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Dresses get a reputation for being more high-maintenance than the typical blouse and trouser when, in reality, they prove one of the easiest ways to look polished in a pinch. After all, you don't need to worry about compiling an entire outfit (just add shoes!) and more and more brands are focusing on roomy designs and stretchy fabrics to ensure you're not compromising comfort in the name of fashion.
For this fall season in particular, we're excited for a new crop of retro and menswear-inspired designs in a range of sophisticated hues and eye-catching patterns.
Say hello to the perfect sheath, which can be dressed up with mules or heels for work and dressed down with flats or sneakers come weekend. (It's also available in Victorian jade and mustard stripe).
This popular T-shirt dress had been a bestseller on Amazon for a while. It's received a 4.3-star rating from over 2,500 reviews and it comes in 19 different colors and prints. We love this dark-toned floral for fall.
Channel your inner child with this girly flounce dress, complete with playful ruffle detailing along the collar and sleeves. We like how the model pairs it with rugged boots for an edgy touch.
Menswear is having a serious moment this season. Achieve the look with ease thanks to this structured suit dress from Banana Republic, which features an adjustable belt for a custom fit and comes in three neutral shades.
This Amazon bestseller combines comfort and style for a look that's perfect for everyday wear. Throw on a pair of sneakers or low-heeled booties and you're set!
Own a room in this polished dress from CeCe, whether delivering a presentation or prancing around the dance floor. The beautiful bow neckline and ruffled hem mean you don’t need to worry about accessories.
This pretty floral number from Old Navy is as comfy as it is chic, making it perfect for long days and life’s unexpected moments. Throw on a stack of bangles for added flair.
Never underestimate the power of a wrap dress when it comes to getting out the door fast. This one comes in black and burgundy and is made with a soft jersey material — just throw on a pair of heels and go.
Animal prints are another trend that dominated the runways this fall. Show them you mean business at the office in this fierce, yet still refined, sheath from Vince Camuto, which has stretch for added mobility and goes on double-duty for date night.
It doesn’t get more classic than this contrast "tuxedo" dress from Calvin Klein. This one features a sleek pop of white along the asymmetrical collar, bringing attention to the neck and décolleté. Keep shoe details to a minimum as to not distract from the intentionally minimalistic style.
Understated elegance is the secret to this drapey, V-neck dress from Target’s Ava & Viv collection, which is versatile enough to be worn for a variety of occasions (just add accessories!) and comes in a range of shades and sizes.
The provocative snakeskin print gets a polished makeover in this flowy ruffled dress from Zara. The cinched waist creates a curvy silhouette and the tie neckline brings the look home.
Buy this dress once, and never have to worry about what you’re going to wear to those last-minute events again. It’s available in black and green, and looks a lot more expensive than the $35 price tag might suggest.
This breathable, sheer-overlay dress from Tommy Hilfiger is perfect for making the summer-to-fall transition. Wear it with open-toe sandals or heels on warmer days and switch to boots when the temperatures start dropping.
This breezy and budget-friendly maxi is as easy as they come. Wrap up your look with a belt and matching boots and prepare to take on the day, whether that means brunch or the farmers market — the possibilities are endless.
This maxi dress is the perfect summer-to-fall transition dress. It's light enough to wear during warmer days, but would be great paired with a denim jacket.
This smocked dress can be worn for day or evening. Have fun with different belts to mix things up and get more mileage out of your look. The material doesn’t wrinkle so it’s especially great for days you don’t have time to iron or for traveling — just roll it up, throw it in your suitcase and you're set.
Prepare for the roaring '20s with this retro-style swing dress from All in Favor. The length is perfect to showcase ankle-strapped shoes (another big trend for fall), and it comes in two equally glamorous hues.
It’s hard not to feel special in this ethereal flounce dress from Bar III (created for Macy’s), which is painted in florals. Keep it on hand for days you could use a little pick-me-up, and don’t be surprised when the compliments to start rolling in.
If you're looking for a versatile maxi dress to take you from September to December, this might be it. With stylish buttons down the front and a modest slit, it's just exciting enough without being too revealing.