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Updated September 29, 2023: This article on the best work dresses was updated with new product picks, plus additional information on the most stylish ways to wear dresses to the office this fall and winter.

The weather is shifting, and as it does, our wardrobes shift, too. While certain summer work dresses (like shirt dresses and linen dresses) can be transferred to autumn, the new season usually demands some new dresses for work.

Whether you’re starting fall at a new creative office, navigating a stricter business professional dress code, or simply looking for a new interview outfit, dresses for work offer an easy outfit solution to the hectic morning rush. “Dresses are an excellent alternative to classic suiting in a modern-day office,” says Sarah Blank, co-CEO and co-owner of Scanlan Theodore Americas. “They can be a beautiful statement or an elegant foundation to your office look with elevated accessories. They are also the perfect silhouette for women to transition between the office and after-hour events.” Work dresses offer versatility and an uncomplicated way to get dressed rather than mixing and matching separates.  

This flexibility of a work dress frees up time in every woman’s busy schedule. “At M.M.LaFleur, we often call our work dresses ‘adult onesies’ because they’re easy to slip on in the morning and allow you to look immediately put-together while still feeling comfortable,” Sarah LaFleur, Founder and CEO of M.M.LaFleur tells us. “With the right dress, you can often even forgo a light jacket — it’s a one-and-done situation, and you’re out the door in minutes.” This mindset will serve you as you hunt for trendy professional clothes. 

With more interest in classic, sophisticated dressing than ever, the stylish work dresses you’re about to discover ahead are, largely, of that variety. Whether it’s a chic blazer dress, a fiery red frock, or an A-line silhouette, discover the best fall dresses for work that are set to be major for the season ahead. Then score some tips on how to style these dresses for the office.

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WWD Work Dresses Inspiration: For his 1973 75-piece made-to-order collection, the equivalent of European couture, friends of Halston, Elsa Peretti, Betsy Theodoracopulos, Berry Berenson, Sandy Kirkland and Kitty Hawks model long-length dresses in luxe knitwear with leather styled with accessories from designer Peretti while walking in Manhattan. (Photo by Sal Traina/WWD/Penske Media)

Photo by Sal Traina/WWD/Penske Media)

Own a piece of fashion history by heading to the WWD Store where you can purchase chic and inspiring archival photo prints.

Berydress Wrap Dress

Best Wrap Work Dress 

  • Sizes: S to XL
  • Colorways: Black, army green, blue floral and over 10 other colors
  • Fabric: 65% Cotton, 35% Polyester 
  • Best for: Casual work environment
  • Amazon’s Choice
  • #3 Bestseller in Women’s Wear to Work Dresses
  • Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

On days when you can’t decide what to wear to work, throw on this wrap dress that’s effortlessly stylish and office-appropriate. It’s made of cotton and polyester, delivering a soft, supported fit. Plus, it has an elevated vibe with the ¾-length-sleeve design, V-neckline, and cropped length, which can easily be paired with boots, comfortable work shoes, and more. On a crisp fall day, wear yours with tights and slingback pumps for a simple but chic ensemble. 

What reviewers say: “Upon receiving it in the mail, I tried it on (I’m currently 30, almost 31 weeks pregnant) figuring if it fit and looked okay now, it would be good to use after I’ve recently given birth. It didn’t just look “okay;” it is SO flattering! I’m currently about 20 pounds heavier than normal and I could confidently wear this dress now while pregnant, when I’m postpartum, or when I’m back to “pre-baby” size (if I’m even able to get there). I think I’m honestly going to get a ton of use out of it.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $25.90

Courtesy of Amazon

Berydress Wrap Dress $39.90  $25.90 Buy Now at amazon

Everlane The Hammered Satin Shirt Dress

Best Long-Sleeved Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 00 to 16 
  • Colorways: Raffia
  • Fabric: 100% Viscose
  • Special features: Made with hammered satin FSC-certified viscose, which has a slight sheen for a little extra polish.
  • Best for: Year-round office wear
  • Everlane Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 3.9/5 stars

A shirt dress is a workwear staple, and this one from Everlane’s Editions series (a curated collection featuring tailored classics made to last) is an easy piece for an instantly fashionable ensemble. Thanks to the prim collar — and emphasis on the waist — it’s stylish and flattering for all body types. It has a solid neutral color, with simple details such as a center-front button placket, voluminous sleeves, and front and back open-ended pleats, so you’ll never grow tired of it. This is a dress to be worn more ways than one, which feels like a steal in and of itself.

