The 45 best work dresses of 2021 for transitioning back to the office

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Dress for success.

Remember the days of hopping on a subway or bus, trekking through streets with heels and button-emblazed attire and flashing your ID to start your workday?

Yeah, me neither.

But, as talks about returning back to the office ensue, it couldn’t be a better time to “reinvent” yourself, so to speak. In other words, it’s the peak season to have a million tabs open, scour retailers like it’s your second job and reorganize your closet with options that scream work-appropriate but comfortable.

Let’s face it – if you’re used to waking up half an hour before work starts, you’re already going to have to adjust to waking up earlier, as was the case pre-pandemic. So, unless you work on Wall Street or in a business professional environment, finding staple transitional pieces you can incorporate into your wardrobe is critical.

Even while awaking at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. most mornings (mostly for a balanced, productive start to my day), I still desire to throw on a shift dress because it’s comfortable, easy and can be dazzled up with fun earrings and accessories.

Below, find the best cozy and chic work dresses, including work-appropriate little black dresses, midi dresses and more. To help you shop smarter, we also included color options, size ranges and other key details.

Click on the specific styles below to jump to our curated lists.

Black Dresses for Work: Sheath, T-Shirt & More Styles

Lulus Westwood Black Half-Sleeve Sheath Dress, $58

  • Color options: Black, White, Cobalt Blue
  • Size options: XXS-3X

Express Ribbed Fit and Flare Sweater Dress, $69.99 (originally $98)

Express Ribbed Fit and Flare Sweater Dress
  • Color options: Pitch Black, Beige
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Pretty Garden Lantern Tie-Waist Dress, $14.99

Pretty Garden Lantern Tie-Waist Dress
  • Color options: Black, Apricot, Bean Green, Blue, Blue Grey, Coral Pink, Dark Blue, Dark Green, Grey, Light Blue, Light Green, Light Grey, Navy, Pink, Red, White, Wine Red, Yellow, Blue Green, Corn Yellow, Red Brown, Yellow Brown
  • Size options: S-XL

Madewell Lucie Elbow-Sleeve Smocked Midi Dress, $128

Madewell Lucie Elbow-Sleeve Smocked Midi Dress
  • Color option: Black
  • Size options: XXS-XXL

Everlane The Luxe Cotton Side-Slit Tee Dress, $35 (originally $50)

Everlane The Luxe Cotton Side-Slit Tee Dress
  • Color options: Black, Faded Sage, Chocolate
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Freedom Company Babydoll Dress, $72

Freedom Company Babydoll Dress
  • Color options: Black, Steel, Olive, Mojave, Sage
  • Size options: XS-XL

Express Puff-Sleeve Sheath Dress, $70

Express Puff-Sleeve Sheath Dress
  • Color options: Pitch Black
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Lulus Sweetest Style Black Tiered Babydoll Dress, $48

Lulus Sweetest Style Black Tiered Babydoll Dress
  • Color options: Black, Rusty Rose
  • Size options: XXS-3X

Karen Kane Wrap-Style Drape Front Dress, $108

Karen Kane Wrap-Style Drape Front Dress
  • Color option: Black
  • Size options: XS-XL

Shein Rib-Knit Belted Swiss Dot Hem Dress, $7.99 (originally $16)

Shein Rib-Knit Belted Swiss Dot Hem Dress
  • Color options: Black, White, Khaki, Dusty Pink
  • Size options: XS-4XL

Maxi Dresses for Work

Lulus Compelling Love Navy Blue Jacquard Short Sleeve Maxi Dress, $68

Lulus Compelling Love Navy Blue Jacquard Short Sleeve Maxi Dress
  • Color option: Navy Blue
  • Size options: XS-XL

Beach Lunch Lounge Lexa Crinkle Maxi Dress, $78

Beach Lunch Lounge Lexa Crinkle Maxi Dress
  • Color option: White
  • Size options: M-XL

Express Printed Ruched V-Neck Tiered Maxi Dress, $54 (originally $108)

Express Printed Ruched V-Neck Tiered Maxi Dress
  • Color option: Neutral Print
  • Size options: XS-XL

Express Floral V-Neck Maxi Dress, $98

Express Floral V-Neck Maxi Dress
  • Color option: Blue Print
  • Size options: XXS-XL

EcoWish Halter Neck Maxi Dress, $19.99

EcoWish Halter Neck Maxi Dress
  • Color options: Black, Orange, Wine Red, Coffee, Green, Red, Brick Red, Navy Blue, Yellow Floral, Gray, Khaki, Light Blue, Black Floral, Beige/White, Blue Floral, Pink Floral, Green Floral, Orange/Red, Royal Blue, Yellow
  • Size options: S-XXL

Treasure & Bond Plaid Long Sleeve Shirtdress, $75

Treasure & Bond Plaid Long Sleeve Shirtdress
  • Color options: Black Danville Plaid, Red/Pink Danville Plaid
  • Size options: XXS-XXL

Lulus Such Sophistication Rust Red Floral Print Pleated Maxi Dress, $78

Lulus Such Sophistication Rust Red Floral Print Pleated Maxi Dress
  • Color options: Rust Red Floral Print, Yellow Floral Print
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Express Textured Paisley Tiered Halter Maxi Dress, $98

  • Color option: Pink Print
  • Size options: XXS-XL

BB Dakota by Steve Madden Precious Hem Maxi Dress, $89

BB Dakota by Steve Madden Precious Hem Maxi Dress
  • Color options: Clay Red, Deep Green
  • Size options: XS-XL

Anrabess Loose Pocket Maxi Dress, $29.99

Anrabess Loose Pocket Maxi Dress
  • Color options: Olive and 35 other printed styles
  • Size options: S-XXL

