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This vibrant summer shift dress will turn heads — and it's only $26

I can wear this versatile find as a dress, tunic or even a beach cover-up.
Split image of two women wearing the Urban CoCo Bohemian Summer Shift Dress
Courtesy Danielle Murphy / Courtesy Katie Jackson

The little black dress may be a classic, but unless you're Audrey Hepburn, it's probably not the most eye-catching thing you own. However, some styles can't help but turn heads, maybe even stop total strangers on the street. Recently, I found such a dress at one of my favorite retailers: Amazon, of course.

One of the last dresses I bought from the retailer was this nondescript T-shirt option in gray. With its comfy jersey fabric, long sleeves and pockets, it screamed practical. But after taking a Caribbean cruise this summer, I realized that I needed more styles with a bit more pizzazz.

Urban CoCo Bohemian Summer Shift Dress

Cue the Urban CoCo Bohemian Summer Shift Dress. The vibrant garment is available in a variety of gorgeous prints, and the $26 price tag is perfect for my tight budget. Plus, it has more than 6,000 verified five-star ratings. That's how I know something isn't too good to be true.

How it looks

I clicked through the different swatches and struggled to find one I didn't like. Ultimately, I went with Pattern 18, a primarily light blue shade with pops of color along the front and bottom hem. However, even if the brand sent the wrong one, I probably wouldn't have given it back. I truly like them all.

My dress is 100 percent true to color and looks exactly like it does online. I was worried I wouldn't like the three-quarter sleeves, but I don’t mind these since they’re “lotus leaf" style and just look like long sleeves I casually rolled up. Surprisingly, the fabric itself doesn't look or feel as low quality as I expected. I was able to wear it straight out of the package without even steaming it.

How it feels

It's certainly soft, however, it's not very breathable. That’s just the nature of polyester. The dress is 91.2 percent polyester and 8.8 percent spandex. Of course, it didn’t help that I first wore this on a train in Paris during a record-breaking heat wave. There was no AC in my car, so I was definitely sweating. Fortunately, because of the vibrant colors and cool pattern, no one could see any pit stains.

I do have sensitive skin (my neck is still covered in a rash after a recent Keratin treatment), so I was slightly worried about reacting negatively to a cheaper fabric — but that didn't happen.

Why the rating isn't higher

Normally, I only stick with products that have a 3.5-star rating or higher. This dress had a 3.4-star rating when I ordered it. Still, I couldn't write it off without looking into why the rating wasn't at least above a four. Based on the reviews I read, I think it's because of the sizing. At the time, only 46 percent of reviewers said it was true to size, though the description does note that the size will probably be smaller than you’re used to. I ordered a size S since I’m often an XS in loose-fitting clothing. When it came, it was a bit broad in the shoulders, but other than that, it fit perfectly.

Wearing my new dress at the Trek Travel VIP Tour de France finale viewing party in Paris
Wearing my new dress at the Trek Travel VIP Tour de France finale viewing party in ParisKatie Jackson

This dress is pretty short, so you might want to consider wearing shorts under it. However, because it's short, it can also be worn as a tunic with jeans or leggings. And I can just as easily get away with wearing it as a beach cover-up without feeling overdressed.

wearing the dress as a top with jeans
It can also be worn as an oversized top with jeansKatie Jackson

Casual or not, this dress got me plenty of attention. No one was whistling or making me uncomfortable, but I did get stopped in the street by two strangers while in France (one of whom turned out to be the Olympic silver medalist Léon van Bon and the other a Dutch photographer who took photos of the dress). I also got some unexpected compliments on social media from followers who have never commented on what I'm wearing before.

I don't like attention enough to live in this dress, but the next time I'm feeling low and need a little ego boost, I know exactly what to pop on.

For more summer fashion we're loving, check out:

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