(Trends)

9 Cute Dress Trends for Heading Back into the Office

They're work-appropriate and actually stylish, too.

By Kendall Becker
Raimonda Kulikauskiene/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - AUGUST 12: Guests outside Rotate during Copenhagen fashion week SS22 on August...

Fall is typically focused on the endless preparation ahead of heading back to school, but this time around, “back-to-the-office” shopping will reign supreme. After a year (and some) working from the comfort of the couch and embracing the art of keyboard-up dressing (blouse on top and sweats on the bottom), it’s time to return to the office — leaving every woman with the question: “What do I wear?”. Work dresses for women that are timelessly on-trend and adhere to dress code standards are the easy answer for finally heading back to the office.

AI-powered fashion analytics company StyleSage confirms that dresses are rising to the top of everyone’s shopping list at the moment. The sold-out rate for dresses across the market has jumped from 10% in May of this year to 24% currently, proving that they really are the go-to when it comes to leveling up wardrobes as everyone navigates their own lifestyle shift. Floaty dresses aren’t as stiff as hard pants, and they still offer the soft hug of sweats, making them the perfect transitional piece. Plus, choose the right material (like a stretchy cotton blend or a soft wool knit) and you won’t have to worry about wrinkles. Comfortable, presentable, and a total timesaver only having to throw on one piece in the morning? The ultimate trifecta.

To help you navigate which styles are worth your investment, below you’ll find nine of the most wearable dress trends that will help make the transition back to the office — or wherever you’re elevating your workwear wardrobe— as seamless as can be.

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Dark-Ground Florals

Dark-ground florals are a transitional print that can easily be worn with a strappy sandal or your go-to pair of boots once temperatures drop. This jewel-toned take on roses, daisies, and lilies offers an alternative to the sweet shades that you’ve worn to the beach all summer long.

Updated Shirt Dress

It’s no secret that the shirt dress is a workwear classic — but as such it carries a reputation for being stuffy. This season, designers like KHAITE and Rosetta Getty renewed the style with of-the-moment updates like pleating, exaggerated collars, and fresh hemlines.

Oversized Collar

Oversized collars were a staple on the fall runways of Christian Dior, Rejina Pyo, and Valentino (to name a few) and are the perfect on-trend detail for work dresses. To lean into the vintage feel, look for styles with embroidery or lace trim.

Chic Sweater Dress

When it comes to the sweater dress, you might typically think of a chunky, cozy knit fit for the holiday season; but, it’s time to reevaluate that belief. For those tricky trans-seasonal days (and chilly offices), opt for a sweater dress in grown-up ankle-grazing silhouettes and a more fitted knit.

Sophisticated Neckline

For a more formal office setting, a unique neckline is a way to add intrigue to your look. From simple mock-necks to architecturally draped, this detail says fashion-forward while staying professional.

Stylized Silk

Silk can be a workwear staple if done right; elevate your go-to slip dress with a blazer or button-down tied on top or opt for one with more coverage and tailored details for a conservative yet stylish feel.

Cool Colorblocking

Colorblocking is back and cooler than ever thanks to buzzy designers like Staud and Christian Cowan. This time around, take it to the next level with interesting color, print, and fabric combinations for a forward spin. Let the dress do the talking and keep accessories simple or throw a solid, oversized blazer on top.

Seasonless Leather

Just as the seasonality of color is fading, so are the rules around fabric. While, of course, you wouldn’t want to bring out your leather frock in the height of summer, it can be a versatile choice and give traditional workwear silhouettes a bit of edge. Plus, there are great quality faux options and fresh colorways on the market like ivory, sage, and chocolate.

Pretty Pop of Color

Nowadays in fashion, color is just about seasonless — choose whichever shade makes you feel confident any time of year. Styling a pretty pop of color in a simple silhouette is a playful way to liven up your workwear wardrobe without going over the top.