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45 Types of Dresses – A to Z for 2023

ASOS pleated wedding guest dress

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What are the Types of dresses by style for 2023?

Various iconic dresses and fashion styles can be found around the world. Influenced by current styles, traditional clothing, and historical events, below are the most popular types of dresses of today.

Dresses can vary by length of the gown, shape, neckline, fabrics, colors and sleeves. Hem lines range in sizes from mini to maxi dresses including minis, midis, tea lengths and longs. Cut into A-shapes, bells, pencils, slips, princess silhouette, and with an array of sleeve types, these garments are exceptionally varied.

Read this exhaustive guide to dress styles to determine the perfect fit for you. From shifting to tent dresses, wedding dresses to cocktail dresses this is an overview of all dresses. Do people know what names they’re referring to? Whatever you call dresses, you probably wore lots, and it’s likely that you don’t know the names of all.

Quite often, a dress would be a combination of two or even three styles, usually combining the bodice of one style with the skirt or neckline of another. For example, a denim halter dress, or a one shoulder pencil dress.

The types of dresses are mainly grouped in categories by style, by the occasion and, of course, by length.

At Fashion Finder, we have ordered this guide starting with the styles popular for 2023 and ending with the not so trendy lines. The list is focused on the more recent fashions and is not extending to the various traditional and local costumes or models from past ages.
At the bottom of our article, we’ve got a selection of dresses ON SALE from top selling designers – click the link to jump directly to the section.

1. A-line dress

Christian Dior launched the term A-line dress in 1955, however the style we refer to today was introduced into the fashion scene in 1958 with the name "Trapeze Line" by Yves Saint Laurent - a fitted shoulder line and a very flared dress (1). The A-lines have an A-shaped silhouette and are fitted at the shoulders and gradually widen at the hem. In some models the widening initiates from the waist down, and in others - from the shoulders down. These types of dresses fall towards the knee or mid leg, however longer versions also exist. As it is so classical, it will be in style for 2023 as well.

2. Denim dress

An informal dress made from denim, it can come in a variety of styles - short or long, with sleeves or just straps, customized necklines, button-up on front or zip closure. In addition, the thickness of the denim may vary, with some fabrics being stretchy. Denim dresses are sometimes pinafore styled, but regardless of style the fabrics remain Denim – no matter what style. These types of dresses are mostly trendy for younger girls and children, however more classical styles are suitable for all ages. The denim dress can be customized by adding necklines, sleeves and buttoned or zip closures. Quite popular, we see a lot of designers presenting denim dress models for 2023.

3. Dresses with large cut-outs

We are seeing this trend taking over since the mid-2021. Big holes at the waist, hips or the legs of dresses are everywhere. They are seen on various dress styles, ranging from maxi long sleeve dress to spaghetti strap mini dress style. Usually applied to more fitted models, the cut-outs will rule in 2023.

4. Smock dress

Smock dresses are characterized by the ruched textile on the chest and shoulders, and a voluminous overall look. Super comfortable to wear the smock dresses are normally loose-fitting. Usually with a knee length, but also found in midi and maxi dress variants, the smock dresses are flattering and feminine, especially if combined with a belt to underline the waist. Colors are usually of the 'natural' shades, such as white, beige, brown, pale green, blue, pink and violet. The smock dress has been especially popular in 2021 and 2022, and expected to remain instyle in 2023 as well.

5. Puff sleeve or Balloon sleeve dress

Characterized by the balloon-styled sleeves, these types of dresses can be of many cuts. The puff sleeves were very popular just recently, not only for dresses, but also for shirts and outwear. Smock dresses may be with puff sleeves, as well as a denim dress, a sheath dress, a pencil dress, a wrap dress, a shift dress and more. Ball gowns or a midi dress with volume sleeves would also come under this style. They were a real hit in the past couple of years, thus we may see some styles in 2023 as well, though not as much as in the previous couple of years.

