Dresses are a clothing category where you generally find what you like and stick to it. Perhaps you’re a midi enthusiast through and through for work, occasions, vacation, and casual looks. Or, perhaps all shapes, from minis to maxis, line your closet, awaiting the perfect moment. But with personal preference comes the urge to mix things up, like with spring 2022’s biggest dress trends, be it a new color, print, or flourishment like a charming sleeve detail or clever cut-out. Even when you’re unsure of the exact newness you’re craving, you know the rush of setting sights on a fresh something to reinvigorate your style, subsequently adding that new favorite to your wardrobe.
But in 2022, dress trends are not solely about updates in silhouette, color, and must-have motifs. Most notably, a pragmatic shift is emerging for 2022, as Kate Bellman, managing fashion editor at Nordstrom, and Telsha Anderson-Boone, the owner of T.A., owner of the New York boutique T.A., point out. One centering around versatility and a distinguishable sense of comfort that’s more about the thrill of styling dresses in new ways.
“The biggest evolving trend I’ve seen in 2022 when it comes to dresses is how they’re paired,” Anderson-Boone tells TZR. The boutique owner notes how women, of late, are styling dress silhouettes of all kinds, not just with heels or pretty sandals, but sneakers, rain boots, mules, and everything in-between. “More risks are being taken by women inside and, more importantly, outside the ‘fashion industry,’” she says. Adding, “As for the dresses specifically, I’ve personally been drawn to pieces that fall right above the ankle.”
Bellman highlights comfort and versatility as the key features women seek in new dresses for 2022. “That doesn’t mean we’re still resorting to our trusty sweatpants,” she clarifies. “Customers are looking for dresses they can wear across a variety of occasions that allow for dressing up or down based on the event.” This means embracing fantasy and trends when the occasion calls for it — like with electric colors, titillating cut-outs, or vibrant prints — and having an assortment of faithful standbys to throw on at a moment’s notice for work or an impromptu meal out. “Dress trends are a reflection of the shift in mindset with moments of full-on fantasy coming down the runway to set the tone for the season,” Bellman adds.
Discovery is continuing to drive new dress purchases in 2022, too. “Since we’ve opened, consumer habits have circled intentional buying and, most notably, an interest in understanding the brand behind the designs,” Anderson-Boone tells TZR. “Customers continue to come in looking to experience and learn about varying designers in the marketplace.”
From new, everywhere silhouettes to exhilarating occasion and night-out buys, keep scrolling to discover five of spring’s biggest dress trends with an edit to shop.
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Long & Fluid
“As we gravitate toward effortless and ease in our wardrobes, the long, fluid dress is becoming a key silhouette,” says Bellman. The look lends itself to laissez-faire moments throughout summer, to occasions from vacation to a date night. “Ulla Johnson and Farm Rio represent craft-chic [versions] in crochet and summer texture,” Bellaman notes. “Soft romance in blooming florals and tiered ruffles have versions from By Timo to Free People.”
Bring Down The Volume
Volume is a big player in the spring 2022 dress game, but balanced. Rather than ultra-oversize from top to bottom, Anderson-Boone points out a focused emphasis on dresses with fitted tops and waists flowing out into more voluminous skirts. You needn’t go full ball gown or bubble skirt, however. Instead, proportions can be subtle, like a fluid A-line or draped design.
The New Sexy
“Sex appeal goes from minimal to overt as the new codes in dressing bring sexy back to the forefront,” Bellman tells TZR, highlighting labels like Alix NYC, Naked Wardrobe, Wayf, and Cult Gaia. “Skin show reveals itself in dresses with plunging necklines, mini hemlines or body-con ruching, all which offer strikingly new silhouettes that dare to bare.” Additionally, the Nordstrom managing editor says dark colors, including black, exude a sense of tough chic, while electrifying brights create a sense of playful sexy for the season’s occasions.
For your most feminine moments, Anderson-Boone says corseted dresses are big for spring 2022. These span aesthetics, from the romance of Regencycore to more audacious Y2K designs. “Christopher John Rogers does this silhouette perfectly,” she tells TZR. Additionally, fitted bodices and bustier-style necklines are other approaches to this trend creating a similar silhouette, like with boning and princess seams and wrap-around or smocked waistlines.
The 2022 wedding influx is a reason for desiring a new dress for brides and guests alike. “The little white dress makes its comeback for all of the bride’s events, from showers to rehearsals from brands such as Self Portrait and Jonathan Simkhai,” Bellman says. “Lace and florals are both go-to ideas for a wedding guest from brands such as Dress the Population and Lulus.”