The 13 best work dresses
24 February 2020
It can be a tough balance to get right - professional and practical; chic yet office-appropriate. Thankfully, Mumsnetters have combed through every major retailer for the perfect work dresses. Whether you're looking for something formal or smart-casual; pretty or pretty imposing, this list has you covered.
Bequemer Laden Swing Dress, £17.99
Everyone needs a little black work dress (LBWD). This cotton-blend beauty fits the bill if you're after cheap workwear, at less than £20 and with free delivery. Soft, stretchy and delightfully comfy, it comes in a whole host of patterns and designs – all with pockets. Yes, you heard that right, pockets.
“I'm so pleased with my short sleeve dress from Amazon, which was around £15 and has pockets! I've ordered and returned so many dresses trying to find something suitable for work and I think I've finally found it.”Buy now from Amazon
People Tree Madeline Shirt Dress, £50 (was £125)
This dress is worthy of a swoon or two, with its multi-way belt, draped skirt and sustainably-sourced material. Bridging the gap between breezy and formal, the smart collar, soft fabric and navy hue make it perfect for the office – especially while it's better than half price.
“People Tree are a good ethical company. I have a few of their jersey dresses and they're very good quality.”Buy now from People Tree
M&S Empire Fit & Flare Dress, £35
Looking for the perfect fit and flare work dress? You may have found it with this knee-length number from M&S. Built to flatter, the slight bounce in the skirt will add a touch of fun to the dreariest of offices. It's available in a variety of autumnal shades: amber, dark orange, green, midnight blue and black.
“I love the M&S swing dresses for work. They come in loads of designs and colours.”
“I rate M&S dresses for work, especially as you can throw them in the washer.”
“M&S dresses are a bit of a revelation as far as I'm concerned.”Buy now from M&S
Yidarton Short Sleeve Midi Wrap Dress, from £6.99
Yes, you read that price right. At less than a tenner, this midi wrap dress has won rave reviews for its soft, stretchy fabric. Throw it on for peak comfy office chic.
“This gets rave reviews, and for good reason.”Buy now from Amazon
The White Company Hounds Tooth Dress, £53.40 (was £89)
In search of sophistication? Allow us to introduce you to your new favourite dress. Composed of high-quality, heavy-weight jersey, the houndstooth print and flattering V-neck of this White Company dress exude Parisian chic. Oh, and this one's got pockets too.
“I go to The White Company for lovely plain jersey dresses which come to about the knee on me (5'2”) and don't need ironing. They wash beautifully too."Buy now from The White Company
Banana Republic Wrinkle-Resistant Wrap Dress, from £52
No one wants a wrinkle in their work attire, and this fit and flare dress is built to resist every crease. Cinched at the waist with a ribbon, its wrap design is oh-so flattering, and easily translates from your desk to after-work drinks.
“I'm a lawyer and Banana Republic is my staple for inexpensive but good-quality work dresses.”Buy now from Banana Republic
Oliver Bonas Pleated Midi Dress, £75
Falling just below the knee, this trendy shirt dress is ideal if you'd like to sport a bit of colour. Effortlessly cool, tie it at the waist to add some definition to your figure.
“If you're after funky but grown-up designs, Oliver Bonas has some lovely stuff.”Buy now from Oliver Bonas
Finery Aylmer Crinkle Dress, £99
This is very much a 'command the room' dress. Keep warm on the commute by layering it over a turtleneck (and win some style points along the way). And, if the price tag makes you wince a little, it's worth noting that it doubles up as a glamorous evening dress, too.
“I've just bought a smart dress from Finery and the quality is absolutely lovely.”Buy now from Finery
Phase Eight Tallulah Shirt Dress, £99
For utilitarian glamour, look no further. This midi-length dress checks all the necessary boxes – sleek, smart, flattering and trendy. The tortoiseshell buttons are a lovely touch, as is the statement belt.
“I think Phase Eight work dresses are great (not least because they’re machine-washable).”Buy now from Phase Eight
Boden Aida Ponte Dress, £40 (was £80)
Complete with a fit-and-flare skirt, slim belt and fitted bodice, this is one flattering work dress. Knee-length and with capped sleeves, it gives some welcome coverage for the chillier morning commutes.
“Boden have some gorgeous sleeved dresses this season. They're really flattering and look much more expensive than they are.”Buy now from Boden
Hobbs Viviene Dress, £139
Some staples are worth investing in – a good work dress being one of them. Tailored to perfection, the trim fit and arresting colour of this dress will make you 63% more productive. Did we just make that statistic up? Yes, but just look at that cranberry hue; that crisp V-neck – it's probably true.
“Hobbs is brilliant quality – my stuff from there lasts for ages. I find it true to size, too.”Buy now from Hobbs
Jigsaw Ditsy Tea Dress, £150
This pretty office dress is bang on-trend, with its midi-length, long sleeves, and ditsy floral print. Panelled seams run through the bodice for an extra flattering fit. And, true, it's on the pricier end of the scale, but it'll carry you through every season, rain or shine – just layer it up with knitwear in the frostier months.
“I always think that Jigsaw have some good quality staples that last for ages.”Buy now from Jigsaw
Jaeger Patch Pocket Jersey Dress, £99
Aiming for the 'effortlessly chic' look? This simple, yet effective, dress is your new best friend. Creating a sleek silhouette, it has cuffed sleeves, glimmering gold-tone buttons, and practical side pockets. In short, it's exactly what you need to look put-together, but not try-hard.
“Jaeger do some beautiful dresses and, if you're lucky, you can get some bargains in the sales.”
“Ooh yes – Jaeger. You're guaranteed lovely quality and a great fit.”Buy now from Jaeger
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Prices correct at the time of writing.