The new dress code: Frocks are back but do you opt for Greek goddess or chunky knit?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Evening

Seen at: Dior

A long evening dress is always a big purchase, since the cost-per-wear price tends to be high. However, with the Christmas season on the horizon, now is your best chance to indulge your inner diva. Karen Millen's sleek black strapless number (£225, www.karenmillen.com) is a black-tie failsafe, while Principle's asymmetric purple dress (£85, >www.principles.co.uk) has a Greek-goddess touch. The brocade bodice and empire-line style of Monsoon's dress (£160, www.monsoon.co.uk) make a flattering, alternative to more obvious options. If you have the confidence (and budget) to try something a little bolder, the diaphanous printed 1930s-style Jaeger frock (£399, www.jaeger.co.uk) is stunning, although a fairly willowy frame is required for best effect.

Cocktail

Seen at: Valli

Of all the dresses on the autumn catwalk, the cocktail dress reigned supreme. A Little Black Dress verges on cliché, but it was a designer favourite this season. John Lewis' glamorous beaded number (£179,www.johnlewis.com) has the rare advantage of sleeves (great for hiding pallid winter skin). Meanwhile, the frills on H&M's svelte mini-dress (£34.99, www.hm.com) echo couture looks. Asymmetric styles show off a good décolleté and, in an understated neutral (£228 (www.my-wardrobe.com), avoid the predictable glitz, while the skirt shape of the season – the "peplum" (£485 (www.my-wardrobe.com) – flatters a small waist.

Casual

Seen at: Sonia Rykiel

Swapping your off-duty jeans-and-top uniform for a dress will make you feel instantly more feminine. It doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort, though, as Stella McCartney's wonderfully cosy chunky knit sweater dress (£595, www.net-a-porter.com) proves. Likewise, Kew's belted plum number (£44, www.kew-online.com) is an effortless winter outfit paired with opaque tights. Folksy girls will appreciate the Liberty-style print on Oasis' tunic (£70, www.oasis-stores.com), which can be layered with knitwear as the temperature slides. If you prefer a tougher edge to your style, the fluoro dog-tooth print on Orion London's T-shirt dress (£62, www.orionlondon.co.uk) works this season's punk trend.

Work

Seen at: YSL

The advantage of wearing a dress to work is that it will save you the hassle of composing an outfit in the morning. Brora's checked style (£195, www.brora.co.uk) channels autumn's "Balmoral chic" vibe. Is it a dress? Is it a coat? No, it's a coat-dress (£249, www.jaeger.co.uk), a big style this season and an ultra-smart option. Pink Soda's grey flannel tailored number (£181, www.pinksoda.co.uk) will look chic layered over a thin black polo- neck. And though it may be a little bright, anyone who works in a creative environment will appreciate the bold colours of Miu Miu's tunic (£205, www.net-a-porter.com).

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test