like the versatility of this one as you could belt it at the waist to create a different look.

Caslon Sleeveless Tie Back Cotton Maxi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Caslon Sleeveless Tie Back Cotton Maxi Dress

twist dress

Another casual option for you, the Caslon dress below has a twist at the waistline that adds a flattering effect. Wear with your sneakers, flat sandals or ankle booties for weekends.

Caslon Twist Waist Organic Cotton Midi T-Shirt Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Caslon Twist Waist Organic Cotton Midi T-Shirt Dress

Summer dresses for women over 40 - Karen wears a tiered dress | 40plusstyle.com

A tiered dress can be a great choice if you’re looking for summer dresses for women over 40. Karen @styledbykaren above chooses a tiered dress with her reptile print sneakers.

Recreate her outfit with this similar dress (another option here), sneakers and sunglasses.

Day to night dresses

Most of the dresses in this list fall into this category, because we feel that the best dresses are those that you can easily take from day to night.

Summer dresses for women over 40 - ombre dress outfit | 40plusstyle.com

COS Ombré Pleated Tunic DressFly London Yiko Platform Wedge SandalMali + Lili Fiona Vegan Leather Convertible Crossbody BagChico’s Fringe Seed Bead Multistrand NecklaceMe&Hz Tassel Earrings

Ombré dress

The ombre dress (below) has a flattering v-neck and is designed to skim over your belly. You could easily wear over your swimsuit with sandals for your vacation, or you could wear with heels and a clutch bag for a more formal look.

COS Ombré Pleated Tunic Dress | 40plusstyle.com

COS Ombré Pleated Tunic Dress

shirt dress

I love a simple white or striped shirt as they go with everything, and the same holds true for a shirt dress like the ones from Massimo Dutti (below).

The tie waist adds a flattering point of difference, and elevates what could otherwise be a very simple look.

Massimo Dutti Poplin Shirt Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Poplin Shirt Dress

linen sundress

Linen is always a great choice if you want to stay cool during the warmer months. The red maxi dress (below) is loose fitting and easy to wear, but still looks very glamorous because of the bright red color. It also features mid-length sleeves if you prefer to cover your upper arms.

Chico's Linen Eyelet Tiered Sundress | 40plusstyle.com

Chico’s Linen Eyelet Tiered Sundress

puff sleeve dress

If you love a romantic look, then the puff sleeve dress (below) could be for you. You could either match your shoes and accessories to one of the colors in the dress, or you could choose black or metallic shoes and bags.

& Other Stories Puff Sleeve Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

& Other Stories Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

printed dress

The graphic print on the COS dress (below) give this dress a very modern look. You could wear in so many different ways, from adding chunky sandals to teaming with heeled shoes. You could also add a belt to create a different silhouette.

COS Printed Maxi Shirt Dress | 40plusstyle.com

COS Printed Maxi Shirt Dress

Paisley print dress

Boden is a great place to look for timeless, mid-length dresses. Plus, because the v-neck style (below) is made from jersey, it would be a good choice to pack for a vacation, as it shouldn’t crease too much.

Boden Short Sleeve Jersey Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Boden Short Sleeve Jersey Midi Dress

pink dress

We love dresses that feature asymmetry.

This would be good for vacations as you could easily dress it down during the day with sandals and then add a little jacket and heels for evening.

COS Asymmetric Gathered Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

COS Asymmetric Gathered Midi Dress

red dress

The H&M dress (below) features a flattering wrap style, and sits below the knee. It comes in a choice of the red print (below), or you could opt for black, green or animal print.

H&M Pleated Wrapover Dress | 40plusstyle.com

H&M Pleated Wrapover Dress

green dress

The Lands’ End dress (below) will flatter most figures because of the wrap style, and v-neck. You could team with a denim jacket or cardigan for day, and then add a blazer to make your look more formal.

Lands' End Cotton Modal Surplice Maxi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Lands’ End Cotton Modal Surplice Maxi Dress

Summer dresses for women over 40 - Kim wears a floral dress and silver shoes | 40plusstyle.com

Kim @kimair above (read her style interview here) shows how you could wear your summer dress with silver shoes.

Steal her look with this similar dress (other options here and here), sandals, bag, earrings and sunglasses.

You can find more shoe inspiration in this article on silver and metallic shoes that go with everything.

Formal summer dresses

Now let’s move on to some dressier dresses! You could definitely wear these with sandals for a more casual look. But they would also look beautiful for dinner or a more formal occasion.

Summer dresses for women over 40 - red dress and wrap outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom Satin Border Silk Chiffon ScarfWhistles Annabelle Cap Sleeve DressLisa Vicky Zealous Ankle Strap SandalMali + Lili Fiona Vegan Leather Convertible Crossbody BagChico’s Shell Gold Tone Bib Necklace

Cap sleeVe dress

A red dress looks beautiful, no matter what the season. You could wear the Whistles dress (below) with black, white or metallic shoes. Or, you could always add a bright pop of contrasting color.

Whistles Annabelle Cap Sleeve Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Whistles Annabelle Cap Sleeve Dress

You can find more ideas in this article on how to wear red.

knot dress

Looking for dresses that feature twist details, drapes and ruching can be a great way to hide a belly. The stretch dress (below) comes in pink, black or blue.

