18 Ways To Rock A Denim Dress For A Casual Summer Look

Summertime looks should be many things — casual, cute, easy. Luckily, we know just the garment to satisfy all those criteria — a denim dress. Denim dresses are the perfect summertime staple for your wardrobe for several reasons (many of which we'll get into later). They make getting dressed for the day much fun, and they're an easy way to look put together without exerting too much effort.

If there's one problem with denim dresses, it's that the wrong ones can look dated and unstylish. However, by choosing the right garments and employing some simple styling techniques, denim dresses are anything but dated and unstylish. If you've got a denim dress you've been dying to wear but need a little inspo before donning it, or if you're in the market for one but are unsure how you'd incorporate it into your wardrobe, keep reading. We've got tips for 18 different ways to rock a denim dress this summer.

Without straps

For the hottest of hot summer days, bust out a strapless denim dress. Not only is it a killer look, it'll be your best shot at avoiding those dreaded sweat marks. Denim is also a great fabric to wear strapless because its structure helps keep the garment in place, so you're not forced to adjust your dress every 10 minutes to avoid a nip slip. Wear the dress with a thick headband for an ultra-trendy look, or toss your hair in a top knot to keep your locks from getting drenched.

With a vest

We're blessed to live in a time where tons of different looks are stylish, and we should take advantage of this by trying out all the looks we've previously been insecure about wearing. Add some flair to your denim dress 'fit by wearing a vest over top. A patterned vest will give the look a whimsical feel, while a leather vest will take it totally western. Find a suede vest with some fringe for a boho look, or keep it clean with one that's white. It'll definitely be a look.

With a hat

Another fabulous way to accessorize a denim dress is with a hat, both for aesthetic and practical reasons. There's no shortage of hats in the world, so you can make the ensemble take on any style you like. You can also use it to provide some much-needed sun protection on the days when the UV rays are particularly cruel. Whether it's got a slight brim or is full-on Kentucky Derby style, a hat is the perfect summer accessory for all your denim dress looks.

With sandals

Sandals are the quintessential summertime footwear, and they look adorable with a denim dress. And, because the term "sandal" covers a multitude of footwear options, this look can be taken many ways. Match your denim dress with flat sandals for your most casual of outings. Pair the garment with sandals with kitten heels for the days you want to feel casual but look cute. Opt for sandals with a higher heel for casual days in the office or a dinner out. Wear them in whatever color, fabric, or pattern you like.

With a midi length

Many of us like to pretend that summer is nothing but sunshine and heat, but the season often comes with rainy days, too. And, for those days, a strapless dress with sandals isn't the most practical outfit. Still, we want to be seasonally appropriate, and, for those occasions, a midi-length denim dress is an ideal option. Midi-length dresses work tremendously on chilly summer days because they provide both coverage and airflow, keeping you cool but not cold, and it doesn't look like you stepped off a fall/winter runway.

With a denim belt

Take your look full denim in the summertime by pairing your dress with a denim belt. Tie it around your waist to create a silhouette without drawing too much attention. Pair your look with all-white accessories and shoes for a super summery dress look, or take it a little more casual with nude sandals and minimalistic jewelry. It's a great look to wear for a mid-day lunch and afternoon spent shopping and can easily be taken for a casual night out. Who doesn't love a versatile outfit?

With a leather belt

To make things just a bit edgier, pair your denim dress with a leather belt. As you can see, this creates a totally different feel than a denim belt. Leather belts work best with form-fitting denim, so find a bodycon dress, or pair a denim top and denim skirt that create the illusion of a dress. Keep the look edgy by adding a black leather bag and boots, or tone it down a bit with white sneakers. Wear thin sunglasses to complete the look. You'll feel totally chic.

With sneakers

Just as we're blessed to live in a time when so many styles are in, we're blessed to live in a time when sneakers can be worn with nearly any outfit. While we wouldn't suggest wearing sneakers with a ball gown or to a black tie affair, they're totally appropriate and stylish with a denim dress. Worn with a midi-length dress, sneakers complete the look for a casual luncheon or outdoor party, and, with a mini dress, they're great for a night out. Sneakers deserve our undying love and praise for their versatility.