Price upon publish date of this article: $168

Courtesy of Everlane

Everlane The Hammered Satin Shirt Dress $168 Buy Now at everlane

Treasure & Bond Cable Stitch Midi Sweater Dress

Best Sweater Dress for Work

  • Sizes: XXS to XXL 
  • Colorways: Beige Oatmeal, Brown Temple, Olive Sarma
  • Fabric: 50% Lenzing™ EcoVero™ viscose, 28% polyester, 22% nylon
  • Best for: Casual work environment
  • Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

The foundation of any stylish winter white wardrobe begins with a fabulous sweater dress, like this one from Treasure & Bond. It makes you feel like you’re wrapped in a blanket with its cable knit design, maxi hem, and long-sleeve. Don’t forget to tie the look together with a matching wool coat, clean midi boots (we love a white-colored option with this dress), and a slouchy leather bag. And, if the off-white hue isn’t for you, reach for the autumn-friendly rust or green shade.

Price upon publish date of this article: $79

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Treasure & Bond Cable Stitch Midi Sweater Dress $79 Buy Now at nordstrom

Jonathan Cohen Dress with Side Twist 

Best Floral Print Work Dress 

  • Sizes: XS to XXL 
  • Colorways: Red, green, and blue floral   
  • Fabric: 82% Repreve, 18% Spandex
  • Special features: Machine washable
  • Best for: Business professional work environment
  • Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Professional doesn’t have to mean boring — just check out Amazon’s selection of dresses. Spice up your work wardrobe with this flattering sheath dress with various floral patterns exclusive to the designer. The long-sleeve, below-the-knee hemline is ideal for a stricter dress code, providing plenty of coverage, while the gathered waistline shows off your curves subtly. Throw a single-breasted black blazer over this dress for an even more polished approach. Pair with flat shoes and a structured bag for a winning workwear look. 

Price upon publish date of this article: $398

Courtesy of Amazon

Jonathan Cohen Dress with Side Twist  $398 Buy Now at amazon

Silvia Tcherassi Azura Dress 

Best Fit and Flare Work Dress 

  • Sizes: XS to L 
  • Colorways: Celeste brown floral  
  • Fabric: 95% Cotton, 5% Polyester
  • Best for: Business professional work environment
  • Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

This sleek, A-line dress will stand out in a closet of workwear staples. It’s made from an extra special embroidered cotton with a unique design consisting of pale blue, chocolate brown, and dainty flowers. Subtle puff sleeves, sleek seam darts, and a fitted waist make this simple frock structured and stylish. Add a chic waist belt and pumps for a fashionable approach to work dressing, and top it off with a blazer for days when you need a little more extra warmth.

Price upon publish date of this article: $820

Courtesy of Amazon

Silvia Tcherassi Azura Dress  $820 Buy Now at amazon

Cinq à Sept McKenna Dress

  • Sizes: 00 to 8
  • Colorways: Navy, black
  • Fabric: 93% polyester, 7% polyurethane
  • Best for: Office and post-work drinks
  • Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

Cinq à Sept is known and loved for its elevated wardrobe staples, and this McKenna dress is no exception. It’s a fun play on the classic shirt dress with a pointed collar, flared cuffs, and a curved hem. It features a twist at the midriff, creating a figure-flattering illusion, a zipper on the side for ease of on and off, and a slit at the hem to provide movement. Top it off with heels or chunky loafers

What reviewers say: “This is versatile. There is a snap at the top to make it work appropriate, but could easily be unhooked to make the neck more daring.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $395

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Cinq a Sept McKenna Dress $395 Buy Now at nordstrom

Cinq a Sept McKenna Dress $395 Buy Now at bloomingdales

Allsaints Katlyn Evita Maxi Dress

Best Printed Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 0 to 12
  • Colorways: Cheetah 
  • Fabric: 90% viscose, 10% elastane
  • Best for: Casual work environment  
  • Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

Leopard is the pattern lover’s neutral and a great print for the workplace. This dress is made from a lightweight, stretchy material that will hang off the body effortlessly. The pull-on style has a maxi design with a slit on the left-hand side, allowing the dress to move graciously with every step. Add a black western-inspired belt to show off the waistline and add another layer of style. Then, finish with boots and a suede tote bag to pack all the essentials. 

