We know all too well that a good dress can do wonders for your wardrobe, but a great dress, although incredibly hard to find, can be a total game-changer. Want to know the easiest way to ensure you always have the perfect frock to hand? Simply invest in a few key styles that are guaranteed to stand the test of time.
Whether you're naturally a minimalist and opt for clean shapes and office-appropriate lengths, or, you tend to take more risks, securing the perfect dress (or two) doesn't mean you can't experiment with print and colour. After all, leopard print has been a permanent fixture in our wardrobes for longer than we can remember for good reason.
Scroll below to see which eight dress styles you should keep as wardrobe mainstays, and be sure to shop your favourites.
Style Notes: Find the right little black dress and you'll breeze through party season. Then, add flats or trainers and layer your LBD under a chunky checked coat. This is the ultimate investment piece.
The Slip Dress
Style Notes: Although this silky piece has always remained something of a go-to, its recently taken the crown for most versatile evening frock thanks to the backing of the style set. Over the past few seasons, we've seen influencers working the slip into all areas of their wardrobes—over ankle-grazing jeans, over white T-shirts and even under oversized blazers—confirming that the styling options are endless.
Floral Tea Dress
Style Notes: No surprises here, the tea dress is a keeper. When choosing yours, look for mid-length, floaty styles in ditzy floral prints and wear with everything from denim jackets to chunky knits.
The Workwear Shift
Style Du Monde
Style Notes: Whether it’s for work or when you’re unexpectedly invited to something formal, it pays to have a chic tailored frock that you can slip into that requires minimal thinking and doesn’t compromise on style.
The Wrap Dress
Style Notes: It goes without saying that a wrap dress is an essential part of any wardrobe. Why? The shape is universally flattering, sure, but the elegant silhouette seems to lend itself to almost any occasion.
Something Animal Print
Style Du Monde
Style Notes: If you still haven't secured the perfect animal-print dress, you're in luck. This season there's a leopard-print iteration for every length, shape and fabric. For us, a long-sleeved midi takes the top spot.
The Shirt Dress
Style Notes: The key to any successful hard-working wardrobe is to include a shirtdress. Whether it's for work or the weekend, day or night, shirtdresses needn't be restrictive or too structured. Look to wrap styles, lightweight cotton and longer lengths; there's plenty of variations to try.
The Maxi Dress
Style Du Monde
Style Notes: Nothing beats a floor-grazing maxi dress during wedding season. And whether or not you have one (or two) black-tie events coming up in the calendar, it's always wise to snap up that mood-boosting maxi. In between events, try styling yours with trainers or lace-up boots and a utility jacket.
Opening Image: Collage Vintage
This piece was originally published on Who What Wear U.S. and has since been updated.