Best fall dresses

Ashley Clayton Kay

Fall dresses

The arrival of cool, crisp autumn weather means it’s time to put away the light, summery dresses and sandals and turn to styles that will keep you warm while looking your best. 

Fall styles celebrate earthy autumn colors and textures with an equal display of form and function. This year, bold prints, vintage looks and angular, multi-layered silhouettes are all on-trend. Whether it’s for an important meeting or a night out with your friends, there are plenty of dresses you’re sure to love.  

Fall dress trends for 2021

Colors and patterns

This fall, you’ll find 1970s-reminiscent geometric prints and a color palette that favors rust orange, bronze and deep reds as well as cobalt blue and rich plum. If you’re looking to make a statement, fuchsia is also back in a big way. For something more subdued, army green continues to be a popular fall choice. 


Dresses in gold sequins, deep wine and aubergine velvet, shades of faux suede, woolly ivory crochet knit and worn denim looks are on-trend.

Size and shape

Oversized sweaters, button-down shirts with wide collars and sweater vests as dresses create opportunities for cozy layering. The season’s silhouettes give strength to shoulders with wide lapel collars, and blouson sleeves emphasize wrists and legs.

Best fall dresses

Best of the best fall dress in 2021

Anne Klein Printed Shift Dress: available at Macy’s

Our take: This Anne Klein dress is multifunctional and hits several fall trends in a flattering everyday dress.

What we like: This dress has a retro geometric pattern, trending colors (rust orange and blue), and adjustable sleeve length. It could pair well with leggings on colder days and features a soft knit in polyester/elastane.

What we dislike: This dress must be hand-washed only. 

Best fall shirt dress

Artist Dress in Tuscan Orange: available at Tory Burch

Our take: For anyone ready for pumpkins, this bold, collared blouson-sleeve cotton poplin shirt dress is both comfortable, work-worthy and ready for layers.

What we like: This dress is lightweight with long sleeves, making it a perfect dress to layer with a cardigan or blazer. Features a detachable belt and pockets.

What we dislike: Runs large; order a size down for a regular fit.

Best fall animal print dress

Faithfull the Brand Florian Wrap Dress in Kenya Animal: available at REVOLVE

Our take: With blouson long sleeves perfect for fall, this brown-and-black animal print wrap dress is lightweight and versatile.

What we like: Rayon chiffon makes a delicate flowing silhouette. Cinches at the waist with tie closure. It’s fully lined.

What we dislike: This dress must be hand-washed. 

Best summer-to-fall dress

DKNY Abstract Asymmetrical Midi Dress in Arizona Earth Multi: available at Macy’s

Our take: For those in warmer climates wanting to introduce fall colors without the heavy look while temperatures are still warm, this spaghetti strap neutral-toned dress can take you from the beach to a cozy denim jacket.

What we like: Its machine-washable polyester is easy to care for, and it is lined with adjustable straps and an asymmetrical hemline.

What we dislike: Its bold print may overpower someone who is petite.

Best fall-to-winter dress

Calvin Klein Belted Houndstooth A-Line Dress: available at Macy’s

Our take: This classic dress with a red-and-black houndstooth pattern features a flattering A-line silhouette.

What we like: Features gold detail on the belt and material is a stretchy polyester/spandex scuba crepe.

What we dislike: Not lined and dry clean only.

Best fall floral dress

Free People Flower Fields Mini Dress in Dark Combo: available at REVOLVE

Our take: Casual long-sleeve dress with a country bohemian feel, perfect for pairing with cowboy boots.

What we like: This mini dress comes at an affordable price and features an adjustable waistline. Reviewers rave that they receive lots of compliments.

What we dislike: Runs large.

Best fall asymmetrical dress

Joie Vista Dress in Washed Mahogany: available at REVOLVE

Our take: A versatile and casual dress that can be dressed up or down with accessories.

What we like: The detachable belt allows for style changes. Material is a soft cotton-modal blend. 

What we dislike: Some may find it to be too clingy.

Best fall everyday dress

Alfani Printed Tie-Waist Midi Dress in Cedar Falling: available at Macy’s

Our take: Whether you’re headed to work, the coffee shop or a pumpkin patch, this button-down fit-and-flare dress can transition through the day.

What we like: This dress has a vintage feel with big pockets to carry keys or a phone. It has an adorable bow in back and is machine-washable.

What we dislike: Dress doesn’t have a lining.

Best fall little black dress

Free People Reckless Life Denim Dress in Washed Black: available at REVOLVE

Our take: This little black dress conjures the witchiness of fall with its bell sleeves and frayed hems. It begs to be paired with colorful scarves, leggings or lace-up boots.

What we like: Features a cut-out back, pretty bell sleeves and a zipper in back. 

What we dislike: The cotton can wrinkle easily, so you must iron this dress before wearing it.

Best fall short sweater dress

Rails Oslo Sweater in Olive: available at REVOLVE

Our take: You can wear this style as a mini dress, as a tunic over leggings or a regular oversized sweater, which is a fall wardrobe priority.

What we like: This cozy dress includes generous pockets and a deep V-neck and is ready for snuggling.

What we dislike: This dress is pricey, and it’s best hand-washed.

Best fall long sweater dress

Tory Burch Performance Merino Ribbed Chevron Dress in Winetasting/Gala Red: available at Tory Burch

Our take: This color-blocked sweater dress can be worn belted or not, with its flattering design and bold fall colors.

What we like: Made of moisture-wicking material, this dress is stretchy and can transition well into the winter months.

What we dislike: Dry clean only.

Best bang for your buck fall dress

R.Vivimos Fall Faux Suede Vintage V-Neck Overall Sleeveless Dress: available at Amazon

Our take: This dress is great for giving a fall outfit texture and layering, starting with over T-shirts in the early fall and transitioning to being worn over turtlenecks or blouses. 

What we like: It’s inexpensive, zips up the back, has pockets and also comes in wine red and black.

What we dislike: This garment should be hand-washed only. 

Best fall lace dress

Tularosa Leeann Dress in Forest Green: available at REVOLVE

Our take: A great cocktail dress for a night out or a fall wedding that pairs well with heels or boots.

What we like: This dress features combination of butterfly long sleeves and an interior slip with adjustable straps. It also has a cut-out back with velveteen ribbon tie-back detail.

What we dislike: Limited in sizes and hand-wash only.

Best fall formal dress

Red Velvet ’90s Criss-Cross Halter Neck Maxi: available at Etsy

Our take: If you’re looking for something vintage, Etsy has plenty of options available, like this knockout red velvet spaghetti strap dress from the ’90s. 

What we like: This affordably priced vintage piece would look great with chunky sandals or boots.

What we dislike: Sizing on Etsy may not always be accurate.

Ashley Clayton Kay is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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