We know it sounds like a cliche, but every woman craves a flowing, comfortable, pretty dress for summer. Luckily, there are many stores and sites that offer cheap summer dresses and tips for how to wear them best.
Women's magazines and web sites are great resources for finding the latest cheap summer dresses, which usually come in long, "maxi" form or shorter, flirtier styles. SheKnows seasonally updates its site with slideshows of low-cost dresses from retailers like Old Navy, with some starting below $20. There are also reccurring sections on women's sites and in the news about how to achieve a celebrities more high-end or glamorous look for less. A recent LA Times blog shows how women can dress up a cheap summer frock from Walmart. Web sites like Stylist often have blog posts about summer fashion and cheap sundresses.
You might also have luck finding your next cheap summer dress by checking out various budget fashion blogs. Typical fashion blogs tend to cater to the couture, so these more specialized sites will be better for those who don't have $500 to drop on a designer dress. The Budget Babe, Cheap Chicas, The Budget Fashionista and the Frugal Fashionista all post ideas on looks for less and news about sales. They also go the extra mile by telling you what's cheap in addition to what's in style.
The Budget Style Guide at About.com is a good resource to find reviews and tips on cheap summer dresses and the stores that sell them. One post recommends a surprising place -- BJ's Wholesale Club, which carries rotating merchandise that sometimes includes summer dresses for cheap. You should also check out which type of cheap summer dress is best for your body. An MSNBC story recommends petite women get dresses with bold color and texture and more rusching around the bust line, for example. Tunic styles of cheap sundresses are good for pear shapes and slight A-lines are good for women with apple shapes.
Target has a lot of summer dresses for cheap, priced at $20 or less, and many are well-reviewed. The Merona line tends to be among the best-liked, with the Merona Women's Sleeveless Scoop Neck Dress - Green Clover (starting at $20) getting 4.5 stars by customers on the site, who like its color and flow.
This dress seemed to have versatility, too, with one woman saying her engaged daughter picked it as the bridesmaid dress for her wedding and others reporting having worn it as a maternity dress because it's so comfortable. Another Merona dress, the Women's Tank With Front Twist (starting at $20), earns strong reviews for being comfortable, flattering, and washing well.
Unsurprisingly, Walmart is another place with cheap dresses for summer. The Faded Glory Smocked Dress starts at only $9 and comes in various colors. It gets a high number of stars for being comfortable in the heat and perfect for moving around in, although some said the top ribbing was too big or uncomfortable.
Overstock.com is another source to look for a cheap summer dress, as it has many offerings under $20. is another excellent source for cheap summer dresses, with numerous offerings for less than $20. Reviews and ratings accompany some of the items, so you can get a sense of how a certain dress fits one body type, skin tone, or height. One cheap summer dress, FW Tangerine Embroider Dress for $30.49, wins good marks for fit and its summery material, but one customer said the bust didn't fit her big chest.
Amazon and eBay also sell a range of summer dresses for cheap, including long, short, patterned and solid-colored options. Some cute sundresses for cheap on Amazon included Hawaiian Black Long Sarong (starting at $15.95) and One-size-fits-all Tube Dress/Coverup - Black Floral Print (starting at $19.99).
Of all the places we looked, Tilly's seems to offer the lowest-cost cute sundresses for cheap, with options as low as $7.97.
There are plenty of others under $20 of short and long and floral, patterned and solid color variety. 6pm was another really, really low-cost place to get a cheap summer dress, with choices starting at around $11. 15DollarStore, unsurprisingly, had cheap summer dresses for $15.
Don't forget, too, that you can hit up local yard sales or thrift shops to get vintage cheap summer dresses. By combining with a few accessories and your new pair of cheap sandals, which we wrote about Wednesday, you get put your own flare in an old outfit.