The 10 best summer party dresses for the season's sultriest days and nights.

I’m melting, mellllllting…

There are few things more enchanting than a good summer soirée, unless of course you’re schvitzing while you’re mixing. Dressing for a party during the dog days of summer, defined by The Old Farmer’s Almanac as the 40 days between July 3rd and August 11th that coincide with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, presents the ultimate fashion challenge: how can one look “hot” but feel cool on a sultry summer day or night? The trick is to keep things loose, light, and airy. Pour yourself a Naughty Sundress and drink in our picks of the 10 best summer party dresses for the season’s steamiest days.

Dolce & Gabbana fit-and-flare hydrangea-print strapless dress

Shimmery silver-mesh dress with a skin-baring open back by Maria Lucia Hohan

Trina Turk multicolored halter dress

Jason Wu neon lace cocktail dress with cut-in shoulders

Agnona floral-print chiffon gown with a deep-V neckline and back

Pastel-sequined dress with barely-there shoulder straps and a plunging neckline by Valentino

Self-Portrait’s cotton-blend sundress with knot-tie shoulders

Strapless Monique Lhuillier mini-dress in a multicolored floral lace

Slinky, lightweight slip dress in fuchsia by Galvan

Flounce-trimmed, lightweight cotton dress by Lisa Marie Fernandez

Summer Party Dresses Story Welcome “Cocktail”

This story’s welcome “cocktail” was crafted using the following “classic” ingredients:

Classic movie photo: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, 1955
Classic movie quote: The Wizard of Oz, 1939