6. Bodycon dress

By definition, a bodycon is conforming to the outline of the body (2). Like the bandage dress, the bodycon dress looks incredibly feminine and body-hugging to a large degree. Interestingly, these two styles are sometimes confused. However, they differ mainly in the materials. Bandage gowns are manufactured using patterned fabrics wrapped around the body to achieve an elegant shape. Bodycon gown styles are formfitting with any fabric, with no bandages. Contrary to bandages, bodycon dresses don't support your curve. Bodycon dresses don't feel as tight as bandage dresses, though they trace and hug the figure.

7. Blazers dress

The blazer dress has the bodice resembled a button blazer, and can be with sleeves or sleeveless. Generally, the length is above the knee, but can reach the knees long as well. These contemporary types of dresses can be either casual or professional outfits, and can be combined with leggings or tights. A modern style garment, the blazer dress is new to the fashion world and doesn't have a few centuries long history as some of the other examples here. Besides the classic colors, a blazer dress looks stunning in fuchsia or dark pink, lilac and saturated green. These are quite popular and will be well-liked in 2023 as well.

8. Asymmetrical dress

The asymmetric dress was introduced in the 70s when Roy Halston created a series of dresses with slanted lines. As the name suggests, these types of dresses have at least one section differing from its mirroring one. Typically, the asymmetric dress has a slanted neckline or hemline, or both. One shoulder dresses are an example of asymmetrical dresses with a neckline slant. The skirt may feature a gentle slant or more exaggerated one, have a differing back and front skirt slant direction, or slants that go both ways creating a peak. Due to the vast variety of asymmetrical dress models, regardless of the body type, one can typically pick asymmetrically arranged dresses to suit their own shape. We notice quite a few asymmetric cuts at the moment, so definitely they will be in trend in 2023.

9. Bouffant gown

Bouffant gowns are all about their skirts - extremely flared and voluminous, sometimes worn with hoop support underneath. Usually come with a fitted bodice of the same or well matching color. Thus, the meaning of a bouffant dress is fitted bodice with a large, layered skirt. The skirt carries out from the waist and flares across the skirt length. It is created with multiple layering fabrics and may be tea length dress or with a maxi length, although recently the short bouffant dress is very trendy. The bodice can be of any type, and a bouffant dress with long sleeves is also a preferred option. Some starlets have appeared with such garments recently, leading us to believe the 'bouffants' may be a preferred choice for more formal occasions this year.

10. Bandages

The bandage dress became very hot at the end of the 90s right after Hervé Leroux' creation later becoming Hervé Léger. Celebrities such as Cindy Crawford wore tight bandaged dresses, and it also appeared in the fashion world again in the 2000s and hugged big star bodies such as Lindsay Lohan, Kristen Stewart and Kate Winslet. Designers have now brought bandage dresses to another dimension creating full length dresses as well as typical short and minidress designs. Maybe not the top model for 2023, but we will see quite a lot of it.

11. Shift dress

Shift dresses were a major trend during the 1960s and have an easy boxy look, without narrowness at the waist. This short dress has a super simple straight line and usually hangs from the shoulders. It can be styled in a mid-length duster jacket accompanied by wedges & ankle-high boots to create the ‘60s feel! It has a more sporty feel as the feminine waistline is not emphasized. The shift dress is perfect for a body shape with narrow hips and small or medium bra size. In most cases, it is not appropriate for a more formal attire, unless you style it with exaggerated jewelry, shoes or other accessories, or an original print of the dress itself, that would be the focal point. It is very clean cut, and is never in our out if style.

12. Boho Dress

A Boho dress is soft floating dress that reminds of the hippie era. They are usually white or painted or have lace or tassel combinations. This is a feminine style that is loose and easily wearable. It comes in both short, midi and long variants, usually made of natural fabrics such as cotton or linen. Perfect for a vacation or going to the beach, the boho dress can be combined with large straw sunhats, lots of jewels made of colorful stones and shells, and woven totes. Wedge sandals and flip-flops are an ideal match. In most cases these types of dresses are not suitable for a day in the office or a more formal event or meeting as it screams "leisure". The key phrase we describe it with is "free spirit". Definitely a style that will be widely present for a while.