TAHARI ASL Stretch Crepe Side Knot Dress | 40plusstyle.com

TAHARI ASL Stretch Crepe Side Knot Dress

work summer dresses

Now, let’s move onto some summer dresses that you could wear for work. You’ll want dresses that will keep you cool, but also feature a hem and sleeve length that you are comfortable to wear at work.

Summer dresses for women over 40 - animal print dress and blazer outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom Relaxed Stretch Linen Blend BlazerWhistles Abstract Cheetah Silk DressJohnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieMarc Jacobs The Leather Bucket BagChico’s Mixed Metals Drop Earrings

There are more ideas in this article on work outfits to keep you stylish and cool.

silk dress

The silk dress (below) is stylish, modest, and could easily be worn for work, or for dinner. Plus, because it is silk, it will keep you nice and cool.

Whistles Abstract Cheetah Silk Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Whistles Abstract Cheetah Silk Dress

wrap dress

A wrap style is always flattering. Plus, because the tie-waist dress (below) features a collar at the neckline, it has a professional feel.

& Other Stories Collared Wrap Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

& Other Stories Collared Wrap Midi Dress

RUCHED dress

The ruching on the Boden dress (below) helps to hide any lumps and bumps. You could wear with a blazer, or a structured cardigan for work.

Boden Side Ruched Column Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Boden Side Ruched Column Midi Dress

Summer dresses for women over 40 - Eileen wears a beige dress and white jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen @eileenternullo above chooses a stylish, neutral outfit that could easily be adapted for work, a party or a dinner.

Get her look with this similar dress (another option here), cropped blazer, pumps, bag, earrings and necklace.

Summer dresses in plus size

The wrap style (below) comes in a great choice of colors and prints, and is very figure flattering.

Kiyonna Essential Wrap Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Kiyonna Essential Wrap Dress

Summer dresses in petite

A dress is a great choice for petites, because you have the same color or print throughout your entire outfit, rather than separates, which can visually draw a line across your body and possibly make you look shorter.

Boden Slash Neck Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Boden Slash Neck Midi Dress

Jackets and cover ups to go with your summer dresses

Let’s move onto some jackets, shoes and accesories that you could wear with you summer dresses.

If it gets a little chilly during the evening or you like to cover your arms, you could wear your dress with a jacket, cardigan or wrap.

Look out for blazers, moto styles, denim jackets and wraps. If you choose a shorter jacket, this will help to create a flattering silhouette as your legs will look longer.

Jackets and cover ups to go with your summer dresses | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Denim Tucker JacketNordstrom Relaxed Stretch Linen Blend BlazerSam Edelman Leather Moto JacketNordstrom Satin Border Silk Chiffon Scarf

Summer dresses for women over 40 - Dawn Lucy wears a floral maxi dress | 40plusstyle.com

Dawn Lucy @fashionshouldbefun above (read her style interview here) adds a casual element to her maxi dress by wearing with a cardigan.

She is wearing a maxi dress from Loveappella. Check out this similar cardigan, sandals, handbag, necklace and earrings to complete the look.

shoes to go with your summer dress

Now onto shoes to go with your summer dress. Wearing sneakers with your dress is particularly on trend now. Choosing a pair of white sneakers is a classic choice that will go with all of your dresses.

Or, of course, heels always look good with your dresses. We’ve chosen low heels here and those with a block heel rather than a narrow stiletto, as these are much easier to walk in.

Shoes to go with your summer dresses | 40plusstyle.com

Fly London Yiko Platform Wedge SandalJohnston & Murphy Evelyn Open Toe Sandal BootieLisa Vicky Zealous Ankle Strap SandalConverse Chuck Taylor® All Star® Low Top Sneaker

Summer dresses for women over 40 - Emms wears a maxi dress and loafers | 40plusstyle.com

Emms @beautifuleveryday_uk above shows how you could wear your dress with flat shoes.

Check out this printed dress (other options here and here) that you can wear with this similar pair of loafers, tote and sunglasses.

accessories to complete your look

There are so many different ways you can style your dress for daytime or evening. Below are just some accessories you may want to add.

There’s everything from a larger bucket or tote to a clutch bag depending on the occasion and what you need to take with you, and some contemporary jewelry to finish your look.

Accessories to go with your summer dresses | 40plusstyle.com

Marc Jacobs The Leather Bucket BagMali + Lili Fiona Vegan Leather Convertible Crossbody BagChico’s Shell Gold Tone Bib NecklaceChico’s Fringe Seed Bead Multistrand NecklaceChico’s Mixed Metals Drop EarringsMe&Hz Tassel Earrings

Flattering summer dresses for women over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

Jess @elegantlydressedandstylish above (read her style interview here) chooses a beautiful tonal look with her floral dress and accessories.

She is wearing a linen dress from Mango. Check out this similar clutch, sandals, earrings, necklace and sunglasses to complete the look.

You summer dresses outfits in one capsule

Below, you can see how you could put together your summer dresses outfits. You can easily swap around the coats and accessories to create many different looks.

Summer dresses capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

shop the items above here:

What do you think the most flattering summer dresses for women over 40 are? What is your own favorite dress? Let me know by commenting below.

Continue reading:

  1. Outfits For Summer: The Summer Capsule Wardrobe You Need This Season
  2. What To Wear In Summer – Our Top 10 Tips & Tricks
  3. The Best Dresses To Hide Your Tummy

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Flattering summer dresses for women over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Kim @kimair

Sylvia

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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