These days, the idea of buying a new dress and wearing it for just one occasion feels a little outdated and even irresponsible, doesn’t it? My university-age self, who bought a new Topshop dress every week, would be mortified if I had had as much education then around the damaging effects of fast fashion and the disposable culture that surrounds it. But that doesn’t stop us from craving a wardrobe refresh every now and then, and that’s totally normal. After all, there’s nothing quite as confidence-boosting as wearing a new, fabulous dress to an event you want to feel really good at—such as your ex’s wedding, for example.
Luckily, there are a few options these days that involve more mindful consumption. First, you can choose to rent your wedding guest or big-birthday dress from destinations such as Hurr, Rotaro or By Rotation. Another option is turning to vintage or second-hand resellers such as Vestiaire Collective to give an existing dress a new lease on life. But if you’re thinking you’d still like to invest in a new dress to wear for lots of occasions, the key is versatility. Find something that you can dress up and down, and you’ll get double the amount of wear out of it in the years that follow. Beautiful dresses shouldn’t just be kept for best, after all.
The ability to wear something for a range of events and across different seasons is something I always try to consider before investing in any wardrobe piece these days—but especially dresses. And so below, I’ve included five styles that have particularly impressed me this season for their versatility and added suggestions to show exactly how I’d wear them dressed up for a wedding and also for everyday outings like office days and park dates.
Keep scrolling to see and shop the styles you’ll never regret buying.