It’s dress season, so naturally we’re stocking up on some fabulous new styles for the spring and summer months, but more importantly, we’re on the lookout for the best deals out there. One of our top places to shop? Nordstrom Rack. Not only does the retailer have incredible prices on some amazing brands (think Madewell, Lulus and Calvin Klein), but Nordstrom Rack dresses are super stylish. From gingham minis to smocked midis, here are ten Nordstrom Rack dresses our editors and fashion experts are coveting right now.
The 10 Cutest Nordstrom Rack Dresses to Add to Cart Now, Starting at Just $28
High-end dresses at bargain prices? Say no more.
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The Best Nordstrom Rack Dresses At A Glance
- Fashion Editor's Top Pick: French Connection Gingham Mini Dress ($60)
- Top Wedding Guest Dress Pick: Love By Design Bodycon Midi Dress ($30)
- Best Workout Dress: Z by Zella Racerback Dress ($40)
- Best Cut-Out Dress: ASTR the Label Halter Dress ($40)
- Cutest Ruffle Dress: Socialite Ruffle Print Wrap Dress ($40)
- Best Smocked Dress: Blu Pepper Smocked Midi Dress ($28)
- Best Cowl Neck Dress: Love By Design Elaine Dress ($40)
- Best Colorblock Dress: Kensie Colorblock Maxi ($65)
- Cutest Shift Dress: Madewell Heather Dress ($55)
- Best Button-Down Dress: Nina Leonard Swiss Dot Shirt Dress ($35)
What Dresses Are in Style for Spring 2023?
According to PureWow’s fashion editor Abby Hepworth, this spring into summer we’re seeing a lot of recycled trends from last summer, like cut-outs, halters and flowy cuts. “I've been seeing a lot of shirt dresses, particularly shirt dresses with boho, floral prints. I love the combo because it helps a classic, preppy button-up silhouette feel a bit less prim,” she adds. Her favorite trend of the season? The ‘90s mini dress. “We're talking spaghetti straps (or even strapless) and a semi-fitted silhouette that hugs your curves without being an actual bodycon dress. Think peak '90s Jennifer Aniston. They're such a great option for days when you want something easy but put together—just a little bit sexy, but easy to dress down as well,” she says.
How We Chose the Best Nordstrom Rack Dresses
In choosing the best Nordstrom Rack dresses for spring and summer, we leaned on Hepworth’s trend predictions and her own personal picks from the Nordstrom Rack site. “I'm so obsessed with this adorable gingham mini dress by French Connection,” she says. Not only are we looking for dresses that are either classic, timeless styles or fitting with this season’s trends, we’re keeping in mind cool fabric choices for warm weather, what silhouettes are comfortable and flattering and how affordable each dress is. “The best fabrics for warm weather are breathable, lightweight and good at wicking away moisture without holding onto it,” Hepworth explains. “Linen, silk, hemp and even very thin wool are all phenomenal options. Cotton can also work well, but be sure to choose styles made from thinner, lighter cotton weaves than heavier ones.” In addition to Hepworth’s picks, several other editors weighed in on their favorites from the department store’s collection, too.
Why Is Nordstrom Rack So Affordable?
Nordstrom Rack houses a ton of discount inventory from Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com. That’s why you can find Nordstrom brands like French Connection, Madewell, Free People, Joe’s Jeans, ASTR the Label and more at prices that are much easier on the bank account—it’s kind of like shopping from an outlet store.
Fashion Editor's Top Pick
- What We Like: gingham print, sweetheart neckline
- What We Don’t Like: may be too short on taller frames
- Size Range: 0 to 12
Fashion editor Abby Hepworth dubbed this dress her favorite pick from Nordstrom Rack’s collection, and specifically called out the gingham print and the relaxed mini silhouette. “It exactly embodies that '90s mini trend I was talking about,” she says. “Plus, it's just a cute, classic silhouette that I can dress up or down to fit my day.” Not only are the straps adjustable in length, they’re also removable if you wanted to go for a strapless look instead.
Top Wedding Guest Dress Pick
Love By Design
- What We Like: ruching, one shoulder
- What We Don’t Like: not compatible with a regular bra
- Size Range: XS to XL
A fully ruched midi is a great pick for a wedding guest dress, and this one is available in plenty of colors. The figure-hugging style will sculpt your curves without squeezing you super tight for a comfy, flattering fit. It has a one-shoulder neckline and the midi length cuts off just below the knees. “I got this dress for a wedding this summer and it hugs my little baby bump so adorably, I’ll definitely get wear out of this postpartum, too,” says commerce editor and mom-to-be, Olivia Dubyak.
