12 Under-$300 Summer Dresses That Travel Editors Love

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Now that summer is right around the corner, it’s time to break out your favorite warm weather-ready clothing, including tank tops, shorts, bathing suits, and, of course, dresses. We asked our editors here at Travel + Leisure about their favorite picks for the season, and they didn’t disappoint. The best part? Every dress on this list is under $300, and prices start at $69, so you don’t have to break the bank to add a dose of summer style to your wardrobe. 

Whether you’re looking for a flowy maxi dress that you can take from the beach to a poolside dinner on vacation or a more athletic option that’s perfect for playing tennis, jogging, or more, we have an option for you. Shop editor-loved brands like Reformation and Hill House Home, as well as independent labels that you’ll want to put on your fashion radar ASAP. 

Reformation Bella Ecomove Active Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Reformation

“This may be an activewear dress, but I plan to wear it just about everywhere this summer. Besides being extremely comfortable and convenient (it’s made from sustainably-sourced sweat-wicking fabric and has built-in bike shorts), it’s also incredibly flattering. I’m also a fan of Reformation’s leggings and sports bras, so I’m sure this dress will also become a summer wardrobe staple.” — Madeline Diamond, Commerce Editor

Hill House Home Ellie Nap Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Hill House Home

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that I live in my Hill House Nap Dress. I’ve packed it for each of my three trips so far this year — to Portugal, South Carolina, and Florida — and I reach for it again and again to wear during my daily life in NYC. I dress it down with white Veja sneakers and a denim jacket when I’m just walking around town, and I dress it up with cute sandals and minimal jewelry for dinner or drinks with friends. It is hands down the piece of clothing I wear most during the spring and summer, and like the name implies, it is comfortable enough to take a nap in.” — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

Cleobella Gwen Mini Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Revolve

“Summer means easy breezy sundresses, and this one from Cleobella is perfect for vacation. The beautifully-printed cotton dress is lightweight and ideal for summer nights out and about, whether I’m traveling somewhere warm or just hanging around the city.”  — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

Abercrombie & Fitch Traveler Mini Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Abercrombie & Fitch

“My entire high school wardrobe was from Abercrombie & Fitch, so I was very excited to see that the brand is popular again. I’ve bought several of its affordable dresses for my spring wardrobe, but the Traveler Mini Dress is the one I’ve gotten the most use out of so far. It is so soft and comfortable and has adjustable straps and built-in shorts. I’ve worn it to play tennis, while running errands, out to dinner, and on a trip to Miami. I currently have the black, but will definitely be buying more colors to add to my rotation.” — Rebecca Carhart, Senior Commerce Writer + Strategist

Lilly Pulitzer Mila Stretch Shift Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer

“It’s not summer without a bright and sunny Lilly Pulitzer dress. I’m a lifetime Lilly fan because the brand’s clothes are gorgeous but made to be liveable, practical, and comfortable, just like the founder herself would have wanted (she originally created her signature prints to hide the stains she’d get on her clothes from working at her juice stand on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, FL). I absolutely love that I can wear my shift dresses on any sun-soaked adventure, from sailing to shopping to walking the beach to going out to dinner. Plus, their shift dresses are lightweight, airy, and have a relaxed fit, so they’re breathable no matter how scorching the summer sun gets.” — Skye Sherman, Assistant Editor at Large

Madewell Linen-Blend Sophia Cami Midi Dress

“Madewell is one of my go-to retailers for cute summer clothes — and its dress selection is top-notch. What I love most about the brand is how often it drops sales, so you can easily get that sundress you’ve been eyeing for a lot less. I recently ordered this airy option for summer travel (although I can easily wear it to the office with a denim jacket or to brunch on the weekend), and I’m obsessed. It’s made from lightweight linen and eco-friendly viscose and has a midi length, which I find best for my 5’5 height. The shirred elastic waist flatters my figure while the tie neckline adds a flirty hit of style, and the black color makes it easy to transition from day to night.” — Susan Brickell, Associate Editorial Director, Travel Commerce

To buy: madewell.com, $89 with code LONGWEEKEND (originally $118)

Frank & Eileen Rory Organic Cotton Voile Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Frank & Eileen

