13 Best Places To Buy Cute Dresses Online

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There's a dress for every occasion and whim we encounter in life — and thank goodness! Do we love a cute dress that's basically a long t-shirt? Of course. How about frilly, feminine frocks? Yup, we're all in; and if you're anything like us, you love to scroll through the myriad shapes, colors, prints, and styles of dresses available online. 

In fact, if it were up to us, the standard work week would consist of just three days. This would allow an appropriate number of hours — 48 to be exact — within which to obsessively search the magical, never-ending sea of best online dresses. It would be the perfect way to squeeze in a little self-care during a busy work week. But, alas, reality can be a real Debbie Downer, and most of us can't afford to wile away our days in such a fashion. However, there remains a very real need to navigate the overwhelming variety of dresses out there – maxi dresses, minis, party dresses, and beyond. And so, with that in mind, we're sharing a few shortcuts to help you find the best stores for buying dresses online!

How we selected stores

Truth be told, we all think we're dress experts, and we are — to some extent. But, aside from knowing what works best for our silhouette and signature style, we still need legit experts. You know, those who've studied fashion, fabric, and style trends professionally. So, to balance our personal preferences with industry know-how, The List teamed up with a few movers and shakers to offer advice regarding online dresses for women.

Holly Shapiro is the Creative Director at Splendid and has 20 years of experience with brands such as Calyspo St. Barth, Haute Hippie, and Gilt Groupe. One of the biggest takeaways from her insight was a reminder that pandemic-related inventory challenges play a significant role in shopping for dresses online. "Take a deep breath," she says. "It's hard to get any kind of product these days, whether it's groceries or clothes. If you see something, and you love it, buy it now — don't wait!"

Additionally, Jane Winchester Paradis made time to provide insight into the story. First of all, she wears a dress every day, so already we're in awe. But she also brings a wealth of experience — ranging from VP of Lily Pulitzer to her most current endeavor as the founder of Jane Win Jewelry. And, remember that don't-wait mantra mentioned by Holly Shapiro? Well, Paradis confirmed, "Given the current climate, retailers are just not buying 'deep' and are being conservative in inventory."

Similarly, Jenn Hirsch feels, "Consumers are becoming more conscientious about their buying choices." Hirsch is a women's designer at Royal Robbins and has more than 10 years of experience, a degree in graphic design from the University of Denver, and BFA work in fashion design from Savannah College of Art and Design. So, following her lead, we've included some online dress stores that prioritize consumers' evolving demands — such as sustainability.

So, in the end, we organized our online dress store suggestions under categories that will help you quickly find what you need. And remember, those cute dresses you pile up in your online cart might not be in-stock as long as usual, so plan and splurge accordingly!

Best budget: Francesca's

One of each, please! You'll need to schedule some extended me-time to scroll through Francesca's endless dress options. Whether you're looking for going out maxi dresses or cocktail dresses, you'll find oodles of options at paycheck-friendly prices. Plus, everything is just so darn gorgeous.

Styling Tip: Look for "lightweight, comfortable materials that allow [you] to curate a closet with fewer pieces," according to Royal Robbins designer Jenn Hirsch. To that, we would add that affordability provides some wiggle room to go beyond basics and play with color and trends too.

Price: The Jasmine Tiered Maxi Dress is available at Francesca's, starting at $38.48.

Social Media Highlight: When we're having a tough day, we just like to go hang out with the other 485,000 followers on Francesca's Instagram feed. With all the cute short dresses and feel-good fashion moments, we can't help but smile.

Best casual vacation vibes: Bila77

Bila77 feels like some darling boutique you'd find while on vacation. All the dresses have an ephemeral aura that seems to radiate effortless femininity, so if you're looking for 24/7 vacay vibes, look no further.

Styling Tip: "Everyone looks good in a dress with an elastic waist," according to expert Holly Shapiro.

Price: The Medley Dress is available at Bila77 for $86.

Social Media Highlight: Bila77 was established in 1977 but relaunched in June 2022. The brand has kept its 1970s counterculture roots while prioritizing its impact on Mother Nature. If you love to be in the know as a brand catapults to stardom, check out Bila77's dreamy Instagram feed.

Best splurge-worthy: The Westside

In addition to the brand's in-house designs, The Westside also offers a curated offering of high-end designs from Ulla Johnson, Staud, and more. All of the dresses provide a balance of luxury and ease, which makes perfect sense considering it's a California-inspired brand. Plus, the mix of timeless silhouettes and trendy pieces creates an online dress boutique vibe.

Styling Tip: Jenn Hirsch, a designer at Royal Robbins tells The List that when shopping for dresses, look for "transeasonal colors that allow [you] to wear a favorite piece from one season to the next." So, we're taking that advice to heart with this stunning teal dress!

Price: The Yasmine Dress is available at The Westside, starting at $209.

Social Media Highlight: We love that The Westside is about more than just clothes; they also host events at its various locations. The brand's Instagram — which has over 31,000 followers — is a delightful blend of casual dresses and fashion inspiration.

