Dresses are one-piece garments that comprise of a bodice with an attached skirt. With hemlines reaching upto one’s knee or below it, dresses are among the most favoured outfits during summer.
A very elaborate dress, reaching up to the floor with lots of embellishments would be classified as a gown. Gowns are formal outfits while dresses are more casual. Among dresses, there are various kinds, each characterised by their shape, length, style, silhouette, purpose or the occasion that it is worn for.
A dress with the hemline reaching upto the ankles would be called a maxi dress while one that reaches upto the calves would be called a midi dress. Going by the same nomenclature pattern, a mini dress is a dress with a higher hemline.
Dresses are also named as per their silhouette, shape and fit. A sheath dress is one that clings to the body and fits you perfectly. When made of tweed or wool, sheath dresses can be sophisticated formal outfits that are ideal for office wear. Similarly, shirt dresses are inspired by men’s shirts – complete with a collar and cuffs and buttons that almost reach upto the hem. Comfortable and casual, shirt dresses look smart when worn with a belt and a sling bag for a day out.
Aside from these, there are wrap dresses that have wrap detailing, A-line or trapeze dresses that are loosely fitted - the shape forming an ‘A’. Dresses that are off-shoulder are known as strapless dresses while those that have thin straps are called slip dresses.
Now that we have seen the classification based on shape, let us look at dresses based on their purpose or the occasion that they are worn for. The naming convention is quite straightforward in case of many – prom dresses are semi-formal dresses that are worn to the prom, summer dresses are casual, cheery, floral dresses that are worn during the warm climate while tea dresses are worn to semi-formal get-togethers like an evening tea party. And when you can have tea-dresses, how can you leave behind cocktail dresses? Cocktail dresses are semi-formal to formal dresses that can be worn to cocktail parties. They are often adorned with lace, sheer or embellishments and are much suited for the evenings.
A dress that needs special mention among this bevy of dresses is the ubiquitous ‘Little Black Dress’ or the LBD as it is known. Sworn by fashionistas as a must have in every wardrobe, this dress has caught the imagination of women as a fail-safe choice for any occasion. A wardrobe staple, the LBD is a versatile garment that can be styled to suit almost any occasion.
The simplicity or extravagance of a dress can be measured by its fabric, the silhouette and the embellishments in it. A casual dress would need almost no embellishment and can be made of a printed fabric in cotton, georgette, lycra or other synthetic fabrics. A more formal dress meant for work would need to be in more structured fabrics like linen, tweed, wool or cashmere. For more bling, go in for lace or silk dresses, complete with embellishments.
The beauty of dresses is that they can be dressed up or down depending upon the occasion. You can transform your work sheath dress into a fabulous party dress just by accessorising it with a layered necklace and a blingy bracelet. Similarly, a casual dress in a solid colour can double up as a formal office dress just by throwing a jacket over it. The dress that you wore the previous weekend can be given a whole new look just by wrapping a pretty scarf around it!
So you see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to styling dresses. What’s more, they are stylish, feminine and will almost never go out of style. The best way to put together a really fabulous collection of dresses is to first stock up on the basics – a fitted sheath dress in a neutral colour, a solid casual dress, a couple of dresses in stripes, gingham and floral prints, one or two floor length maxis in bright prints and not to forget an elegant LBD and most definitely a little white dress as well. Once you have these basics in place, put together a collection of accessories like shoes, scarves, jackets, neckpieces and shrugs that you can team these dresses with and voila, you have an enviable collection of dresses that will help you put your most stylish foot forward.
If you are looking for some cues, we have already handpicked some gorgeous dresses that you can order from the comfort of your home. You can always get in touch with our stylists who will help you in picking outfits and building an drool-worthy collection of dresses that will bring out the best in you!