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I know I’m supposed to be relishing this season of pants suits, knitted sweaters and tailored denim, but I’m a dress wearer through and through.
I see no reason why cooler months should put an end to that.
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If, like me, you’re lamenting the last days of sun dresses, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ve rounded up the very best winter dresses to add to your closet. From figure-skimming, knitted numbers, to the lightweight smock options perfect for layering, say “not today” to lumpy sweatshirts and pants combos with our picks below.
THE BEST KNIT DRESSES
Perhaps the dress most ubiquitous with cooler seasons – and this writer’s personal favourite winter uniform – is the knitted dress. Ranging from fine weaves to textural ribbed fabrications, the knitted dress provides an instant, no-fuss style injection, while providing daylong comfort.
Bec + Bridge Versailles Knit Midi Dress, The Iconic, $260
If you’ve loved dipping your toes into the stylised cutout trend this summer – I’m certainly guilty of it, as seen here – the arrival of cooler months doesn’t have to mean the end of your dalliance. Local label, Bec + Bridge, have created this darling, ribbed knit midi-dress, with keyhole details to both front and back. We love this soft sage hue, though those more neutral-inclined also have the option of ivory.
The Cashmere Turtleneck Dress, Everlane, $262
Truly, is there a fabrication more decadent than cashmere? In a word, no. This premium turtleneck dress from modern essentials retailer, Everlane, has been fashioned from certified Grade-A pure cashmere from Inner Mongolia, reputed to be most durable and to get softer with each wear. A fold-over neckline and full-length sleeves offer ease of wear and comfort – no doubt you’ll want to buy not only this sweet oatmeal hue, but the eternally chic black too.
Off Shoulder Knit Dress, Country Road, $199
A great many of us already spend our days in beloved Australian label, Country Road. Their contemporary silhouettes have become staple in the modern Aussie woman’s wardrobe, and their winter dresses are no different. This cotton-rich, knit midi-dress boasts an exaggerated, fold-over, off-shoulder neckline; while an asymmetrical slit to the hem allows you to show off your favourite boots with great effect.
Bouclé Longline Knit Dress, Seed Heritage, $129.95
We couldn’t compile a list of knitted dresses without including at least one rounded neckline, perhaps the most universally flattering of them all. Another homegrown favourite, Seed Heritage, has cut this simple and contemporary silhouette from a soft, bouclé knit in a biscotti hue, for versatility and warmth. With only a discreet side split detail as a feature, this is the perfect winter dress for the minimalist dresser,
Rib Knit Sweetheart Maxi Dress, Missguided, $42.99 (RRP$84.99)
Featuring the sweetheart neckline that has dominated street styles in recent months, this snow-coloured knit dress from Missguided proves that a garment needn’t be expensive to be on trend. Full length sleeves and a fitted silhouette ensure warmth; while its neutral colouring ensures that whatever outer layer you choose to pair with it will complement beautifully.
THE BEST SWEATSHIRT DRESSES
Formerly relegated to the confines of loungewear, sweatshirts have been elevated to streetwear status, courtesy of modern style muses like Hailey Bieber and Ariana Grande. Layer over thermal tops for extra warmth – like this popular option from Uniqlo – and your favourite over-the-knee boots.
Dazie Oversized Sweater Dress, The Iconic, $41.99 (RRP$69.99)
Produced by one of The Iconic’s in-house labels, Dazie, is this oversized, grey marle sweater dress. Constructed from a cotton-rich terry for comfort and durability, we love this look with statement thigh-high boots. Not a fan of the grey? Maximalist dressers will love the alternative cobalt blue.
The Track Dress in Laurel, Everlane, $87
Everlane elevates the sweatshirt dress with this pure organic cotton iteration. Featuring a classic crew neckline and ribbed cuffs to three-quarter sleeves, the dress takes on new dimensions courtesy of stylised piping and its unfinished mini-length hem. Break up dark winter colours with this sweet laurel hue – or stick to the tried-and-true, head-to-toe monochromatic look with its black option.
All or Nothing Sweater Dress, Beginning Boutique, $39.95 (RRP$69.99)
Prints and patterns often take a supporting role during cooler months, with monochromatic dressing taking centre stage. If you love detail in your clothing and are craving a fix this season, try this retro print-inspired sweater dress from Beginning Boutique. One five-star review commented, “So soft and warm, love the design and high neck”; and at its current discounted price, you can’t really go wrong. Need more convincing? If you’re a student, you get an extra 10 per cent off.
