After two-ish years of sweatpants (mostly) all day every day, the ‘home couture’ game is strong but sweats and sand don’t mix so we went looking for the best dresses in NZ for saluting the sun this summer.
From upcycled threads to linen one hundred ways and dresses by contemporary Māori designers, many of these looks are by local labels. Almost all have earth-loving elements, making these threads a better choice than their fast fashion counterparts.
Here are the best dresses in New Zealand to shop this summer.
Lucy and Yak Organic Mini Pini Dress
Featuring GOTS-certified organic cotton and a teeny bit of elastane this ash pink Mini Pini Dress was handmade in India by tailors being paid a fair wage. Plus, it's SO cute.
Binanz Reversible Mini Dress
Designed and ethically made in Christchurch, this cute reversible mini comes in two colourways—khaki and black, and pink and cornflower—so you can rock it whatever your mood.
Aere Cross Back Tiered Linen Dress
For a full-blown summer princess vibe, this Cross Back Tiered Linen dress, in white or black, ticks all the boxes.
The Keep Fantasy Shin and Me Shirt
There’ll only be one question on your mind when you spy this loose-fitting yarn-dyed silk shirt dress with shell buttons and a cute collar: blue or yellow?
Layplan Studio Nancy Dress
Made from deadstock polyester, we think this full length, tangerine Nancy dress is super dreamy.
Kinney Rou Slip Dress
Match your picnic rug, jam and napkins with this cute look by Kinney. The Rou Slip dress is made with French linen and features a v neckline that’s mirrored at the back.
Recycle Boutique Vintage Floral Dress
Be the indoor-outdoor flow in this American vintage dress studded with flowers. There’s literally one of these so if you like it then you better put it in your trolley, stat. And if you miss out, stay a while and peruse their racks-instore or online-you're sure to find a pre-loved gem.
Paper Bag Princess
Another great second store for scooping up a summer dress in Tāmaki Makaurau is Paper Bag Princess on Karangahape Road. With up to 1,000 pre-loved items arriving every week, there’s a dress (among other things) for every mood.
Afends Billy Hemp Check Maxi Dress
Made with a blend of hemp and Tencel (which is a more eco-friendly alternative to rayon and viscose) this maxi dress in moss check is lightweight and flowy—a perfect pick for summer.
Kinney Bowie Dress
For summer days with a burst of drama, we love everything about the Bowie dress by Kinney, from the full balloon sleeves and pockets to the fact it’s made with 100% linen.
Soon Maternity Rubi Linen Feeding Dress
If you’ve recently made a tiny human—incredible, by the way—you can still look totally chic while breastfeeding in this linen number with ruffle sleeves by Soon Maternity.
Papa Clothing Bub Dress
By now you've figured out we've got a (major) obsession with linen and that's on account of it being pretty high up on the sustainable fabrics list. In this lovely linen Bub dress in blush by Papa Clothing Pacific Island/Pakeha designer, Keva Rands, you'll be living your floaty fantasy.
Mitchell Vincent Pou Dress
This muscle back slip dress was designed to embody the silhouette, and strength, of the Māori pou. It’s made in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton from end-of-line textiles which means it’s great for you and Papātūanuku.
Kinney Clara Reversible Dress
Sometimes you just want to rock your clothing backwards, and the Clara reversible dress totally obliges. Opt for an under-bust cutout and free-flowing panelled skirt, or a simple square neckline that can be cinched, depending on your mood.
La Vida Bowtie Mini Dress
For a whimsical, Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Mexico vibe, you can’t go wrong with the La Vida Bowtie Mini Dress made with linen.
Cloth & Co Organic Cotton Boxy T-Dress
Organic cotton is free from the harmful chemicals used in inorganic cotton production making it better for you and the environment, and since organic cotton seeds are cheaper than inorganic ones it's better for farmers too. This Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified organic cotton boxy t-dress is perfect for relaxed summer days.
Bamboo Body Elsie Dress
Bamboo Body is all about stylish comfort and their relaxed t-shirt dress, made with the label’s own stretched bamboo jersey is no exception.
Princess Highway Cockatoo Shift Dress
Seer & Wilde Water Kimono
Made in Aotearoa from 100% linen, this one size fits all Japanese-inspired water kimono can be dressed up or down—even over swimwear—and the belt doubles as a bandeau or headscarf, depending on what the occasion calls for.
Hej Hej Heartstrings Dress in Seafoam
This floaty little number by Hej Hej just sets our heart a-flutter. Designed in Aotearoa and produced ethically in China—in linen no less—this Heartstrings Dress in Seafoam is an absolute gift to the wardrobe.
Cosmic Black Organic Hemp Strappy Babydoll Dress
Hemp requires very little water to grow making it a solid pick for a more sustainable wardrobe. This sweet babydoll dress—with all-important pockets—is made from a blend of organic hemp and organic GOTS-certified cotton, and is naturally anti-microbial, UV protective, moisture-wicking, insulating and odour resistant. Well, dang.
ReCreate Checked River Dress
Pania Tongariro Maxi Dress
Plant lovers will fall in love with this sleeveless Tongariro Maxi by Pania. It’s made in Aotearoa from lightweight linen—so is perfect for summer—and its colour is reminiscent of flax.
Heading to the beach? Pick up some new togs this summer with the coolest swimwear in NZ.
Image credit: ReCreate, Cosmic, Aere, The Keep, Layplan, Kowtow, Kinney, Recycle Boutique, Paper Bag Princess, Afends, Kinney, Soon Maternity, Papa Clothing, Mitchell Vincent, Nichola, Kinney, La Vida, Cloth & Co, Lucy and Yak, Bamboo Body, Princess Highway, Seer & Wilde, Hej Hej, Cosmic, ReCreate, Pania.
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