Searches for work dresses are up 3,900%: Here are 17 to shop now

Now that most office workers have returned to the workplace on at least a part-time basis, you’ve probably noticed that your workwear wardrobe is somewhat lacking. It’s likely you haven’t bought any new work dresses since the beginning on 2020, pre-lockdown, when loungewear and slippers became the new trouser suit overnight.

But now, with the big office return underway, investing in some new workwear is a priority for lots of us. Indeed, Karen Millen has reported a 3,900 per cent increase in searches for work dresses. The high street brand has always been a go-to for workwear, with its iconic Forever Dress a timeless piece that has seen many reinventions over the years.

Bonnie Godsil, Head of Design at Karen Millen, says: ‘Our Forever Dress is a timeless addition to any well-considered wardrobe. Crafted in our signature structured crepe, the fabric has a four-way stretch for added comfort and ease of movement.

‘This style has been a best seller for over five years now, and the design has continued to develop to the changing market. We see the classic black colourway as the bestselling, and not only has the style been a bestseller in the UK, but also over in the US – a firm favourite with news anchors.’

When looking for a new work dress, comfort is key. Make sure you can sit and move around comfortably in it – a bit of added stretch will help this. Crepe materials are ideal for creating a structured shape – perfect if your office dress code is smart – and block colours always look professional.

For slightly more casual dress codes, you could opt for a loose-fitting shirt dress, either in a bright block colour or a quiet print, and belted styles help to create a flattering shape.

Office dressing doesn’t have to mean ditching all your personal style at the door – look for subtle design details like ruching, prints, asymmetric lines and voluminous skirts to bring some personality to your workwear. And don’t forget about accessories – a bright handbag or bold necklace can do wonders for a plain black dress.

Best work dresses on the high street

rust asymmetric pencil dress
Karne Millen

Structured Crepe Asymmetric Tuck Detail Dress, £148 (was £185), Karen Millen

blue belted shirt dress
Finery

Adaria Midi Satin Back Crepe Blue Dress, £89, Finery

black tie waist dress
Next

Ponte Bodycon Dress, £40, Next

dark green shirt dress
Whistles

Livi Midi Dress, £119, Whistles

brown wrap dress
& Other Stores

Oversized Midi Wrap Dress, £95, & Other Stories

printed midi shirt dress
M&S

Cupro Printed Belted Midaxi Shirt Dress, £59, M&S

magenta belted midi pencil dress
Karen Millen

Forever Belted Midi Pencil Dress, £180 (was £225), Karen Millen

black tie belt dress
H&M

Tie-belt dress, £29, H&M

blue printed midi dress
Roman

Royal Blue Animal Print Keyhole Midi Dress, £37.80 (was £42), Roman

white pencil dress
Mango

Fitted cotton dress, £29.99, Mango

Chinti & Parker stripe shirt dress
The Outnet

Chinti & Parker Belted striped woven midi shirt dress, £68 (was £275), The Outnet

rust belted shirt dress
Reiss

Emilie Belted Midi Dress, £198, Reiss

navy L.K.Bennett pencil dress
John Lewis

L.K.Bennett Liya Tailored Pencil Dress, £125, John Lewis

swirl shirt dress
New Look

Brown Swirl Belted Midaxi Shirt Dress, £29.99, New Look

cream utility pencil dress
Karen Millen

Tailored Short Sleeve Utility Pencil Dress, £113.75 (was £175), Karen Millen

burgundy shirt dress
Cos

Midi Shirt Dress, £89, Cos

green side ruched dress
ZARA

Dress with side gathering, £22.99, ZARA