26 Best Smocked Dresses to Beat the Heat This Summer

Andrew M. Santos

Photographed by Jackie Nickerson, Vogue, May 2017

The best smocked dresses feature an embroidery technique that has been used for centuries, which gathers fabric in order to create elasticity (or smocking) for a garment. Seen more commonly today as a decorative component, there is a nostalgic element to the art form that has made it a fashion favorite. A vintage-inspired childhood dress or a retro nightgown featuring the stitching method might first come to mind, but today designers prove that the smocked dress is a modern summertime staple worth investing in.  

Molly Goddard featured the technique on many pieces in her spring runway show, whose voluminous tulle shapes err on the maximalist side of things. Stella McCartney chose to show a striking blue cotton dress with all-over smocking, that took a slightly sporty and minimalist feel. And now that the high summer offerings are starting to hit stores, there are plenty of options from the contemporary set in the form of easy, breezy sundresses and vacation-ready styles you’ll want to snap up instantly. We can’t think of a reason not to give these dresses a whirl. 

Shop 26 best smocked dresses for summer below.

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