THE BEST LONG-SLEEVED MINI DRESSES
You needn’t put away your favoured mini-length hem just because the weather has cooled. Invest in dresses with long sleeves, silhouettes that allow for layering or are cut from thick and insulating fabrics – then throw on your favoured outer layer and pair of boots before heading out.
Pintuck Trapeze Dress, Witchery, $159.95
So many winter dresses tend to be figure-skimming, but if you are drawn to billowy silhouettes that offer movement, this pintuck trapeze-shaped dress from Witchery is just the thing. Cut from sustainably sourced cotton, this ivy-toned smock with balloon sleeves is balanced by pintuck detail to the chest, an elastic panel to back and button down placket. Wear over your choice of turtleneck or thermals, and with knee-high, patent boots.
R.Vivimos Tie Waist Dress, Amazon Australia, $30.28+
Just shy of 5,400 customers gave this dress five-star reviews, so you know at just over $30, you’re getting good value for your money. Constructed from a cotton-blend material, this waist-enhancing dress is offered in five sizes and a remarkable 31 – yes, 31 – colours. One reviewer said, “It’s cute. It’s sexy. It’s comfy and it makes me look good” – and honestly, isn’t that what we all want from a dress?
The Fated Mimi Knit Dress, The Iconic, $39.98 (RRP$99.95)
Now sitting on its final sale price – a brilliant 60 per cent off – is this ribbed, mini-length dress from The Fated, the Australian brand that strives to “reinvent modern femme classics”. Designed in the contemporary neutral, khaki, with tonal buttons to front centre, you can feel good about your purchase in more than one way – The Fated donates 1 per cent or more of all profits to a charitable cause.
ASOS Design Curve Mini Wrap Dress, $37.50 (RRP$50)
There is perhaps no dress silhouette as enduring or more flattering than the iconic wrap dress, tied at the waist for a truly customised fit. This take from UK retailer, ASOS, is cut from a cotton-blend material in winter white, offering versatility and the utmost comfort. Designed with fuller figures in mind, it is sized between an Australian 16 to 30. The best part? That impossible-to-beat price tag.
Nobody Denim Galliant Dress, The Iconic, $299
While knits and terry cotton construction will always dominate your average winter capsule, hard-wearing fabrics like denim can offer structure in a landscape of soft materials. This long-sleeved, pure cotton denim option from Nobody Denim features dual flap pockets to chest, stylised seams for added contouring and brass-toned buttons to placket. Bonus detail to love? This gorgeous number is manufactured right here in Australia.
THE BEST SPECIAL OCCASION DRESSES
Decadent fabrications and figure-hugging silhouettes make up this edit of special occasion winter dresses. Ensure you survive the evening chill with a perennially chic wool coat draped over your shoulders, and your choice of warming bodycon undergarments.
Sequin Mini Dress, Witchery, $119.95 (RRP$199.95)
This evening mini from Witchery contrasts statement metallic sequins with a simple shift silhouette, punctuating the look with elegant blouson sleeves. Clad in a universally flattering bronze hue, adapt this fully-lined, mini-dress for winter with a pair of sheer, black-coloured stockings and vertiginous, thigh high boots.
Grace Karin Velvet Evening Dress, Amazon Australia, $38.70+
Yet another dress from Amazon Australia that customers can’t get enough of – and honestly, at this price, it’s not hard to understand why. This sweet A-line dress currently boasts over 4,000 five-star customer reviews, many citing its flattering silhouette and quality for price. We love the decadence of this emerald velvet number for winter, though if its fabrication or hue doesn’t appeal to you, you’re still sure to find one to love – this exact design comes in an incredible 37 combinations of prints and fabrics. Take it from one happy customer who remarked, “I love it and I want this dress in every colour”.
Sweet Love Dress, City Chic, $179.95
The home for curve-enhancing designs, City Chic has nailed winter evening wear for fuller figures. This romantic, off-shoulder dress is cut from a fully-lined fabrication, offering comfort and warmth. Gathering at a cinched waistline flatters femme figures; while its muted colour palette and rose print is sure to turn heads. Take advantage of its long hemline and wear leggings underneath – nobody need ever know.
True Violet Maternity Wrap Shoulder Midi Dress in Rose, ASOS, $138
Honestly, I wish I’d known of True Violet when I was having my babies, but alas. Those sporting a beautiful baby bump this winter, and with special events to go to, can find style and comfort in spades, courtesy of this off-shoulder, rose-hued dress. The dress has been designed with a chic bardot neckline, kick split and thick, supportive scuba-style fabric with added stretch. Prepare to be bombarded with compliments on your pregnancy glow.