Best classic silhouettes: Michael Stars

From loose maxis to classic shirt dresses, Michael Stars is a one-stop dress shop for classic cuts that never go out of style. Plus, the brand offers plenty of options for under $100. But, if we had to choose just one, it's the Daisy Gauze dress. We love all eight color options and that it's machine washable and travel-friendly.

Styling Tip: We asked style maven Jane Winchester Paradis for advice on which dresses are most versatile. She explains that "having dresses you can machine wash makes a big difference." That ease of care makes it a breeze to rock a "t-shirt dress for the farmers market, the loose cotton shift for the day," she says. Once you have a few go-to cotton pieces, a few styling tips from SlowFashionMom's YouTube video, which has over 61,000 views, can add a little oomph.

Price: The Daisy Gauze Dress is available at Michael Stars for $158.

Social Media Highlight: The fashion-focused folk over at Who What Wear follow Michael Stars on Instagram, so right away, we're taking notes. But then @yayisvillarreal caught our eye on TikTok. She treated her 80,000 followers to a Michael Stars unboxing video and a reminder that elevated basics are the secret sauce of the fashion world.

Best extended sizes: Amour Vert x Stitch Fix

It's always swoon season when Stitch Fix and Amour Vert get together for a collaboration. We love their extended sizing capsule collection, especially this tie-waist dress.

Styling Tip: Let's embrace body positivity! But for many of us, that's a journey for which we might seek some advice. Jane Winchester Paradis offered some words of wisdom that feel very doable. "I have really learned to dress for my body type, and once you crack the code, it takes so much of the pressure out of online shopping," she says. So, when you search for women's dresses online, look for options that celebrate your favorite features.

Price: The Amour Vert Colombe Sleeveless Knit Midi Dress is available at Stitch Fix for $128.

Social Media Highlight: OK, so this just in. Stitch Fix is serving up some ultra-fun TikTok videos! This one featuring Garry Washington already has nearly a million views, plus the brand has almost 400,000 followers and four million total video views!

Best variety: Windsor

Imagine a glorious festival of dresses — a stadium speckled with everything from casual dresses to cocktail dresses. Well, welcome to the Windsor online dress shopping experience, folks! With nearly 1,000 dresses in eight categories, it's an opportunity to echo the Vogue-reported trends coming off the Saint Laurent runways, but at a within-reach price point. 

Styling Tip: Holly Shapiro is the creative director at Splendid. We asked her how to best balance our dress collection because we want them all, but our retirement plan keeps nudging us toward something called "moderation" (boo!). "The dress trends I'm seeing fall into three main buckets for different occasions," she says. "Simple tee and tank dresses, flowy, boho dresses, and soft, textural, solid color dresses." 

Price: The Valerie Tiered Floral Printed Dress is available at Windsor, starting at $29.97.

Social Media Highlight: Windsor has joined the one million followers club on Instagram. Plus, the feed is filled with so much real-life inspiration. Yup, from baby shower looks to girls' night out dresses, we can't get enough.

Best shipping options: Amazon

Well, of course, Amazon makes the list! Amazon's Prime program is perfect for those last-minute dress shopping scenarios. This emerald green t-shirt dress has the cutest asymmetric hemline and is eligible for the one-day delivery program as well as the "try before you buy" option. Add to that its over 24,000 ratings and the fact that it's the 13th most popular dress in Amazon's casual dresses category — and all for under $25? Yes, please!

Styling Tip: "This season, the t-shirt dress is bigger than ever," says Rebecca Spera in an ABC13 newscast. We love the layered look featuring the denim jacket and strappy heels — such a fun, edgier way to rock a t-shirt dress.

Price: The BTFBM Crew Neck Short Sleeve Dress is available on Amazon, starting at $22.94.

Social Media Highlight: Sure, we've added a few views to this tally, but there have been nearly 50 million views for "t-shirt dress outfits" on TikTok. The topic is short on sleeves but long on styling tips, so enjoy!

Best elevated basics: of/Mercer

Oh, yes, honey! We love an elevated basic. According to stylist Suzanne Delahunty, these are the foundation of any fabulous-yet-efficient wardrobe and the perfect way to manage your fashion budget.

Styling Tip: To add to our elevated basics, we love this navy open-back dress from of/Mercer. Navy pairs well with an endless array of other colors, plus this dress style is casual on its own or dressed up with a blazer for work. It's also a fabulous tech-feel fabric, perfect for the warmer months, per designer Jenn Hirsch who tells us. "Lyocell, modal, anything rayon is so soft and flowy ... Fabrics that move with you and breathe are best for summer!"

Price: The Rec Room Day Trip Open Back Dress is available at of/Mercer for $118.

Social Media Highlight: Consider the of/Mercer IG-feed to be your free master class in elevated basics. The brand's scroll-down is a parade of endless versatile pieces that are as timeless as they are versatile. Add to that, one of the OG female icons, Gloria Steinem, is featured wearing one of the brand's suits!