13. Shirt dress

Keep the look comfortable with a shirt dress. It has collar as the shirts and a button-down at the front, and usually the waists are nipped. These styles are available at different lengths, although most popular are the long and oversized models. The shirt dress usually comes with long or midi sleeves, and are made of cotton or linen. They can be casual, or suitable for a business attire if the fabric is thicker and at least with a knee length. You can dress this outfit easily with a pair of chunky ankle boots or shoes and you'll have a great night out or a relaxing day with friends!

14. Pencil dress

The pencil dress is among the most feminine contemporary types of dresses. You can impress anyone in the room with your personality through your dress! Known by its pencil form, it features a hem ending just below knees that has no frills. This silhouette is a good choice if you want to wear a little black dress, for example. Alternatively, you could add some sexiness with turtlenecks to your outfit and opt for a sloping neckline for a streamlined look.

15. One shoulder dress

Asymmetrical types of dresses, the one shoulder garments feature a cut, where one of the shoulders is exposed, while the other is sleeved. The skirt may be of many styles, from fit to flared or bouffant. A more formal dress, it's perfect for a night out or a party, where you'd like to have the eyes on you. Similar to the asymmetric type, the one shoulder dress will be in demand in 2023.

16. Cape dress

Cape dresses combine the two garments in its name - a cape and a dress. Two are the widespread options of these types of dresses: (1) a cape attached to the dress, or (2) a separate cape garment, which is not attached to the dress but is matching in color and fabric. These are very typical outfits seen in celebrities and royals over decades. Cape dresses are considered a more conservative fashion design, as normally it's more concealing of the arms and upper body. When attending a formal occasion in which your impressions needs to be extra elegant and stylish, a cape dress is a good choice. Not particularly famous at the moment, but seen every now and then on a celebrity’s social media profile.

17. Empire waist dress

An empire waist dress is a fitted bodice dress with a skirt draping out from the bust. This heightened waist creates an effect of exceptionally long legs, and is the difference between the empire dress and the A-Line dress. These types of dresses are formal gowns, most models being floor length but also available in shorter versions. They are ideal to hide imperfections in the waist area or hips, and thus are another popular choice for expecting moms as well as brides-to-be.

empire Giambattista-Valli
Giambattista Valli empire waist dress
Empire waist Paco Rabanne
Paco Rabanne empire waist dress

18. Halter dress (or halterneck dress)

The distinct feature of the halter dress is the halterneck - the bodice features a strap or ties that spring from the front of the garment and bind around the neck at the back side. These types of dresses mostly flatter narrow shoulders with slim arms as the attention is directed to the upper body. The skirt may be of various styles - flared, fitted, long or short. A shift dress cut is popularly combined with a halter. Both formal and more casual halter dresses are offered. Choosing a short halterneck dress will give you an adventurous summer look, also in 2023.

19. Sheath dress

A sheath dress is a straight, fitted dress, with a very slim waistline, usually without exposing seams. Ideal for business meetings or nights, this dress style is perfect for women looking to expose their perfect curves because the silhouette is more feminine than the shift dress, for example. The sheath dress can be of various lengths, all of which look extremely elegant. As these types of dresses are usually with a clean design, you can style them with a variety of classic or more extravagant accessories and shoes, depending on what you'd prefer to accent on. Perfect for "a little black dress" look as well. Being a favorite classic to Victoria Beckham, for example, it will persist in 2023.

20. Slip dress

Unleash your grunge spirit in a slip dress. It is generally satin with spaghetti straps with lace and V- neckline. Most popular are the midi options but choose a floor length one if you like to wear barely visible heels. With a more casual model you can style with a simple T-Shirt to create an authentic 90s feeling! A sought-after style for wedding guests and elegant events, it will remain instyle.

self portrait blue lace dress
SELF PORTRAIT fit & flare dress

21. Fit and flare (or Skater) dress

With the fit and flare dress, the accent is on the fitted waist and flared at the hips or below. Basically, any dress that has a slim waist and is with flaring out skirt would fall into this style. Skater dresses are also of the fit-and-flare type. The neckline and bodice may be of various styles, sleeve length, one shoulder dress and other shapes may be fit-and-flare. Usually the length is of a knee- or tea length dress. The skirt may be pleated, and various colors and prints are combined. It's a cocktail dress, but day dress models are also super popular. A neverendingly classical, 2023 will not be an exception to this feminine cut.

