If you’re looking for a dress to wear out, there are endless different dress styles to consider. From trendy designs to flattering shapes, looks, cuts, and lengths, picking the right dress outfits can be a challenge. With so many types of dresses on the market, even the most seasoned fashionistas may feel overwhelmed trying to find a frock that is suitable for their figure and lifestyle. To make shopping easy and simple, we’ve compiled a list of all the different types of dresses for women to know about. Complete with names, this guide will help you get the best short and long dress styles for any occasion. From shift to a-line to wrap, shop these dress types to explore stylish outfits that will flatter your body type and look cute on you.
- 1 Different Dress Styles
- 1.1 A-Line Dress
- 1.2 Shift Dress
- 1.3 Bodycon Dress
- 1.4 Halter Dress
- 1.5 Wrap Dress
- 1.6 Asymmetrical Dress
- 1.7 High-Low Dress
- 1.8 Sheath Dress
- 1.9 Peplum Dress
- 1.10 Empire Waist Dress
- 1.11 Sweater Dress
- 1.12 Pencil Dress
- 1.13 Slip Dress
- 1.14 Smock Dress
- 1.15 Ball Gown Dresses
- 1.16 Princess Silhouette Dress
- 1.17 Mermaid Silhouette Dress
- 1.18 T-Shirt Dress
- 1.19 Tea Length Dress
- 1.20 Cocktail Dress
- 1.21 Denim Dress
- 1.22 Pinafore Dress
- 1.23 Mini Dress
- 1.24 Midi Dress
- 1.25 Maxi Dress
- 1.26 Off The Shoulder Dress
- 1.27 Bardot Dress
- 1.28 Tube Dress
- 1.29 Qipao Dress
- 1.30 Long Sleeve Dress
- 1.31 Bell-Sleeve Dress
- 1.32 Strapless Dress
- 1.33 Shirt Dress
- 1.34 Blazer Dress
- 1.35 Sundress
- 1.36 Pouf Dress
- 1.37 Kimono Dress
- 1.38 One Shoulder Dress
- 1.39 Handkerchief Hem Dress
- 1.40 Bandage Dress
Different Dress Styles
The defining features of an A-line dress are a fitted bodice and a much wider skirt. This elegant silhouette, popularized in the 1950s, looks incredible on any figure, no matter your shape or size. A-line dresses are a rather chic option for work attire, especially when paired with leather pumps and statement earrings.
Due to shift dresses often being associated with the 1960s, this classic dress style is particularly popular among women who have an interest in vintage fashion. Popular variations of the mod dress usually include rounded collars or a bold geometric pattern. That being said, there are ways to pull off a shift dress that will have you looking cute. However, you’ll have to modernize your closet with some beautiful statement pieces and accessories.
Start off with a solid color sleeveless shift dress, preferably black or white, in a lightweight fabric like cashmere or linen. To finish off the look, put on silver layered necklaces and matching hoop earrings. As for shoes, go for a pair of black peep-toe stilettos with an ankle strap.
The bodycon is a trendy and sexy tight-fitting dress for women who want to accentuate their curves and assets. However, if you don’t happen to be a celebrity who is famous for her shapely body, this dress can be a bit intimidating. After all, skin-tight cuts aren’t always the most forgiving. However, there are a few simple ways to feel confident while rocking the figure-hugging ensemble.
For starters, most bodycon dresses are made of stretchy material that can accommodate most body types and sizes. Otherwise, put on some shapewear to smooth any imperfections and achieve a sleek silhouette. Another trick to conceal a slightly bloated belly is to tie a jacket or flannel shirt around your waist. This is also an easy way to make the dress look more casual during the day.
The halter dress had its day in the sun in the early 2000s, but as with most trends of the decade, this modern dress style is slowly making a comeback. The dress’s sexy silhouette usually emphasizes a woman’s shoulders and decolletage. Halter dresses are best suited for more casual occasions like going to the beach or having a night out dancing with friends.
Legendary designer Diane von Furstenberg introduced the wrap dress in the 1970s and consequently revolutionized the world of fashion. For decades, the frock has become a staple in women’s wardrobes and there’s no secret why. The dress is figure flattering, looks professional, feels comfortable, and is suitable for social and formal occasions alike.
Fashionistas everywhere have an appreciation for asymmetrical dresses. One of the most popular variations of the asymmetrical trend is a high-low dress. While this is a classic choice, it is a bit on the safer side. For women seeking an edgy or seductive outfit, try a midi dress with an uneven hem and a deep thigh slit.
Speaking of high-low dresses, you really can’t go wrong with this feminine style. While still rather demure, the playful cut subtly shows off your legs. That being said, the dress is appropriate for events where you need to look more conservative, like attending a Church service or at a family dinner. For a sophisticated look, choose a high-low dress with a subtle hemline in a solid color or understated pattern.