Best Workout Dress
- What We Like: adjustable straps, A-line silhouette
- What We Don’t Like: built-in shorts may not be everyone’s favorite fit
- Size Range: XS to XXL
Whether we’re going casual for a warm summer day or headed for a workout, a workout dress is a fantastic pick. This one has an A-line silhouette that’s flattering on most body shapes and the racerback straps are adjustable in length. “The dress is comfortable and has a cute cut to it. The fabric feels solid and the dress has sewn in pads. [The] shorts under the dress also have a pocket for keys, cards or cell phone,” reports one customer.
Best Cut-Out Dress
Astr the Label
- What We Like: midriff cut-outs, side slit
- What We Don’t Like: might show too much skin for some
- Size Range: XS to XL
A maxi dress that has some cut-outs shows the perfect amount of skin to in warmer months, if you ask us. This beauty has a plunging open chest attached to the halter neckline and the bodice and skirt are connected by just a few strings, allowing for some fun cut-outs around the rib cage. “I love that the cut-outs on this maxi make it fun enough for a girls’ night but they're not so much that you couldn't dress it down with sneakers or slides, too,” says assistant commerce editor Natalie LaBarbera.
Cutest Ruffle Dress
- What We Like: ruffled slit hems, high-low silhouette
- What We Don’t Like: high-low opening may be too short on some frames
- Size Range: XS to XL
A cute and whimsical ruffled dress is a great pick now that the weather is warming up. This pick from Socialite has a fun floral print and is ruffled in multiple places, including the and the high-low hemline. One happy customer writes, “This dress flatters the bust but hangs beautifully on the hips. I’m ordering another color! The *only* thing to note about this dress is the straps in the back get really skinny and don’t quite cover your bra strap, but nothing a little fashion tape can’t fix.”
Best Smocked Dress
- What We Like: high neckline, cap sleeves
- What We Don’t Like: smocked styles can be a smidge itchy
- Size Range: S to L
This sweet yellow midi has a tiered skirt and smocked bodice for a flirty, fun look. The back of the neckline opens and closes with a button (there’s no zipper). Shopper point out that this is an excellent choice for those looking for something a bit more modest. One raves, “It’s hard to find a cute dress for a girl under twenty that isn’t plunging at the neckline, cut out in the back and extremely short. This one is cute, trendy and modest.”
Best Cowl Neck Dress
Love by Design
- What We Like: cowl neckline, floral print
- What We Don’t Like: thin material
- Size Range: XS to XL
Garden parties, brunches, baby showers, rehearsal dinners and the like call for cute outfits that are on the dressier side, and we’re loving this sleek number. The floral print isn’t overwhelming and the colors don’t overpower the pattern either. The straps are adjustable and the knee length is great for taller and shorter frames alike. “This looks like something Carrie would wear on Sex and the City, which is more than enough for me to want it—especially at that price point,” says commerce director Nicole Briese.
Best Colorblock Pick
- What We Like: flutter sleeves, colorblocked bottom
- What We Don’t Like: cotton is easy to sweat through
- Size Range: 0 to 16
Pretty pink dresses are our summer love language when it comes to fashion. This one has a V-neck that puckers in the center to offer more definition and structure to the chest. The skirt is very flowy with tiered sections, not to mention the cute colorblocked red bottom for an extra pop.
Cutest Shift Dress
- What We Like: sleeveless, button-front closure
- What We Don’t Like: reviewers mention the neckline cuts a bit low
- Size Range: XXS to XXL
We’re suckers for comfy dresses we can throw on whenever, and thanks to its relaxed silhouette, we may find ourselves wearing this mini on repeat for the next several months. The buttons up the front are functional, and the viscose material is lightweight (it feels like silk) for the summer heat. Be aware that this material can easily shrink when dried, so be sure to skip the dryer.
Best Button-Down Dress
- What We Like: belted waist, polka-dot print
- What We Don’t Like: material is unlined
- Size Range: S to XL
This business casual dress is a cute, professional pick for days in the office, and the polka dot embroidery adds some dimension to the silhouette. It has a midi length, but if you’re on the shorter side it may read more like a maxi. The material is unlined, so it won’t overheat you when it’s hot out, but you may feel more comfortable with a slip underneath, as unlined fabrics can feel quite thin.
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Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to West Texas to Chicago to Northern Colorado since then experiencing new things to broaden her perspective as a writer. She writes across the board in fashion, beauty, wellness and home, focusing on product reviews and roundups that can elevate your everyday life. She's been writing in the commerce-sphere for nearly five years and loves trying new products, sharing her honest experiences to help you decide whether what you’re buying is worth it or not (yup, Augustinus Bader is a must-have).
PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.