Have you ever walked through the knee-high grasses of the American prairie? Odds are likely not, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting in on summer’s romantic trend and wearing one of the best prairie dresses. The year 2020 marked the rise of cottagecore, a craft-centric trend that applied to both dreamy dresses and a desire for a life filled with at-home DIYs. But in 2022 the lens is shifting. With the rise of Victorian-era dramas like HBO’s The Gilded Age and epic westerns like The Power Of The Dog, there’s a cultural pull toward the wistful appeal of the vintage aesthetic.

Traditionally the prairie dress is defined by a few key details: ruffles, a high neckline, voluminous sleeves, and a billowy body. Generally they’re fabricated in light cotton or linen, ideal for time outside in warmer temperatures. But this season brands are incorporating fresh twists to the classic, choosing thin shoulder straps or an oversized collar as alternatives to the traditional (and often constrictive) neckline. With the rise of shorter hemlines, you’ll also find a number of options that hit above the knee this year.

For more established iterations, try a light white dress with a billowy bottom. Or go for a pastel floral-print dress—an ideal option for dressy daytime occasions.

Ahead, find five takes on the prairie dress that feel modern and un-frumpy. Whichever way you choose to embrace the aesthetic, just make sure you find a field somewhere to frolic in.

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White and Lightweight

For a warm day outdoors, a floaty white dress will keep you comfortable, even in the sun. Try a crochet long-sleeve option for a more traditional feel, or opt for something sleeveless for a more modern take.

Isabel Marant Étoile Jaena crocheted lace-trimmed embroidered cotton-blend maxi dress

Tove Ceres pleated organic cotton midi-dress

Matteau broderie anglaise organic cotton-poplin maxi dress

Aje Tidal corset midi-dress

Self Portrait organic cotton broderie anglaise tie-neck midi-dress

Gabriela Hearst Alex upcycled linen-blend maxi dress

Thin Straps

While prairie dresses tend to feel better suited to casual activities, these thin-strap versions have a bit more polish, making them ideal party dresses. Look for a statement neckline or waist details to make the look pop.

Kika Vargas ruffle tiered cotton midi-dress

Carolina Herrera Sweetheart cotton midi-dress

Shrimps Red Liberty midi-dress

Rosie Assoulin Rough-Led Around the Edges dress

Loretta Caponi Armida smocked floral-cotton-poplin dress

Lug Von Siga Melody ruffled shirred floral-print linen midi-dress

Short Hemline

Embrace the return of the mini with these cropped options that hit just above the knee. You’ll still embody the prairie core aesthetic but in a way that works for modern occasions.

Ulla Johnson Miranda belted cotton-blend mini dress

Christy Dawn the Verna dress

Batsheva x Laura Ashley Welsh floral-print cotton dress

Loveshackfancy Viola tie-dyed lace-trimmed cotton-voile mini dress

Tanya Taylor Tiana floral puff-sleeve minidress

Muzungu Sisters Florence snail-print organic-cotton mini dress

Statement Collar

One trend worth exploring this season is the statement collar. These summer dresses still have a vintage feel but without the constricting high neck.

Sea Violette printed embroidered broderie anglaise-trimmed cotton midi-dress

Cecilie Bahnsen Malou floral-embroidered cotton dress

Miu Miu long Marocain dress

Ganni oversized seersucker wrap midi-dress

La DoubleJ Abito Della vita open-back ruffled gathered cotton-poplin maxi dress

Horror Vacui Heidi floral-print cotton-poplin maxi dress


For days when you want a dress that will keep your legs covered entirely, you’ll want to consider these sweeping maxi styles. The best prairie dresses are breezy, billowy, and ideal for keeping you cool in hot temperatures.

D’Ascoli Greta tiered floral-print cotton-khadi maxi dress

Yvonne S ruffled tiered floral-print cotton-voile maxi dress

Agua by Agua Bendita Magnolia printed linen maxi halter dress

Gucci Damask-print cotton-muslin maxi dress

Farm Rio Pineapple Beach embroidered maxi dress

Rixo Cannes open-back tiered embroidered cotton midi-dress

Pastel Floral

If it’s already working, don’t mess with tradition. These pretty floral designs will look great with the addition of mules and a basket bag.

Zimmermann Andie gathered floral silk maxi dress

& Other Stories printed button up midi-dress

Caroline Constas Gianna floral cotton-blend maxi dress

Faithfull the Brand Tayari floral linen midi-dress

Rixo Kristen floral-print cotton maxi dress