One Summer Dress Seven Ways

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One summer sundress styled seven ways by Wardrobe Oxygen

We all know Soma for carrying amazing bras, panties, and sleepwear. But did you know that Soma also carries apparel? One of my favorite summer dresses is from Soma; you can see it in this post and this post. I got it in 2016. It has been worn as a beach coverup, as loungewear, it’s been shoved damp into a suitcase, been in the dryer, and had even more abuse to it yet it still looks and fits just as it did three years ago when I first got it. This is typical for Soma dresses, and because of this Soma has become my go-to for summer dresses.  

This spring, I was looking at Soma for some go-to summer dresses and saw this dress and knew it would be the perfect summer dress. I reached out to Soma to ask if they would like to partner so I could showcase how incredibly versatile this dress is. From a weekend at the beach to an elegant evening wedding, this soft jersey ruffle border maxi dress in black is a great choice. And like my three-year-old Soma dress, this dress is made of the same silky jersey that dresses up and down with ease, washes great, travels well, and has pockets! Below I share seven ways to style this one dress for almost every event on your social calendar this summer. And while taking these photos I thought of even more ways to style this dress and also will share those ideas below.

You may also like: the best summer work dresses for grown women

For a Street Festival

soma dress review 6

dress | necklace | bracelets (2) | hat | sandals

Whether it's your local farmer's market, a city celebration, or a festival at a vineyard, a maxi dress is a great choice.  Add some slipshorts underneath to prevent chafing, wear your most comfortable sandals for a day of walking, and add a hat for sun protection. Chunky colorful jewelry makes the black dress feel more festive. 

For the Beach

soma dress review 4a

dress | hat | similar tote | shoes

I love maxi dresses for beach and pool weekends.  They're comfy and soft, easy to throw over a damp swimsuit and look polished enough for lunch on the boardwalk or even a nice little cafe.  Since the dress is black, you won't see wet spots.  Comfort and athletic sandals in all colors and materials are a hot trend this summer and a stylish alternative to flip flops.  A sunhat protects you and covers up salty or chlorinated hair and a large tote not only carries all your essentials but can double as a purse for moments away from the water.

For a Daytime Wedding

soma dress review 3

dress | earrings | similar shoes | similar bag | lipstick

Black can seem dreary for a celebration but it can be a great base to let fun accessories in bright colors pop.  For this look, I brightened up the dress with hot pink heeled sandals, colorful statement earrings, and a quirky clutch bag (a clutch bag dresses up any look!).  For an extra pop of color and fun, I chose a hot pink lipstick.  This dress is fun to dance in, it swishes and sways with you, but because it's a faux wrap, you always stay covered!

For an Evening Wedding

soma dress review 2

dress | similar earrings | similar necklace | belt | similar shoes 

It's amazing how accessories can transform a look.  Switching out colorful accessories for bold silver ones elevates the look and adds a feeling of formality.  Add a pashmina in a metallic or your favorite color to ward off an evening chill. Here, I removed the self-belt and added a metal one I had in my wardrobe.  Big silver statement earrings, a silver choker, and silver cuff adds shine to make the jersey evening-appropriate.  Delicate heeled sandals complete the look. 

For an Outdoor Concert

soma dress review 1

dress | bag | earrings | similar bracelets | shorter necklace | similar longer necklace | sunglasses | sandals

One of my favorite pastimes in the summer is seeing live music.  Here in the DC area, we have several outdoor concert venues where we can lay out a blanket, enjoy a meal al fresco and a performance under the stars.  I love wearing a stretchy maxi dress to such events; you remain covered while sitting on the ground, nothing is binding or bunching, and it's a lot of fun to dance in!  For this look, I added boho-inspired gold jewelry for a bit of shine and fun, and a crossbody bag so I can keep all my essentials on me while I dance or walk around the grounds. 

For Weekend Brunch

soma dress review 5

dress | denim jacket | similar hat | shoes

This dress looks positively smashing with a denim or leather moto jacket, which is great for cool mornings and evenings as well as helping this dress transition into fall.  A hat is a way to look great while also hiding next-day hair (or woke up late hair!).  And who would have thought a dress that looks great with heels can also rock a pair of trendy sneakers?  I've worn this exact outfit twice and both times I got compliments not just on the look but the addition of sneakers.  Gotta love it when current fashion trends are also comfortable!

For the Event with Unknown Dress Code

soma dress review 7

dress | earrings | bag | shoes

Not sure the dress code of an event?  Think there may be people in jeans and others in festive dresses?  You can't go wrong with a maxi dress.  It is one of the most versatile pieces that can easily read dressy or casual based on the crowd.  For this look, I kept everything relatively simple so it would be easier to morph into whatever the situation requires.  A metal statement earring adds personality if it's casual and shine if it's dressier.  A small purse with a metallic strap can be a casual crossbody or a dressier bag.  A pair of black flats will blend into the woodwork while also keeping you comfy. 

