Written by Avalon Afriyie
From minis to maxis, there’s a classic winter dress to suit every style. These are the best to buy this year.
Long gone are the days when winter dressing was dreary and uninspiring. Now, in addition to the conviviality, winter brings with it an abundance of sartorial flair. What we miss in lightweight voiles and loose weaves, we more than make up for with lavish meters of fabric and saturated colourways, to reflect the autumnal state.
Winter dress season is upon us and despite our collective mourning for the summer sun, each season brings with it an opportunity to be inspired once again – and the dresses this year are nothing short of inspiring. The winter dress selections of 2022 are extensive, and they far exceed weighty weaves. It’s a fun and free-spirited time for fashion. Minimalists and maximalists unite for the ‘more is more’ outlook – in the way of bold, daring styles and layered classics. It lends the opportunity for self-expression, so you’ll find sweeping gowns, silks in bias cuts, bouffant sleeves and motifs aplenty.
The most notable dress styles for winter 2022 are leather midi dresses, mesh, zebra print, elongated denim button-ups and dresses that accentuate the waist – whether that’s corseted, shirred or panelled. Many trends, such as the bustier, have also come full circle, so you’ll find vintage-style dresses that are destined to be in the wardrobe for years to come.
As (dare I say it) Christmas is on the horizon, playful styles are also funnelling onto brands’ virtual shelves. Prints are becoming prominent, as are greens and burnt sienna tones. The LBD has also resurfaced in midi and maxi lengths once again, to withstand harsher temperatures. You might even spot an o-shaped cut-out or two because, although summer’s over, party season is imminent. There’s much fun to be had at the tail end of the year – trust me.
The best winter dresses to buy now
Pink City Prints Rah Rah dress
Pink City Prints is best known for its intricate block print motifs adorned on sumptuous organic cotton. Its newly-released Rah Rah dress (albeit more subdued) is a year-round contender. It’s crafted from cotton poplin, which has a weightier feel. It’ll make a fantastic evening dress for the winter paired with platform heels and streamlined outerwear.
Shop Pink City Prints Rah Rah dress, £170
Arket knot-detail wool dress
When it comes to knitted dresses, it’s all in the detail – and a case in point is this overstated waist tie feature. It adds complimentary shaping to the cocoon style and balloon sleeves. Tie the knot loose or tight for the desired effect and you can also ruche the sleeves for a laid-back look. Whichever way you style it, it’s undeniably chic.
Shop Arket knot-detail wool dress, £89
MyCashmere Bianca dress
Since its inception, MyCashmere has kept sustainability at the core of its brand ethos. In addition to the mindful curation of materials, their pieces are made to withstand the test of time. Their capsule is particularly appealing in the winter as cashmere epitomises the hibernation period when we’re all longing to be enveloped in cosy fabrications with a hot cup of cocoa. This floor-length maxi is a quiet wardrobe staple everyone could do with. Pair it with trainers or boots and let the rich yarn do all the talking.
Shop MyCashmere Bianca dress, £339
Mara Hoffman Agnella dress
This clever style has all the length and volume you need for winter, with the benefit of an exposed neckline to display ample jewels. Tie the bow as loose or tight as you desire, throw a wool coat over the top and you’ll have an instantly glamourous outfit. It’s guaranteed to span years of wear due to the quality and fit. Just look at that timeless camel hue.
Shop Mara Hoffman Agnella dress, £315
Réalisation Par Gia animal dress
Zebra print is the motif of the season and brown the hue of 2022, making this Réalisation Par release a fashion-forward statement piece. Just like the Naomi Wild Things skirt did in 2017, this dress has reached cult status. It’s also Réalisation Par’s first floor length and full sleeve dress. It can be worn for most occasions and it’s so easy to wear despite its glamorous appearance.
Shop Réalisation Par Gia animal dress, £250
Warehouse floral piping dress
Pair this ditsy floral print midi with this season’s famed cowboy boots for an understated Parisian flair. The piping and print are all the detail you need.
Shop Warehouse floral piping dress, £47.40
Sabina Sommer Alyssa dress
If you’re one for full dresses, you’ll love Sabina Sommer’s designs. The wrap style can transition from summer to winter due to the length, full sleeves and bloom print. There’s also an option to wear the wrap detail high, to cover the neck.
Shop Sabina Sommer Alyssa dress, £215
Mango lyocell dress
Although this dress was released in the summer, it’s the perfect example of a transeasonal dress. The colour is one we’re frequently seeing on the high street and, although the cutouts are a star feature, they can be covered with a jacket or concealed with a vest underneath. It’s also made from lyocell, which is a more sustainable material.
Shop Mango lyocell dress, £59.99
& Other Stories belted knitted dress
& Other Stories dresses are among some of the highest quality the high street boasts. Every autumn, they release a handful of knitted dresses destined for sell-out status and I think this will follow suit. A timeless knit dress is a hero item in any capsule. This is also fashioned from RWS-certified yarn – it’s chic, comfortable and considered.
Shop & Other Stories belted knitted dress, £110
Sleeping With Jacques Brontë dress
It may be dark in colour, but this gothic style dress is the anthesis to dreary winter dressing. The design is elevated to the highest standard, from fabrication to the ruching and tiered lengths, which is notoriously challenging on silk. Wear it with knee-high boots or strappy heels in the evening.
