Dress season is imminent. Soon, we'll be retiring the bulky coats and knitwear to our under-bed storage and relying heavily on dresses to carry the weight of our outfits. There's nothing more freeing than stepping out in nothing but a cotton midi, flats and a basket bag, especially when the sun is shining overhead. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; it's early March as I write this, and spring has barely sprung.
Nonetheless, the wedding dates pinned to the fridge are creeping closer and closer, and it makes sense to at least start planning which dresses will carry us through the milder months. Whether you're most looking forward to far-flung nuptials, that upcoming beach getaway or the first park picnic of the year, you'll need the appropriate frock. And I know just where you should go to find it.
As much as we love the high street, there are certain pieces that are worth investing in a little more. And in my eyes, a special dress meets this criteria. The right dress can make you feel your absolute best like a pair of jeans or a pretty blouse just never will—there's something so satisfying about slipping into a single item and knowing that's your outfit 99% complete. Especially when it's a beautifully-made, perfect-fitting item, and sometimes these qualities come with a higher price tag.
Not every designer find is worth the expense, but with the right labels, splashing out means you'll wind up with something you'll cherish for a long time. Below, I've rounded up nine dress brands that I think, budget allowing, are deserving of your hard-earned money and will most certainly be show-stopping pieces in your wardrobe for years to come.
Style Notes: There's a reason so many influencers flock to Rixo come wedding season. The London label's designs are bold without being scene-stealing, ensuring the attention remains fully on the bride. That being said, you can expect a fair few compliments when you rock up in a Rixo number...
Style Notes: Ganni is quintessentially Scandinavian, blending confident design with splashes of fun. The result is a colourful yet wearable selection of seersucker, silk and structured cotton dresses that can be styled for all manner of occasions (including the weekly shop).
Style Notes: If you're lucky enough to have been invited to a black tie event, you'll be sure to make an entrance in an Aje dress. Based in sunny Australia, the brand's bold designs promise a good time. Who could stay in a bad mood while enveloped in bright pink ruffles?
Style Notes: Spending any amount of time on Reformation's website is dangerous, because your chances of spotting something you *need* are alarmingly high. The LA label has more than just its sustainable credentials to brag about—it's also one of the more inclusive dress brands around, creating flattering designs in UK sizes 4-28.
Style Notes: Raey makes more than just dresses—you might also have spent the last four months lusting after its longline coats—but this is where the label's streamlined approach to design really shines. Expect pared-back pieces with interesting necklines, crafted from premium materials like silk and linen.
Style Notes: Personally, I consider Ghost very reasonable—especially for the quality you're getting. But if you're used to shopping high street, let me assure you these gorgeous satin dresses are worth upping your budget ever so slightly.
Style Notes: It's only March, but Dôen's easy, breezy dresses have me dreaming of summers abroad. The free-spirited silhouettes feature bohemian prints, artful embroidery and cottagecore colour palettes, and yes, they're as beautiful as they sound.
Style Notes: Central Saint Martins graduate Rejina Pyo founded her eponymous label in 2014, and it quickly became a celeb favourite. Her signature puff-sleeved dresses are impeccably constructed; perfect for formal soirées where you want to stand out.
Style Notes: Minimalists, look away— Zimmermann celebrates all things pink, frilly and floral, so if you have an affinity for feminine style, you've met your match. Keep your romantic frock as the focus and pair it with simple accessories.