Additional Ideas for Styling This Maxi Dress:

  • Switch out the self-belt for a vintage leather one and add cowboy boots.  Pair with your favorite pieces of turquoise jewelry.
  • Roll the sleeves of a denim or chambray shirt and knot it at the small of your waist.  Tuck the shirttails in for a clean line in back.  Add a silk scarf at the throat.  As for shoes… anything from flats to heels to sneakers will work!
  • Since the dress isn't bulky, it works with layers.  Try a cropped linen sweater over it for a different silhouette, or a boxy cropped t-shirt.  

This isn't the only dress from Soma; they have a great selection with sizes up to XXL (for reference I usually wear a 14 and wear a size Large with their apparel). I also have this dress from this season; I love that the straps are the perfect width and placement to cover a standard bra and how the waistband is comfortable yet still adds figure definition. Below are my picks from their selection of dresses for summer:

Thank you Soma for sponsoring this post.  I truly believe you can achieve more style with fewer items in your closet.  The key is to shop smartly and thoughtfully.  Consider the life you currently have, don't buy something if you can't imagine wearing it three different ways, and choose brands and materials that will survive your lifestyle.  I believe dresses like this one and others that Soma has can achieve all that and am honored they would support my idea on how to showcase it.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I’ve had my eye on this dress since you posted it, and now it’s in sale, but I just realized it’s not a wrap! Is the front V one piece or crossing pieces? Would it work for breastfeeding?

    1. It’s a surplice/wrap top with a non-wrap skirt. The top is held closed with a thread, it could be removed for breastfeeding and replaced with a snap or safety pin!

  2. I loved this even though I’ve never worn a maxi dress in my life (unless you count prom dresses 20 years ago or a wear-it-once-only-assigned-by-a-bride formal bridesmaid gowns, which I don’t).

  3. I love this dress on you – looks so versatile. How did you find the sizing? Im 5″10 and worried it would be too short for me.

    1. It will be shorter on you for sure. However, this is a high-low hem which works atr a variety of lengths and even on the model it’s more like a midi dress than full maxi.

  4. Thank you so much for this!!! I adore my maxi dresses, but I also have a black knit jumpsuit that I could do all these looks with, as well! I am so glad I found your fashion blog – you have helped me more than you know, and inspired me to shop my closet more often.

  5. This dress! I have other Soma dresses (one is maybe 7 years old) and I love them! Pockets for the win! I might need to pop over to Soma this afternoon for an errand.

  6. This is amazing – glad to know it works for petites. I find dresses to be so easy and comfy for summer. I love the stripe one too – trying to decide which I may order

  7. One of your best fashion posts yet. I don’t think I could ever style one item of clothing seven ways! You’re very creative and I thank you for actually showing the looks on you. It makes a big difference to see a look on an actual person than to just see pictures of pieces that would work well together. I know I’ve selected items from my closet that looked great on the hangers and seemed to pair well together but once I put them on … uh, no. You pull off all these looks so well.

    I love Soma’s pajamas. The Cool Nights ones really work. I’ve not tried their clothing but I may venture into that next. Stylish and easy to take care of means it’s made for me. And good on Soma because if I was Ruler of All Dresses Made, there would be pockets in every dress!

    1. Amen to pockets! And the fabric of this dress is like a heavier version of their Cool Nights pajamas – that same silky feel. And like Soma pajamas, the quality and durability can’t be beat. I’m glad you like the post, I agree it’s far easier to know how to style something or know how it will hang when seen on a human body!

  8. I could’ve worn this last night to a casual dinner after my bike workout ride! Take off top. Put on dress. Take off cycling shorts. Add cute sneakers and some bright jewelry.

    1. Yes! I switched into this dress after the pool, it was easy to slip on still slightly damp/chlorinated skin. Added earrings and I looked put together!

  9. This past weekend I realized that I needed something like the slip shorts for hot daytime walking if I wanted to wear a skirt. I just ordered 2~ thanks!

  10. Love this dress. Did you have to hem it? I’m 5’3″ so was wondering if it would hit the floor.

    1. Nope, this is the length right out of the package! Since it’s a bit of a high-low hem it works on a variety of heights but also worked great on 5’3″ me with flats.

  11. Hi Ali

    Sorry to attach this comment to the wrong blog post, but I’ve got behind with my reading and wasn’t sure if you’d pick up comments to old posts!

    I just wanted to ask about your skincare regimen – you recently wrote a review of The Ordinary lactic acid and on FB reviewed Kiehls Line Reducing Concentrate – just wondered if you used both together? And if not, which do you think gave best results?

    I’d really appreciate your advice before I buy!

    1. Oh it’s all good! I don’t use them together, it’s one or the other switching it up different nights. And they offer different results. The Lactic acid makes my skin look glowy, smaller pores, just more refreshed. The Vitamin C product from Kiehl’s has reduced the look of fine lines and evened my skintone (like it got rid of a sun/age spot and some weird freckles on my chin I got as an adult).

      1. Brilliant, thank you – will give them both a try! I’ve tried The Ordinary products before (but not the Lactic acid) and found them to be really good, particularly for the cost.

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