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25 Best Work Dresses of 2023

Jun 20, 2023

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Shopping for workwear might seem exhausting for some, but work dresses for women can easily beat those daily “what to wear” conundrums. Whether you are heading back to a 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 when you need to look presentable but don’t have a lot of time for styling.

“Dresses are an excellent alternative to classic suiting in a modern-day office,” Sarah Blank, Co-CEO and co-owner of Scanlan Theodore Americas, says. “They can be a beautiful statement or an elegant foundation to your office look with elevated accessories. They are also the perfect silhouette to allow 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 forego 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.

Below, you’ll find our expert guide to women’s work dresses, including the best work dresses for women to buy now, tips for trendy work dresses and shopping for winter dresses for work, what distinguishes a casual work dress from a business professional dress, and so much more.

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.

M.M.LaFleur’s Etsuko Sheath dress is the LBD of work dresses that you’ll reach for time after time. It features the brand’s best-selling WonderTex fabric that is machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and stretchy. The modest crew neck, three-quarter arm length, and pencil length skirt are suitable for professional business work environments and casual alike. Style yours with a ballet flat or pointy pump for a chic, everyday work look.

What reviewers say: “Comfortable, versatile, love the pockets.”

M.M.LaFleur Etsuko Sheath Dress $245 Buy Now

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

Banana Republic Sarta Blazer Dress $280 Buy Now


Slip into this fluid shirt dress for a day at the office. It is comfortable enough for a full day, starting with a long commute and will take you from day to night if happy hour drinks are in order. Wear this style unbuttoned to show off a necklace and roll up the sleeves for a casual look, or button-up completely for a more modest approach. Pair with an oxford lace-up or brogue shoe for a menswear-inspired look that is cool and classy.

Max Mara Weekend Mida Belted Acetate and Silk Midi Dress $575 Buy Now

The painterly print on this midi dress, will take you from Fall to Winter and beyond, due to its jewel tone color palette. Plus, It has a flowy skirt that moves beautifully and seamlessly when you walk. Wear yours with suede boots and minimal jewelry to show off the pattern.

What reviewers say: “Love this wrap style dress. I have a large bust (36F) and slim hips. I ordered the petite XL and it looks great on. This will be a beautiful fall look.”

By Anthropologie Long-Sleeve Wrap Midi Dress $230 $139.95 Buy Now

Professional doesn’t have to mean boring, and Amazon’s selection of dresses proves that. 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 that can’t be beaten.

Jonathan Cohen Dress with Side Twist $398 Buy Now

You will be cozy and cute in this mock neck dress made from a stretchy, cotton-blend knit fabric. The flared skirt is workday appropriate, while the camel color deems it a fall dress. Try a monochrome approach to styling and go head-to-toe in browns and beiges, from your outerwear to a waist belt and even your shoes. It’s a great back-to-work piece that won’t take you too far out of your comfort zone.

Vince Cotton Blend Sweater Dress $253 Buy Now

Leopard is the pattern lover’s neutral and a great print for the workplace. This dress is made from a lightweight, non-stretch crepe that will hang off the body effortlessly. The fabric sash belt will show off the waistline and keep things from erring too bohemian. Keep your accessories on the minimal side for the office, like a gold hoop earring and simple boot, and finish off with a suede tote bag to pack all the essentials.

Figue Teagan Dress $625 Buy Now

A cotton shirtdress, with just a touch of spandex, will keep you comfortable and looking stylish all day long. Featuring a wide, full skirt and a buttoned-up bodice, it is a timeless style that will always be flattering. This one is a no-brainer. Style yours with knee-high leather boots for the cooler temps ahead.

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.”

Pari Passu Poplin Shirtdress $248 Buy Now

The Audella dress is an easy, everyday dress that nods to the past but is entirely modern. Featuring a bias-cut skirt, billowing sleeves, and a ruffled collar in a unique print, this style has plenty of special details, making for a unique piece. It will look great under a chunky fisherman-style cardigan in the Fall and a tailored blazer in wool for Winter. Wear a Mary Jane strappy shoe or knee-high boots to play up the vintage vibe.

