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Splurge or Save: Which Summer Dresses Are Worth The Big Bucks?



I don’t know about you, but the second 65 degree temps hit, my legs refuse to be covered. Shorts, dresses, skirts – they’re just better alternatives to pants when the weather is nice. But of all these wardrobe items, dresses have got to be my favorite. You can dress them up, you can dress them down, they don’t require any thought at all….they’re genius. And they just make me feel like such a lady.

When it comes to dresses, I believe more is more. I like to have a closet stocked with ’em so that I can just read for one and pull it on, no thought required. I believe that a few cheap dresses belong in every girl’s closet, as well as a few pricey ones. Trying to figure out how much you should be spending on each summery daytime dress? Your guide is below.

Casual LBD: You know me well enough to know that I’m going to go and ahead and call this a splurge. LBDs obviously never go out of style – casual ones are no exception. You can style this number in so many different ways and you can wear it forever. Pick a shape that flatters you best – whether it’s a Tee-shirt dress, an A-line, a maxi, whatever. Just be sure to have one LBD that you can throw on for whatever.

Floral dress: You can buy a cheapie and it’ll still be cute. Printed dresses generally have that delicate, boho quality, meaning they’ll look good even if the quality isn’t all that.

Striped dress: If you find a great one, splurge! Stripes can be tricky – they aren’t always flattering – but they are always in style. You can top your striped dress off with a denim vest for a casual look or pair with some heels for a night out. I own so many cheap striped dresses and honestly? I always wish I had just invested in one high-quality dress instead.

Maxi dress: This tricky – I would say you could get one of each. One pricey, high quality, extremely flattering maxi; another affordable, gauzy find that you can wear to outdoor events without fear of ruining it.

Brightly colored sheath or A-line: Splurge! If you find a great colored dress, you can jazz it up with great shoes and a clutch and wear it to summer weddings.

High/low: Save on this. It’s a trendy style and you may end up regretting this purchase if it’s a big one.

White lace dress: Save. These dresses are meant to look ethereal and delicate – they are so, so pretty but even the best make likely won’t last forever. And let’s be honest, you’ll probably stain it at least once.

    I'm a Chicago-based writer and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism who has written for sites like,,,,, Racked, Thrillist and The Huffington Post.