Price upon publish date of this article: $229

Courtesy of Allsaints

Allsaints Katlyn Evita Maxi Dress $229 Buy Now at nordstrom

Abercrombie & Fitch Blazer Dress

Best Tailored Work Dress 

  • Sizes: XXS to XL, in petite, regular and tall  
  • Colorways: Black, grey plaid 
  • Fabric: 64% polyester, 34% viscose, 2% elastane
  • Best for: Casual work environment

A blazer dress is an easy, one-and-done option, and you don’t want to pass up on Abercrombie’s iteration. It consists of a cotton-wool fabric in a double-breasted shape with sharp shoulders and a slim bottom for a power boss feel. We recommend wearing this one with tights and knee-high boots for a cool, clean, modern approach to workwear. Complete your outfit with an oversized wool cashmere coat to get the tried-and-true layered look.

What reviewers say: “I found it to be versatile and you could wear it with heels or boots. I chose to size down because I wanted a more fitted look.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $120

Courtesy of Abercrombie

Abercrombie & Fitch Blazer Dress $120 Buy Now at abercrombie

J.Crew Short Sleeve Slip Dress

Best Slip Dress for Work

  • Sizes: 00 to 24
  • Colorways: Navy, Light Khaki
  • Fabric: 100% viscose.
  • Best for: Casual work environment  
  • J.Crew Top-Quality Store Badge on Google

Slip into this fluid shirt dress for a day at the office. This version has a collar and a flattering V neckline, making it just the ticket for easy elegance. It is comfortable enough for a full day, starting with a long commute and ending with with happy hour drinks. Pair with an oxford lace-up or kitten heels for a cool and classy look. 

What reviewers say: “This is an amazing dress. Shimmery, rich color, it skims over your body. The V neck is flattering, but the button is low, I may have to add another type of closure. No big deal. Very elegant but comfortable, too.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $228

Courtesy of J.Crew

J.Crew Short Sleeve Slip Dress $228 Buy Now at j.crew

Madewell Plissé Mini Tee Dress

Best Mini Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 00 to 16 
  • Colorways: True Black, Teapot Blue, Spruce, Pressed Grape 
  • Best for: Short women
  • Madewell Top-Quality Store Badge on Google

If you prefer mini dresses but don’t know how to make them work-appropriate, consider a shift dress with a loose and boxy fit. Madewell’s Plisse dress is a great option because it hits the middle of the thigh and has elevated details such as cap sleeves, a raw hem, and hand-finished pleats. It’s also versatile enough to be worn to a morning brunch or evening date.

What reviewers say: “Honestly, this dress is SO much cuter and stylish in person. I thought it almost looked frumpy in the online pictures but tried it on in store and am obsessed! It is looser in the waist area so you could do a belt around the waist for a more cinched/fitted look. Will be super cute under a blazer or denim jacket.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $118

Courtesy of Madewell

Madewell Plissé Mini Tee Dress $118 Buy Now at Madewell

Spanx The Perfect A-Line Sleeve Dress

Best Plus-Size Work Dress 

  • Sizes: XS to 3X
  • Colorways: Navy, black
  • Fabric: Premium ponte fabric
  • Special features: Machine washable, functional pockets, 4-way stretch
  • Best for: Business professional work environment
  • Spanx Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.7/5 stars

After suffering through so many confining dresses over the years, you’ll feel relieved when trying on Spanx’s The Perfect A-Line Dress. The Ponte fabric is ultra stretchy but hugs your figure, delivering a flattering look. Our favorite features are the zipper with an elongated ribbon attached, so you never have to struggle to zip the back and pockets on each side so you can store little essentials or rest your hands when not typing away. The best part? The signature fabric doesn’t wrinkle, so it’s a great piece to take on a work trip.

What reviewers say: “I’ve always had a hard time finding a fitted shirt or dress that fits my broad shoulders, big bustline, and waist. I ordered the 7D, and it fits perfectly with no gaps. The fabric is high quality and has a light sheen, and the construction is well done.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $248

Courtesy of Spanx

Spanx The Perfect A-Line Sleeve Dress $248 Buy Now at spanx

Free People Aelia Dress

  • Sizes: XX to XL
  • Colorways: Stone Moss, Mahogany, Black
  • Fabric: 100% Cotton
  • Best for: Casual work environment
  • Free People Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.7/5 stars

The Aelia dress is a top-selling Free People dress — it’s easy, great for everyday wear, and nods to the past but is entirely modern. Featuring a drop waist and billowing hem, this style has plenty of special details, making for a unique piece. It will look great under a wool-tailored blazer and paired with slouchy suede boots.

