While spring fashion is great for many things—shedding your winter parka! Wearing color for the first time in months!—the weather can make it tricky to know what to wear. Some days are chilly, others are so summer weather-adjacent that you sweat through all of your layers. The best spring dresses need to be both layer-friendly and breezy for those warmer days.
But what makes the perfect spring dress? I turned to Caroline Maguire, the Fashion Director at Shopbop (opens in new tab), to learn about this season's key dress silhouettes and trending spring 2023 colors. This season's offerings cover a ton of sartorial ground: The Spring/Summer runways proved that colors like bright blue, fuchsia, and bold yellow are going to be popular, alongside softer shades like digital lavender.
"This season leaves lots of room for creativity, and I’ll be opting for a mix of fun, brilliant bright shades and sexy, muted neon hues," says Maguire on her personal color picks for the season ahead. But opting for colors doesn't mean that you should do away with your basic frocks: "On the opposite end of the spectrum, easy little white dresses are on my must-have list for the late spring."
When it comes to silhouettes, Maguire is taking inspiration from the '90s and leaning hard into slip dresses. "I’m keen on minimalistic colorways, and I’m excited to add The Little White Dress, a.k.a. “The LWD,” to my wardrobe, along with some chic lingerie silhouettes with lace detailing," she says. Lace also touches on the continuation of 2022's sheer trend, which has been completely revamped for the new year. Instead of looking for mesh or chiffon options, the addition of lace into the sheer dressing universe makes for a sweeter, more elegant touch to the look.
But if you're looking for a dress that will add a little warmth, consider a knit or ribbed option. "Midi and maxi knit dresses continue to stay on my mind year-round," says Maguire. "You can layer this style with an oversized blazer for chillier days and accessorize with a fun sock and a lug-soled boot to complete the look."
If you're ready to shop, keep scrolling. Ahead, shop the best spring dresses, broken down by silhouette and color: brights, little white dresses, slip dresses, and knitted picks.
Best Spring Dresses
Bright Spring Dresses
I can’t avoid this sweet and oh-so-trendy lavender shade for the spring/summer 2023 season. I fell in love with it after it popped up all over the runways at Brandon Maxwell and Victoria Beckham, for starters. Then A-list actors like Kathryn Newton and Jodie Turner-Smith wore the shade on both at the 2023 SAG Awards and at the BAFTAs, respectfully. This flouncy, mini dress from English Factory proves that the dress can easily be worn for non-black-tie occasions, too.
This bright royal blue maxi dress is a knockout. It’s great to wear in the springtime because it packs a punch without you feeling like you’re wearing a mega-bright shade. I mean this all to say that this is the only bright dress on this list that I, a self-proclaimed lover of an all-black ensemble, would actually choose to wear into the office. It’s full of luxe-feeling details like the high neck and ruched design at the waist for added style points.
I love a dress that you can just throw on and go, and this bell-sleeved dress from Mango hits that mark. Available in three colors (you need to see the yellow (opens in new tab) version of this, it’s equally stunning) it’s a simple, classic way to look dressed up without going through all the effort with tons of zippers and ties. Plus, the subtle high-low hemline lets you show off your favorite pair of heels. I would opt for a pair that’s just as slinky as the dress.
Would you believe me if I said this pleated dress from A.L.C was made from vegan leather? I almost didn’t believe it when I first saw it online, either. The electric lime shade is so stunning, but can also be tuned down by way of simple silver accessories. Plus, it has a super secret cutout right above the hip that lets you show a bit of skin without going all-out. Wear it to a friend’s wedding for a guaranteed spot on the best-dressed list.
Spring Slip Dresses
Maxi-length slip dresses are such a timeless piece to have in your spring dress rotation, and this burnt yellow silk version from Vince is proof. You can easily wear this as a spring or summer wedding guest dress—just add a pair of gold heels and matching jewelry. It’s cut on the bias to make it extra flattering and flowy, while the V-neck design lends itself to a chunkier necklace. The shade will only look better as you tan throughout the summer.
This simple black slip dress from It-brand of the moment Abercombie & Fitch might be the best-named piece on this list. Aptly called the 90s Slip Midi Dress, it’s available to shop in three colors and prints including this all-time classic black version, a grungy brown-and-cream plaid, and a dark navy blue floral pattern. The chiffon layered fabric is so flowy and easy to wear, while the sweetheart neckline means it’s great to throw on for date night or a day spent running errands.
Tibi makes one of the best slip dresses on the market, bar none. Yes, this lavender option from the line is on the pricer side of things at $425, but I can guarantee it’s worth it—having touched this exact dress in person, you can immediately tell how amazing the quality is. Plus, Tibi’s pieces last—my mom has owned several skirts from the brand for close to two decades. This midi length slip is made from a lightweight twill fabric that hugs the body without clinging, and comes in several easy-to-style colors.