Dôen Audella Dress $328 Buy Now

This tailored sheath dress is a classic that will never go out of style. The pencil-shaped skirt hits just below the knee and features a flattering high neckline. And with three colors to choose from, you may want to scoop them all up for your weekly rotation. We recommend trying the persimmon, to inject a bit of color into your wardrobe. Pair with metallic accessories for an untraditional approach to styling.

What reviewers say: “The style runs true to size and is made of excellent quality, with a bit of stretch.”

J.Crew Stretch Crepe Sheath Dress $228 Buy Now

The Caitlin dress is a great winter work option that will keep you cozy on cold days due to the 100% wool fabrication. A turtleneck neckline and balloon sleeves keep the silhouette special. The looser fit can be worn with or without the matching sash belt for a cinched waist. Don’t be afraid to mix things up styling-wise with a wide, leather waist belt, vintage scarf, and vintage-inspired boots to channel a ‘70s feel.

A.P.C. Caitlin Belted Wool Midi Dress $380 Buy Now

Theory’s dress is great for chillier days because it’s made from Good Wool, a merino wool that is fully traceable to the farm it’s sourced from in Australia and New Zealand and woven by the Tollegno 1900 mill in Biella, Italy. It’s a great option for petite customers who don’t want to drown in a pencil skirt. Top it off with the matching jacket for sophisticated winter workwear.

What reviewers say: “Perfect work dress! The beautiful material makes the dress look far more expensive than it is. I bought the matching jacket and trousers too! A great addition to my work wardrobe.”

Theory Sheath Dress in Good Wool $245 Buy Now

No matter your workplace, this blazer dress will bring lots of compliments. The mandala-inspired cotton printed dress is designed in London and handmade in Ghana. The brand promotes paying fair wages and making a meaningful difference within the Ghanaian community. As the days turn cooler, style with a slim-fit turtleneck underneath and tights to take this item between seasons for extra wear.

Sika Tima Cotton Blazer Dress $430 Buy Now

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 for a stylish option to the simple frock. Add a chic waist belt and pumps for a fashionable approach to work dressing. Top it off with a blazer for days when you need a little more extra warmth.

Silvia Tcherassi Azura Dress $820 Buy Now

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.”

M.M.LaFleur Jeannine Dress $395 Buy Now

This slouchy, ribbed maxi dress will be a comfortable, transitional wardrobe staple that will take you from Summer to Fall in a heartbeat. Made from a luxurious blend of cotton, wool and cashmere, the dress features a soft v-shape neckline, a classic rib knit, and very long hemline. Wear it without an undershirt until it’s too cold, then throw a fitted turtleneck under for an easy work look. For accessories, opt for a clean midi boot (we love a white-colored option with this shape) and a slouchy leather bag.

Joseph Cotton and Wool Knit Maxi Dress $645 Buy Now

Rixo knows how to craft a great print, and this ‘70s-feeling dress is no exception. The checkerboard pattern has a vintage feel in brick red and bone, while the slightly oversized collar also nods to the past. Featuring long sleeves and a maxi 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.

Rixo Maddison Long-Sleeve Shirt Dress $374 Buy Now

This pure silk shirtdress is an evergreen shape for Altuzarra. It is offered in 3 different silk prints that are Shibori-inspired, making them one-of-a-kind styles that you won’t want to sleep on. The silk-printed version (there is also a full-leather fabrication) comes with a slim, leather waist belt for optional wear. The short-sleeve arm length will allow you to wear it every season; just add a blazer for a more corporate work environment or a chunky knit when you need more coverage or warmth. Try yours with a slip-on, closed-toe flat, or a classic loafer for everyday appeal.

Altuzarra Kieran Dress $1495 Buy Now

If you’re looking for a more elegant option, this dress is for you. It’s made from the brand’s signature crepe material with a construction that looks like a separate top and skirt at first glance. However, it’s a one-piece that’s easy to throw on during hectic mornings when you don’t have time to style a look. The high neck, above-the-elbow sleeves, and pencil skirt shape are reminiscent of ‘90s minimalism. A pointy slingback shoe and pearl drop earring will make this dress even sleeker.