What reviewers say: “Can be dressed up or down, super comfy. I love how the top is a thicker material but still has a bit of stretch. Can see myself wearing this everywhere, any season!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $328

Courtesy of Free People

Free People Aelia Dress $328 Buy Now at free people

Reformation Kendi Dress

Best Denim Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 0 to 12
  • Colorways: Bleu, washed black
  • Fabric: 70% Tencel/lyocell, 10% organic cotton, 10% recycled polyester, 8% EcoMade T400, 2% EcoLycra
  • Best for: Casual work environment

Layered over a neat blouse or worn alone, denim dresses are just the thing to slot into your rotation of office attire. This one from Reformation tops our list because it’s practical and modest with a high neck and ankle-length hem. Plus, the dark blue ensures the frock is smart enough for the workday. Team it with black leather kitten-heeled boots and a slim belt.

Price upon publish date of this article: $218

Courtesy of Reformation

Reformation Kendi Denim Dress $218 Buy Now at reformation

BCBG Faux Leather Shirt Dress

Best Petite Work Dress

  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Colorways: Coffee
  • Fabric: 100% polyurethane
  • Best for: Casual Fridays
  • Revolve Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

When it comes to transitional dressing, the leather dress is a wardrobe hero for its insulating fabric and instantly-dressed-up feel. We love BCBG’s faux leather mini dress with its collared neck and thin detachable waist belt. It’s a great option for petite customers who don’t want to drown in a midi or maxi dress. Top it off with the sheer tights and lug-sole boots for a casual Friday in the office. 

Price upon publish date of this article: $109

Courtesy of Revolve

BCBG Faux Leather Shirt Dress $109 Buy Now at revolve

Callahan Luisa Dress

  • Sizes: XS to XXL
  • Colorways: Multi
  • Fabric: 70% Acrylic, 27% nylon, 3% elastane
  • Special features: Machine washable   
  • Best for: Casual work environment
  • Revolve Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

Callahan, the female-founded contemporary apparel brand, knows how to craft a great knit, and this ‘70s-feeling dress is no exception. The stripe pattern has a vintage feel in orange and brown, while the slightly flared cuffs also nod to the past. Featuring long sleeves and a midi hem length, the dress is buttoned up enough for a day in the office — without feeling snoozy. Complete with a flat, knee-high riding boot, a crossbody bag, and a camel-colored coat.

Price upon publish date of this article: $158

Courtesy of Callahan

Callahan Luisa Dress $158 Buy Now at revolve

Callahan Luisa Dress $158 Buy Now at callahan

Hatch The Softest Rib Nursing Dress

Best Maternity Work Dress

  • Sizes: 0 to 4
  • Colorways: Black, ivory, Rose Quartz, Henna
  • Fabric: 95% Rayon 5% Elastane
  • Special features: Machine washable 
  • Best for: Working moms on-the-go

Working during pregnancy comes with unique challenges, including what to wear to the office. However, Hatch, the everyday maternity wear brand, makes it easy with its thoughtfully designed selection of dresses like The Softest Rib Nursing Dress. It features a super soft ribbed knit fabric that’s cozy yet lightweight, perfect for those who get hot easily, and an airy shape that ensures it fits you no matter what trimester you’re in. Plus, the snap front placket design allows you to wear it postpartum when breastfeeding. Trust us — if you pair it with cute and comfortable walking shoes, you won’t complain about leaving the house for work again.

What reviewers say: “This is a great dress! Substantial weight and material. Very comfortable while looking stylish and love the slightly lower neckline. Easy to nurse in is always a plus!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $198

Courtesy of Hatch

Hatch The Softest Rib Nursing Dress $198 Buy Now at hatch

M.M.LaFleur Jeannine Dress  

Best Draped Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 00 to 20
  • Colorways: Multi plaid and mink brown  
  • Fabric: 53% Polyester, 43% Virgin Wool, 4% Elastane
  • Special features: Machine washable 
  • Best for: Business professional work environment

This sleeveless midi dress is bust-friendly, hips-friendly, and tall-friendly. “This form-fitting style flatters the body with pleats and gathers, which make the plaid drape beautifully. Bonus: it’s also machine-washable,” says Sarah LeFleur. Go for the plaid print to lean into the Fall patterns, or try the plain mink for something more subtle. Whichever you choose, style it with slingbacks and a fitted blazer for a refined look. 

