For some, fall weather means the return of cardigans and denim jackets. For me, it means knitted sweater dresses and long-sleeve maxis I can wear with boots. The new season offers hundreds, if not thousands of maxi dress styles, so where does one even begin to shop? Before you browse through 30 pages of dresses from your favorite retailers, here's a present: I've done the homework for you. The 12 maxi dresses ahead will have you covered for all facets of your life—work, brunch, parties, pumpkin patches, apple picking.... So shop away and spend that extra time you now have outdoors, soaking up the last bits of summer.
Topshop petite maxi shirt dress, $95
This Topshop piece will soon be your favorite work dress. The collar detail and long sleeves give it that polished feel of a button-down, while the asymmetrical split keeps it from being too "corporate." Wear with a pair of black pumps (or sneakers if you work at a fun start-up).
Anna Sui floral print maxi dress, $375
Tap into your boho side with Anna Sui's floral print crepe de chine georgette maxi dress (that was a mouthful wasn't it?). The print is a mix of florals in a variety of soft pastels and has the charm of your grandma's handmade quilt. To make this dress look modern, wear with a pair of wedges or black combat or motorcycle boots.
Ganni floral maxi dress, $208
Ganni is known for its whimsical floral prints. What makes this ladylike piece special are the details: the keyhole neckline, the fluttery bell cuffs on the sleeves, and the colorful blooms set against a pale blue background. While I see myself wearing this to New York Fashion Week, it works equally as well for a bridal or baby shower luncheon.
J.Crew x Universal Standard jersey dress, $130
Embrace the transitional weather in a cozy jersey dress with a summery red-white-and-blue stripe motif from J.Crew's collab with Universal Standard. Unique touches include bubble-sleeves and a double-layer neckline. The best part about this dress, however, is its inclusive sizing: It comes in S up to 3x.
Silk Laundry black dress, $340
Kate Moss' '90s slip dress was iconic (and very sheer). If you're feeling nostalgic for that era, scoop up this long, slinky dress from Silk Laundry. The garment dips low in the back—and front—for added sex appeal. Slip on casual sandals and top with an extra-long cardigan for those late summer/early fall beachside bonfires.
Zara animal print dress, $70
Click on any guide to the top fall trends and you'll see that animal print is number one on the list. For the bold, try a leopard print maxi dress, like this one from Zara. It's your good ol' shirt dress reimagined with a powerful and fierce print. Wear with black patent leather knee-high boots.
Wayf maxi dress, $109
Wayf's burgundy print dress is my top pick for all fall weddings. It's a good combination of sweet and sexy thanks to the side cutouts and ruffles. Wear this dress with a pair of stilettos, so the person in the receiving line behind you won't accidentally step on your hemline.
Alexa Chung satin maxi dress, $247
Alexa Chung is a fashion "It" girl, and her own clothing line is a reflection of her unique style. She loves the classics, like a good blazer, but is also a risk taker, as evidenced by this Dior ensemble. This cute party dress features a feminine pink hue and rose pattern swirls. Style with metallic sandals. (And, oh yeah, a good blazer.)
H&M patterned wrap dress, $70
For girls ballin' on a budget who can't afford an original Diane von Furstenberg's wrap dress, H&M offers an affordable alternative to this iconic style. This $70 maxi dress is made with crêped woven fabric and has a concealed hook-and-eye fastener at the top, so you won't accidentally have a wardrobe malfunction. Add to your checkout cart, asap.
Chelsea28 velvet dress, $129
If you're looking to truly embrace fall, put on this velvet wrap dress. It comes in two gorgeous deep shades: navy and wine, so good luck picking your favorite (I couldn't!). This is the dress you'll pull right off the hangers for weddings, holiday parties, and birthday dinners.
ASTR the label back wrap maxi dress, $89
When you don't know what to wear to those fall weddings, this dress will come to the rescue. The floral print in a neutral color is perfect for autumn as you kiss goodbye your summer brights. Wear with wedges for the wedding or sneakers when you want to look more casual.