Style Guides

Yes, Dresses Are Appropriate for Work: Here’s 4 New Ways to Wear Them

Yes, Dresses Are Appropriate for Work: Here’s 4 New Ways to Wear Them

By Lili Goksenin


Ever look in your closet—at your collection of pretty dresses—and think to yourself Are dresses appropriate for work? You’re not alone. A floaty printed frock or a short sweater number can toe the line between work and play. (Suddenly that one-and-done piece you thought was so versatile seems pretty one-note instead.)


Well, we have some good news for you. Dresses, worn with a layer on top, or with the right accessories, are 100% appropriate at the office. Even the most formal workplace scenarios can accommodate a dress, which means your mornings just got that much easier. Just throw on one of these dresses, arm yourself with a coat and boots (and maybe some tights now that the temps are dropping) and walk out your door knowing you’re killing it in both the clothing and career departments.


The sheath is a no-brainer for high-powered girl bosses. They’re endlessly flattering, form-fitting without being skin-tight, and look perfect when accented with a waist-cinching wide belt, pumps and a classic bag. Throw a tweedy coat in a large-scale plaid over your shoulders to add a little street-style edge to this boardroom-approved look.

Sweater dresses can be a tad tricky for work because of their snug fit (conversely, this is precisely what makes them perfect date-night dresses). But you can still make this dress a weekday staple by pairing it with a polished blazer. A tonal hue makes it modern and on-trend, while flats ground the shorter hemline.

Because so much of women’s workwear is borrowed from the boys these days, we particularly love this menswear-stripe-inspired dress in a feminine, floaty cut for the office. Long sleeves make it perfect for the office A/C, boots bring it into fall, and our light knit blazer finishes the look for an “I came to werk” vibe.

This dress looks like it was pulled out of a manual called “How to Look Like the Ultimate French Girl.” Button detail, retro style, polka-dot print: yes, yes, and yes! The key to making this one work for work is pairing it with a moto jacket in a contrasting (but not garish) shade of teal, and lace-up heeled booties. And although this look probably won’t pass muster in a law firm, if you work in a creative field or an office with a more laid-back dress code, this, ladies, is how you wear a dress to work.