What reviewers say: “Unique work dress. The dress is true to size, the draping is interesting, and the mink color is lovely. I was hesitant to try this dress because of the polyester content but the fabric does not feel synthetic.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $395

Courtesy of M.M.LaFleur

M.M.LaFleur Jeannine Dress   $395 Buy Now at m.m.lafleur

Ulla Johnson Sylvie Dress

Best Designer Work Dress 

  • Sizes: 00 to 12 
  • Colorways: Sienna 
  • Fabric: 80% viscose, 20% silk
  • Best for: Business professional work environment   
  • Shopbop Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 5/5 stars

Leave it to Ulla Johnson to design a gemstone shade work dress that fits the autumn fashion aesthetic perfectly. The animal skin-like pattern is unique, and the brown hue is ideal for dressing for the months ahead. Featuring a round neck, long sleeves, and a billowy hem, this dress is one that you can easily throw on and look modern and fresh for that big presentation or important work lunch. Wear with Mary Janes or pointy pumps, depending on your mood. 

Price upon publish date of this article: $870

Courtesy of Shopbop

Ulla Johnson Sylvie Dress $870 Buy Now at shopbop

Scanlan Theodore Crepe Knit Polo Button-Down Dress

Best High-Neck Work Dress 

  • Sizes: XS to L 
  • Colorways: Fuchsia, navy
  • Fabric: 68% Viscose, 32% polyamide
  • Best for: Business professional work environment

Scanlan Theodore’s signature Crepe Knit collection is designed as a contemporary interpretation of workwear styling which extends to a range of mini and mid-length dresses,” says Blank. “Tailored from a durable and flattering stretch knit fabrication, I love them for their sophisticated and refined characteristics. They are the perfect foundation for an elegant workwear wardrobe.” This pink dress checks all the boxes, providing a flattering fit and work-appropriate cut. Wear yours with a closed-toe pump and top handle bag for an easy office look.

Price upon publish date of this article: $650

courtesy of Scanlan Theodore

Scanlan Theodore Crepe Knit Polo Button Down Dress $650 Buy Now at scanlan theodore

What to Look for in the Best Dresses for Work 

  • Don’t be afraid to try options: Testing options is the surefire way to find something that fits you just right. “If you’re ordering online, don’t pin your hope on one dress,” LaFleur says. “Order multiple styles, perhaps even sizes, and really test to see which one fits your body best.” Experimenting with new cuts or silhouettes might pleasantly surprise you, as well, in your search to find a well-curated work wardrobe. 
  • Look for quality fabrics: “Luxurious fabrications are also key to ensure you have a hardworking work wardrobe of dresses that will stand the test of time,” Blank says. “Look to invest in flattering silhouettes crafted from premium fabrications in prints and colorways that compliment your complexion.” High-quality fabrics, like linen for the summer or cashmere for winter, will ensure a longer lifetime in your closet and won’t damage after a few wears.
  • Find the right fit: “The single most important thing about whether someone ‘looks good’ in a dress is fit,” LaFleur tells us. “This is especially true for work, where you want to come across as capable and trustworthy.” She adds, “Once you find a style that makes you feel both polished and comfortable, you might even want to buy it in multiple colors.” Since everyone’s body shape is different, working with your own to find the best silhouettes is important. 
  • Find a good tailor: “If there’s a dress that you love, but there’s something that isn’t quite right, take it to a local tailor. (That’s right–find a good tailor!),” LaFleur recommends. “Why do men spend so much money on a tailored suit? What’s the whole point of Savile Row?” she says. “It’s because the right cut, tailored to your body (we’re talking the difference of a few millimeters here!), can make all the difference.” Tailoring can make or break a dress, and finding someone you trust can enhance the garment. 

Left to right: Simkhai fall 2023, Di Pesta fall 2023, Proenza Schouler fall 2023, Theory fall 2023// Giovanni Giannnii/WWD

Compared to summer dresses, winter dresses for work may seem uninspiring, but they don’t have to be. Ahead, we break down the fall 2023 dress trends so that you can look fashionable and feel comfortable while tackling your responsibilities during long days spent in the office. 

