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Choosing What to Wear Underneath a Summer Dress

  • 4 min read

When it comes to deciding what to wear underneath a summer dress, your choices should be guided by factors such as your comfort, the style of the dress, and the occasion.

In this post, the team at Girls with Gems will first look at the 6 most common types of Summer Dress and then we'll explore various options for undergarments and provide insights into making the right selections.

If, however, you’re impatient and want to jump straight to the wire and lace, scroll down to Undergarments.

The 6 Most Common Types of Summer Dress Are:


Sundresses are a quintessential summer wardrobe staple. They are typically lightweight and feature a sleeveless or spaghetti strap design with an A-line or fit-and-flare silhouette. Sundresses often come in a variety of colorful prints and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Sundresses are: Flowy, comfortable, and ideal for warm weather. They can be casual for daytime outings or dressed up for semi-formal occasions.

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are long, floor-length dresses that provide full coverage. They come in various styles, including strapless, halter-neck, and off-the-shoulder. Maxi dresses often feature bold patterns and are made from lightweight materials like chiffon or jersey. Maxi Dresses are perfect for a relaxed and bohemian look. They offer comfort and are excellent for both casual and semi-formal occasions.

Midi Dress

 A Midi dress falls between the knee and calf in length, offering a versatile option suitable for various body types and occasions. It comes in diverse silhouettes, sleeve lengths, and fabrics. This dress type pairs well with different footwear and allows for creative accessorising, making it adaptable for casual, work, and formal settings. Its moderate length strikes a balance between style and practicality.

Wrap Dress

Wrap dresses are characterized by their front closure, where one side of the dress wraps over the other and is secured with a tie or belt. They come in various lengths and sleeve styles, making them versatile and flattering for different body types. Wrap Dresses are known for their adjustable fit and ability to emphasize the waist, making them a popular choice for a wide range of occasions, from work to parties.

Shift Dress

Shift dresses have a simple and straight silhouette that hangs loosely from the shoulders. They are often sleeveless and fall above the knee. Shift dresses are known for their minimalist design and ease of wear. Shift Dresses are a classic and timeless choice; shift dresses are comfortable and suitable for both casual and more formal events. They can be accessorised to match the occasion.

Off-the-Shoulder Dress

Off-the-shoulder dresses feature a neckline that exposes the shoulders and collarbones, creating an elegant and romantic look. They come in various lengths and can have different sleeve styles, including short, long, or bell sleeves. Off-the-shoulder dresses are perfect for showcasing your shoulders and adding a touch of femininity to your summer wardrobe. They are often chosen for evening events and date nights.

Summarising Dress Types

These six types of summer dresses cater to different style preferences and occasions, offering a wide range of choices to keep you cool, comfortable, and fashionable during the warm months. Whether you prefer a breezy sundress for a casual outing or an elegant wrap dress for a special occasion, there's a summer dress style to suit your needs.

We also know that there is a myriad of other dress types including Fit-and-Flare, Sheath, Halter Neck, Shirt, Empire Waist, Bohemian, Ruffled, Tiered, Smock, Kimono, Asymmetrical, and Romper Dresses, to name but a few haha, but this post is ultimately about what to wear underneath your summer dresses.

So, with the above taken into consideration, let’s move on to what you could possibly wear under these types of dresses.


Selecting the right underwear is fundamental. Consider the style of your dress and your comfort when choosing between options such as thongs, regular briefs, or seamless underwear. Thongs are great for avoiding visible panty lines (VPL), while seamless underwear is designed to prevent VPL and is suitable for form-fitting dresses.

Bras for Different Styles

Choosing the appropriate bra largely depends on the dress's neckline and your comfort level. For dresses with strapless or off-the-shoulder necklines, opt for a strapless bra that offers both support and security. If your dress has adjustable straps or unique strap placements, a convertible bra allows you to adapt the straps to match the dress's style.

Bralettes are ideal for dresses with a relaxed or casual vibe, offering comfort without underwire. Stick-on or adhesive bras are excellent for backless or low-cut dresses as they provide support without visible straps. Regular bras work well when your dress has standard straps or sufficient coverage.

Shapewear for Added Support

For those seeking additional support or a smoother silhouette, shapewear is an option. High-waisted shorts can shape and smooth the midsection, making them suitable for form-fitting dresses. Bodysuits offer overall smoothing and support, while slips with built-in bras provide a seamless look and prevent clinging.

Layering with Camisoles

Camisoles are versatile layering pieces. You can choose a colour or pattern that complements your dress or adds a stylish touch, particularly under sheer tops or low-cut dresses.

Shorts for Modesty and Comfort

When wearing shorter summer dresses or dresses with a loose fit, consider wearing bike shorts or slip shorts underneath. These offer comfort, prevent chafing, and ensure modesty, especially on active summer days.

Swimsuits for Beach Days

If you intend to use your summer dress as a beach cover-up, wearing your swimsuit underneath is a practical choice. It allows for quick transitions to and from the beach or pool.

Weather and Material Considerations

In hot summer weather, prioritize lightweight and breathable fabrics for both your dress and undergarments to stay cool and comfortable throughout the day.

Seamless and Nude Tones

To maintain a discreet look and minimise visible lines, consider choosing seamless underwear and undergarments in nude tones that closely match your skin colour.


Ultimately, the choice of undergarments should enhance your comfort and confidence while wearing your summer dress. Your selections should complement the dress's cut, fabric, and your personal preferences. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you, and don't hesitate to consult with a knowledgeable salesperson when shopping for specific undergarments to pair with a particular dress.


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