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There are those certain frocks that make a statement. You know, the ones you strategically decide to wear for taking full advantage of the professional photographer. (Hey, selfies don’t always cut it.) The harsh reality is that those beautiful numbers usually end up in the back of your closet, never to be seen again. Don’t let your cocktail attire become a ghost of dresses past. Instead, find one that works for weddings, work, nights out and everything in between.

ruffled halter
Moda Operandi

Ruffled Halter

The dramatic neckline is great for formal wear, but the unassuming color and midi length make it suitable for work (especially when tucked under a leather jacket or blazer).

Ulla Johnson ($345)

orange cold shouler wedding guest dress
Nordstrom

Cold-Shoulder Midi

Quickly jazzed up with contrasting statement earrings or dressed down with pointed flats.

Sejour ($129)

navy shift
Shopbop

Sleeveless Knit

Modest enough for the boardroom, pretty enough for a ceremony.

Milly ($225)

saloni off the shoulder dress
Moda Operandi

Off-the-Shoulder Midi

Sure, it’s a lot of pattern. But the playful colors work well beyond weddings. Think: Bridal showers, baby showers and graduation brunches alike.

Saloni ($625)

fit and flare red dress
Nordstrom

Fit-and-Flare Mini

The flared hem is right on trend for summer, but the deep hue will transition well into winter.

Felicity & Coco ($118)

strapless midi dress
Intermix

Strapless Maxi

If you have a wedding in Capri, you need this dress. Ditto if you’re in New Jersey and just want to pretend like you’re vacationing in Capri every weekend. 

MDS Stripes ($575)

Intermix hi low dress
Intermix

Layered High-Low Dress

The flirty layers will keep things breezy on a sweaty dance floor or a subway platform.

Intermix ($365)

cece floral maxi
Nordstrom

Floral Maxi

Pair over a little white T-shirt and they’ll be none the wiser.

Cece ($97)

adrianna papel fit and flare dress
Nordstrom

Structured Sleeveless

The bold pattern may be striking, but it’s easily toned down with a cardi.

Adrianna Papel ($150)

one shouldered dress
Moda Operandi

One-Shouldered Mini

Attention-grabbing scallops and a simple silhouette make this a cotton number a win-win.

Saloni ($425)

flutter sleeve dress
Nordstrom

Flutter Sleeve Mini

Flirty and fun for a daytime wedding and all too easy to throw on before work.

Donna Morgan ($118)

black long dress
The Line

Trapeze Dress

You really can’t go wrong with a waist-cinching neutral anytime, anywhere.

T By Alexander Wang ($495)

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