There are so many dresses on the market that it can be difficult to choose just one, but luckily, you don’t have to. When it comes to dresses, they’re often suited for more specific occasions, which means one could only benefit from having a few in their arsenal to choose from.
Rather than sift through pages of products to find the one (or two) you’re looking for, we’ve put together an extensive list of the best dresses currently available on the market, so that you don’t have to. From fit and fabric to silhouette and occasion, the roundup has all your bases covered.
SKIMS Smooth Lounge Open-Back Stretch-Modal Jersey Maxi Dress
This simple SKIMS maxi dress has a cult following for a few reasons, including the soft fabrication, inclusive sizing, and minimal design that can be worn in many ways. It’s cut from a stretch modal-blend fabric for a slinky yet figure-hugging fit, and it boasts a cutout back for subtle sexiness. Those who won’t go braless will appreciate the lightly supportive built-in shelf bra that’s also included. For just about anyone, it’s great to be styled up with heeled sandals or dressed down a bit with leather sneakers.
Price at time of publish: $107
Material: 51% modal, 45% nylon, 4% spandex | Size Range: XXS–4XL
Quince Silk Slip Dress
We meant it when we said there is a dress for everything—and the athleisure dress is perhaps one of our favorite trends of the year. The Athena Dress from Outdoor Voices gets our top vote for its simple style, functional design, and versatility. It’s a dress you can play tennis in, run in, or hit the grocery store in. And, while this might not be a favorite for some, we love that the dress is unlined and made for layering. This allows for more uses and lets you choose the undershorts and sports bras of your preference.
Material: 86% polyester, 14% spandex | Size Range: XS-XL
Mara Hoffman Sloan Dress
There’s no denying that people love Mara Hoffman’s popcorn dresses, and understandably so—the smocked silhouettes are designed to accentuate your shape, regardless of body type, and be as comfortable as they are aesthetically pleasing. Beyond that, they now have an assortment of designs and colorways available, meaning you’re bound to find one that well-suits your style.
Price at time of publish: $595
Material: 100% modal | Size Range: XXS–XXL
LNA Candi Dress
Nothing says easy summer dressing like throwing on a simple tank dress; Los Angeles-based label LNA understands that well. At its core, the brand is equal parts effortless and chic. “I’m always pushing myself to reimagine what it means to make wardrobe essentials,” co-founder Lauren Alexander tells Byrdie. “[But] when I’m starting to design a dress I’m always trying to balance function and aesthetic. Wearability becomes the most important rule for LNA.” The Candi dress, offered in white and pink cotton, is so easy to wear with flat strappy sandals. If it’s chilly in the evening, all that’s needed is a classic jean jacket to finish your look.
Price at time of publish: $42
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS–XL
Best Vegan Leather
Cult Naked Too Good Mini
The micro mini is back in full effect, though you might be wondering how wearable it is. Cult Naked, a brand revered for its vegan leather, has zoomed in on the trend with a practical solution. Its Too Good Mini dress is a ruched style that only appears to be like any other super short dress; however, it’s made with imperceivable built-in shorts to ensure you’re fully covered.
Price at time of publish: $450
Material: Recycled polyester and polyurethane | Size Range: XXS–XL
Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress
With thousands of reviews singing its praises, the sleeveless style by Outdoor Voices comes in several solid colors and proves you don’t have to forgo comfort for style on your dog walks, bike rides, or tennis matches. The ultra-lightweight fabric is engineered to dry quickly and feel breezy as you move. It’s made with adjustable straps, built-in shorts, and “sticky” grippers on the hem of the shorts to keep them in place.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: 85% nylon, 15% spandex | Size Range: XXS–XXXL
Farai London Indah Dress
With famous fans like Lori Harvey, Farai London is known best for their form-fitting mesh dresses in bright colors and splashy prints. We love the Indah dress in particular for its sexy plunging neckline and flattering ruched detailing over the torso and butt. For a subtle ’70s vibe, wear metallic platform heels on your next night out on the town.
Price at time of publish: $175
Material: 95% polyester 5% spandex | Size Range: XS–L
PinkBlush Black Front Twist Halter Maternity Dress
During both pregnancies, style icon Rihanna proved that maternity style doesn’t have to be boring, and this maxi halter dress is a prime example. Equal parts chic and minimal, the streamlined design is made with moms-to-be in mind, being cut from a breathable and stretchy material. The side slit and twist front neckline also add a stylish touch.
