The best cotton summer dresses for over 50s

Check out our favourite cotton summer dresses, available to buy ready for the summer months.

woman in cotton summer dress

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Whatever your shape or size, there’s a cotton summer dress for you this season. Hide full hips and trim your waist with fit and flare styles, or skim over bumpy silhouettes with a classic shift dress. When it comes to selecting flattering dresses for mature women, we've put together everything you need to know about the best cotton summer dresses for over 50s.

It can be hard to find summer dresses with sleeves, but if you prefer to cover your arms, then there are lots of lovely lightweight cardigans and cover-ups available in the shops. For an easy daytime look, throw on a simple shirt dress. Alternatively, flatter your figure with a dress that is wrapped or ruched in style, which is ideal for a day at the races or another special occasion.

When it comes to special occasion dresses for older ladies, wrap dresses and v-necklines can be flattering for most body shapes. They cleverly lengthen the upper body, make you look taller and can help draw the eye upwards. If you’re a classic pear with a smaller bust, then look for ruffled necklines to balance out your proportions.

The best cotton summer dress at a glance:

Most popular cotton summer dress: Chapelle Jersey Dress - View offer on Seasalt Cornwall
Our favourite cotton summer dress: White Cotton Midi Shirt Dress - View offer on Nobody's Child
• Best cotton summer dress for value: Cotton Jersey 'Minogue' Mini Dress With Pockets - View offer on Wallis

However, regardless of the occasion, whether it's an everyday dress or a dress for a wedding abroad, we've included the best summer dresses in cooling cotton, so that you can find your perfect dress for the summer. Here are some of our favourites from trusted brands such as Marks & Spencer, Seasalt Cornwall and more.

The best cotton summer dresses to buy

Most popular summer cotton dress

Chapelle Jersey DressSeasalt Cornwall

Made from 100 per cent soft organic cotton, the Chapelle Jersey Dress features unique and versatile Seasalt prints that are perfect for a number of occasions. This midi dress has short sleeves and a wrap-style top that has a flattering gathering under the bust. Sure to become your new favourite dress, it's a style that works across all body types and comes in inclusive size options.

Customer review: "A lovely summer dress, comfortable and easy to wear. Cross over top which actually covers what it needs to, with no gaping. Looks good for everyday wear and can be dressed up for a smarter occasion. Love the Chapelle dress and have a number in different colours."

Sizes available: 6-28, petite, regular and long

Our favourite cotton summer dress

White Cotton Midi Shirt DressNobody's Child

Cut from organic dobby cotton with whimsical tiers, ladder lace and billowy puff sleeves, this White Cotton Midi Shirt Dress is made for wearing in the sunshine. An elasticated waist ensures it always fits just right, and breathable lined fabric means you don't have to worry about see-through fabric. This stunning dress is, without a doubt, a firm favourite of ours.

Sizes available: 4-18

Best cotton summer dress for value

Cotton Jersey 'Minogue' Mini Dress With PocketsWallis
Price: £22.40 (was £28)

A fantastic choice for value, this Cotton Jersey 'Minogue' Mini Dress With Pockets from Wallis is an easy summer wear. The dress features an oversized smock style with a round neck and short sleeves, along with two concealed pockets. At such an affordable price and versatile fit, we simply can't resist.

Sizes available: 8-14

Best floral cotton summer dress

Floral Midi DressJohn Lewis
Price: £32 (was £65)

If floral prints are your thing, this stunning Floral Midi Dress from John Lewis is sure to brighten up your summer. Made from 100 per cent cotton, it's selling fast over on the John Lewis website thanks to its reduced price. A breezy elasticated waist and short ruffle sleeve make this the ultimate summer dress that you can dress up or down.

Customer review: "Lovely summer dress. Beautiful fit - colour and fit true to picture."

Sizes available: 8-20

Best cotton summer dress on sale

On-Trend Jersey Tiered Maxi DressCotton Traders
Price: £29 (was £39)

As you can imagine, there are plenty of cotton options at Cotton Traders, but we love their On-Trend Jersey Tiered Maxi Dress made from 100 per cent cotton. Effortless to wear and in two colourways, such as rust and pale green, it has a subtle hint of boho style just perfect for the summer months.

Customer review: "This dress is one I have been looking for, for a long time. Being under 5ft it is difficult to get something which fits well and is the right length. The material is strong and the dress is well made. A joy to wear."

Sizes available: 8-22

Best gingham cotton summer dress

Pure Cotton Checked V-Neck Midaxi DressMarks and Spencer

If you're looking for a pretty gingham dress for summer, this Pure Cotton Printed V-Neck Midaxi Dress from M&S has just enough flair that would be perfect for your summer wardrobe. A standout summer piece, it's designed in an easy regular fit with relaxed short sleeves for an airy feel.

Customer review: "This is lightweight but not so seethrough that it needs a slip and so versatile. I love cotton and can’t wear synthetics which means it’s harder these days to find good summer dresses - this is flattering. Will go with sandals or trainers and looks good with the fabric belt or when I switch it for any of pink, silver, tan and navy belts that I have already."

Sizes available: 8-24

Best denim style cotton summer dress

Bernie Cotton Jersey DressJohn Lewis

Want to wear a trendy denim dress without the stiff fabric? This soft breathable cotton dress in a lovely ink blue almost mimics the look of denim but in a lightweight material. From John Lewis, the Bernie Cotton Jersey Dress is effortless to wear and style, this tiered midi dress gathers and drapes beautifully down to a style that's very in at the moment. It also comes in plain black.

