19 Dresses That Every Woman Should Have in Her Wardrobe

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Dresses are a girl’s best friend. They’re the hero piece of your closet that will give you a complete outfit in one garment. The right dress will take you seamlessly from day to night with styling options for every season.

It’s easy to become comfortable with one style of dress and forget about all the rest. Whether you like slip dresses or the on-trend midi silhouette, there’s a dress for every occasion. We’re rounding up 19 types of dresses that every woman should know.

1. A-Line Dresses: Flattering for Pear-Shaped Figures

An A-line dress is the best for those with a pear-shaped body. This silhouette creates an A-line shape by flaring at the waist.

Some A-line dresses can feature pleating; however, this typically creates a larger hemline. An A-line dress can vary in length from a mini dress to a maxi style.

A-line dresses have a flared waist, creating an A-line shape that's flattering for pear-shaped bodiesA-line dresses have a flared waist, creating an A-line shape that’s flattering for pear-shaped bodies

2. Asymmetrical Dresses: Embrace the High-Low Hemline

An asymmetrical dress is characterized by its uneven hemline. You’ll often find these dresses nicknamed ‘waterfall dresses’ for the illusion created by the high-low silhouette of the skirt. An asymmetrical dress is perfect for showing off your legs or a fresh tan.

Asymmetrical dresses, aka waterfall dresses, have an uneven, high-low hemlineAsymmetrical dresses, aka waterfall dresses, have an uneven, high-low hemline

3. Blazer Dresses: Multi-Functional and Chic

Dresses don’t come more multi-functional than the blazer dress. This dress recreates the look of a double-breasted blazer and makes it a mini skirt.

The blazer dress is popular for nighttime wear and can be elevated with a statement belt. This structured dress is also known as a tuxedo dress.

Blazer dresses feature a sophisticated, tailored cut that can be worn with anything, from sandals to any types of bootsBlazer dresses feature a sophisticated, tailored cut that can be worn with anything, from sandals to any types of boots

4. Cocktail Dresses: Perfect for Nighttime Elegance

A cocktail dress is a type of dress code that is typically used for night-time events. It’s a catch-all term for semi-formal dresses with a short hemline.

Flapper dresses and blazer dresses are two types of cocktail dresses. A cocktail dress is a transitional piece that is chic and polished.

Cocktail dresses are any types of short dresses used for night-time or semi-formal eventsCocktail dresses are any types of short dresses used for night-time or semi-formal events

5. Drop Waist Dresses: Casual and Figure-Lengthening

A drop waist dress is a silhouette that puts the waist on the silhouette at the hip instead of the traditional waistline.

This low waistband dress recreates the 1920s ‘flapper dress’ silhouette and lengthens your body. It’s a casual, loose-fitting silhouette that works for every body type.

The waist of a drop waist dress is dipped lower to almost reach the top of the hips, giving an appearance of a longer torsoThe waist of a drop waist dress is dipped lower to almost reach the top of the hips, giving an appearance of a longer torso

6. Empire Waistline Dresses: Timeless and Universally Flattering

The empire waistline originated in the late 18th century. It’s one you’ll typically find in period dramas like Pride and Prejudice and has evolved with time.

This silhouette gives the illusion of a longer silhouette by creating a gathering under the bust. It’s a popular dress for maternity wear and is universally flattering.

An Empire Waistline dress drapes out under the bust, giving the illusion of a longer silhouetteAn Empire Waistline dress drapes out under the bust, giving the illusion of a longer silhouette

7. Halter Neck Dresses: Sleek and Neckline-Enhancing

A halter neck dress is a sleeveless silhouette with a strap that ties or wraps behind the neck to hold the dress up. A halter neck dress is an ideal style for taller women and creates the illusion of a slimmer neckline.

Halter neck dresses are characterized by the strap that ties or wraps at the back of the neck, highlighting the shouldersHalter neck dresses are characterized by the strap that ties or wraps at the back of the neck, highlighting the shoulders

8. Kaftan Dresses: Effortless Beachwear and Beyond

Kaftan dresses are synonymous with summer vacations spent on the beach. This garment is traditionally made using one piece of fabric and originated in the Middle East and Asia.

This loose-fitting dress can be worn as a cover-up over swimwear or as a full outfit, depending on the fabric and pattern.

Kaftan dresses are loose-fitting dresses that can be worn as a cover-up or as a full outfitKaftan dresses are loose-fitting dresses that can be worn as a cover-up or as a full outfit

9. Lace Dresses: Romantically Feminine and Versatile

Lace dresses are a romantic style that captures a feminine and whimsical aesthetic. You’ll typically find bridal dresses and shoes made of lace, with more casual styles incorporating lace into the sleeves or hemline.