“Summer calls for easy, lightweight dresses that you can throw in a suitcase or a duffle bag — and wear multiple times. Well, enter Frank & Eileen, a brand that makes chic cotton and linen staples that a) look good on anyone because of their flowy cuts and b) can be dressed up or down with a simple belt or statement necklace. I have several of the brand’s dresses, and find that this white Rory model looks great over a bathing suit with sandals, or with jeans and heels.” — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

American Giant Midi Tee Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of American Giant

“This heavyweight tee dress is a great all-around basic piece that I wear constantly at home or on the go. The silhouette is fairly narrow but the side slit makes it very easy to walk in, and the midi length removes any chance that you’ll need to constantly tug it down while you walk around. It comes in several lovely colors, but you’ll get the most mileage out of the extra-dark basic black.” — Skye Senterfeit, Deputy Photo Editor

Ivy Niu Tent Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Ivy Niu

“This Australian artist’s playful patterned dresses come in only one cut and one size: a roomy, breezy, smocked style that is both flattering on everyone who wears it and also fabulously unconcerned with creating a flattering fit at all. Niu is constantly dropping new prints (which she hand-illustrates herself) and also does super-limited-edition drops like gauzy shifts or collabs with other designers. The Ivy Niu mailing list is a highlight of my inbox!” — Hannah Walhout, Senior Editor

Pyne & Smith No.21 V Neck Sleeveless Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Pyne & Smith

“You’ll forever catch me singing the praises of linen dresses for travel. They pack up compactly and dry quickly if you need to do a quick rinse in the sink and hang-to-dry during a trip. I’ve amassed a little collection of pieces from California dressmaker Pyne & Smith, and wear them more than anything else in my closet. The model No. 17 (short sleeve, long-length) is my most frequently purchased style but the brand new model No. 21 (sleeveless, v-neck, long-length) in a black-and-tan check print is the one I’m looking forward to wearing most this summer. Bonus: all P&S models dressed have perfect, deep pockets.” — Skye Senterfeit, Deputy Photo Editor

Hatch Collection Carolina Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Hatch

“While it’s technically a maternity dress (hear me out!), this style has become a favorite, even though I’m no longer sporting a bump. The cut and silhouette is flattering with or without a belly, and the cotton fabric is perfect for staying cool during peak summer temps. I have it in a gorgeous cranberry shade, but I’m tempted to buy another in white or black.” — Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

Ibu Movement Zuri Swing Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

“Every time I wear a dress from Ibu Movement, a Charleston boutique that supports female entrepreneurs in fashion, I get a compliment. Take this Zuri Swing Dress, for example. The colors are eye-catching, the cut is generous (it can be worn as a coat, or a dress!) and better still, you are supporting a small business in Kenya with your purchase.” — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

Rungloee Athena Dress

May Editors’ Picks Dresses

Credit: Courtesy of Rungolee

“I was introduced to this brand a few years ago, and I’ve been obsessed with the gorgeous patterns that designer Anjali Kamra uses in her designs. So many of the styles can be dressed up or down depending on your choice of accessories, which is ideal for summer travel. I have one of her silk mini dresses in a darker shade already in my closet, so I’m eyeing this Blue Nile cotton number for Summer 2022.” — Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

Faithful the Brand Loucetta Midi Dress

White and orange print dress

Credit: Courtesy of Revolve

“I’ve been a fan of women-founded Faithful the Brand’s dresses since I scored my first one on sale years ago — and have since added several to my warm-weather rotation. They’re easy to roll up and pack in my suitcase, have flattering, romantic silhouettes fit for any occasion, and always get me tons of compliments. I’ve been on the hunt for a new style to add to my travel wardrobe and have settled on this beauty: it’s made of breathable cotton, has a stretchy, smocked bodice for comfort, and a breezy a-line skirt for added airflow on hot days, whether I’m wearing it for lunch al fresco in Portugal or bopping around Hawaii. I also love the muted floral print, subtle puff sleeves, and waist cut-out that shows off just a bit of skin, making it sexy yet modest (perfect for wearing around my boyfriend’s family).” — Susan Brickell, Associate Editorial Director, Travel Commerce

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