With a blazer

A denim dress can be dressed up in several ways, but one of the easiest is by throwing on a blazer. By adding a simple blazer, you can wear your denim dress to the office or a business lunch, and it can just as easily be taken off later when you're after a more casual look. And, because denim matches almost everything, you can wear any color blazer you'd like, even one that's patterned. Accessorize with gold jewelry and a pair of white sneakers for a super summery ensemble.

With pleats

Denim dresses are adorable, but, as with jeans, structural issues can make them uncomfortable to wear. If you want your denim dress to have a little movement, find one with pleats. Pleats in the skirt will help your denim dress feel just as comfortable as any of your cotton sundresses. They also provide a welcome interruption in your denim dress collection, as they're not utilized as much as other dress features. Wear with sneakers or sandals, and find one with a raw hem to add a little edge.

With raw hems

If you're after a denim dress that's going to stand out amongst the rest, find one with raw hems. Raw hems are super edgy and make a basic piece bold. One issue you may face with raw hems, though, is tangling, especially when there's a lot of extra fiber hanging. You can remedy this by using a hair pick to untangle the fibers, or you can cut them out if it won't ruin the look. But if it doesn't bother you at all, leave the tangles and embrace the slight disheveled-ness.

With a scarf

Scarves are an underutilized accessory. No, we're not talking about the infinity scarves we inexplicably wore with every outfit in the early 2010s. We're talking about the tiny, chic scarves that have been worn by Hollywood starlets since film was invented. A scarf can be tied around the collar of your denim dress or worn as a headpiece. It can be tied around your wrist for a little adornment, or it can be woven into your ponytail. It's a smart accessory that'll look darling with a denim dress.

With a pop of color

As much as we love denim dresses, most need a little something extra to take it from an article of clothing to an outfit. The easiest way to elevate your denim dress is by adding a pop of color. This can be done in lots of ways — and lots of colors. Wear a pair of strappy yellow heels. Add a red headband. Carry a bright pink bag. Adding a pop of color is an attainable styling technique that screams summertime chic.

With a ball cap

On the days you simply can't be bothered to throw together an outfit but still need to look at least a little put together, grab a ball cap. Ball caps are the most casual of all hats, but they're not so casual that they can't be worn to lunch or out running errands. You can wear your denim dress and ball cap with a pair of sneakers or chunky sandals, and you can dress it up just a bit by adding jewelry and a chic handbag. Simple yet stunning.

With a shirt underneath

If it's rainy or cool or if you're after some extra sun protection, wear a shirt underneath your denim dress. A black short-sleeved tee will look cute and casual, and you can complete the look with sneakers and a ball cap. For a dressier approach, wear a white collared button-down shirt, and add white boots or nude heels. Not only does this styling trick work well for the aforementioned practicalities, but it's also a great way to get use out of a strapless denim dress when it's not an appropriate piece for your activity or location.

With short sleeves

We'd be remiss not to remind you of the ultimate casual-yet-cute denim dress look — one with short sleeves. This is a classic look in the denim dress sphere that's also absolutely perfect for the warmer months. And, as far as regular summertime activities go, there are only a few times when a short-sleeved denim dress isn't appropriate. You can accessorize a short-sleeved denim dress in infinite ways and rock almost any footwear. It's looked good on women for years, and it'll look good in perpetuity. A true wardrobe staple.

With a matching purse

We're not here to slander Canadian tuxedos, but we do have an alternative if you like denim-on-denim, but don't want to fully commit in the summertime. Enter the denim purse. It's a great way to match fabrics without overwhelming the look, but it does need to be done strategically. Opt for a smaller bag, and try to find one in a similar wash so it looks cohesive, not chaotic. If you need to break things up a bit, wear a shirt underneath, or throw a blazer on top.

With boots

We realize this last styling tip may be a little controversial, and it's certainly not going to be wearable for everybody in every climate, but hear us out. Trade your sandals and sneakers for a pair of boots. It's edgy and unexpected but still stylish and definitely not boring. You can wear chunky black leather boots that crawl up your entire calf or a pair of white cowboy boots. You won't want to wear them on the hottest of days, but when the weather suits it, give the look a try.