work dresses
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Like a pro: The work dresses your weekday wardrobe needs

12 Sep 2023 | |By Hitanshi Kamdar

Make office dressing a breeze with our curated edit of smart and chic work dresses

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Whether your work week is filled with IRL meetings or balanced with WFH days, getting down to business is always easier when you’re dressed for it. You can never go wrong with a crisp shirt and smart blazer, but there’s something easier and more versatile about a work dress. The best work dresses suit every professional need – interviews, project pitches, meetings with clients, and even post-work drinks.

A chic one-and-done option, investing in the right work dress means opting for long-lasting pieces that can be styled for every season and even dressed down for the weekends. It is, however, important to pick dresses that are actually work-appropriate. Even in more relaxed and creative offices, backless, sheer and cut-out designs are all no-nos. We’ve got you covered with our edit of the best wrap and button-up midi dresses for more formal offices and the best knitted and leather options for more lenient dress codes. Here are the best work dresses to invest in this season.

Shirt dresses

Shirt dresses are a workwear staple for a reason. Rising to popularity in the ‘60s, they’ve been an office mainstay for years. Perfectly suited to this year’s unexpected September heatwave, style your shirt dresses with sandals and sneakers in warmer temperatures or a light trench coat and boots when the mercury drops.

Opt for a classic cotton-poplin option like this navy shirt dress from Alexander McQueen or an olive green wool-blend from Dries Van Noten. Alternatively, look for interesting details like Prada’s gathered safety-pin embellished dress or Jil Sander’s beige ruched waist dress. For a touch of preppy sass, Thom Browne’s layered iteration works best.

Prada safety pin embellished striped shirt dress

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Dries Van Noten belted wool-blend shirt dress

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Thom Browne layered shirt dress

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Alexander McQueen short sleeve shirt dress

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Jil Sander cotton shirt dress

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Gucci denim shirt dress

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Midi dresses

Floaty and ethereal, midi dresses make for fun and appropriate workwear. Invest in a timeless midi dress like Khaite’s flattering scoop-back black design bets worn with slicked-back hair, hoops, and modest heels. Or seek out an upgraded version like Gabriela Hearst’s sharply pleated midi dress with pops of brown and white accentuating the drop waist silhouette.

Sacai’s layered midi dress resembles polished separates with a ribbed-knit torso complemented by a glossy pleated skirt. If you prefer a brighter palette, go for Victoria Beckham’s blue asymmetric hem midi dress.

Khaite scoop back virgin wool midi dress

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Sacai ribbed knit pleated midi dress

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Gabriela Hearst pleated wool midi dress

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Victoria Beckham draped sleeve midi dress

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Wrap dresses

An absolute office essential, wrap dresses are perfect to add a feminine touch to your professional wardrobe. The flattering form-fitted silhouette looks perfectly polished whether rendered in solid colours or busier prints. Style yours with ballet flats for a casual summer day or switch it up with sleek boots for ultimate girl-boss vibes in winter.

Emilia Wickstead’s crisp cotton-poplin white wrap shirt dress is endlessly versatile while Diane Von Furstenberg offers an eye-catching magenta option. For elegant if-you-know-you-know fashion, cop Rick Owens’ crepe wrap confection. Then there’s Alice + Olivia’s billowing wrap dress with an all-over graphic print to embrace your inner maximalist.

Diane Von Furstenberg Astrid midi wrap dress

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Rick Owens Abito wrap midi dress

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Emilia Wickstead wrap-front shirt dress

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Alice + Olivia Alisa wrap maxi dress

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Knitted dresses

Knit dresses are great office options – chic enough to look polished and warm enough to protect you from blasting AC. Wear as is in warmer months and layered with shirts and blazers as the temperatures drop. Maximise the formal factor of your knit dresses with maxi lengths and collared necklines.

Jacquemus’ light blue knit dress is a great building block that can be styled up or down while Loewe’s striking blue collared knit with statement cuffs is a basic you’ll find yourself repeating weekly. If you’re seeking more detailed options, Staud’s two-tone dress is an easy pick while Christopher John Rogers’ multi-hued stripes make for a show-stealing dress.

Jacquemus Dao knitted maxi dress

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Christopher John Rogers stretch knit maxi dress

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Loewe ribbed-knit midi dress

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Staud Shoko colour-block dress

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Leather dresses

Leather dresses may not seem like the first pick for a day in the office, but hear us out. Nothing says power dressing quite like a sleek leather midi dress paired with a boxy blazer or a shorter dress styled with tights and boots. Perfectly fitted and impeccably tailored leather dresses can work really well for work.

Alaïa’s signature flared leather mini dress will look great under your winter coats paired with high-heeled boots while Ralph Lauren takes a subtler approach with this supple leather skirt, offset by a woollen torso crafted to resemble separates. Bottega Veneta’s yellow woven leather dress cuts a bright and smart silhouette but if you’re looking for a greener option, Nanushka offers up a supple vegan leather shirt dress.

Ralph Lauren wool and leather mini dress

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Alaïa leather mini dress

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Nanushka vegan leather shirt dress

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Bottega Veneta Intrecciato leather minidress

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Shift dresses

The ultimate day-to-night dress silhouette, shift dresses have long been considered versatile workwear options. Traditionally formal, refresh your shift dress edit with some new options this season. Try a simple detail addition like Prada’s wool-blend dress with a safety-pin logo patch embellishment or Oscar de la Renta’s delicate pink version featuring a crystal-embroidered scalloped hem. For maximalist aficionados, Versace's sharply tailored offering will rule the boardroom while Carolina Herrera crafts a stunning dress from multi-coloured tweed.

Prada safety-pin logo shift dress

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Oscar de la Renta crystal-embroidered shift dress

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Versace tailored virgin wool minidress

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Carolina Herrera tweed shift dress

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Read more: Marvellous maxi skirts to shop now