Sheath dresses are a favorite among members of the royal family, as the style has been worn by Princess Diana, Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton. However, you don’t need to be royalty to look absolutely stunning in this sleek ensemble. A sheath dress complements all body types and styles. This type of dress is ideal for professional women, especially when paired with a fitted blazer.
With its snug fit and frilled waistline, peplum dresses beautifully accentuate curvaceous figures. This style of dress is rather versatile and can look either sexy or sophisticated, depending upon the cut. For example, if you want to dress to impress on a first date, choose a plunging black, thin-strapped peplum dress. For a work meeting, put on a long-sleeved, belted midi peplum dress in a chic jewel tone.
Empire Waist Dress
Empire waist dresses highlight the narrowest part of your waist and billow out. For this reason, the dress is particularly popular among pregnant and postpartum women. The comfortable ensemble is perfect for casual outings and looks gorgeous paired with block heel sandals and a wide brim hat.
During the winter months, the weather is simply not suitable to wear a dress out in public. The exception being, however, is the sweater dress. This cozy garment comes in a variety of styles, with the most popular being a figure-hugging turtleneck midi. Another on-trend look is a neon mini sweater dress with balloon sleeves. Rihanna also recently proved that a slightly shapeless sweater dress with a thigh slit is rather becoming. Regardless of the style you choose, sweater dresses always look great when paired with sheer black tights and a pair of chunky boots.
Similar to the pencil skirt, a pencil dress is a chic look, best suited for those who prefer sleek styles. This should be considered a wardrobe staple, as it can be worn with anything and anywhere, from your place of work to the bar.
For better or worse, there has been a major resurgence in ’90s and 2000s fashion trends, with one of the major ones being slip dresses. While the slinky dress is quite literally an undergarment, it is a rather alluring look. However, if you want to be a bit more covered up you can always wear a fitted turtleneck under your slip dress. Similarly, you can put a chunky sweater over the garment.
While smock dresses are usually associated with children from the Victorian era, this style is rather becoming on women of any age. However, those who are petite may be hesitant to wear the voluminous garment, as it can overwhelm a shorter frame. To remedy this issue, choose a smock dress with a shorter hemline. Pair the breezy ensemble with wedge sandals to elongate your legs.
Ball Gown Dresses
A good rule of thumb is if you have a chance to wear a ball gown, take the opportunity to wear this gorgeous formal type of dress. After all, there’s rarely an occasion to wear a flowing, full-length dress and you’ll look like absolute royalty. However, some styles of ball gowns are at the risk of appearing somewhat immature. To ensure that the gown is as chic and sophisticated as possible, choose a silk or satin dress with a plunging neckline.
Princess Silhouette Dress
Like ballgowns, princess silhouette dresses certainly make a statement and can really only be worn at formal events. This specific silhouette is popular for wedding dresses. It should be noted that brides who don’t necessarily want to look like Cinderella on their wedding day, can still wear princess dresses. The trick is choosing a strapless dress with a boned bodice and minimal or no embellishments.
Mermaid Silhouette Dress
Another popular bridal gown is a mermaid silhouette dress. This dress is fitted and gradually widens, resembling a mermaid. Typically, mermaid dresses are either strapless or off-the-shoulder and are made out of taffeta.
For an effortlessly cool look, try a T-shirt dress. This casual style has a grunge influence, making it a perfect look for those who have an appreciation for alternative styles. While many brands manufacture T-shirt dresses, a much cheaper option is to peruse the men’s section at a thrift store for an oversized band shirt. To elevate the on-trend look, wear fishnet stockings, platform leather boots, and a chain necklace.
Tea Length Dress
The distinct hemline of a tea length dress speaks to the femininity of the 1950s. This charming dress is often considered prim and proper, and generally worn at formal debuts, classy garden parties, and weddings.
A cocktail dress is a semi-formal garment that is suitable for black tie events. When choosing a cocktail dress, you’ll want to consider your body type. Petite women may want to opt for a sleek, slinky number like a black cowl neck, thin-strapped midi dress. Curvy girls may want to wear a plunging, beaded maxi dress in a muted hue with a cape back and a cinched-in waist. If the event you are attending is outside or held during the winter season, feel free to wear a floor-length faux fur coat. Not only will it keep you warm, but it will also give your look additional glamour.
The denim dress is a casual yet structured frock inspired by the boho fashion of the 1970s. The current trend for denim dresses calls for an A-line dress with a patchwork pattern and a frayed hem. This garment is best worn when strolling through a farmers market or having a picnic on a Spring day.