Midi Dresses for Work

Madewell Banjanan Erin Tiered Midi Dress in Flower Carpet, $370

Madewell Banjanan Erin Tiered Midi Dress in Flower Carpet
  • Color option: Floral
  • Size options: XS-L

The Loft V-Neck Midi Shirtdress, $99.50

The Loft V-Neck Midi Shirtdress
  • Color option: Candied Orange
  • Size options: 00-18

Floret Studios Phoebe V-Neck Midi Dress, $59

Floret Studios Phoebe V-Neck Midi Dress
  • Color option: Dark Green, Black, Arabian Spice
  • Size options: XS-XL

Lulus Darling Daisies Yellow Floral Print Midi Dress, $58

Lulus Darling Daisies Yellow Floral Print Midi Dress
  • Color options: Yellow Floral Print, Green Floral Print
  • Size options: XS-XL

Princess Polly Felleni Midi Dress, $60

Princess Polly Felleni Midi Dress
  • Color options: Blue Floral, Green, Black
  • Size options: 0-12

J.Crew Midi T-Shirt Dress, $38.99 (originally $59.50)

J.Crew Midi T-Shirt Dress
  • Color options: Burnished Pecan, Heather Platinum, Black, Icy Orchid
  • Size options: XXS-3X

Chelsea28 Floral Lace Midi Dress, $79

Chelsea28 Floral Lace Midi Dress
  • Color option: Blue Posidon Vintage Blooms
  • Size options: XXS-XXL

Lulus Bliss Abound Light Blue Tiered Midi Dress, $68

Lulus Bliss Abound Light Blue Tiered Midi Dress
  • Color options: Light Blue, Rust Brown
  • Size options: XS-XL

M.M. LaFleur The Jane Dress, $168 (originally $240)

M.M. LaFleur The Jane Dress
  • Color options: Hibiscus, Black, Black Staccato, Multicolor
  • Size options: 0-14

The Loft Beach Tie Front Strappy Dress, $99.50

The Loft Beach Tie Front Strappy Dress
  • Color options: Lilac Punch, Black
  • Size options: XS-XL

Shift Dresses For Work

Lulus Buenos Aires Golden Yellow Shift Dress, $58

Lulus Buenos Aires Golden Yellow Shift Dress
  • Color options: Golden Yellow, Navy Blue, White, Black
  • Size options: XS-XL

Anthropologie Palm Front Shift Mini Dress, $160

Anthropologie Palm Front Shift Mini Dress
  • Color options: Pink Combo, Assorted, Brown Motif
  • Size options: XXS-XL
  • Fit options: Standard, Petite, Plus

Beach Lunch Lounge Chambray Shift Dress, $69

Beach Lunch Lounge Chambray Shift Dress
  • Color option: Medium Blue
  • Size options: XS-XL

CeCe Bow Neck Short Sleeve Dress, $129

CeCe Bow Neck Short Sleeve Dress
  • Color option: Lush Green
  • Size options: 0-10

Express Soft Smocked Sleeve Shift Dress, $54.99 (originally $78)

Express Soft Smocked Sleeve Shift Dress
  • Color options: Charcoal Gray, Navy Blue
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Express Floral Tiered Trapeze Dress, $70

Express Floral Tiered Trapeze Dress
  • Color option: Blue Print
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Molerani T-Shirt Shift Dress, $17.84

Molerani T-Shirt Shift Dres
  • Color options: Black, Army Green, Beja Blue, Grey, Mauve, Navy Blue, Purple, Red, Royal Blue, Wine Red, Rose Black, Sunflower, Floral Red, Snakeskin, Burgundy Flower, Tie Dye, Green Plantain, Leopard White, Light Blue, Little Daisy, Little Sunflower, Rose White, Floral Light Blue, Print Blue, Rose Navy Blue, Leopard, Zebra, New Pink, White
  • Size options: XS-3XL

Lulus Seersucker for You Blue and White Striped Tiered Mini Dress, $68

Lulus Seersucker for You Blue and White Striped Tiered Mini Dress
  • Color option: Blue and White Striped
  • Size options: XS-3X

Express English Factory Gingham Tiered Mini Dress, $80

Express English Factory Gingham Tiered Mini Dress
  • Color option: Yellow
  • Size options: XS-L

Rag & Bone Elysse Floral Print Short Sleeve Shift Dress, $346.50 (originally $495)

Rag & Bone Elysse Floral Print Short Sleeve Shift Dress
  • Color option: Pink Multi
  • Size options: XXS-XL

Maternity Dresses for Work

Pinkblush Beige Floral Pleated Short Sleeve Midi Dress, $72

Pinkblush Beige Floral Pleated Short Sleeve Midi Dress
  • Color option: Beige Floral
  • Size options: S-L

Pinkblush Green Floral Button Front Print Dress, $68

Pinkblush Green Floral Button Front Print Dress
  • Color option: Green Floral, Blue Floral
  • Size options: S-L

Pinkblush Olive Floral Chiffon Ruffle Trim Hi-Low Midi Dress, $74

Pinkblush Olive Floral Chiffon Ruffle Trim Hi-Low Midi Dress
  • Color option: Olive Floral, Mauve Floral
  • Size options: S-L

Pinkblush Black Floral Lace Trim Square Neck Dress, $68

Pinkblush Black Floral Lace Trim Square Neck Dress
  • Color option: Black Floral, Cream Floral, Yellow Floral
  • Size options: S-L

Pinkblush Blue Swiss Dot Tiered Maternity Dress, $65

Pinkblush Blue Swiss Dot Tiered Maternity Dress
  • Color option: Blue, Taupe
  • Size options: S-XL

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