Gingham dresses are as essential for summer as walkable sneakers and a straw market tote. They’re the first style I consider when I’m not sure what to wear on a sweltering summer day, and the only dress genre that’s been a constant through personal style experimentations too numerous to name online. Something about the fabric puts me in a Cape Cod state of mind. Any given day from late May to early September, you’ll catch me in a gingham midi dress—sunglasses optional.
Even if you’re more pattern-shy or prep-adverse than this editor, you’ll find the best gingham dresses are surprisingly versatile. (And for the record: Gingham technically refers to the dyed yarns woven into the check pattern, not the pattern itself.) It starts with the fabrication—usually, gingham dresses come in linen or cotton for breathability and ease. Then comes the cut. A sleeveless gingham dress with fisherman sandals is a two-step uniform for dropping the kids at summer camp or wandering through the farmer’s market. An off-the-shoulder chiffon gingham gown can be your plus-one to a summer wedding, along with a pair of platform heels. Then A-line, short sleeve gingham dresses are as good for the office as it is for Sunday brunch.
You can catch my drift. The gingham dress options are many, but the end result is all the same: a look that exudes the relaxed feeling of the best July afternoons. Shop your favourite of the 19 best gingham dresses below, then wear them for the rest of summer.