Significant Other Bambi Dress, The Iconic, $229.95
I know people talk of making an entrance, but I much prefer to leave a lasting impression as I walk away (all my ex-lovers, I’m looking at you). If you, too, love to leave some things a surprise, this simple but impactful dress from Significant Other is for you. Constructed from a lightweight, stretch knit, its minimalist boat neck is contrasted with gentle gathering to waist; while at the back, an open drawstring design with gold-toned bead detail steals the attention from anyone else in the room.
ASOS Design Curve High-Neck Tiered Maxi Dress, ASOS, $84
Defy the expectation that occasionwear need be sequin-laden or figure-skimming. This floral print, tiered smock design from one of ASOS’ in-house labels, ASOS Design, brings the romance and playfulness of warmer months to winter, courtesy of its fully lined construction. Designed for curves, this dress comes in Australian sizes 16 to 30.
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THE BEST WINTER OUTER LAYERS
A well-made, versatile coat or jacket can see you through the cooler months for years on end. We favour wool-blend coats and leather jackets in perennially chic silhouettes and hues that will complement any winter dress you layer them over.
Amelius Archer Coat, The Iconic, $299.95
Made from a man-made fabrication for durability and heat insulation – and a touch of wool for comfort – this terracotta-hued coat is the perfect outer layer for women tired of greys and camels. Featuring a single button to close and classic peak lapels, this minimalist coat is flattering on every figure.
Leather Detail Jacket, Country Road, $799
Do away with the bells and whistles of your average biker jacket with this refined design from Country Road. Pieced together from beautiful, genuine leather sourced from New Zealand, this pared back jacket boasts storm flap detailing to centre front, a removable belt with gold hardware, and quintessential epaulettes to shoulders. Play with form and weight by layering over a floral, tiered maxi, like the one recommended in this article.
THE BEST WINTER BOOTS
It’s true, you could spend coming months in UGGS – in fact, many do. For the more sartorially inclined though – and with stricter work dress codes – there’s nothing better to adorn your feet with than leather boots, both ankle and knee-high. Eye our picks below.
Sol Sana Lori Boots, The Iconic, $239
A longtime favourite of this particular writer, homegrown brand, Sol Sana, is known for their quality, contemporary design-driven footwear. A prime example? These Chelsea boots, which eschew croc texture for modern elephant-look leather. Finished with an elegant pointed toe, there’s not an occasion this winter that you won’t want to be wearing these.
Atmos & Here Karli Leather Boots, The Iconic, $179.99
Lastly, this wardrobe staple that truly elevates transeasonal and winter wear alike, the thigh-high, genuine suede boot. Featuring a universally flattering almond-shaped toe, zip-fastening to inner ankle, and adjustable drawstring for customised fit, this versatile boot has been crafted to provide style and comfort from sun up to sun down.
WHAT FABRICS SHOULD I WEAR IN WINTER?
Wools, cashmere and cotton fabrications are a great option to wear in winter, due to their temperature regulating properties. Being natural fibres, garments constructed from these fabrics will be able to retain heat, while still breathing. For this reason, style-conscious men are known to invest in merino wool suits and women in wool-cashmere coats come winter.
Natural fibres however, are more likely to come with higher price points than man-made materials. Fortunately, those looking to add clothing to their winter rotation without breaking the bank are in luck. Some of the fabrics that can cause the wearer to sweat in summer – polyester, nylon and the like – are favoured during winter for the same heat retention qualities.
WHAT ARE SOME WINTER FASHION ESSENTIALS?
Trends come and go with the seasons, but there are some fashion essentials that have re-emerged every winter for years. In addition to the knitted winter dress, knee-high boots – heeled or flat – are seen worn under dresses and over pants every June. A signature wool coat, in neutral camel or a statement pastel, never goes out of style; and lastly, a structured blazer, in monochromatic hues or a classic check, brings an architectural element when layered over soft sweaters.
WHAT ARE SOME FASHION TRENDS FOR WINTER 2021?
Continuing the trend of loungewear-come-streetwear started by the pandemic, expect brands to lean heavily into knitted co-ord sets, whether it be top and relaxed pants silhouettes or the more office-friendly, top and pencil skirt pairing.
No need to be aghast, should you be the kind to treasure the opportunity to dress up. Autumn/Winter 2020 collections – from Burberry to Alexander McQueen – featured classic plaids and houndstooth in their designs, so expect the most formal of prints to make its way to our shores come June.
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