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There’s nothing more satisfying than wearing a dress that makes you feel confident. Just slip a dress over your head and voila, your look is almost complete (and don’t forget the shoes).

Wearing a dress – the right dress – is both simple and effective. But finding the right dress for the right occasion can be a long and winding journey. With the holidays approaching, it can be a very daunting task. Thankfully, we’ve found the best 5 dresses.

Merlette Paradis Open Tier Cotton Dress

We love this designer dress because of its 100% lightweight cotton, dress-like silhouette and tiered ruffles. It’s very feminine, but can also be paired with a pair of military boots and a leather jacket to give it some versatility in terms of styling. Plus, the choppy silhouette is popular right now and is a style that often returns in the spirit of the times, making it a great investment you’ll take out of your closet for years to come.

Staud Carnation Dress

Knitted dresses are a fall closet staple, and this everyday piece is the icing on the cake. With a V-neckline and long puff sleeves, this solid ribbed dress is both stylish and comfortable. The color-blocked knit waistband will show off your waistline and create a glamorous fit that will make you look unpretentious. Wear it now with bare legs and wooden-soled shoes and pair it with a large silhouette camel coat, cashmere scarf and leggings for chilly days.

LoveShackFancy Edie Dress

LoveShackFancy’s Edie Dress is a perfect blend of bohemian and cottage core inspiration. It’s also very well made, which explains the higher price tag: it features delicate cotton crochet lace, delicate needle folds and mother-of-pearl buttons, and is available in three other colors, including mint tie-dye, black and light pink. The dress also comes with a removable skirt lining that doubles as a beach cover-up, making it perfect for travel wear.

Nasty Gal floral print high neck smock dress

If you’re looking for something floral, but not boring, this smock dress is very wearable. Its long-line silhouette and regal silhouette make it comfortable and blends well together. It’s also endlessly versatile – depending on your office dress code, you can wear it with a pair of boots at work, but also with white sneakers and a leather jacket at the end of the day. The fabric is a little thinner than we expected and almost feels like mesh to the touch, although this isn’t obvious when you’re wearing it. While it’s a great choice for spring, it can easily be worn with leggings and boots in winter as well.

Lulu’s Tea Reader Light Grey Sweater Dress

If you want the look and feel of a traditional sweater dress, but still want to show some leg, this best-selling (and affordable!) one from Lulu’s Light Grey Mini Sweater Dress is perfect. It’s slightly oversized, making it perfect for easy dressing days. Pair it with opaque pantyhose and knee-high boots, or fishnet pantyhose and heels. You can also lace it up to add some shape if you wish. Pick up four other colors, including maroon, camel and navy.

How to Buy a Dress

Buying a dress can be one of the most challenging experiences, second only to buying a swimsuit. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Here are some tips to help you find the right dress for you.

Find a dress style that fits your specific body type

Everyone’s body type is unique, but almost everyone falls into several basic body shape categories, including pear, apple, straight/rectangular and hourglass. When determining your body type, consider your bust, waist and hip circumference. Once you have determined a shape that accurately reflects you, look for complementary dress styles.

You need to consider the occasion

Before you go to the store to buy a dress, you need to consider what type of event you are buying the dress for. For example, if it is a formal event such as a party with a specific dress code, you should consider buying a long dress. Conversely, for informal occasions such as award ceremonies, you should consider a long flowing or knee-length reception dress. For everyday occasions, knee-length or versatile dresses are ideal.

Set a clothing budget

One way to set a budget is to make a list of all the clothes you think you’ll need to buy in a year and then estimate how much you’re willing to spend on each one. Once you have a total, stick to it and don’t spend more than you have to.

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