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Below-Knee Summer Dresses

I’m back today with some longer dresses that will get you through the summer in style. Not every woman loves to wear dresses, but if you do, it can be challenging to find a flattering one. Here are some below-knee summer dresses for women over 50 that don’t look like they belong on a 5-year-old.

WOMAN WEARING POLKA DOT DRESS

If you’re new here, welcome. A dressing room diary is when I go into a local store for a try-on session so you can see what’s new and how it looks on a woman over 25. For reference, I am 5’4″ and weigh around 134 lbs with broad shoulders and straight hips. I have a long torso and arms so I often wear one size larger on top.

I try on clothes in colors and shapes that may or may not flatter me so you can see what’s in the stores and get some styling ideas. I tell you what sizes I am wearing to help you understand how things run. As always, you can click the red text for more info and to shop the item at no additional cost to you.

BELTED SHIRTDRESS

This belted shirtdress is beautifully made of 100% cotton with a 100% cotton lining which is so smart! The fit and flare shape is super flattering. It comes in misses, petite, plus, and plus petite, sizes 2-22. The length is 43 1/4″ misses, 40 3/4″ petite, 47″ plus, and 45″ in plus petite. I am wearing a 6P. I’m not ordinarily a fan of self belts, but this one is wide enough to feel like a sash so it works.

Tip- I always cut off the little strings on the sideseam that are just meant to hold the belt in place until they sell it.

EMBROIDERED LINEN MAXI DRESS

I love, love, love this 100% linen maxi dress. It’s an A-line shape that feels more streamlined than many of the tiered and ruffled dresses that are so popular this season. It comes in misses, petite, women’s, and tall, sizes XS-4X. I love the elongating look of the front embroidery and the front slit makes it easy to walk in. The center back length is – misses 50½”, petite 47½”, women’s 52″, tall 53½”. I am wearing a misses XS. I love this length for me but it’s a bit too snug so it runs TTS

TIERED LINEN SUNDRESS

I liked this dress more than I thought I would. It is 100% linen that will be super cool in the summer because it floats over the body and allows for airflow :). It comes in regular and petite sizes 4/6-22/24. I am wearing regular length in 8/10. It also comes in black but I’ve learned to be careful with black in the summer because it absorbs heat in the sun. It’s an A-line shape with a 54.5″ inseam in regular inseam, and 51.75″ in petite.

TIERED SILK MIDI DRESS

I am a huge fan of pleated fabrics for so many reasons, not the least of which is they travel beautifully, hide lumps in your figure, and present a slim silhouette without clinging. This Eileen Fisher dress is an investment piece with of-the-moment tiers, in a timeless look that will be in style forever. (I’ve still got pleated items like this in my wardrobe from 30+ years ago!) You could dress this up for a wedding or down with sandals for lunch out. This is meant to be midi length but on my 5’4″ frame, it’s almost a maxi…which suits me just fine. It’s sized 0-16W, I am wearing a 6/8.

BELTED SHIRTDRESS

This belted shirtdress is 100% cotton in misses, petite, and plus sizes 2-20…and is selling out fast. The pockets alone make it a winner in my book, but it’s also a fit and flare shape with a defined waist that flatters many women. The short sleeves are a dolman shape so they add width and balance for women with narrower shoulders. It’s an A-line shape with a 54.5″ regular inseam and 51.75″ petite inseam. This is not lined but totally opaque so a slip is not mandatory.

WOMAN WEARING BLUE MIDI DRESS
LINEN SHIRTDRESS

This 100% linen midi dress comes in misses, petite, and tall sizes XS-XL and is also selling out fast. It has 3/4 sleeves which help make us look taller plus a fabulous collar to pop up in the back :).

See also –How to Pop Your Collar and Keep it Up

The center back length is 48½” misses, 45½” petite, 51½” tall. It has fabulous pockets and could be belted if you like. I am wearing an XS petite which is snug through my broad shoulders so it runs true to size.

woman wearing talbots knee length dress
RUFFLE FIT AND FLARE SCENIC DRESS

This fit and flare dress is also 100% cotton with 100% cotton lining and is very lightweight. In this photo, you can see those little belt loops I recommend you always snip off. They stick out strangely and ruin the look of the dress. If you tie the belt at your waist it will stay there.

This dress comes in misses, petite, plus, and plus petite in sizes 2-22. The length is 45 1/4″ misses, 42 1/2″ petite, 47″ plus, and 44 1/4″ in plus petite. I am wearing an 8 petite which is snug so it runs small. The ruffle sleeves are not my best look, but they add nice width and balance for women with narrow shoulders and wider hips.

POPLIN SHIRTDRESS

This 100% cotton poplin shirtdress is slightly off-white that is neither warm nor cool. It’s sized 00-16W. The skirt is pleated at the waistband for a fit and flare shape. The buttons open all the way down so you could wear this open as a duster over other things. The length is 45 1/2″. I am wearing a small so it runs true to size. It is machine washable, and would definitely require ironing :).

JERSEY MAXI DRESS

This knit jersey maxi dress is a pullover style that is a cotton blend with spandex. The color is India ink (dark navy). It comes in misses, petite, and plus sizes XS-3X. I love that the shoulder straps are wide enough to hide your bra strap. It has elastic through the waist to give it some shaping. The length is 53 1/4″ misses, 49 3/4″ petite, 53″ plus, and 50 1/2″ in plus petite. I am wearing a medium petite and it runs true to size.

more below-knee dresses

 

Will you be wearing dresses this summer?

Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

 

 

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36 Comments

  1. Though normally not a fan of tier garments, my favourite is the silk midi dress but wouldn’t you know it is the most expensive …. lol! (Yes I am cursed.) -Brenda-

  2. I love dresses such as these and they all look great on you. My problem is that i don’t know where i would wear them! My life is pretty casual and leisurely since retirement and I haven’t many situations to wear a dress. Sad but true!

  3. I wear cotton fit and flare knee length dresses all summer. Love them. Talbot’s makes some great ones. I usually buy them with sleeves for sun protection.

  4. Love all of the shirt dresses. They look fabulous on you. My go to style and I’m often o the search for new ones. xx

  5. Way more hits than misses in this group of dresses! Going to try on some of those myself. Thanks for all of the suggestions. Also, any chance you would please tell me the style of your glasses? I admire them every time I check out your posts!

  6. So much overwhelming fabric and/or patterns. I’m too short and heavy for any of these. You look better in simple, v neck and slightly above knee dresses. I do love that you are so risky though.

  7. Living in Florida, it’s too humid and hot in the summer to wear some of these dresses. Not to mention, even though I am 5’9” tall, I won’t wear a dress below my knees because I feel so frumpy and sloppy, with the exception of a formal gown. The perfect length that is most flattering for most every woman is mid-knee. Especially true if you are short.

  8. Love the Talbots shirtdress! I agree with your observation about looking like a 5 year old. I see so many beautiful young women/models in adds where they are wearing ‘baby-doll’ dresses, and it just makes me feel sad. Instead, take a look at the absolutely beautiful outfits on Ann Taylor where the women look just as attractive (even sexy!) without dressing like a little girl. Women should be excited about being grown up! I feel bad when I see some dressing like toddlers. It makes me wonder who would be attracted to them?

      1. Love all but the first one- looks old fashioned with the big print.
        All the others are adorable on you!
        my problem is “bingo wings” so sad- it is so hard to buy summer tops/dresses that are cute and stylish without sleeves ( maybe you could do a few blogs on what to do to cammoflauge arm flab ( i am not overweight just have. lost structure and under upper arm is well ugly and would like ideas!!! you don’t have that problem but it is real. help! I do ‘t want to wear long sleeves or old lady tops or jackets to a picnic!
        love your site!!

  9. Talbot’s rarely carries my size. It is within their size range, so I went to try on the coral shirtdress. No luck, yet again. Not worth the bother.

  10. Thanks for sharing age appropriate dresses. I would feel ridiculous in the prairie/granny style dresses that are so popular now. As an actual granny with white hair I think I would just look silly in them.

  11. That Eileen Fisher dress looks so good on you! It’s an investment piece for sure due to the price. But it’s so classic and beautiful it would be well worth the expense.

  12. You look fabulous in the black and white polka dot dress from Talbots. I always enjoy your posts. Have a good weekend!

  13. Lots of fun options here. One dress shape I always loved that has not yet re-emerged is the tent dress. It was popular in the 1960’s. I like the classic look of a shirt dress except I don’t like how the front buttons gape and pull when I sit.
    Long maxis with pretty sandals are a staple for us where I live. Many women wear skimpy, braless dresses and tops to beat the heat and humidity but I prefer more coverage. My daughter is coveting the designs by Trina Turk. A bit bold for me but undeniably gorgeous.

  14. I wear dresses all summer. They are so comfortable, and look good on most. They are a one and done. Dress up or dress down. I get inexpensive ones and wear daily.

  15. Dresses have always been challenging for me because I share your issue of often needing a larger size on top than on the bottom. Today’s post has given me some encouragement to not give up!

  16. Jennifer, I’m glad that you had great success taking collagen. After buying a large bottle, I discovered that it really upsets my stomach. I’m sorry that collagen doesn’t come in smaller containers as it is a common side affect.

    1. Oh no! Some brands make individual serving packets so you can test to see if it agrees with you. Perhaps try a non-beef one.

  17. Always appreciate dresses. My favorites are the ones that can be worn everyday, with little maintenance (ironing) and can be a substitute for shorts or pants. The balance is finding one that is not too hot for the summer and whether I want sleeveless.
    Love this post because we so rarely see dresses modeled for older women.

  18. I’m a big fan of dresses for women of all ages. They make you look so feminine! All these dresses look fabulous on you. I especially like the jersey maxi dress.

  19. For me, at this point in my life, a dress that covers my knees offers a more attractive style. You did a blog regarding a point system for accessories. Maybe I need a point system for flattering rather than distracting style choices, including my hair and makeup choices.
    Each of the dresses you featured today would be fabulous for so many of us!

  20. Like Janice, I like the Talbot’s dresses as well, although I am hesitant about the almost sleeveless flared sleeves. They look a little dorky, and would, I think, get crushed by a sweater. I like the J Jill linen dress: it looks much better on you than on the model; there’s a lot of fabric though. I also like the poplin shirt-dress: is there any way to add a little color? (And, your hair does look lovely!)

  21. I will have to say I like all the Talbots dresses best. They all look great on you. Since they come in petite’s I will have to go to my local store and check it out. I like the maxi dress the best. At 5’ , I have to be careful with dresses below the knees with my short legs.
    Just wanted to tell you your hair is looking great, love the style and color.

    1. The Eileen Fisher is my favorite. It is an elegant versatile piece that will pop with the right accessories. I will watch for it on sale. patval

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