Customer review: "I bought this in blue last year and have worn it non stop so was so pleased to see the black available for slightly smarter occasions. So comfy and perfect for summer."

Sizes available: 6-20

Best smock-style cotton summer dress

Tammy Cotton Jersey DressWhite Stuff

The easy-to-wear Tammy Cotton Jersey Dress is just what you need for summer months. With seven different prints to choose from, you can select which one you think suits you best. Designed to skim the knee, if the length isn't long enough for you, you can also pair it with a pair of trousers. A versatile and breathable dress perfect for all of your summer activities.

Customer review: "Perfect summer dress. Great dress, fits well, material nice and soft to wear. Really pleased. This will get a lot of wear this summer. Delighted with quality and finish. As always love White Stuff designs!"

Sizes available: 6-24

Best classic summer cotton dress

Pier View Jersey DressSeasalt Cornwall

Whether it's polka dots or florals, the Pier View Jersey Dress from Seasalt Cornwall is the ideal everyday dress for summer. Made from naturally breathable organic cotton with a touch of stretch, it can be styled in a number of different ways making it a versatile dress. Whether you dress it up or dress it down, the Pier View dress will become a new wardrobe staple.

Customer review: "Fabulous dress. Perfect fit. Beautiful colour. Classic style. Absolutely love these dresses. So comfortable to wear. Great that you can get the dress in petite."

Sizes available: 6-28, petite, regular and long

Best bohemian cotton summer dress

Tabitha Crinkle Cotton DressJoe Browns

If you're a fan of bohemian fashion, then Joe Browns is the place for you. Their Tabitha Crinkle Cotton Dress is made from pure cotton, and features a print that's bursting with colour, flair and energy. This maxi dress is a versatile option that can be worn for all occasions, but one thing is for certain, it'll definitely turn heads. It features a waistband that's elasticated for your comfort, and the fullness of the skirt creates an hourglass figure.

Customer review: "I could not wait for the dresses to arrive and I was not disappointed! They are gorgeous. I have kept the size 10 as it is perfect on me, even the length is spot on. It is such a flow comfy and at the same time elegant dress, bought to go to a wedding."

Sizes available: 8-18


Why should I choose a cotton dress for summer?

Cotton is a comfortable and breathable fabric to wear, so it's particularly good for warmer months. The fact that it's a soft and hypoallergenic material makes it kind against the skin. Its fibres allow the air to circulate through the fabric, and it also has moisture-wicking qualities, making it a great choice for the summer.

Where can I buy the best cotton summer dresses?

We've put together a list of some British fashion brands that you can trust when it comes to stylish cotton dresses, especially dresses for mature ladies. At Yours, our favourites for cotton summer options include M&S dresses, as well as Cotton Traders and Seasalt to name a few.

And if you're looking for flattering cocktail dresses for over 50s, then you may just be in luck, as a few of these brands also do occasionwear too. The likes of Boden and Joules stock high-quality cotton dresses fit for any formal occasion.

Whether you're after the best dresses to wear at the races or you're simply after an everyday cotton summer dress, these brands cover it all. Why not take a look below to find out more?

In recent years, Marks and Spencer has reviewed and relaunched its clothing brands in a bid to appeal to a broader range of shoppers. The brand says that pieces in the range are now designed to be worn and loved by women of all ages. With more than 200 different dresses available website, there’s something to suit all shapes and tastes. Stocks UK sizes 6-24.

Distinctly Cornish and with a seaside vibe, the Yours team love this brand’s quirky style and pretty prints. Their clothing collection features beautifully flattering dresses and versatile tunics in soft, plain and patterned natural fabrics, all in lovely nautical colours, emphasising blues and reds. Stocks UK sizes 6-20.

If you’re a fan of vibrant colours and pretty patterns in complimentary cuts, look no further than Boden. Whether you're a fan of minis, midis, or maxis, their offering includes so many options that you'll be able to style with flats, white trainers, and heeled sandals alike. Stocks UK sizes 6-22.

You’ve no doubt heard of Joules, but the brand is far more than a good place to buy stylish and comfortable cotton dresses featuring their iconic stripes and floral designs that come in mix-and-match midi and knee-length styles. Stocks UK sizes 6-26.

Nobody's Child has a capsule collection of affordable day dresses and the occasional formalwear that's suitable for all scenarios. There are mini, midi, and maxi dresses galore featuring pretty prints and feminine silhouettes. Stocks UK sizes 8-18.

Wardrobe essentials come in the shape of organic cotton tops, jumpsuits and V-neck dresses from White Stuff. Featuring summer dresses with some of the most unique prints and an inclusive size range. Stocks UK sizes XS - 3XL.

Cotton Traders' story goes all the way back to the 70s… so, it's safe to say, they know their stuff! They have lots of floral maxi dresses that are perfect to pair with a cardigan on a summer evening. Stocks UK sizes 8-22.

WoolOvers began life selling natural knitwear at country shows across the UK. Today the brand has expanded to offer a range of clothing, all focusing on using only natural fibres. You’ll find comfortable and affordable day dresses in pinafore, jersey, and tunic styles within their collection. Stocks UK sizes 8-18.

Emily Gilbert is a Features and Review Editor for Mother&Baby and Yours and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new product releases.


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