Maguire noted that lace details were on her dream spring dress checklist, and this $30 frock from H&M has them both at the hemline and around the neckline. Playing with sheer paneling in neutral colors or in smaller amounts can make the seemingly risky trend feel a bit more approachable. Plus, you can easily layer this floral slip under or over top of any number of tees, sweaters, and other tops if you prefer some more coverage in those areas.
You can never go wrong with a classic ‘90s fashion-inspired cowl-neck slip dress, and this dark green version is a great option if you have a wedding coming up on your calendar, want to get a little more dressed up for a trip into the office, or just want to feel cute on a date night. This one from Standards & Practices comes in three colors for you to choose from, including this deep green shade and a simple black version, too. Plus, it’s available in sizes up to a 3XL.
White Spring Dresses
I cannot get enough of this sweet white mini dress from Bardot. It’s made from 100 percent linen, which means that it will keep you feeling cool well into the sweltering summer months. Both the underwire design and the boning throughout the bodice add support, while the delicate off-she-shoulder straps make it look like it’s been transported from another era entirely. If you’re a summer bride looking for a bridal shower or wedding weekend look, this is it, I promise.
I love pieces from SIR The Label because they always look so effortlessly cool. Take this smocked maxi dress from the brand, for instance. The 100 percent linen fabric is lightweight enough that you can wear it over a bathing suit on your next tropical vacation but is elegant enough that you can also wear it on a night out. The scoop design at the back is subtly sexy, especially when paired with the ever-so-slightly puffed skirt and the higher neckline.
How romantic is this under-$100 white midi dress from Urban Outfitters? From the softly rounded neckline to the delicate cap sleeves, to the fitted bodice and lightly-flounced skirt design, it’s such a sweet addition to your spring dress wardrobe. It’s available in two shades—this classic ivory version and a punchy orange option—so you can buy both and swap them out with your mood. There’s even a subtly backless detail with an adjustable tie at the back, meaning you can wear a bra or a bralette if needed.
Meet the perfect spring-to-summer dress from Reformation. White can be tricky to make work before the warm weather actually kicks in, so I recommend styling this ruched number over top of a pair of lacy or otherwise printed tights. It will add intrigue without adding bulk. Or, wear it underneath a leather bomber jacket in wither black or brown. A brown jacket won’t contrast as strongly, so it will look less harsh. However, you can never go wrong with wearing black and white.
Knit Spring Dresses
Woke up on a morning that’s too cold for your own liking this spring? Turn to this cable-knit gray maxi dress from Line & Dot. It covers all the necessary cold-weather bases: It’s thick enough to keep you warm, form-fitting enough through the shoulders that it won’t bunch up when you put on your puffy winter coat, and long enough to be worn with either ankle boots or sneakers. If you wanted to add a little shape, style it with a wide black belt.
Nothing sounds better on those annoying I-don’t-know-what-to-wear days than this affordable, so-called “soft dress” from Zara. It’s the kind of piece that makes getting dressed in the morning feel a bit easier: all you need are a few neutral-toned accessories to elevate it into a great spring office outfit. Available in three classic shades—this cream color, a light tan, and a simple black version—this luxe-looking V-neck midi dress deserves a front-row spot in your spring dress rotation this season.
Olive green is one of the few colors that actually can work in your wardrobe year-round. I consider it to a neutral in my own closet because it looks great when worn alongside just about every other neutral color. This ribbed midi dress can be worn on its own in the warmer months but layered either over a black turtleneck top or under a chunky sweater while the weather is still chilly. I would also consider lighting up the hue by opting for cream-colored accessories rather than stark white ones.
This bright Kelly-green knit mock-neck midi dress from & Other Stories is a great option to invest in right now because it looks great when it's styled with other chilly-weather accessories (like black knee-high boots and sheer black tights) while it’s still cold out, or when it's worn with white or lighter-colored spring-ready accessories later. Once the weather does finally warm up, consider styling with a classic pair of slingback pumps, a matching white handbag, and a chunky pair of pearl earrings.
Meet The Expert
As Shopbop Fashion Director, Caroline Maguire brings her signature style, keen eye, and over 15 years of industry experience to the role. Since joining the organization in April 2016, Caroline has partnered closely with creative, buying, PR, and marketing team members to determine fashion direction across the company. She also serves as Shopbop’s primary brand ambassador in press interviews and media appearances, and delivers key style takeaways to the customer in creative onsite editorials.
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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