  • Soft textured dresses: Soft textured dresses in fabrics ranging from fluffy feathers to tinsel were a theme we saw across fall 2023 collections, from Acne Studios and Jil Sander to Coperni. So take the look to the office with a work dress made from wool or knitted with touches of cashmere. “While we pride ourselves on offering many seasonless designs and fabrics in our assortment, we’ll often point people in the direction of our washable ponte and wool twill styles as dresses that can easily make this transition between seasons.” Blank also suggests looking for heavier-weight fabrics. “Scanlan Theodore’s winter welcomes an injection of dresses in heavier weights of our signature fabrications, crepe knit, pleated rib, and Milano knit silhouettes, all crafted with weather-appropriate details and designed to be paired back with luxurious outwear in coordinating fabrications,” Blank tells us. 
  • Winter floral dresses: Floral printed dresses work well all year — just take it from fall 2023 shows. Everyone from Bottega Veneta and Carolina Herrera to Di Pesta and Veronica Beard included them in their collections, implying that moody fall florals offer a great alternative to the classic print. This season, you’ll find warm, contrasting colors in oversized bloom graphics and smaller, sweeter flowers. Whichever style you choose, layer it with knits, tights, and suede boots.
  • Red dresses: There’s nothing quite as statement-making as a solid red dress. This sentiment is one that we share with several luxury designers — think Loewe, Gucci, Tory Burch, Saks Potts, and more — because, on the fall 2023 runways, almost every collection featured at least one red dress. So what better way to kick off fall than shopping for a red dress for work? Look to brands like J.Crew, Spanx, and Marcelle, all of which designed corporate casual dresses in the fiery hue. The good news is that you can feel confident about investing in one because the shade will trickle into next spring, as seen by the spring 2024 collections. From Bally and Ferragamo to Gucci, Fendi, and The Attico, brands are betting on red to be the color everyone adds to their closets.
  • Sophisticated blazer dresses: Throughout the fall 2023 collections, there was a strong emphasis on tailored blazer dresses with statement shoulders. Coperni, Victoria Beckham, and Simkhai were three of the many designers who put power suiting at the forefront. Even at the spring 2024 shows, labels like Christian Siriano, Coach, and Ganni showed the silhouette, suggesting that we will continue to see the blazer dress beyond the winter. The best part? Styling one couldn’t be any easier. Whether you wear yours with tights and knee-high boots or with loafers and ankle socks, you’ll look like you came right off the catwalk.
  • A-line dresses: One prominent trend we noticed is an oldie but a goodie: the return of A-line dresses. A-line numbers that featured full-volume skirts were seen on models at Brandon Maxwell’s, Proenza Schouler’s, and Bottega Veneta’s fall 2023 shows. These silhouettes have been wardrobe staples for many years because of their lady-like sensibility and roomy design that looks great on all types of body shapes and sizes. To make them feel fresh for the season ahead, opt for an A-line dress in stark colors or bold prints and then keep the rest of the look simple. If you prefer dressing more minimalistly, grab a ‘90s-inspired dress and elevate the look with unique shoes. 

How to Find Comfortable Work Dresses

You might wonder how to find comfortable options that will be put to the test over a 9-to-5 workday. “Opt for dresses that are tailored from comfortable fabrications and allow for ease of movement,” Blank recommends. “At M.M.LaFleur, we have three movements that we do when fitting our clothes on our fit models, and we recommend you do these to put your dress to the test,” LaFleur says. “First, Bend over. Check to make sure your bra isn’t exposed. Secondly, Sit down. Can you, comfortably? Thirdly, Hail a cab. Can you raise your arms? Go on, do these three movements in the dressing room (or in your home if you’ve ordered online) to make sure that this dress actually performs throughout the day.”  Ask yourself these same questions the next time you are shopping. 

How to Look Trendy and Show Your Personal Style With Professional Dresses

Although work dresses are all about functionality and practicality, they needn’t be boring. Professional dresses can be a stylish way to show off your fashion sense and personal taste. “Dresses are considered a way to show your personality in the workplace, whether in a corporate office, creative field, or a more relaxed environment,” Blank says. “You can’t go wrong with a minimalist silhouette that can be accented with chic accessories.” LaFleur adds, “These days, professional women can show a lot more personal style in the workplace. Gone are the days when you could only wear black, navy, and charcoal to the office.” Instead, she suggests, “Find a bright color! Or a nice print. So long as it fits you well, you will come across as professional.” 

