This summer has been a scorchingly hot one, and August in New York City always feels like a bit too much – that type of cloying, sticky heat where you can feel the humidity sitting on your skin. And when this depths-of-summer weather descends onto the city, I feel like there are only three acceptable outfits: All linen everything; short shorts and tiny tops; or my personal fave: Lightweight cotton dresses. And my fellow New Yorkers agree: Cool cotton numbers are ruling the street style day right now. From edgy minis to flowy midis, this breathable natural fiber is everywhere.
And I particularly love cotton dresses because they aren’t just for summer: They are also great for transitioning into fall and beyond with a little layering. For early autumn, I’ll wear them with a denim jacket or an oversized button-down tied over. As temps continue to dip, I switch to a leather jacket. A quick switch from sandals to sneakers or boots can also change the vibe to match the changing seasons – making this style of dress just the versatile type of piece I like to have in my wardrobe. I’m already planning on wearing the pretty cotton poplin dress above with western boots to go apple-picking this fall. (P.S. Leota is having a big sale right now on their summer collection and you can use code CURVILY for an extra discount that stacks!)
I’ve rounded up 24 cool cotton dresses below, all available in plus sizes. I’ve included a range of budgets and aesthetics, and a lot of the pieces are starting to go on sale now (despite at least a few more months of warm weather on the horizon!), so this is a great time to shop to get a deal – whether you are looking for dresses to wear this year or next.