Finding the perfect summer dress can be a struggle when you’re sixty or so. Not many of us look tall and slender like the model on the retail site. And then there’s the worry about our arms and legs, suddenly on show to the world.
I’ve looked at every frock Talbots offers this year and made a selection of the best 6 summer dresses for women well over fifty.
Please note links are affiliate links so I will usually get a small commission at no charge to you, if you click and buy. This helps me run the site, so thank-you.
The go-everywhere shirtdress for summer
This year you will see the trend towards shirt dresses everywhere. This one in cotton has small tucks to shape the bodice into the waist. This is important.
The pintucks mean the tie belt lies smoothly on the waistline and the skirt has evenly distributed fullness beneath. I’ve bought shirtdresses without a structured waist and have found they look great when you arrange the fullness of the bodice in the mirror, but as soon as you sit down the dress pulls out of shape around the back of the skirt.
Nobody wants their rear to look any larger than it is! So, yes, a sewn-in waist is important for a shirt dress.
Check the length as you’ll probably want the hem to come over your knees. If you’re usually a petite, you may decide to buy the regular misses length for example.
The fabric is lightweight and cooling but not see-through as there’s a cotton lining. Perfect for a hot day.
The easy-to-wear jersey summer dress
A jersey dress is a must-have on holiday. You can roll it up in the suitcase and you can wash it out and rewear it the very next day too. Sometimes jersey can be clingy so if you are between sizes don’t be tempted to go to the smaller size.
A great plus for this dress is the side tie. This ruches the upper hip a little. This can be very slimming as the eye is distracted from the full width of the dress and drawn to the tie feature.
Wear this simple pull-on dress with slide sandals when relaxing and dress it up with an interesting necklace and low block heels for smarter occasions.
The cool linen maxi
Nothing says holidays so clearly as linen. I love this simple style. Yes, you’ll need to iron it but that’s a doddle when the shape is as basic as this.
Maxi dresses are God’s gift to anyone who prefers not to show too much of their legs in summer. But you need the right length. If you are tall then anywhere between mid-calf and lower-calf will look fabulous on you. But if, like me, you are short, then you may find mid-calf is long enough. I can easily look drowned by a maxi.
I like that this dress comes in petite and plus. But if you need to shorten it, the hem should be easy to turn up using a machine or lightweight iron-on hemming material.
Wear with bare feet for your evening stroll along the beach or with any type of sandal from slide, to strappy, to comfy double-buckle footbeds for a classic summer look.
The feminine puff-sleeved maxi frock
Puff sleeves are still big news this summer.
Over the last few years we’ve seen them on peasant styles and this summer women are loving exuberant floral patterns.
We adore sleeves that cover our upper arms, ladies, don’t we? Well this gorgeous frock does it in style. A puffed sleeve to just above the elbow but a summer neckline to show some skin so you don’t look too covered up.
Getting the balance of the silhouette is key. Short puff-sleeve dresses look fun on teenagers but not on us.
This dress has a mid-calf length and a flounce near the hem so it draws your gaze from the pretty neck – and your lovely face – down the feminine sleeves, through the exciting colors and patterns of the centre of the dress then on down to the flounce. This gives you a more elegant style.
I bought a similar dress in the UK recently and have worn it to several outdoor parties. I feel very confident in it.
Of course, you can wear this dress with heels as well as flats. I like the comfort of wedge heels when I’m looking for a little extra height. They are comfortable for hours of standing and no worries about sinking into the grass or the sand with a drink in your hand.
The classic smart-casual summer dress
A shift dress takes you to work, to an evening dinner or simply along the beach.
This cotton shift can be dressed up or down so make the most of the possibilities with gold hoop earrings, or a chunky mid-length necklace.
Choose a lightweight cover-up for the evening, or if you prefer not to show your lower upper-arms. Choose a short cotton cardigan perhaps. If it tones with your dress you’ll look smart. If it contrasts or has a pattern, you’ll look cheerful and relaxed.
This shift caught my eye because it is a pull-on style. So I know it will be wide enough not to cling to my tummy. You want the dress to fit at the shoulders and bust then to fall as straight as possible to the hem. This will make you look slimmer.
By the way, do you think this photo has been stretched just a little? I so wish retailers would show at least one picture for each garment on an average or larger size woman.
The long long summer dress 2023
Can this year’s summer frock ever be too long? I’ve seen women dragging the hem of their pretty dress along the ground. I can’t remember a year when summer dresses were as long as this year unless I go right back to the hippie styles of the early seventies.
Of course, I’m a bit older these days! I don’t want to trip over the hem as I’m likely to find it jolly difficult to get up again.
This wonderful summer dress from Talbot’s hits just the right length for us. Just above the ankle.
The large skirt that hangs in soft folds from the waist is a delight.
But check the measurements given in case you’d be better off with the petite size. That’s quite a long hem to have to shorten.
Ideally suited to a tall woman, short types like me can still wear it. But perhaps not as an everyday frock. I’d wear this to a smart drinks party. I wouldn’t look right in it walking to the shops.
This is a beautifully-shaped dress that has long elegant lines. Put you hair up, pop on a necklace or some bangles, bring along a simple cover-up – perhaps a cotton wrap in one of the colors of the dress – and expect to be noticed!
Enjoy your summer!
If you’ve found this post interesting here are some others you might enjoy:
Most of these dresses are in the sales as I write. This means they go fast. If you want to be first to hear about my latest post please click on the SUBSCRIBE button. Talk soon! Joni