Casual Work Dresses Vs. Business Professional Dresses 

Traditionally, a business-professional dress code skews more towards a modest, covered, and unflashy apparel approach consisting of formal dresses for office wear. “On a casual work dress, hemlines will typically be shorter, and the fabric may be less substantial, with more playful or eye-catching details like ruffles or an asymmetrical hem,” LaFleur explains. “Meanwhile, business-professional dresses often use more tailored, thoughtful design details like pleats, gathers, or draping to heighten the formality level.” Although a casual workplace may offer a bit more fluidity in options, every workplace is different. LaFleur suggests, “If you’re starting a new job, don’t invest in a new wardrobe until you understand your company’s dress code. One company’s “casual” is another company’s “formal.” Go in, see what others are wearing, and then go shopping.” This is a great tip when figuring out how casual or business-professional your work environment is. 

The Best Brands for Work Dresses 

Whatever your budget, there are plenty of options, from affordable to designer price points. Of course, stores like J.Crew and Everlane, which have specialized in workwear for years, are trusted shops with an online presence. Don’t sleep on startup brands like M.M.LaFleur, though, which are a great resource for affordable, quality garments that have put in a lot of research and development. Department stores with many different brands, like Nordstrom — which has easy return policies and free shipping — will make try-ons and returns that much easier and offer a range of price points that make shopping for trendy work clothes on a budget more attainable. Finally, don’t forget that exclusive e-commerce retailers and the best online stores for work clothes, like Mytheresa and Shopbop, offer an array of options from up-and-coming brands and established designers, like Ulla Johnson and Altuzarra, who make great business professional dresses.  

How We Selected the Best Work Dresses

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections.

In order to curate this guide for the best work dresses for 2023, we conducted expert interviews for industry knowledge on material sourcing and dress construction, seasonal styling recommendations, and product selections. This shopping guide also reflects wide market research on brand-new work dress releases, including analysis of customer reviews, emerging trending styles, and the most suitable options for various occasions and body types. We also considered work dresses from retailers with the highest Google Store Badges and applied research on fall 2023 and spring 2024 runway trends as well as our own product testing to determine this list of the best work dresses. Learn more about us here.

Meet the Experts

Sarah LaFleur, Founder & CEO of M.M.LaFleur, founded the company in 2013 with a mission to help women take the work out of getting dressed, so they can focus on the work that matters to them. Prior to founding M.M.LaFleur, she worked at Bain & Co. in New York and TechnoServe in South Africa. Sarah sits on the board of International Rescue Committee’s Airbel Impact Lab and the New York Fed business advisory council. She graduated from Harvard University. M.M.LaFleur is named after her mother, whom she calls her biggest inspiration.

Sarah Blank is Partner and Co-CEO of Scanlan Theodore Americas, an Australian women’s fashion brand. Sarah launched Scanlan Theodore in the US in 2017 and is responsible for its growth across brick-and-mortar locations, e-commerce, and wholesale. Prior to joining Scanlan Theodore, Sarah worked in finance and management consulting, her most recent role as Senior Vice President at PIMCO. Sarah has 20 years of experience in leadership, business, and finance. Sarah received her undergraduate degree in commerce from The University of Melbourne, studied economics at The Autonomous University of Madrid, and holds an MBA from MIT. Sarah is married with three children and speaks fluent Spanish. 

Meet the Author

Kristina Rutkowski is a New York-based freelance writer and editor focusing on fashion. She was previously the Senior Fashion Market Editor at InStyle, covering everything trends and shopping. She has also worked in the fashion departments at Self and Glamour. Her bylines have appeared on,,, and Editing fashion throughout her career, she has been able to see, try and research the best brands available today. Rutkowski wrote the original version of the Best Work Dresses in 2022.

Nikki Chwatt is the Style Commerce Editor for WWD and Footwear News, where she both writes and edits stories on the latest clothing, accessory, and shoe trends for women and men. Chwatt’s writing has appeared in publications, such as Editorialist. She is currently based in New York City and keeps her finger on the pulse of all things related to fashion, especially when it comes to dresses for work. Chwatt updated this story on September 27, 2023 with new work dresses and expert styling advice on how to wear these pieces to the office this season.