It’s that time of year again. The days are warm, the nights are cool, and suddenly you have zero idea on how to dress for the fickle weather and still feel pulled together. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to your transitional dressing conundrum: the best dress trends of fall 2022. This season there is a litany of fresh silhouettes available for every possible situation.
“I keep a battalion of dresses at the ready during the fall months, mainly for the flexibility they offer to my trans-seasonal footwear,” fashion editor, creative director, and stylist Madeline Swanson tells TZR. “From velvet Mary Janes to shearling clogs to boots of all shapes and sizes, there is rarely a shoe that does not ‘work’ with a good fall frock.”
April Koza, vice president of FWRD, couldn’t agree more — and has a long list of things to wear with her dresses when the weather cools down. “Anything from tall boots and long trench coats to platform heels and leather jackets,” she suggests. Indeed, dresses create the perfect base for layering in the fall, and can really do the legwork when you’re looking for pairings for all your cute coats, sweaters, and closed-toe shoes.
But perhaps best of all, a good dress makes getting ready fast and easy. “Fall dresses can be a one-stop-shop for looking like you've put more thought into an outfit than you really have,” Michelle Salem, a brand strategist, explains. “I appreciate the longer lengths and sleeves, and heavier fabrics that elevate them with minimal effort.” And for Swanson, convenience is key. “Cotton or otherwise washable-at-home material is a must,” she says. “And volume and coverage are huge for me — above all else, I just want to be comfy and at ease.”
Naturally, there are a few dress trends that these industry experts can’t wait to get their hands on. “Knit fabrics are ideal for transitional weather,” Koza says, and the sweater dress is definitely a hero piece this fall. “I love looking for variations in fabrics like mohair, cashmere, and wool blends in the fall that will not only keep me warm, but allow for playing with textures,” Salem says. “A great rib knit dress for example, has that extra layer of detail that a sundress just can't provide!” And let’s not forget about the sexier side of this trend: “Fall is the season of cutout styles this year and brands like Christopher Esber and Mônot are at the forefront of this trend with their maxi length, revealing silhouettes,” Koza says.
Another look that keeps moving full steam ahead is the prairie dress. “Cottagecore doesn't seem to be going anywhere (thank goodness!),” Swanson says. “But I'm definitely leaning into some of the more bold, abstract takes on prairie and Victorian dress styles, whether it be a quilted fabric, a graphic stripe in place of a romantic floral print, or an unexpected cutout to balance an exaggerated mutton sleeve.” Finding new prints and unexpected detailing will bring the silhouette from old hat to new guard instantly.
Keep scrolling to shop these must-have dress styles and more below.
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Knitty-Gritty Cutout City
“There are few things as easy and comforting as slipping into a great sweater dress, and thankfully there are a slew of options this season,” says Salem. “Seemingly every brand has done their own take in one way or another.” Her pick? “If you have two minutes to get dressed and want to feel fabulous, I recommend this Christopher Esber sweater dress which covers all the bases from cable knit detailing, tie cutouts, and a soft blend of wool and cashmere — just add heels and go.” Koza also has her eye on a standout option from an up-and-coming brand. “I love the new Twisted Cutout Knit Dress from Coperni,” she says. “The color is fun, and the cutouts make it a unique take on the typical fall dress.”
“I don't think you can ever go wrong with a Dôen dress,” Swanson proclaims. “Right now I'm obsessing over their Clarence Dress in particular — I just love that poppy red floral! In the same vein but with a bit of a twist, I adore De Castro's Illusion Dress, it’s great for dressing up or down depending upon the occasion.” For styling, Swanson suggests taking an unexpected approach. “Though these frocks pack enough punch for a full outfit in their sleeves alone, I'm always a proponent of an unexpected accessory pairing to round out the look. Whether it be a tech-y ankle boot, a tie-dye rain hat, or a quilted detachable collar, there are endless ways to bring new life to a fall dress — even one you've worn a million times.”
Wrap It Up
Outerwear as dresses — it’s a thing and insiders agree. “One hack I appreciate in the fall is wearing robes, trenches, and even light coats as dresses,” Salem says. “This can easily be done with pieces like Khaite's cashmere wrap Filip coat. I also love all of the layering we've been seeing, since this is a budget-friendly way to take lighter pieces into fall.” A statement boot is key to getting the look right. “Pop on a pair of knee-high boots like the Prada Stivale boots with a trench-like style, and just pretend it was a dress all along. Is it a dress? Is it a coat? We'll never know.”
Sparkle, Sheer & Shine
The Fall/Winter 2022 runways were chock full of sequins, sheerness, and shine. Naturally, the best going out dresses incorporated a little bit of all of this dreaminess. From Miu Miu’s embellished tank dresses to Nensi Dojaka’s see-through sequin gowns, you’ll want to invest in one of these for that big party or girl’s night out (or, you know, taking selfies at home). Make sure to look for equally cute undergarments, as they will be likely on display. Then amp up the disco vibes with shiny accessories, like a glitter heel and tennis necklace.
It’s A Cinch
LaQuan Smith, Brandon Maxwell, and Versace are just a few of the brands who showcased corset-inspired boning in a major way on the catwalk. For daytime, try a simple shirt-dress style or knitted fabrication, for a more casual approach. For evening, lace, minis, and more are totally appropriate. When it comes to topping it all off, Koza recommends pairing it with a trench. “We love leather and faux leather at the moment from HELSA and Nour Hammour,” she suggests. Sounds like a winning combination.
Tattoo It To Me
It’s no secret that bodycon shapes are having a moment, and what better way to embrace the trend than with the ‘90s-style revival of tattoo mesh dresses? At the top of Koza’s list is a special collab item that gives the beloved style a new spin. “The Y/Project X Jean-Paul Gaultier dress is a must have for the season,” she says. “It’s the piece I’ve been waiting for!” Certainly, Jean-Paul Gaultier made the style a mega-hit in the ‘90s, but now the street style set are leaning into the modern interpretations from labels like Miaou and Louisa Ballou. As for accessories, knee boots from Balenciaga, Gia Borghini and By Far, and cool sunglasses add a bit of edge.