Pinafore dresses share a similar silhouette to overalls or dungarees, making the garment rather playful and cute for young girls. While the pinafore might be too youthful for women over a certain age, there are simple ways to ensure that your pinafore dress will look completely age-appropriate and chic. The traditional style with this dress is a shirt or turtleneck under. We recommend wearing a ribbed long-sleeved white t-shirt underneath a simple black pinafore. Finish off the look with gold hoop earrings, a black pebbled leather purse, and a pair of square toe, snake print ankle boots. Voila, instead of looking like a kid on the playground, you’ll look like a Fashionista headed to a New York Fashion Week show.
If you don’t mind turning heads, wear a mini dress in the spring and summer. First introduced in the 1960s, this sexy number is sure to put your legs on full display. You can always make the alluring ensemble a little more conservative, by simply putting on a pair of opaque tights.
Many women reach for midi dresses for casual events during the warmer months. The hemline is extremely flattering and relatively modest. However, its length can also make it difficult to find shoes that will complement the ensemble. A good rule of thumb is to completely avoid boots. Instead, this breezy look calls for ankle strap sandals or even a pair of platform tennis shoes.
Throwing on a maxi dress is an easy way to look polished and put together while still being comfortable. While this style comes in a countless number of cuts and colors, a timeless option is a figure-hugging black sleeveless maxi dress.
Off The Shoulder Dress
An off-the-shoulder dress is subtly sexy and shows off just the right amount of skin. As of late, this style is rather trendy and can look cute as a casual outfit. If you want to keep up with the fashionistas, pick an off-the-shoulder mini dress with long sleeves in vegan leather material.
A Bardot dress is considered to be a specific kind of off-the-shoulder dress with a cut that is inspired by the iconic French actress, Brigitte Bardot. To look like the 1960s icon, consider wearing a striped Bardot dress with ballet flats and a wide cloth headband.
As with slip dresses, the tube dress is another late 90s trend that is coming back in style. Quite a few people may be apprehensive about the look, fearing that the dress will look dated. However, a tube dress in a solid color with a hemline that hits just below the knee will always look chic and timeless.
Modern Qipao dresses are inspired by traditional Chinese dresses of yesteryear. As of late, the beautiful garment has been spotlighted by both fashion magazines and popular bloggers. While a mini Qipao dress is certainly a stunning look, if you are looking for something more formal, choose a sleeveless maxi dress with Chinese Jacquard fabric and a mandarin collar.
Long Sleeve Dress
A long-sleeved dress paired with an oversized sweater, sheer tights, and over-the-knee boots is the ideal autumn outfit. Long sleeve dresses can also be suitable for the spring or summer when styled well. For example, a white A-line puff-sleeved mini dress would be appropriate for warmer weather.
If you happen to find yourself inspired by 1970s fashion trends, bell-sleeve dresses are right up your alley. This retro style calls for a short hemline and a fun boho pattern, like a bold floral print or a paisley design.
To properly pull off the strapless dress trend, you’ll want to find one with a square neckline and fitted bodice. For formal events, go for a satin strapless midi dress with a pleated skirt. For an everyday look, try a jersey knit bandeau maxi dress with ruched detailing.
While shirt dresses are comfortable and relatively casual, this kind of outfit can be workplace-appropriate for women. A particularly professional option is a fit and flare midi shirt dress with quarter length sleeves. You can look cute, trendy, and like an executive with the perfect shirt dress.
Blazer dresses are a sexy take on the menswear trend, which has completely taken over the runways in recent years. While you can’t go wrong with a traditional black blazer dress, don’t be afraid to spice up the look. Fierce options to consider include a neon pink or animal print blazer dress.
Once the winter season ends, it’s time to shed bulky layers and flaunt your figure in a sundress. For the summer season, consider wearing a mini sundress with a straight neckline and embroidered floral pattern. It should also be noted that this dress style in a bright color looks incredible against sun-kissed skin. Ultimately, sundresses are pretty, fashionable, and fun to wear out during the day.
Pouf dresses are typically made out of tulle or taffeta and have a voluminous skirt. This dress is often worn with a petticoat for added volume. Pouf dresses are typically worn to black tie events, like formal dances.
Wearing a kimono dress essentially feels like you are wearing a fancy robe out in public. This kind of dress exudes sophistication and is an excellent option to wear to weddings. To stay up-to-date with the top style trends, you should choose a plunging mini kimono dress in a bright orange color.
One Shoulder Dress
Also known as the cold shoulder, the one-shoulder dress is a versatile style with a sexy cut. This dress can even be worn to the office when paired with a linen blazer and leather loafers.
Handkerchief Hem Dress
Fashionistas tend to gravitate toward handkerchief hem dresses due to its unique cut. The specific silhouette is best styled with bohemian accessories like woven leather bracelets and turquoise necklaces.
Like the bodycon, bandage dresses are known for their skintight fit and can be quite daunting for the average woman. That being said, the style can look wonderful on all body types. The secret is choosing a bandage dress in a solid color and thick fabric.