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 favorite of the 19 best gingham dresses below, then wear them for the rest of summer.
This tangerine Ephemera dress is quintessential summer gingham, from the sleeveless and ruched bodice to the tiered skirt and scallop hems. Pull this on for a dose of wearable sunshine.
This Italian label devoted much of its summer lineup to gingham, resulting in fluttery mini dresses fit for vacation in Positano or Lake Como.
Gingham, on a slip dress? The sweet print and '90s silhouette balance one another so well. This one's still available up to size 3XL.
If you can't make it to Nantucket this summer, wearing Maje's lace and gingham dress is the next closest thing.
Miu Miu's latest collection went all-in on gingham, from midi skirts to crepe jackets to matching knit sets. The best of its lineup? A yellow gingham mini with an all-over smocked skirt.
Presenting the first gingham dress to make its way into my closet this summer. The slight scoop neckline is universally flattering, and button-up back provides a little structure without feeling too tight or constrained. I've worn it with flat leather sandals to brunch on the weekends and with platform heels to dressier evening events.
$319 $223.30 (30% OFF)
This edit of gingham dresses wouldn't be complete without at least one sale find, and Net-a-Porter's current sale had many to choose from. Ultimately, Faithfull's dress won our carts with its dramatic plunge neckline and tied back.
Leave it to Self-Portrait to take summer's daytime print du jour into evening eventwear. This fluttery skirt and off-the-shoulder neckline are definitely wedding guest material.
This button-front dress mixing three ginghams has sold out at Madewell, but we found it in-stock at Nordstrom in both regular and extended sizes.
Frothy, feminine dresses, usually with heaps of tulle, are designer Molly Goddard's calling card. While this smocked gingham dress has fewer layers than her runway confections, the bright turquoise gingham is just as playful.
Here's a tiered mini dress made from 100 percent organic cotton—so it's ultra-soft and more sustainably-minded.
Sharp shoulders make this Rachel Comey dress office material. The longer hemline is perfect for layering under a solid robe coat come fall.
Sleeper's linen dresses are a daytime dream. I would know: I own this silhouette in solid navy and lavender gingham. The sleeves can be worn over your shoulders or pulled down for a romantic look.
Find Me Know is an emerging name to know, with matching sets and summer dresses made in very limited quantities. Their yellow gingham mini is worth grabbing before it sells out for the wraparound cutouts alone.
Some of the best gingham dresses are completely one-of-a-kind, like this rare vintage take by Comme Des Garçons. The tiers and folds are slightly off-kilter, for the fashion girl who wants something edgier than a tiered midi.
Bring the essence of a nightgown into daytime with this ruffled gingham mini.
Rixo may be known for retro florals, but its plays on other patterns are just as shop-worthy. This gingham midi can go from work to the weekend and back.
One look at this romantic gingham mini—scalloped hem, defined waist, mixed fabrics—and you know it's a LoveShackFancy original.
The smocked waist on Kate Spade's newest gingham adds a touch of definition without sacrificing comfort. Right now, it's still available in sizes XXS to XXL.