Easy & (Mostly) Affordable Professional Dresses

Why I Love Professional Dresses

While I tend to go with shorts for daily wear, dresses are my go-to for any professional setting. They’re just so easy — literally one piece and done. How simple is that? It gives you time to focus on your other tasks, like makeup or that extra 5 minutes of sleep.

As much as I love the look of a suiting sheath dress, I’ve yet to find one that either fits without tailoring or is comfortable enough that I’d be fine wearing it all day. I’m a big fan of a-lines or flowy styles. Here are some of my favorites that are available now:

Five Easy & (Mostly) Affordable Professional Dresses

Aqua’s Flounce-Hem Textured Dress, a Bloomingdale’s Exclusive (currently on sale for $70.40)

This simple black dress has a subtle texture to the fabric and a flattering little flounce-hem at the bottom. It has a defined, a-line waist, which I love, as well as short sleeves. There’s a concealed zipper in the back, which can be difficult if you live alone, but the dress has a bit of stretch, so it’s probably pretty easy to zip! Dress it up with a colorful cardigan — or don’t! It’ll be cute either way.

Loft’s Embroidered Shoulder Tie Waist Dress ($69.50)

Loft is my absolute go-to for business casual and professional dresses. Their styles fit petite frames so well, even if it isn’t a petite size. This particular dress is a deep navy, is machine washable, and accents your waist. The waist is adjustable, which is nice, and the cap shoulder detailing is subtle but sweet. Pair this with a fun and colorful shoe and you’re good to go.

Loft Outlet’s Floral Cap Sleeve Swing Dress (currently $29.99 online only, regularly $59.99)

This dress is fantastic and I have worn it to death. I absolutely love the flowy fit and the cap sleeves. The style is so great for when you don’t feel like wearing something form fitting. It is definitely a more casual option, but you can always dress it up a bit if you need to. It’s machine washable, but I wish I hadn’t washed it as often as I have, because the color definitely has faded (even though I always hung it to dry). Either way, I have gotten a ton of use out of it and even at full price, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I love pairing it with a cranberry or navy cardigan. Sometimes I’d wear it with Sam Edelman flats; other times, with a nice pair of Jack Rogers.

The Floral Wrap Flare Dress from Ann Taylor (currently $133.99)

Ann Taylor has some dressier options than their sister-store, Loft, but they do include some a-lines in their work wear lines. This particular wrap-style dress has a flattering neckline and delicate flutter sleeves. It’s a “wrap-style” because there’s a hidden zipper in the back, so you don’t have to wrestle with figuring out how tight is too tight (or tight enough!). The fit is tailored and a little fancier, so if your office is closer to the business side than business casual, something like this might be perfect for you.

Ted Baker London’s Tannia Skater Dress ($259.00; also available in red)

I have never met a Ted Baker dress I didn’t like. This is the most expensive dress on this list, but it is also probably the most versatile. This dress is great for a more professional office, but what’s more, it’s perfect for after-work cocktails or a dressier dinner. Ted Baker dresses really cover the spectrum of events and can be dressed up or down as needed. This Skater Dress is no exception.