Shop Sleeping With Jacques Brontë dress, £800
Lily and Lionel Indian Sunset dress
There’s nothing that says autumn or winter quite like a bold floral print. Lily and Lionel have also appeased those of us who love to don a maxi through to winter. This style can be dressed up for a winter wedding or worn with boots and a leather jacket during the day. The colour palette also pairs particularly well with brown.
Shop Lily and Lionel Indian Sunset dress, £260
Warehouse Yoke dress
One thing is guaranteed in the fashion world and that’s the cyclical re-appearance of floral print. Much like whack-a-mole, it’s guaranteed to prop up each season. The evidence of seasonal change is reflected in the shift of floral motifs. As the seasons get cooler, floral prints either become bolder or appear on deeper backgrounds, paving way for corresponding brown accessories.
Shop Warehouse Yoke dress, £79.20
Worme Bibi sheer dress
Worme is a contemporary brand to watch this winter. Their silk garments are both designed and crafted in London. This figure-hugging slip complete with dolman sleeves and a fluted neckline is a twist on the typical slip dress. It’s a dress that will come alive in the evening, layered up or worn alone.
Shop Worme Bibi sheer dress, £350
Jigsaw denim dress
Denim dresses are everywhere this season, particularly in rich indigo hues. The blouson sleeve is a modern feature that offsets the A-line shaping. This is a dress you can wear from the office to drinks with friends. Add winter accessories and swap barely there sandals for platform boots.
Shop Jigsaw denim dress, £155
Albaray black jersey halter dress
You can always rely on a fancy décolletage detail when hemlines inevitable extend in the winter. This dress also comprises a fit and flare shape for increased movement in the skirt. An LBD with subtle elevations makes for perfect evening wear, no matter the season.
Shop Albaray black jersey halter dress, £69
Aeron Lara dress
Aeron showcased a sleek collection this Copenhagen Fashion Week with knits in subdued colourways to suit the minimalist’s palette. The brand proudly boasts a 0% waste model, which is something to applaud. Full marks for sustainability, design and inclusion. Ecru is an appealing shade during the winter, particularly for lovers of neutral tones. With one swipe of colour, it brightens a look head-to-toe.
Shop Aeron Lara dress, £465
Matteau cotton-poplin maxi shirt dress
Matteau is renowned for its resort wear collections, but they also have ready-to-wear pieces that are suitable for winter. They’ve taken this year’s rich brown hue and married it with the classic shirt dress, creating something that can be layered up with wool outwear and boots in the winter and stripped back when the sun comes back around.
Shop Matteau cotton-poplin maxi shirt dress at Net-a-Porter, £372.50
Kitri Millie checked dress
This checkerboard style comes complete with a fluted neck and gaping button detail. It’s a skimming style you can don with any type of footwear, from autumn to spring. It also makes a suave evening dress teamed with heeled sandals and a simple clutch bag.
Shop Kitri Millie checked dress, £155
Rixo Meg Sienna leopard dress
Rixo expertly craft fluid vintage-style dresses that make the aptest transitional garments. Their winter releases comprise glitzy styles and clashing prints. Pair the Meg dress with understated knee-length boots and let the juxtaposing prints do all of the talking for the party season and beyond. Rixo’s extended size range is also something worthy of celebration in the fashion industry. This style is now available in UK sizes 6-24.
Shop Rixo Meg Sienna leopard dress, £285
Rejina Pyo Etta black cotton-poplin midi dress
Rejina Pyo ran with the contrast stitching memo and adhered it to this structured poplin dress complete with a raglan sleeve. The result is a timeless, feminine dress with just the right amount of sway (and pockets to boot).
Shop Rejina Pyo Etta black cotton-poplin midi dress at Harvey Nichols, £695
Baserange Shaw ribbed organic cotton-fleece dress
No winter dress edit is complete without Baserange. The Shaw dress has cemented its status as a wardrobe must-have that’s popular with fashion editors across the globe. This autumn they’ve also birthed a fresh addition in a crisp apple green for lovers of colour. If I didn’t already have it in two colourways, I would be tempted.
Shop Baserange Shaw ribbed organic cotton-fleece dress at Net-a-Porter, £188
Mango printed shirt dress
You needn’t look far to find zebra print this season. This print by Mango has a nod to geometric shaping with jagged peaks. It may be a trend-led piece, but the muted tone will make it wearable at any given time. Not to mention, animal print never really goes out of style.
Shop Mango printed shirt dress, £35.99
Aligne Gemma cut-out back midaxi dress
The peek-a-boo iteration has been one of the most esteemed trends of 2022 and we needn’t leave cut-outs behind this winter with clever styles like this. Don cut-outs on the back of dresses or the shoulders for the winter season. No cut-out left behind.
Shop Aligne Gemma cut-out back midaxi dress, £79
Asos Design Curve mini linen dress
It’s official – leafy green has become synonymous with autumn and winter, particularly after this year’s trend forecast. The faux boning also references the hot corset trend that’s adorned on everything from strapless tops to dresses. Because of the shaping and timeless design, you’ll whittle your cost per wear right down as this is a piece you can wear regardless of the seasonal shift.
Shop Asos Design Curve mini linen dress, £42
Reformation Billy knit dress
Reformation never disappoints when it comes to dresses. The Billy knit is set to be a popular style for the winter. This dress is a piece you can pull time and again due to the classic shaping – it’s timeless. From weddings to dates and everyday jaunts you can make this dress work hard.
Shop Reformation Billy knit dress, £185
Images: Getty, courtesy of brands
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