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With age comes wisdom – and better fashion choices too. Gone are the days when you just throw on outfits haphazardly. Now that you’re more mature, you need to make an effort to look more ‘put-together’.

While it’s easy to do this with your usual work ensemble, it’s a bit harder to pull this off during the summer. Fortunately, there are many elegant summer dresses to help save the day.

Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, this guide can help you look amazing in your favorite summer frock. As a bonus, we also added tips on the best shoes to wear with your elegant summer dresses!


How to Style an Elegant Summer Dress in Your 30s

You’re in the middle of the age spectrum – you’re not too young and not too old. As such, this age bracket is all about going beyond your comfort zone – albeit elegantly.

Be Vibrant

While your age is already out of the calendar, it doesn’t mean you have to immediately resort to classic dresses. You can still experiment with bold prints and styles just like 37-year-old actress Olivia Wilde.

When choosing prints, however, go for a design that’s densely-packed. This can make you look slimmer since the onlookers’ eyes get to easily move from one print to another. That way, even if you pick a big print just like this one, you won’t end up looking frumpier.

Wear a Belt

Most summer dresses are loose, which means they will most likely end up covering your curves. This should not be the case! Make sure to flaunt your feminine figure while you still can. An easy way to accomplish this is to cinch your waist with a belt.

While you can use a thin or neutral-colored dress, it wouldn’t hurt to make a ‘statement’. Just take a look at this model, who looks vibrant in a wide blue belt that complements her geometric summer dress.

Dashing in Denim

While summers can be unbearably hot, there are days when it’s colder than expected. During these times, simply wearing a summer dress is not enough. You will need more layers – but not the usual ones.

That said, a unique option is to wear your favorite denim underneath. This is particularly good if you have a flimsy, almost see-through dress. With this pairing, you’re sure to look unique – and feel comfortable all at the same time.

Scarf Sophistication

A scarf is one of the most versatile things you could ever have. You can wear it on your neck, head, even your arm.

And while it’s good to wear your scarf in these traditional ways, it’s a time for you to set trends while you’re still considerably young. Just like the model, you can wear your scarf in a neckerchief way.

To perfect this look, use a printed scarf if you have a plain dress – or a plain scarf for a busy dress. That way, their patterns won’t end up canceling each other.


At 37 years old, model Miranda Kerr doesn’t look a day over 20. Just like her, you can cop a youthful look by smartly accessorizing your outfit.

If you’re going to the beach just like her, remember to style your dress with trendy yet useful accessories. A straw hat, oversized shades, and slip-on sandals are essentials, but it doesn’t mean that you should just throw on whatever you have. Remember to pick classy styles like Miranda so you end up looking well put-together.

How to Style an Elegant Summer Dress in Your 40s

They say 40 is the new 20. Although this is the case, it’s a no-no to dress up like a young adult. Instead, you should channel sophisticated fashion trends such as these:

Keep it Flowy

Being in your 40s means you have a lot to do. Whether you’re a doting housewife or a career woman like 43-year-old Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, it pays to rock flowy dresses. Not only are they light and airy, but they give you the freedom to move about.

Styling flowy dresses is easy as well, especially if you have chosen one with a unique pattern or design. Like Amal, you can easily look glamorous by sporting it with a pair of pearl drop earrings and nude-toned sandals.

Go Retro

If you still have your old retro dresses in your closet, don’t throw them away just yet! Instead, take them out on a spin one last time.

Apart from evoking the memories of yesteryears, retro dresses usually provide a lot of coverage – which is great if you’re after a sophisticated look. Be it bell sleeves or a flattering A-line dress, your retro dress is a fun way to look good – without spending a lot on a new outfit.

Don’t Sweat it

Is your summer dress too revealing for your age? Well, you can still wear it – granted that you style it appropriately.

A simple way to go about this is to wear an oversized sweater on top of your dress. That’s it!

If you want to look more sparkly in this simple pairing, make sure to wear a pair of statement earrings or a unique necklace. Finish the look with a sexy pair of heels and you’re good to go to the office – and the casual dinner after.

Layer it Down

Apart from topping your dress with a sweater, you can also go the other way and layer one underneath.

This look is all about wearing a snug sweater or a fitted blouse underneath a form-fitting dress. Avoid bulky or thick tops as they will create unsightly lumps in your midsection.

As for the accessories, the best way to achieve a classic style is to go for simple accessories just like the model’s oversized shades and Y-shaped necklace.

How to Style an Elegant Summer Dress in Your 50s

You have been rocking fashion for so long that you deserve to be a style icon. Show the younger ones what sophistication is with these timeless fashion styles.

Color Coordination

When you’re in your 50s, you might not much time to go all out on your outfit. This, however, is not an excuse to look drab when you go out.

