I’m a Fashion Editor—Here Are 5 Versatile Dresses I *Always* Have Hanging in My Closet

Trust me, these dresses are closet staples

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Versatile dresses to own
Paula Boudes for PureWow

Recently, I’ve suffered from a nasty case of the spring-cleaning bug, which means I’m accounting for every item in my capsule wardrobe—donating the pieces I can manage to style in just one or two ways and only keeping versatile dresses that I can wear countless times and make into numerous outfits. Don’t get me wrong, dresses for specific occasions—whether it’s summer wedding guest dresses or New Year’s Eve outfits—remain important as ever, but working in fashion has made me realize that there are certain silhouettes that are forever staples. So, I took the liberty of outlining five versatile dresses I always keep in my closet, plus options to shop each look from fashionable brands like Tuckernuck, Revolve, Anthropologie and more.

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versatile dresses to own A Little Black Dress
Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

1. A Little Black Dress

Few things are as timeless as a little black dress, and for good reason. It’s slimming and can shape-shift for various occasions, dressing up for fancy dinners with a slinky heel and sparkly clutch or down for daytime with a white button-up and some trendy sneakers. If you want an LBD that’ll last you for years to come, prioritize quality fabrics like cotton, wool and linen as well as sleek silhouettes with little to no embellishments or gimmicks.

versatile dresses to own A Silk or Satin Slip
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2. A Silk or Satin Slip

Don’t underestimate the power of a slinky slip—it can be used as a base layer underneath cardigans, coats and sweaters in the colder months, or worn à la carte when it’s hot out. Like liquid on the body, silk or satin slip dresses make for a sexy and sultry look requiring little to no effort, so if you’re ever in need of last-minute date night outfit ideas, this is a classic go-to that rarely disappoints. Spruce up the simple slip with romantic details like lace trims and accessorize with necklaces, bracelets, rings and anklets to add dimension and depth. A quiet luxury-inspired purse pairing may be tempting, but there’s something so enticing about a statement clutch or the pop of an animal print handbag against the shiny fabric.

versatile dresses to own A Cozy Knit Sweater Dress
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3. A Cozy Knit Sweater Dress

Don’t reserve your comfy sweater dresses for only the cooler months, ladies. Knit materials are comfortable, elegant and can be worn a myriad of places, such as at home, the office, baby showers, art galleries, you name it. Sweater dresses are somewhat of an enigma because they can vary in warmth and weight depending on the length, materials used and how finely the fabric is looped. They come in all shapes and sizes, so be cognizant of what style looks best on your body type. For example, a wrap dress with a belted waistband like the one pictured above makes for a great dress for women with big boobs while spaghetti straps, plunging necklines or asymmetrical cuts can enhance small chests.

versatile dresses to own A Button-Down Shirtdress
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4. A Button-Down Shirtdress

Take an easy and breezy approach to dressing by rocking a classy button-down sundress, particularly one with a universally flattering A-line silhouette boasting a cinched waist; this will look great on most women, whether you’re petite or tall, curvy or slender, pear shaped or apple shaped. Shirtdresses have a sleek and tailored feel that’s simultaneously casual and dressy (though they can just as easily double as a breezy beach cover-up), and, like the LBD, they act as a great base for layering. If you want to add more definition to your waist and break up the monotony of the fabric, then I suggest you take a page out of Carrie Bradshaw’s book and tac on a statement belt.

versatile dresses to own A Blazer Dress
Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

5. A Blazer Dress

When I want to look put-together in an instant but have nothing to wear despite my overflowing, messy closet suggesting otherwise, a blazer dress becomes my saving grace. The structure of the classic silhouette coupled with the ultra-mini length creates a striking juxtaposition between two disparate natures: the seemly and the sultry. Hot tip: Steer clear of ginormous shoulder pads if you don’t want to look like you just stepped out of the ‘80s. Fun colors or pinstripe prints can be a creative way to jazz it up if a classic black blazer dress isn’t your thing.

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Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...

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