There's no denying that cut-out dresses are having a moment right now. They appeared on the Spring/Summer 2022 runways at shows like Gucci and Marques’ Almeida, before popping up on just about every black-tie event this year, from the Grammys on Dua Lipa, who wore Versace; the Oscars on Penelope Cruz, who wore custom Chanel; and, most recently, at the 2022 Met Gala, on celebrities like Bella Hadid, who wore Burberry and Lori Harvey, who opted for a black ab-baring gown custom-made for her by Michael Kors Collection.
But, if you're not someone who normally wears cut-out anything (even in the summer), even the best cut-out dresses can feel daunting to style. With that in mind, I broke down the season's cutest cut-out dresses into three easy-to-shop categories ranging from frocks with barley-there cut-outs to options that are better suited as a part of your next beach vacation outfit than in your day-to-day life.
The bottom line? It's now easier than ever to master the trend on your own terms. Some of these picks are effortlessly cute and daytime-appropriate summer sundresses, while others are great for date nights, bachelorette parties, or a summer wedding.
Before we dive head-first into the pieces, remember that there’s no wrong way to wear this daring summer fashion trend. Cut-outs are meant to be fun, not stressful. Stick to the one that best aligns with your personal style, or take this opportunity to test-drive a new silhouette that you’ve been secretly wanting to try out this season.
If you want to dabble with a cut-out dress this summer but you're not sure how much skin to show, start out by trying one on that features smaller cut-outs on areas like the shoulder, across the back, or above your ribcage. You'll still be able to wear a bra or bandeau with these styles if you need coverage or support. Better yet, try a dress that has buttons across the front so that you can control the amount of skin you have on show at any given time.
One of the most common places for a cut-out to be placed on a dress is right underneath the chest, slightly above the ribcage. This frock from ELOQUII is available in sizes 18 through 26 and proves that wearing cut-outs doesn't have to be daunting.
This tank dress from ZARA gives the cut-out trend new life thanks to its layered-looking design. The earthy colors work for day or night, and the maxi length adds coverage and balance.
This striped dress from A.W.A.K.E MODE has a slightly nautical feel to it, making it great for summertime wear. Better yet, it can be styled with sandals or sneakers now, and then with boots once the weather cools down in the fall.
A mini dress like this pick from Cotton Citizen comes with a slew of mini buttons across the front, so you can customize the coverage you get across your chest. It comes in five other colors if wearing red isn't your cup of tea.
The ruched detailing at the front of this otherwise simple black maxi dress from MANGO technically counts a cut-out, making it great for those looking to give the trend a try in 2023.
This cotton mini dress from Anthropologie looks simple enough from the front, but features a slim cut-out at the back for added flair. Style it under a cropped cardigan or a blazer at the office and show off the design at happy hour.
This pastel striped dress from ethical brand Rita Row was locally made in Girona, Spain. The cut-out, despite being at the center of the chest, is dainty, permits you to wear a bra or bralette without it showing, and would look great layered over a white turtleneck now before the summer weather rolls in.
Blink and you'll miss the tiny cut-outs at the center of this otherwise sweet-feeling dress from Self-Portrait. Perfect for a family brunch or a spring date night, this pale pink frock will play a massive role in your summer wardrobe rotation.
Showing a Little More Skin
If you've already given the cut-out trend a test-run and you want to dabble with showing a bit more skin, pick one one of the dresses below. They feature slightly larger cut-outs or, in some cases, a few more that are smaller in size around the stomach or waist. Some can be worn as beach cover-ups, while others are great for a spring wedding.
The simple colorway saves this cut-out dress from & Other Stories from being over-the-top. The sleek halter design also makes it look elevated despite it costing only $69.
I'm picturing wearing this breezy white maxi dress over top of a white bikini on my next vacation this summer. Or, style it with wedges for a fun, casual, nighttime look.
The minute that the weather begins to heat up, I start my search for my new favorite summer sundress. This one from Find Me Now retails for $120 and comes in the sweetest-feeling checkered print. but it's not too sweet courtesy of the cut-out across the middle.
I've had my eye on this butter-yellow midi dress from Significant Other for a while now because, despite the cut-outs at the hip and shoulder, it still feels elevated.
Bright orange is one of this summer's most in-demand hues, as evidenced by this cut-out mini dress from H&M.
Leave it to It-Girl approved swimwear brand Frankie's Bikinis to design some of the cutest summer-ready dresses. This Y2K-inspired tie-dye midi dress is on my must-buy list.
This satin-look dress from Nordstrom's own brand, B.P., comes in two colors: a simple black and this champagne shade. Available in sizes 1X through 4X, it's great for a summer wedding.
Rather than being a simple stringy halter top, this dress from LNA features a few extra slits across the ribs and waist. And you can always style it under an oversized denim jacket to add some coverage if you want to!
Super Daring Cut-Outs
If you're a longtime lover of cut-outs, take it to the next level this summer by opting a dress that bares it all. This could mean a dress that shows off your entire stomach, or one that is more cut-out than it is dress—the choice is yours.
This bright one-shoulder frock from Zara is bound to make a statement from the very moment that you put it on thanks to the electric colorway and the ruched skirt. You can adjust the length of the skirt to show more skin.
This dress tackles a few trends at once: chocolate brown is everywhere right now, as is cut-outs that are tied together.
Dresses by Poster Girl have been worn by Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa, and Sabrina Carpenter recently, so it's safe to say that the brand is taking over the internet in 2023.
I love a maxi dress in the summer, especially one that features a print as fun as this one from For Love & Lemons does. The back of this dress is cut out, as is much of the front (in a good way).
This dress from beach and swimwear brand Louisa Ballou is sexy, yes, but it's also fun! Pack this on vacation or wear on a night out with your friends on the summer's hottest night.
Have a beachy wedding that you're heading off to? This bright orange maxi dress from ASYOU on ASOS is a great option for a more casual affair.
If you want to wear a bold cut-out during the daytime, consider this printed sundress from editor-approved brand STAUD. It's made from a lightweight jersey material so it's great for hot summer afternoons.
The crochet trend continues to be a dominating trend this summer, so pick up this black crocheted dress from Tach Clothing to wear over your bikinis this summer for a beach-to-bar vacation look.
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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