How and Why 2017 Became the Year of the Dress

If there's one thing we're certain about from the past 12 months of fashion, it's that 2017 was the year of the dress. Of course, every other option under the sun existed and had some airtime, but it really seemed like everyone was obsessed with frocks. But we're not talking about simple LBDs here: The dresses of the year took the form of bold hues and prints, with flirty, floaty shapes and occasional statement sleeves. We have a theory on why we were all so obsessed with dresses. With brands such as Ganni, Rixo London, and Rouje creating cult dresses, which were both super wearable for day and night, it had a sort of knock-on effect, with more brands churning out chic frocks for us to snap up.

Of course, there were plenty of other key brands and pieces that stood out the most, with street-stylers, influencers, and A-listers all becoming seduced by the allure of the prettiest of pretty dresses. And, good news for leaner budgets out there: it wasn't all about designer styles either. There were plenty of dresses that were just as popular on the high street. We've come up with a list of the biggest and most popular dresses of the year—and the good news is, some of the exact styles are still available to shop now (some are even marked down for post-Christmas sales!) Keep scrolling to see our pick of 2017's dresses of the year.

Réalisation: Violette Dress

Style Notes: Cast your mind back to summer 2017 and you'll probably remember seeing this frock everywhere. Brilliantly, you can still get your hands on it. To see how to style it further, you can get more tips here

Balenciaga: Strangled Print Dress

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Getty Images

Style Notes: For the more adventurous, there was this Balenciaga dress. Most opted to wear it over trousers—and we can see why. However, a pair of ankle boots would work just as well. 

Ganni: Any Style

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Style du Monde / Getty Images

Style Notes: If you didn't wear Ganni in 2017, did you even get dressed? We're joking, of course, but seriously, this Danish brand was on everyone. And it was the dresses that made the biggest impact, which is why we couldn't just pick one stand-out piece. 

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@wethepeoplestyle

Style Notes: Ghost has been known to create gorgeous silk-style frocks ideal for low-key brides and bridesmaids. However, this year, the brand piqued our street style radar with its Jenna frock. Jess from We the People Style proved it's great on its own or under a knit. 

Rejina Pyo: Greta Dress

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Getty Images / Style du Monde

Style Notes: One of the most exciting new designers, Rejina Pyo, had the whole Who What Wear team swooning at her recent show. Why? Well, the brand's dresses are flirty without being too much, so you won't feel constricted in them. Kate Foley is a massive fan and often pairs hers with Vans. 

Diane von Furstenberg: Printed Silk Crepe de Chine Dress

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Getty Images

Style Notes: If you want to know what's cool right now, all you need to do is look to what Lisa Aiken of Net-a-Porter is wearing. We spotted her and many other fashion insiders in this gorgeous cult dress by Diane von Furstenberg back in September, and now we want it too (P.S. it's on sale).

Attico: Wrap Dresses

Style Notes: Another brand that often sells out immediately is Attico. While the ankle cuffs have been a big hitter this year, the other popular pieces include the wrap dresses. Whether in satin, silk or sequins, these flatter everyone. 

Vampire's Wife: Falconetti Dress

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Getty Images

Style Notes: For those who aren't into floral frocks, Vampire's Wife is for you. The gothic cut and fabrics have made these a go-to in A-list circles, with the likes of Keira Knightley and Alexa Chung looking understated-cool and like they'd definitely wear these flattering pieces again and again. 

Tibi: Plissé-Satin Midi Dress

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Getty Images

Style Notes: On paper, pleated green fabric doesn't sound great. But in reality, thanks to Tibi's mint version, it looks chic and minimalistic. We'd pair this with a pair of bright-white sneakers. 

Céline Dress: Belted Dress in Satin Crepe

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Getty Images

Style Notes: Of course Céline made a super covetable dress this year. In a muted millennial pink, this dress could be worn in a variety of ways (tied or untied; with sneakers or boots) and was spotted all over fashion week. 

Topshop: Floral Tea Dress

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@thefrugality / belleandbunty.com

Style Notes: It wasn't just designer brands that made dresses everyone wanted to wear. Topshop's pink tea frock made the cut. And while it's no longer available, you can shop a similar style below.

Rixo London: Any Dress

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Phill Taylor / @katcollings

Style Notes: Rising stars Rixo London created some of the prettiest and fun dresses of 2017. Both Who What Wear UK's editorial director Hannah Almassi and Who What Wear's editor-in-chief Kat Collings loved them. 

Marks and Spencer: Constellation-Print Dress

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@thefrugality / Erica Davies

Style Notes: The constellation dress from Mark's and Spencer was a massive hit with the Who What Wear readers. Not only was it seriously glam, it didn't cost much. While it's sold out, there is a similar version with sheer sleeves, which will last you through to wedding season. 

Rouje: Tea Dresses

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Getty Images

Style Notes: Rouje, the French label started by the uber-chic Jeanne Damas, has some of the most flattering and feminine dresses. Selena Gomez was spotted not once, not twice, but three times wearing  different dresses from the brand. 

Next up, 41 of the best ankle boots you'll want to wear with dresses.