Price at time of publish: $77
Material: 70% viscose 30% nylon | Size Range: S–L
Ninety Percent Jasmine Ribbed Organic Cotton-Blend Midi Dress
The secret to a great knitted dress is wearability and high-quality material that will withstand multiple wears—Ninety Percent’s ribbed Jasmine dress has both. Made from an organic cotton blend with biodegradable thread, the scoop-cut midi dress has a body-skimming fit and generous side slit for ease of movement. Even better is that it can be styled multiple ways, which means it will work hard in your core lineup.
Price at time of publish: $99 (originally $330)
Material: 70% organic cotton, 30% SeaCell™ lyocell | Size Range: XXS–XL
LPA Fallon Sweater Dress
Nothing says transitional dressing quite like a turtleneck sweater dress. This style by LPA is made in an A-line mini silhouette with blouson sleeves, adding a little volume to the mix. When it comes to styling, you can’t go wrong with sheer tights and knee-high boots, which can be swapped for bare legs and ballet flats when the seasons change. For those that want to take it a step further, cinch the waist with a statement belt à la Jackie O.
Price at time of publish: $148
Material: 70% nylon, 30% viscose | Size Range: XXS–XL
Farm Rio Summer Sunrise Embroidered Linen Dress
Leave it to Brazilian brand Farm Rio to design a top-contending sun dress. Perfectly suited for your next warm-weather vacation, this zingy maxi is cut from breezy linen that’s been embroidered with an intricate floral print. And the adjustable shoulder straps are made from a pom pom trim as a playful finishing touch.
Price at time of publish: $290
Material: 100% linen | Size Range: XXS–XL
Silk Laundry Deco Ruched Dress
Silk Laundry has a high-quality lineup of silk staples. Take its Deco dress—the slip style is made entirely from silk with a sandwash finish that gives a more tactile feel than its satin counterparts. It’s also worth noting that the free-flowing midi has ruched shoulder straps that can be adjusted to find your perfect fit.
Price at time of publish: $360
Material: 100% sandwashed silk | Size Range: XS–XL
Staud Shoko Color-Block Ribbed-Knit Midi Dress
Staud’s color-blocked dress is one of the brand’s most popular designs and with good reason. The ribbed-knit midi is your quintessential cardigan dress with buttons down the front, which also means it can be worn open over jeans should you want to go for a more laid-back look.
Price at time of publish: $165
Material: 65% viscose, 35% nylon | Size Range: XS–XL
Norma Kamali Ruched Diana Dress
Chances are you’ve seen Norma Kamali’s iconic Diana dress on the always-stylish Sarah Jessica Parker in the reprisal of her role as Carrie Bradshaw in And Just Like That. (Emily Weiss, Glossier’s founder, also wore it while pregnant with her first child last year.) Like many of the designer’s pieces, the one-shoulder ruched midi dress comes in an expansive range of colors and materials, which includes a festive gold lamé iteration that’s perfect for the holidays. Follow the fictional style icon’s lead and style yours with strappy sandals and a blazer.
Price at time of publish: $215
Material: 95% polyester 5% spandex | Size Range: XXS–XL
Good American Soft Sculpting Denim Dress
From the expansive sizing to its collection of blue jeans for just about any occasion or style, the Good American’s selection is vast. So, it makes sense that their sculpting denim dress is practically five-star according to reviews. The form-fitting midi comes in both light and dark washes. It has a classic square-cut neckline and contouring hem that falls well below the knee. Plus, it’s the perfect day-to-night style
Price at time of publish: $109
Material: 45% cotton, 29% polyester, 11% recycled cotton, and 15% elastane | Size Range: XS–5XL
Retrofete Gabrielle Sequined Chiffon Mini Dress
Surely you’ve seen Retrofête’s Gabrielle wrap dress on the likes of J.Lo and Chiara Ferragni. It's made from chiffon covered in sequins and has a velvet tie that highlights your waist. We love that it’s so ’70s and festive, too—perfect for birthdays or holiday parties.
Price at time of publish: $675
Material: 100% viscose | Size Range: XXS–XXL
Hill House The Louisa Nap Dress
Hill House’s cult Nap dress strives to be the perfect balance of style and comfort—and many say it succeeds. Cut from soft cotton, the free-flowing silhouette skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic while many were working from home. Now, with a good portion of people back in the office, it’s great for a casual day or a weekend stroll in the city or the country.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS–XXL
Reformation Ronda Silk Dress
If you’re on the hunt for an understated bridal look, Reformation has you covered. Its Ronda dress is a great choice—for under $100, no less. This floor-length silk gown is drapey with a low cowl neck for an effortlessly romantic look. Though it doesn’t have much shape through the body, its asymmetrical, one-shoulder neckline adds the perfect amount of drama.