So if you want to look amazing without putting in much effort, then remember to color-coordinate your outfit. By picking items in your closet with a unifying shade or tone, you can create a summer-worthy outfit in less than 15 minutes! By doing so, you can devote the extra time to help your kids (or grandkids) look as good as you are.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

While matured women look good in classic, neutral colors, there’s more to fashion than just playing it safe. So if you want to look stunning even in your 50s, then you should follow Salma Hayek’s mantra – and that is to live a life of color!

True to her Frida Kahlo characterization, Mrs. Pinault is often seen in vibrant colors and patterns such as this one. How she looks sophisticated, however, boils down to her choice of style. Here, she selected a button-down dress style, which is truly classic – no matter what color it might be in.

Better in a Blazer

A blazer is a timeless classic you can wear whatever the season might be. Yes, even if it’s summer, you can still rock this outerwear.

The key, of course, is pairing it with an elegant summer dress. This combination is so versatile that you can take it to work – and to play. It requires very little styling too. For example, if you’re going to dinner with family or friends, you could fold or roll your blazer cuffs for a dressed-down look.

Also Read: How to Achieve a Casual Chic Look With a Black Blazer: Ideas on Outfits, Accessories, and Shoes Right Here!

Unbutton it

If you have a long button-down dress, you need not necessarily button everything down. A great way to style this frock is to button it up until your midsection. Leave the rest open and wear trousers underneath.

This trendy style is akin to wearing the usual button-down blouse, but with a twist. The open front gives this an airy look, which is more than perfect during hot summer days.

What Kind of Shoes Do You Wear with a Midi Dress?

A midi dress is a great investment, as you can wear it when you’re 30 – up until you turn 50. Since it’s a timeless classic you’ll want to wear in the summer (or any other season), you need to master the best shoes to wear with them.

Tie-Up Sandals

Since you’re showing half of your calves, why not embellish them with a pair of tie-up sandals?

This combo is all about the girly-girl look, which is something you can easily accomplish with your summer frock.

As tie-up sandals are ornate enough by themselves, they’re best worn with simple frocks such as this one. There’s no need for much accessorizing as well since the sandals can make the style statement for you.

Simple Sneakers

It’s hard to stay classy when you can no longer walk in your high heels. So if you wish to remain comfortable without losing your style, then pair your midi dress with your favorite pair of sneakers.

What’s great about this combination is that it gets the best of both worlds – the femininity of a summer dress and the athleisure style of sneakers. And since it’s on the informal side, this pairing is usually limited to shopping and outings – unless your boss is amenable to a super-casual Friday look.

Also Read: How to Wear Dresses with Sneakers (and Other Accessories too!)

Chunky Boots

A midi summer dress doesn’t necessarily call for feminine accessories. In fact, you can go against the tide and wear it with an opposing style – such as that of chunky boots.

Chunky boots add an element of ruggedness to the delicate look that summer dresses provide. Even better, it keeps your feet comfier compared to high heels – which is good if you plan on walking a lot. So if you want to turn heads (quite literally) in your summer dress, then go for a pair of chunky boots!

Also Read: How to Style Timberland Boots (Women’s Edition) Outfit Ideas

What Shoes Look Good With Maxi Dresses?

While maxi dresses almost reach the floor, they give just enough clearance to show your shoes. As such, you need to know the right footwear to don with your frock. Here are some good examples:

Flat Mules

Let’s face it. You don’t necessarily have to wear high heels (though you can). When you’re in your 40s or 50s, comfort is the main thing. And while this is true, you can still look good AND comfy. All you need to do is swap your high heels for flat shoes.

While ballet flats are good classic choices, it’s best to take your style a notch higher by opting for flat half-mules. Not only are they very comfy, but they can play some eye tricks as well. By going for nude half-mules, you can look as if you have longer legs.

Sexy Sandals

Marilyn Monroe has once said, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” This is definitely true, no matter what age. So if you want to add some oomph to your maxi dress, then it’s all about picking the right shoes.

Here, you’ll see how sexy sandals – just like this emerald green pair – can immediately upgrade your look from street casual to summer sophistication. Indeed, with the right shoes, you can look glamorous even with a simple dress.

Wedge Sandals

If you want to feel more comfortable without giving up the height, then you should wear your summer dress with a new pair of wedge sandals.

Like the usual high heels, wedge sandals can make your behind more prominent. However, they don’t rub on your feet and cause blisters in the long run. As they provide arch support, these chic sandals are sure to keep you fashionably comfortable all day long.

Summer dresses are timeless fashion staples that you can wear during your 30s – up until your 50s. As such, it’s essential to know the above-mentioned styling (and shoe) tips by heart – so you’ll continue to look good even with kids in tow!

Other Articles That May Also Interest You:

How to Dress Long Dresses in the Fall – Outfit Ideas & Styling Tips (Women’s Edition)

How to Look Elegant in Summer Dresses in Your 30s, 40s, or 50s (+ 6 Shoe Tips!)

The Best Colors, Trends, and Shoes to Go with the 2021 Summer Dress Aesthetic

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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