Scanlan Theodore Belted High-Neck Midi-Dress $700 Buy Now

This frock is a more dressed-up take on denim and it’s back in stock due to high demand. However, this time it’s updated with a slightly longer sleeve length. Wear it with a cute summer sandal or a stacked-heel caramel leather boot.

What reviewers say: “I love this dress. It’s sturdy, and the shape is boxy but not baggy or sloppy. So excited by the quality and weight of the denim.”

Everlane Denim Chore Dress $98 Buy Now

This cotton poplin dress hints at romanticism with its puffed sleeves and drawstring ribbon waist ties. The breathable cotton and rich burgundy hue make it an easy transitional piece to take you into the new season. Wear yours with a favorite boot, tall or short, to play with textures. If you have an after-work date, throw on strappy suede heels for an equally cute date night outfit.

Ulla Johnson Althea Dress $465 Buy Now

Slinky viscose silk might seem like something from the past, but Tory Burch has a knack for making things feel new again. Made with a retro print inspired by the designer’s childhood home, this collared dress is soft and uber comfortable — making it perfect for a long work day. Wear it with slip-on black heeled sandals or horsebit loafers. Don’t forget a chic saddle bag to embrace the nostalgic mood.

What reviewers say: “ I love this dress. I wish that it came in solid black and solid red. It travels and wears well without wrinkling. I love Tory Burch clothing but some of them wrinkle. This is flattering and fits well—super practical professional dress.”

Tory Burch Basketweave Silky Knit Polo Dress $698 Buy Now

Wrap dresses are a universally flattering fit, and thanks to cult brand Nanushka you can get your hands on an updated cool-girl version. The Lais dress has a tie-waist shape that is versatile and lightweight for a functional but fashionable approach to office wear. It is also a style you can feel good about investing in. It’s made within 300 kilometers of Nanushka’s headquarters to reduce C02 emissions through production. The fabric is also made from cellulose-based fibers sourced from sustainably managed forests. Pair it with everything from sandals to flats to boots.

Nanushka Lais Draped Front Shirt Dress $895 Buy Now

Leave it to Stella McCartney to invigorate life into the iconic shirt dress. Toss this silky dress on with ease to make a statement in any office. The striped pattern is unique, and the burgundy hue is ideal for dressing within a seasonal color palette. Featuring a tuxedo-style front and a detachable sporty belt with a flash of metal, you’ll look modern and fresh for that big presentation or important work lunch. Wear with an oxford lace-up shoe or pointy pump, depending on your mood.

Stella McCartney Plastron Shirting Dress $1650 Buy Now

“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 dress checks all the boxes, providing a flattering fit and work-appropriate cut. Wear yours with a closed-toe pump or kitten heel and top handle bag for an easy office look.

Scanlan Theodore Crepe Knit Soft Shirt Dress $700 Buy Now

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.

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.”

Traditionally, a business-professional dress code skews more towards a modest, covered, and unflashy apparel approach. “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.

Compared to summer dresses, winter dresses for work may seem uninspiring, but they don’t have to be. For the colder months ahead, you’ll want to look for long-sleeved silhouettes or items that can easily be layered. “You’d be surprised at how easily your work dresses can transition from season to season by switching up your accessories or by layering them with fitted underpinnings like turtlenecks and sheer tights,” LaFleur mentions. Layering is a great way to add new life to work dresses; for instance, a blazer or a chunky knit over a dress will help transition pieces throughout the season. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a knee-high leather boot to make things more weather appropriate, offering another layer of warmth to the wearer.

When it comes to fabrics, consider something cold weather-friendly like wool or knitted garments 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 (such as the Winston or the Cynthia) 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.

Another excellent tip for curing the winter work blahs is adding color to your work wardrobe. Blank recommends, “In winter, we tend to be drawn to darker shades to mirror the weather. This winter, I recommend integrating mood-lifting tones, such as vivid chartreuse, spearmint, marine, and violet, which can be found in our Winter 2022 collection.”

Whatever your budget, there are plenty of options, from affordable to designer price points. Of course, stores like J.Crew and Banana Republic, 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 Netaporter, offer an array of options from up-and-coming brands and established designers, like Stella McCartney and Altuzarra, who make great business professional dresses.

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.

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.

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