22. Off the shoulder dress

The distinguishing element of the off the shoulder dress is the very open neckline, which spans through the chest and back right above the bust, exposing bare shoulders. The sleeves of these types if dresses are inline with the neckline, and are usually just a narrow strip, although long-sleeved off the shoulder dresses also exist. So if you are in love with your shoulders and legs, make them visible with a short dress off-the-shoulders. Get an exposed, but chic look. The difference to the Bardot dress, the classical off the shoulder dress' neckline is usually elasticized, while the entire off the shoulder type consists also of non-elastic necklines. A pure classics, it is in vogue every year.

23. Handkerchief dress

The hem of the handkerchief dress is the accent to reflects the character of this dress. The name derives from the vision as the skirt looks like handkerchief-style clothing. It's a simple style that can easily be created for sewers - the skirts need to be cut into squares. These types of dresses are a casual outfit, most often sleeveless, with thin straps and an open or a halter neckline. The materials are gentler to allow the free-falling of the skirt. We see some models coming out this year, so this cut may be regaining fame.

24. T-Shirt dress

The T-shirt dress is an oversized t-shirt, worn barefoot or with leggings (without trousers or jeans). Casual types of dresses, preferred by young and teenage girls, the T-shirt dress styles are usually with amusing prints of cartoon characters, flowers, or sculls for the more punk styled girls. We will be seeing the youngsters wearing them this year as well.

25. Babydoll dress

Baby doll dresses were designed as nightdresses before becoming popular as day dresses. Created in 1942 by Sylvia Pedler, the reduced design reflected fabric shortages during the Second World War. The fashion babydoll dress was a daytime outfit in the 60s and 70s. It's characterized by long sleeves, high neckline and shorter hemlines. A children's model was also produced, with a short length for easy change of the diapers, and hence got its nickname "baby doll". The style is not meant to be sexy, business or formal, it's a typical daytime outfit that reveals only the legs (be careful not to choose too short one, though, to avoid showing off your undies. Not a super-trend, but will remain in style for the near future.

26. Blouson dress

Blouson dresses are loose, drapery and breezy, with a tightly wrapped waistline, but styles with a fitted skirt are also preferred. They're available in all lengths. The feminine silhouette and comfy feel make the dress very attractive. Both formal and casual styles are offered, the colors are diverse, and so are the fabrics. Thus, this dress comes in a great number of options to choose from, but not the top trend for this year.

27. Peplum dress

For the lover of the playful style, peplum gowns are the ideal types of dresses. The peplum is an additional piece of fabric, resembling an additional short skirt or frill. This detail is usually attached at the waistline or under the bust, although other variations exist. Peplum forms have their origins in ancient Greek times and have a flare silhouette. Among the best benefits of a peplum dress is covering up the belly (if any) and emphasizing the female figure in a highly attractive way. For an evening look, you can substitute flats with hot heels to create a taller figure and make your arms look long while your waist looks short and thin. Although very elegant and practical, it will not be a hit this year.

28. Mermaid dress

In the same fashion as Ballgown, mermaid dresses are sexy dresses that are perfect for black tie events and weddings. The mermaid dresses are long and straight from the top to the middle of a thigh or leg, extending into a wide skirt. For hourglass and pear-shaped figures opt for tight silhouettes. For column style you could choose a profile which is a little more loose at the hips. These types of dresses are usually with a fitted bodice, regardless if it has sleeves, is a strapless dress or with one shoulder dress. As worn only seldomly for very special occasions, it will be in style for the upcoming decades, and not a particular trend of today.

29. Ballgowns

A ball dress - or ballgown - is one of many popular silhouettes, wished by most girls while reading all the fairy-tale stories or watching the Disney characters. Thus, it is sometimes re-named a princess silhouette dress. The ball gown dates to the Middle Ages. In the 1800's the look became very popular as ball throwing was widely spread among the high-class society. The traditional ball gown dresses are formal and hitting the floors and are sleeveless dresses with tight bodice and an enormous full-length skirt. As mentioned, ball dress silhouettes are popular wedding dresses styles, and are also appropriate for more lavish proms and princess-themed events. It's ideal for a fancy event including a black-tie dress code premiere and a ceremonial party, when you want to be spectacular!