Price at time of publish: $748
Material: Silk charmeuse | Size Range: 0–12
Sami Miro Vintage Long Sleeve Asymmetric Rib Mini Dress
Sami Miro’s mini knit dress is so casually cool. Made from sustainably produced materials (all garments are created from locally-sourced deadstock and vintage fabrics from within a 15-mile radius of HQ, according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or the CFDA), the long-sleeve mini features thumbhole and ribbed seam details that create depth in an otherwise minimalist design.
Price at time of publish: $310
Material: 95% TENCEL™ lyocell, 5% spandex | Size Range: XS–XL
Miaou Ginger Dress
Buzzy brand Miaou might be known for its colorful prints and European motifs, but we’d be lying if we said their black bustier Ginger dress wasn’t the ideal LBD. From the corseted bodice made of eco jersey-knit material to the comfortable and secure fit, the mini is as versatile as it is fun. The best part? You can always add statement accessories to make it feel a bit more playful.
Price at time of publish: $245 for Black
Material: 64% viscose, 28% nylon, 8% spandex | Size Range: XS–4XL
Poster Girl Adrianne Chainmail Dress
The Poster Girl founders are all about designing clothing that will empower women and make them feel good—just ask some of its fans, like Dua Lipa and Kylie Jenner. Apart from its cutout dresses, it’s known for chainmail dresses and tops with various sparkly embellishments. If dresses aren’t your thing, you can always layer it over the brand’s flared leggings for a more futuristic approach.
Price at time of publish: $657
Material: Aluminum outer with a 95% polyamide 5% elastane lining | Size Range: XS–XL
The Range NYC Mass Ribbed Carved Cutout Dress
The Range’s Mass ribbed cutout dress is made from stretchy lyocell and cotton to hug the figure and accentuate the curves of the body without being skin-tight. This means that you can wear it for many types of occasions without appearing too sexy.
Price at time of publish: $295
Material: 63% TENCEL™ lyocell, 27% cotton, 10% spandex | Size Range: XS–L
DVF Eloise Faux-Wrap Dress
You can’t talk about wrap dresses without mention of Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic pieces. A pioneer in the fashion industry, the designer is revered for her flattering wrap silhouettes, which she produced in a plethora of prints and colors over the last few decades. The Eloise dress from the collection has a geometric pattern, with loose three-quarter sleeves and a tie belt to cinch the waist.
Price at time of publish: $398
Material: 100% viscose | Size Range: XXS–XL
Helsa Cotton Poplin Oversized Shirt
Model Elsa Hosk’s style is the epitome of effortless chic, so it’s only right that her namesake label, Helsa, has the same feel. Perfecting the oversized and intentionally slouchy look, the brand’s poplin work shirt looks like it could have been borrowed from the boys but in a polished way. It also makes for a great layering piece during the cold-weather months.
Price at time of publish: $228
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: OS
Amy Lynn Tie Shoulder Midi Dress
By now there’s no denying that the early aughts are back in full effect—the good, the bad, and everything in between—and the drop waist dress is yet another example of a trend from that time that’s in fashion again. If you’re looking to embrace the resurgence in a way that feels relevant today, Amy Lynn’s tie-shoulder midi dress is a great place to start. Smarten the look up with white tube socks and loafers, and in peak summer, wear it with strappy flat sandals.
Price at time of publish: $112
Material: 90% polyester, 10% elastane bodice; 100% cotton skirt | Size Range: S–L
Wolford Fatal Dress
Though Wolford is known best for its quality hosiery, the brand has an expansive selection of elevated essentials. There are bodysuits, leggings, and dresses, like the fan-favorite Fatal design. The tube-style dress comes in both mini and maxi lengths and is made from a contouring stretch-jersey material that’s as comfortable as it is flattering on every figure.
Price at time of publish: $215
Material: 93% polyamide, 7% elastane | Size Range: XS–L
Hildur Yeoman The Wave Rhinestone Dress
When walking around the streets of Reykjavik there’s a good chance you’ll see someone wearing one of Hildur Yeoman’s designs. Instantly recognized by the body-skimming designs and printed mesh, they’ve also been seen on the likes of Venus Williams and Kehlani. And if you ever find yourself in Iceland, it’s worth stopping by the boutique to shop the designs and peruse the equally cool brands sitting alongside them, like y/Project and Ottolinger.
