I’m Really Fussy About Dresses—These 31 Pass My Taste Test

I love shopping for dresses. In part, it’s because they’re the easiest thing to wear and style up (especially when you’re looking to get ready quickly without compromising on style), but it’s also because it doesn’t matter where you are or if it’s during the busiest sale period when shops are bursting at the seams with last season’s dregs—without fail, you will always find a new dress to add to your collection. At this time of year, my agenda varies quite dramatically from business meetings to park dates with my 3-year-old all within the space of a few hours. I find a dress is always the easiest option no matter the schedule. I can throw on some earrings and heels for work then switch them out for more practical footwear.

The downside to dress shopping is there are so many styles to choose from. Knowing which pieces are worth your time and which key trends to buy into can feel overwhelming, but is also means there’s something for everyone to love—and if you need a hand, that’s where I come in. I’ve put together my top 31 dresses from the August drops to wear now and beyond. Scroll down below to take a look.

I recommend adding American label Staud to your favourites list if you’re looking for designer quality at entry-level prices. This pink dress is so fabulous and perfect for a busy summer party calendar. 

Don’t be fooled. This dress isn’t limited to your holiday wardrobe. Tie-dye has become a year-round staple. Simply style this dress with a pair of knee-high leather boots come autumn. We have been told this needs to be washed separately from any other pieces else the dye might run! You have been warned.

This bodice-style shirring isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but there’s a reason designers keep coming out with new iterations of it. The shoulder and ruffle details on this dress are super flattering on both small and large busts, and the midi length means it can be dressed up and down. 

Many floral boho dresses can feel shapeless and a bit frumpy, but I love the bodice detailing and ruffles under the bust of this dress. They’re perfectly placed. 

The great thing about a dress like this is it works for a night out on holiday or for Christmastime too. Never too early to start working on your festive wardrobe. Never!

Colombian designer Baobab is fast becoming a favourite for vacation wardrobe, and this dress is all I need to wear as I sip on a cocktail, barefoot on the beach and watching the sun go down. 

Taller Marmo is known for its kaftan-inspired dresses in block colours, so it’s nice to see the brand branching out and giving prints a go too. This dress is effortlessly elegant and timeless. 

You may have noticed there is a lot of apple green in the shops right now. It’s the easiest way to inject some colour into your wardrobe whilst tapping into one of the hottest trends for 2022. 

This dress has been been filling my Instagram feed lately, and to my surprise, there were some left in stock!

Karen Millen has been pulling out all the stops lately and has become a firm favourite for anyone shopping for occasion-wear on the high street. The cobalt blue and black give this lace dress a more modern feel. 

I’m heading on holiday this week and have been visualising myself in Italy wearing this pretty much every day since I first set eyes on it! #addstobasket

I haven’t worn a babydoll dress since the late noughties, so I am thrilled to see them having a moment again.The key is to either not wear a bra or wear the most bust-flattening bra you have to minimise your torso and balance out the volume of the skirt. Pair with chunky platforms for a super-cool party look. 

This is the kind of dress I see and instantly add to my basket. It’s perfect if, like me, you are a fan of print and colour. It’s everything you could want from a trans-seasonal dress to see you through to autumn. 

I always get asked what makes the perfect wedding guest dress. For me, there are three key elements: statement, comfortable and below the knee. This dress ticks all the boxes.

Kika Vargas is one of the hottest names to know right now. She is known for her voluminous dresses and proportion play. Many of her dresses are in vibrant colours, but something like this will work both in summer and throughout the year during the festive season. 

U.S. designer Mara Hoffman is proof sustainable clothing can be super elegant. This strapless number is a bit of an investment but has major wow-factor vibes. It’s statement and timeless all at the same time so totally worth the hit!

Australian label Alemais was created by the former designer of Zimmermann, so it’s no surprise it designs great dresses.

The prim collar detail of this dress is offset by the all-over sequins and is pure perfection. It’s rare to find a dress with this much detail for under £500.

We all have a dress we take away with us to wear during the last week of our holiday. The one we wait to showcase when we have secured an all-over-golden glow. This is mine. 

Sika Designs has long been one of my favourite independent designers, as each piece is handmade to order in Ghana, and nothing beats supporting sustainable and independent designers. This one is my favourite. I gravitate to dresses like this with off-the-shoulder ruffles and a nipped-in waist. It’s one of the most flattering dress formulas you can go for.

It’s rare to find a dress with this kind of detail for under £50—the lace panels, the drop hem and shade of brown are all winning factors. 

It’s such a fun season for occasion-wear, and drama is key. This mini-dress is in my favourite shade of pink and has a pink train thrown in for good measure. 

Fluid kaftan shapes aren’t just for the beach. More luxe fabrics and prints are perfect for comfy city outfits, especially when trying to manage the heat.

Self-Portrait made a name for itself as the go-to designer for affordable occasion-wear when it launched back in 2013, and to this day, it’s pretty impossible to go on to its website without finding a wow-factor dress you can’t live without. This kind of dress will work all year round so is worth the investment in my eyes. 

The slip dress has been a Reformation staple for many seasons as its fluid shape works on various body shapes. I find busy prints like this more flattering and disguise any potential VPLs.

I always get asked for city wedding dress ideas or hen-do outfits for the future bride. This dress is super simple, but the 3D flowers along the neckline will guarantee you are the centre of attention on your special day. 

Want to dress like Britney Spears circa 1999? Mirae Paris has you covered with its collection of cool ’90s-inspired silhouettes. 

Every fashion person worth their salt has a handkerchief-detail dress in their wardrobe this summer, and of course, Zara has nailed this trend for under £35. 

This dress is such a great option if you need to look smart in the city during the summer months. Just add polished sandals, and you’re good to go. 

Every now and then, Zara really pulls it out of the bag. This minimalist strapless dress is subtly embellished in sequins. Contrasted with the knitted fabric, it creates a super-cool look you could wear with a blazer and boots by day or with statement heels at night. 

If you missed out on both the acid-green and pink versions that sold like hot cakes, Rixo designers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey have kindly added this new blue colourway to their offering. 

Next up, 18 bags that are the classics of our generation.  

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