30. Princess dress

A type of ball gown, the princess silhouette dress is the typical fairy-tale like outfit, with fitted bodice and an extra voluminous skirt, usually with several layers or an underskirt. Suitable only for white-tie or black-tie events and balls, it is rarely worn by adults nowadays, but is highly popular among little girls.
Carolina-Herrera gown
Carolina Herrera princess dress

31. High-Low dress

The high-low dress is an asymmetrical style dress. As opposed to the asymmetrical dresses we described above that are slashed sideways, the high-low types of dresses are with a skirt that is longer at the back. Typically these shapes work for a dress or a ballgown. It's a style perfect for those who love their pin-up sexy looks and is best paired with heels or platforms, which keeps the dress in the air without dragging it over your feet. More likely not to be overly popular this year.

32. Kaftan dress

It was formerly a traditional garment from Turkey, North Africa and the West. Kaftan dresses are made from light-colored textiles and the patterns are made of a single piece of fabric. These types of dresses have a loose fit with long, flowing sleeves. It's double rolled, with a seam with a girdle a bit above the waistline that would for the armhole. It has a simple v-necklines and is generally worn to the ankle. An excellent garment to throw over a swim costume or for an evening swim. With its loose nature and soft textures, another great use of the kaftan is for pregnant ladies, as the girdle can be left more loose or tightened to the needed extend. Although never out of fashion, it’s not a top craze for 2023.

33. Bell sleeve dress

Bell sleeves or flared sleeves is a classic design. Originally from the medieval times when used for the garments of the clergy, this sleeve style re-emerged in fashion in the 1970s in Japan. The silhouettes of the bell sleeve dress are usually simple-shaped, with the focus falling on the sleeves - long, with a shape of a bell flare flowing down the hands. It's one of the styles that goes in and out of fashion. After the 1970s the bell sleeve dress disappeared, to only make a comeback in the 2000s. Although not of the trendy models at the moment, we are sure it will have its moment again.

bell sleeves
Virgos Lounge bell sleeve dress

34. Camisole dress

The camisole dress or cami is similar to slip dress. Both of these types of dresses are sleeveless with spaghetti straps, and are made of soft material, such as silk, or fabrics with some stretch. Usually its shape is straight and streamlined although creases may be added for a more diverse look. However, the camisole dress is considered a shorter version of the slip dress - more of a camisole than a dress.

35. Pinafore dress

Pinafore or apron dresses (British English) area type of sleeveless and collarless jumper dress (American English) to be worn over other clothes, such as T-shirts, shirts, sweaters, polo shirts, or blouses. Usually the bodice is backless, only with straps, while the front clothe covers the chest. The skirt length of these types of dresses varies from short to long and are available in various colors and some models may have a pleating. It is somewhat similar to a sundress, but the latter is not intended to be worn over other clothes. Although not entirely out of style, we would not consider these types of dresses to be trendy for 2023.

pinafore Boutique-Moschino
Boutique Moschino pinafore dress

36. Wrap dress

Wrap dress features a tie waist and wrap around front. Often admired by Kate Middleton, a classic silhouette is ideal for practically all body shapes. It can be a casual dress, but also more elegant models are a very stylish choice for a business day or a more formal meeting. These types of dresses are normally range from a mini dress to a midi dress by length. The fabrics can be very airily to thick winter style cloth. Although very classical and may be considered all-time, this cut will not be a trend setter in 2023.

37. Corset dress

The corset dresses are highlighted with laced corsets incorporated into the dress. It's peasant-like and flatters the waist. The corset can serve as contrasting or complementing elements in the design. The lacing is available in a dress in the back. The model is usually a strapless dress with a corset, suitable an evening party or a club night. This cut will not have its moment in the next year.

38. Drop waist dress

Drop waist dresses, also called the flapper dresses and lower waist dresses have been traditionally associated with 1920 fashion. The characteristic of this type of dress is the waist of a dress is dropped to reach the upper part of the hip. It creates an illusion of the torso being longer, delivering a distinctive style, which is sometimes referred to as the Gatsby style. The dress had its peak at some point in the last decade, although occasionally it appears as a now-classical style worn by many famous celebrities as well. Not expected to catch the eye in 2023.

