9 Summer Dresses to Make You Look Modern

Who doesn’t love a cute summer dress?

After a winter of mostly pants,  I’m really excited to slip on a light, cheery dress and step out into the sunshine.

I’ve always thought that summer dresses for women over 40 are a great wardrobe staple because they’re easy, comfortable and practical for our casual midlife lifestyle.

I especially love taking them on vacation because they’re easy to pack and simple to dress up or down.

This year’s crop of casual summer dresses for women come in so many styles, colors, shapes and price points, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. So here’s a little guide that highlights the latest trends and what might work best.

Digital Prints

Do you like a little drama? Then this print stretch linen sheath is a good choice because it is guaranteed to turn heads.

Graphic and Digital prints are a huge trend and have strong impact. This sheath dress has a nice classic line, but the black and white graphic pattern gives it that wow factor.

Tip: If you are wearing a bold dress like this keep your shoes sleek and in a solid color, such as this black pair so they don’t compete with the dress.

Best summer dresses for women over 40 - black and white sheath dress - Digital Prints

Best summer dresses for women over 40? A black and white sheath dress is always chic.


Doesn’t this dress look comfy? Sometimes you just need a simple little dress that you can throw on at a  moment’s notice and run out the door. This Faux Wrap shirtdress in this gorgeous floral print is that dress.

The fit and flare is wonderful for gals with a pear shaped figure who have defined waists and wider hips. Wedges or  block heels would also look cute with this dress.

Cheap summer dresses for women - Faux Wrap shirtdress

Shirtdress – beautiful summer dresses

Floral Dresses

If you don’t already have a floral dress for spring, you need to go get one.

A floral frock with an artistic feel is the “it” dress this spring. This one is elegant and feminine with an interesting neckline that gives it a modern twist.  A very ladylike choice.

Nice floral  summer dresses - floral frock

Nice floral summer dresses

The New Boho

If you are a creative type in search of something new, then take a look at this hemline. This debuted last year and is called the high-low maxi dress or as some have nicknamed it, the mullet dress!

This Coral Tie Dye High Low Dress has a relaxed boho vibe. If you’ve  got great legs then this is a way to tastefully show them off and look flirty.

Long summer dresses for women hi low maxi - mullet dress

Long summer dresses for women

Bold Stripes 

The halter dress is an excellent choice for a summer dress and with thicker straps like this it  is perfect for over 40 bodies. This cure dress shows off your shape but gives you good coverage.

Bold stripes like you see in this pretty dress  are in vogue and are a natural choice if you want to look casual, sporty and fun.

blue and white striped dress  -  summer dress and with thicker straps

Casual summer dresses for women

The Little Blue Dress

Move over Little Black Dress. The new Little Blue Dress is here.

I love this interesting dress that’s both classic and playful.

It reminds me of the deep blue ocean and would be a fantastic dress to wear on a Mediterranean cruise or while sitting at a seaside café having a cocktail or bite to eat. Dreamy!

Sexy summer dresses for women - Little Blue Dress

Blue sexy summer dresses for women

Lace or Crochet Dresses

Many cute white summer dresses for women that are showing up on the streets have a feminine almost artsy/crafty feel. For example, this pretty crochet shift dress looks almost homespun. The shift style gives you room to breathe and the 3/4 length sleeves give some coverage, which is so hard to find in summer, without being stuffy.

white summer dresses for women - pretty crochet shift dress

White summer dresses for women

The Maxi Dress

Don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen so many maxis since the early 70’s and boy is it exciting. Maxis dresses are perfect for our 40+ crowd for many reasons.

They’re easy to wear, make you feel relaxed, and they cover up pale legs or any lumps and bumps below the waist that you’d rather not anyone see.

This Knot Jersey Maxi dress  is one of my favorites. Try something different. Every woman needs a goddess gown like this!

Long summer dresses for women - Knot Jersey Maxi dress

Long summer dresses for women

The Tropical Print Dress

What would summer be without a nod to the tropics? This exotic floral print sundress is just plain fun.

If you like to wear a lot of color like I do, then this would be a great choice. It’s got an island feel without being Too loud as some tropical prints can be. You can see more great tropical print dresses here.

tropical short summer dresses for women - exotic floral print sundress

Tropical short summer dresses for women

Have you bought a summer dress yet? Send in a photo of yourself wearing it and I’ll post it. Send photo to myphoto@fabulousafter40.com.

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Share Your Comments, Feedback, & Opinions:

Comments, Feedback, & Opinions:

  1. Donna Marie says:

    Any photos to share of your readers wearing their summer dresses? It would be nice to see them.

  2. Wow! Those dresses you suggested for are so cool! I’ve always been worried that because of my age(I am a mom wih two kids) I can’t get in to the new fashion trends like most teens. I’m so glad I had crossed with this one. I personally like the floral dress and the little blue dress. They’re just too cute and will make you look younger! Those tropic dress are awesome and exotic too! I’ll definitely buy them and wear them esp on summer!

  3. I think it’s very interesting that the models in the photos are all obviously YOUNGER than 40 years old.

    • Hi Robin, Yes this has always been our challenge, finding retailers who use models over 30! Please let us know if you find any stores who use mature models and we will feature them.

  4. Suzanne Warn says:

    Love the summer dresses but like your other readers, I will never wear sleveless. And it’s too warm for a denim jacket. How can us older women wear cute summer dresses? Help!

    • Hi Suzanne, It’s a problem isn’t it? When will dress designers wake up? I have a lightweight wrap I take everywhere with me when I have on a summer dress because I always get cool in the evenings. I’ve also seen these crocheted shrugs that are kind of neat. You just throw one on and it becomes sleeves for a dress. My girlfriend had one. Stay tuned I will get her to send in a photo.

  5. I have the perfect wardrobe solution for sleeveless dresses. For those of us who are looking for a refuge to cover your arms, try pairing up sleeves 2 go to your favorite sundress and you won’t have to worry about finding the right shrug or jacket to cover “flabby arms”. They’re light weight, chiffon detachable sleeves that snap on easily to your bra strap. Visit http://www.sleeves2go.com & have fun changing your look by changing your sleeves.

  6. I’d love to see more casual summer dresses for those of us who HATE wearing sleeveless! These are cute, but I honestly will never wear sleeveless.

    Thanks for a fun post.

    • Pat. E. says:

      I can relate but don’t want to miss out on this chic and comfy trend so I throw a lightweight/sheer short cardigan in a coordinating color over them for daytime. And for cooler evenings they look great paired with a jean or leather jacket.

  7. I love this article, very modern mommy.