A lace dress is perfect as a wedding guest look for summer weddings, as the versatile fabric will keep you feeling fresh.

Bridal dresses are typically made of lace as it gives off a feminine, romantic appealBridal dresses are typically made of lace as it gives off a feminine, romantic appeal

10. Mermaid Dresses: Elegance with a Flared Twist

A mermaid dress creates the illusion of a mermaid’s tail with a flared skirt. These dresses are also called ‘fishtail dresses,’ with long styles typically reserved for formal occasions.

Mermaid dresses have flared skirts that create the illusion of a mermaid's tailMermaid dresses have flared skirts that create the illusion of a mermaid’s tail

11. Midi Dresses: Stylish and Modest

A midi dress has a hemline that falls between the knee and ankle, earning it the ‘midi’ title. This mid-calf length dress can conceal wider calves and offers a modest alternative to shorter styles.

You’ll find midi dresses in every category, from workwear to cocktail dresses. Midi dresses are perfect for short and petite women.

A midi dress is any type of dress that's cut above the ankles but falls below the kneesA midi dress is any type of dress that’s cut above the ankles but falls below the knees

12. Maxi Dresses: Versatile Elegance for All Seasons

A maxi dress is a full-length dress with a hemline that sits at ankle length. This type of women’s dress works for all body types and is a versatile style you can wear every season. A lightweight cotton maxi dress is a summer closet staple.

A maxi dress is a full-length dress with a hem that sits at the anklesA maxi dress is a full-length dress with a hem that sits at the ankles

13. Off-the-Shoulder Dresses: Shoulder-Baring Sophistication

An off-the-shoulder dress is a silhouette with sleeves that sit just below the shoulders, exposing your neckline and decolletage. This type of dress is popular for wedding guests and as a semi-formal style.

Off-the-shoulder dresses are recognizable by the neckline that sweeps across the neck and the sleeves that fall below the shouldersOff-the-shoulder dresses are recognizable by the neckline that sweeps across the neck and the sleeves that fall below the shoulders

14. Peplum Dresses: Figure-Enhancing Femininity

A peplum dress is a silhouette with an extra fabric wrapped around the waist. This fabric flares out to create a feminine look and accentuate your figure to create an hourglass illusion.

A peplum dress will conceal your tummy and create a slimming illusion.

A peplum dress is characterized by the extra piece of ruffled fabric placed around the waistA peplum dress is characterized by an extra piece of ruffled fabric placed around the waist

15. Qipao Dresses: Traditional Elegance with a Modern Touch

A qipao dress is a traditional Chinese silhouette known regionally as a ‘cheongsam.’

This silk dress is a figure-fitting silhouette with a high collar and Chinese knotting. The Qipao dress is still worn today during Chinese weddings and festivities.

Qipao dress is a traditional Chinese dress with a form-fitting silhouette, a high collar, and Chinese knottingQipao dress is a traditional Chinese dress with a form-fitting silhouette, a high collar, and Chinese knotting

16. Shift Dresses: Minimalistic and Timelessly Chic

A shift dress is a minimalistic silhouette that has a straight-line shape. This dress flows from the shoulders, typically as one piece of fabric.

A shift dress is an understated dress that has a straight form that typically sits at the kneesA shift dress is an understated dress that has a straight form that typically sits at the knees

17. Slip Dresses: Lingerie-Inspired Versatility

Slip dresses are lingerie that has evolved into everyday fashion. This dress is typically made with satin and features thin straps. You can wear it under a sheer dress for extra modesty or style as a dress itself.

Slip dresses are lingerie-style dresses usually made of satin with delicate strapsSlip dresses are lingerie-style dresses usually made of satin with delicate straps

18. Sweater Dresses: Cozy Elegance for Cooler Seasons

A sweater dress looks exactly like a traditional sweater but with a longer hemline that allows it to be worn as a dress. You’ll often find sweater dresses worn in fall and winter with boots and tights.

Sweater dresses are like usual sweaters but with a longer hemlineSweater dresses are like usual sweaters but with a longer hemline

19. Wrap Dresses: Iconic Diane Von Furstenberg Style

The wrap dress was made famous by Diane Von Furstenberg. It is made with a fabric that drapes across the body, allowing you to wrap it around your body and tie it at the side or back. A wrap dress has a V-shaped neckline that is ultra-slimming.

A wrap dress has a front closure made by crossing one side over the other and is tied at the side or backA wrap dress has a front closure made by crossing one side over the other and is tied at the side or back

These are the 19 types of dresses that every woman should know. With a little trial and error, you’ll be able to find the signature dress that makes you look and feel like your best self. Use this list of every type of dress for women to find the best one for your body type.