39. Qipao dress

Known also as cheongsam, the qipao dress is of Chinese origin. Usually, it is fitted with short sleeves, a high neck and a button down spreading diagonally from the neck through the chest and on one side of the body. The lengths may vary, although the initial models were rather long. Very often the colors are saturated with floral prints, and made out of cotton or silk. It can be worn on more formal instances, or as a casual attire. Widely seen some years ago, these types of dresses are not currently that popular.

40. Bardot dress

These types of dresses all feature a wide curved off-shoulder neckline, which was named after film star Brigitte Bardot back in the 1950s as she made this style extremely popular at the time. The actress wore the style regularly and embraced the off-the-shoulder outfit. The Bardot dresses vary in length with diverse waistlines and can have almost any shape. The neckline is usually elasticized and may be decorated with frills/ruffles. There are both formal Bardot dress models and casual ones, as the off-shoulder dress. You will need a strapless bra (if you would like to wear one with this dress), to avoid the straps displaying. Not the most vogue style at the moment, though.

41. Balloon dress

The balloon dress is not made of balloons, but rather has a statement skirt with the shape of a balloon. Usually with a fitted bodice and waistline, the skirt would be with a voluminous effect, ending with a narrow hemline. This creates the balloon effect and a puff-like appearance. It generally lies above the knees, and is appropriate for body types with slimmer waist. These types of dresses may be designed without a nipping at the waist, with the 'balloon' gradually extending from the shoulders down, again ending with a tighter hem. When producing such dresses, it is necessary to use very high quality fabric. We are not seeing many celebrities wearing balloon dresses at the moment, thus not a leading trend for the current times.

42. Tube dress

A shoulder-less, sleeveless and most often short women's garment that wraps tightly around the body, thus preferred mainly by young ladies with immaculate body shapes. The tube dress cannot be worn on formal events, and one should be careful on choosing this option. Would not classify it as a trend this year.

43. Tent dress

The tent dress is a very loose fit garment, flaring from the shoulders down, the focal point being the complete absence of a waistline. The length is usually from knee to midi, sometimes supplied with inner hidden pockets. It is a perfect dress if you'd like the emphasis away from your waist and hips area, as well as for expecting mothers. Not on the trend radar at the moment.

44. Dirndl

It may be that you don't know a lot about dirndl dresses, however you've seen quite a few of them in movies and children's books. This outfit has strong associations with German culture and the Alpine peasants between the 16th and 18th centuries and is immediately recognized. It might surprise you. The dirndl dress consists of four components: (1) a fitted bodice with a very open neckline, (2) a shirt underneath the bodice (usually white), (3) a knee length wide skirt that spans from waist down, and (4) an apron.  Definitely not a style one would see on the streets nowadays.

45. Debutante dress

The debutante dresses were worn for traditional coming of age celebrations. In the late 1800’s, when a young woman would reach an age of being eligible to marry, she would have her debut in society. Princess Charlotte, wife of King George III of England introduced younger women into royal court. The women were called debutantes.

Nowadays, they are rarely used for exclusive themed happenings. One of the most renown such events is The International Debutante Ball. Founded in 1954, it occurs every two years at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and since 2016 it has been held at The Pierre in New York City due to renovations and temporary closure of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (3).

The debutante dress is a ball gown in white color, to symbolize purity in line of the event. Soft colors such as ivory or eggshell were acceptable as well, when worn over a white dress base. It's typically combined with long white gloves and pearls (4). 

Shop dresses ON SALE by popular designers:

We hope you have enjoyed our extensive list of the contemporary types of dresses. If you’ve got a type that was not covered here, but you believe is of significance to the nowadays fashion trends, please drop us a message and we’ll gladly included and will give you credit for it.

See also the classification of the types of dresses by occasion.

Chose a dress and now need a handbag?

We've got you covered! Read our post on the designer bag classics and much more - discover which brand suits your personality the most.

And if you are wondering how to color match your dress with shoes and accessories, this article will get you started on outfit color coordination.

Please note we promote third party products. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commossion.

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Comments (2)

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