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Types of Dresses — Explanation & Visual Guide

We all know that dresses come in different cuts, silhouettes, designs, and fabrics — from long and short, to frilly and flowy. This variety is certainly what makes putting on dresses so fun. There’s simply no single way to classify them. Instead, here are some of the dresses you might encounter (or even get to wear!) in your lifetime.

Collared Dress

(Image Credit: Boohoo)

Collared dresses give off a relaxed yet professional look – and in such an effortless way, too. Plus, the collar detail just gives off such a nostalgic, vintage vibe with an unbeatable charm.

Button-Down Dress

(Image Credit: DHgate)

Similar to buttoned shirts, button-down dresses are styled and closed the same way. Luxury brand Nordstrom has several types of button-downs, including mini-length ones. The ones with angel sleeves exude cute and petite looks and are perfect for easy dressing.

High-Low Dress

(Image Credit: Windsor)

This piece is uniquely styled with a longer back and a shorter front — ideal for dancing parties or dinners out. Pair it with heels to add even more depth to your ensemble.

Wrap Dress

(Image Credit: Diane von Furstenberg)

Characterized by its hourglass illusion, wrap dresses are worn by wrapping one side of the dress across the other, before tying the fabric at the waist to secure everything in place.

Peplum Dress

(Image Credit: Boohoo)

Peplums are hanging frills made out of flared, gathered, or pleated strips of fabric attached to the waist of a dress. It’s a very fun and playful style, and immediately gives anyone a defined figure, thanks to the flare detail.

Shift Dress

(Image Credit: Vineyard Vines)

These are short, box-shaped dresses that are ideal for those with athletic or straight silhouettes. Because their shape is so simple, shift dresses are the ideal canvases for unique prints and color blocking. No need to worry about being over-dressed here.

Silk Dress

(Image Credit: The Iconic)

There’s just an undeniable je n’ais se quoi to silk dresses — whether it’s because of its sultry fabric or cheeky cut. Whatever it is, this simple yet elegant dress can elevate a look in a second. This floral silk dress from Whistles even has an added layer of sophistication, thanks to its lovely lilac color and floral pattern.

Halter Dress

(Image Credit: Forever 21)

Halters are dresses with a strapless or sleeveless upper-half that’s attached to a fabric that goes around the neck. Great for days when you can’t be bothered to put together a complete outfit, halter dresses are the ultimate casual piece without ever being sloppy — whether you’re at a summer carnival or on a picnic.

Bodycon Dress

(Image Credit: Lulus)

Derived from the name itself, bodycon dresses are meant to hug your body and show off your figure. While conventional standards might say that you need an incredibly toned hourglass figure to pull it off, don’t let that stop you. If you love what you’ve got — flaunt it!

Slip Dress

(Image Credit: Topshop)

A slip dress is traditionally something that’s worn beneath a dress. Today it’s openly worn on its own to radiate the feeling of comfort with a little “sexy” attached.

Linen Dress

(Image Credit: Woman Within)

Linen is a fabric that’s thin and light, making it the perfect choice for the warm weather. It’s also unlike your usual cotton or spandex — fabrics that tend to hug in the wrong places if not properly fitted. Linen falls much nicer, as shown by the range of dresses on Woman Within. The loose silhouettes make it easy to wear, while still being able to maintain a touch of femininity. Just be careful with this delicate fabric since it tends to develop wrinkles fast.

Poplin Dress

(Image Credit: eShakti)

Poplin is a type of cotton weave that’s done with a simple criss-cross pattern. It’s very popular due to its smooth finish and higher thread count, resulting in a luxurious feel even on the most casual of days. Like linen dresses, poplin fabrics are best for hot summer days.

Sweater Dress

(Image Credit: Glowsly)

Pretty much like what its name suggests, it’s a sweater but in dress form. They’re usually knitted and can come in various cuts, fits, and lengths. This grey sweater dress featured on Glowsly lets you channel your inner preppy chic by pairing it with oversized glasses and a neat hair bun.

A-Line Dress

(Image Credit: Number 9 Fashion)

Just like the A-line skirt we previously discussed on My Fashion Galore, this dress is also created with a fitted waist that naturally widens as it goes down. As such, it helps enhance your lower body, especially for petite women.

Fit-And-Flare Dress

(Image Credit: ModCloth)

Similar to A-lines, a fit-and-flare dress is composed of a top that’s fitted and a bottom that “flares” out. However, unlike A-lines, fit-and-flares look more like hourglass silhouettes due to the flared cutting at the bottom of the hip, rather than at the top or middle.

Empire Waist Dress

(Image Credit: Ever-Pretty)

This style refers to a raised waistline that hugs right under the bust to create a longer form. Ideal for those who want to add the illusion of height, empire waist dresses also have that effortless Greek goddess touch because of its draping skirt.