Price at time of publish: $345
Material: 94% polyester, 6% elastane | Size Range: XS–XL
LoveShackFancy Magdaline Floral-Print Cotton Voile Dress
If you keep up with the latest brands on the market, then you know that LoveShackFancy and flowers are somewhat synonymous. Revered for its pastel color stories and cottage-core aesthetic, the brand’s floral-print dresses are easily some of its most popular designs. The Madeline cotton-voile dress in particular is so simple but cute. We love the way it cinches at the shirred waist and has pintucks through the flowy skirt. You can wear it with both heels or sneakers, depending on the occasion.
Price at time of publish: $395
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS–XXL
Re Ona Halterneck Dress
Simple and sleek is what Re Ona was going for with this halterneck dress. “When designing collections, we're very intentional about the fabrics we select and often go through pages of swatches, until we're satisfied to move forward with getting samples made,” explains the brand’s co-founder Philiscia Abayomi. “We strive to provide comfort while also not compromising on quality as we want our pieces to last for years to come.” Apart from the timeless nature of the style, the somewhat seamless effect of this number has a distinct smoothing, butter-like look that makes for a mission accomplished, we’d say.
Price at time of publish: $135
Material: 93% viscose, 7% spandex | Size Range: XS–XL
Athleta Advantage Dress
Even if you don’t play tennis or golf, Athleta’s ‘Advantage’ dress is a great staple to have. Made from a moisture-wicking technical fabric, the pleated mini has a fitted bodice with mesh panels to keep you cool during your workout. And just like any great dress it has a hidden slip pocket along your thigh where you can store your phone, keys, and banking cards, should you so choose.
Price at time of publish: $139
Material: 75% recycled polyester, 25% LYCRA® | Size Range: XXS–XL with additional tall and petite sizing
From the fit and fabric to its accessible price point, SKIMS’ maxi dress is a must in any well-dressed woman’s wardrobe. The body-skimming design comes in a slew of neutral colors, which means you can find one to best suit your style or buy multiple to wear the style with just about anything. Coming in at a close second is Mara Hoffman’s cult-favorite popcorn dress. It boasts a flattering fit and unique design that’s somewhat reminiscent of the early aughts.
What to Look for When Shopping for Dresses
“A good dress you can probably get a few wears out of and the style works for the season, [while] a great dress is something that you don’t hesitate to put on and you’re going to keep grabbing it anytime you need a dress.” This all starts with high-quality fabric, she points out. 100-percent cotton dresses are breezy and ideal for summer, while knits that will last are generally made from cashmere and wool. If you’re looking for something figure-hugging, make sure there is spandex or elastane in the content, and in this case, be conservative with washing and drying, as doing so will eventually wear out the stretchiness. Synthetic blends, like polyester and nylon, could be prone to pilling, depending on the weave, which is something to keep in mind for longevity.
“Perfect fit and wearability are [also] things I’d consider,” says wardrobe stylist Samantha Brown. “After all, you want to wear the dress, not have the dress wear you. A well-fitting dress will flatter the figure and leave you feeling comfortable and confident.” Analyzing how far the armholes fall or how much (or little) room you have in the waist are basic considerations for fit. Other things to consider are if you can maintain mobility in the shoulders in dresses with sleeves or thick straps, as a lack of mobility is common in too-tight dresses. By contrast, you also want to be sure that there is no gaping with lower necklines and that your bra isn’t showing if that’s not the look you’re going for.
What dresses make you look taller?
“Color block panels and vertical seams can help create the illusion of length through the body,” says Brown, adding that the sleeves of a dress can also make a difference. “A three-quarter sleeve also creates length, since the line of attention stays up around the waist instead of a long-sleeve, which draws the eye to the hip area, therefore shortening the legs.”
What type of dress is best for travel?
Schiffer suggests comfy midi-length knits for this. “I have a cashmere dress from Elsa Hosk's line, Helsa, that is the perfect combo of cozy, comfy, and elevated neutral for long hauls.”
Which type of dress is best for date night?
When it comes to a fool-proof look for date night, you can’t go wrong with a timeless silhouette, like Miaou’s Ginger Dress or DVF’s Eloise Faux-Wrap Dress that can be styled according to the destination. “Most importantly, a dress that makes you feel hot and fun!” Schiffer says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Shelby Ying Hyde is a Byrdie contributor who writes for Harper's Bazaar, Refinery29, The Cut Shop, and more. Before entering the editorial world, she worked as product copywriter for two large luxury e-commerce companies, where she became well-versed in fits, fabrics, and other unique selling points that make an item special. For this story she considered dozens of dresses on the market, specifically focusing on ethical brands with inclusive sizing.