Best daytime dressy: Rachel Parcell

Daytime dressy doesn't get any more refreshing than this citrus-themed shirt dress. In addition to the refined-yet-whimsical print, it's been given a major chic upgrade; it's belted. Sure, we love a shirt dress with a tie-string waist, but a belted shirt dress is more elegant, and now we want a champagne cocktail to go with it.

Styling Tip: "Button-front dresses are very versatile!" This, according to fashion pro-Holly Shapiro. She also suggests a fun twist, leaving it unbuttoned, like a kimono, over shorts. We love this idea, which is also a top suggestion from PopSugar. So, along those lines, we would pair this dress unbuttoned with lightly distressed denim shorts, a pristine white tank, and a cute natural fiber sandal. Add a bold citrus earring, and you're good to go.

Price: The Printed Cotton Shirt Dress – Orange Blossom Sky is available at Rachel Parcell for $198.

Social Media Highlight: With 192,000 followers, Rachel Parcell is in good company on Instagram. Plus, as a bonus, we can't remember the last time we saw such a gorgeous collection of real-life models. So, check out all the images where the brand has been tagged. One word: swoon!

Best under $200 choices: Tart

Obviously, this list would not be complete with a smokin' hot mini, and this laser-cut faux leather option is one of our favorites. The neutral color is flattering on everyone, plus it has a cut-out back that doesn't even require a special bra.

Styling Tip: Styling a leather mini for day wear is a departure from our usual girls' night-out look. So, here are some styling tips from Christina Collins; she has a few leather minis in her YouTube lookbook, and the shoe pairings are spot-on.

Price: The Rayna Dress is available at Tart Collections, starting at $120.40.

Social Media Highlight: Looking for more? The Tart Collection Instagram account has over 22,000 followers and offers square after delightful square of dress-obsessed inspiration — everything from casual cotton to chic party wear. And what's more, most dresses are under $200.

Best sustainability-minded: Reformation

If you're wondering how the heck to rock an LBD all year long, help has arrived. This open-back, flowy black dress from Reformation checks all the boxes for all-season chic. Its long, billowy design is wonderfully forgiving in hot, humid weather, yet it's ready for a winter soiree — just pop on a shrug. But, we'd say that Jessica Simpson's LBD birthday post is the most compelling evidence that a little black dress is a summer must. The star has over six million Instagram followers, who showed lots of love for the chic, summer black look.

Styling Tip: Jane Winchester Paradis, former VP at Lily Pulitzer, shared some summer styling tips with us. She mentioned that "sweeping maxis" are definitely on-trend. But "this summer [she's] also seeing lots of neutral colors to balance out those extremes, every shade ... and summery LBDs ... with movement." So, cue up this flowy number from Reformation!

Price: The Grotto Dress is available at Reformation for $218.

Social Media Highlight: Reformation has a whopping 1.8 million followers on Instagram; they're even crushing it on Facebook with 309,000+ followers.

Best for occasions: Abercrombie

Special occasions require special dresses, so we're jazzed that Abercrombie has categories for going out, weddings, and daytime dressy. Plus, we're awarding bonus points because all styles are available in petite, regular, and tall, and sizes range from XXS to 3XL.

Styling Tip: Jane Winchester Paradis also chimed in on dress trends for 2022. "As usual, the fashion world can be delightfully schizophrenic," she says, adding that everyone wants a little of everything right now, including "tight and bright," florals, "happy colors," and even the coastal grandmother favorite: neutrals. So, we're gravitating toward the florals here with this dreamy corseted occasion dress.

Price: The Strappy Plunge Corset Maxi Dress is available at Abercrombie & Fitch for $120.

Social Media Highlight: A quick visit to the brand's YouTube channel — which has over 33,000 followers — is a fun side trip into the much-loved brand's recent projects. But don't miss out on all the perpetual beauty of Abercrombie's IG feed. The account has nearly five million followers and features iconic fashion, but also the brand's collaborations with The Trevor Project, which amplifies "the experiences of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ youths" across the United States.

Best prints: Sugarhill Brighton

Someone who wears a dress every day, one of our story advisors Jane Winchester Paradis, says machine-washable dresses are the way to go. "Fill your closet with these dresses," she advises, "and don't be afraid to buy multiple colors or prints when you find the right one." Plus, the folks at The Zoe Report are all in on bold prints, so we looked for an online dress store with unique, joyful patterns. Sugarhill gets high marks for fresh prints; just check out these dinosaurs and hearts!

Styling Tip: "Invest in one dress that can take you from work to the beach rather than multiple dresses for work, garden parties, etc.," says Holly Shapiro, a former premium designer from Calyspo St. Barth, Haute Hippie. She currently leads the creative direction at Splendid, and we're taking her advice to heart — especially because it helps keep a few more shekels in our pocket.

Price: The Tallulah Sundress in Lost Dinosaurs Pattern is available at Sugarhill Brighton, starting at $70.

Social Media Highlight: Do you love any or all of the following? Flamingos, rainbows, puffy clouds, or tropical parrots? Well, then you'll want to meander through the magical menagerie of printed bliss that Sugarhill Brighton regularly posts on their Instagram account, which boasts nearly 81,000 followers!