Dresses are the foundation of women’s fashion and the cornerstone of every good wardrobe. Us ladies want one in every style and colour so we're here to lend you a little helping hand by finding you the best deals and prices on the UK's most fabulous dresses.
If you feel you’ve exhausted every dress website and need a little style inspiration before you buy a dress online, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compared some of the best dresses available online especially for you, from the high-street's amazing fast-fashion, cheap dresses to the best designer fashion dresses.
Not only that, but we’ve also prepared loads of helpful tips and tricks to guide you in choosing a dress that leaves you feeling amazing. And finally, we’ve put together some practical pointers for buying dresses online so you can have an easy and fun shopping experience - no need to thank us!
With so many dress styles and only 24 hours in a day, online shopping for your perfect new number can sometimes be overwhelming. We've put together a comprehensive A-Z guide of dress styles to make it all a little easier for you.
1. A-Line – A-line dresses are narrower at the top getting gradually wider towards the bottom (looking like the letter A – hence the name). This kind of dress works well for most figures, but especially pear-shaped women.
2. Baby doll – Baby doll dresses are a shortened variety of the empire dress (see details of empire dress further down) and tend to have a sweetheart or straight neckline. This dress is often said to resemble negligee, so be careful how you wear it.
3. Bandeau – This dress resembles a bra at the top, falling to create a dress. Bandeaus traditionally tend to be more fitted, often having detail on the front, such as a bow or a zip. This style of dress is great for show casing a curvaceous figure.
4. Bodycon – When it comes to women’s dresses, only those who are really body confident are going to be wearing the bodycon. Made from stretchy fabric that clings to the body, this style of dress emphasises your bust and bum (great!) but also the tummy area (not so great!).
5. Empire – The waist line on an empire dress sits above the natural waistline, often right underneath the bust. This style is brilliant for shorter women who want to lengthen their figure; it’s also great for disguising a bottom-heavy figure.
6. Kaftan – This style is perfect for shoppers on a budget looking for a cheap dress that doesn’t compromise on style. Designed to be more of a beach cover-up than a dress to wear out, simply pair with shorts and a strappy top underneath and go from beach to bar in style.
7. Maxi – Maxis are made for summer, with the floaty style perfect for hot weather. This dress is figure flattering for every kind of shape, but if you're not blessed in the height department make sure you pair it with some heels to elongate your figure.
8. Mini – This is a very broad umbrella term for any dress that is short in length. The most popular in this category is the little black dress, often shortened to LBD.
9. Shift – The shift dress is cut just above the knee and falls straight down from the bust. It can have a variety of neck lines, but usually they tend to be higher. The dress has no definition at the waist and generally isn’t figure hugging. This style is perfect for ladies that want a little bit of comfort, or something a little looser on hot days.
10. Smock – Originally designed for pregnant women, be careful when wearing a smock as it can be unflattering on a larger frame. If you have a straight, slim figure this dress will sit amazingly on your frame. Smock dresses are also kind to the apple-shaped lady, concealing her problem area, her tummy and middle.
11. Tea – Think quintessentially British style, think tea dresses. Traditionally worn to afternoon tea, the tea dress has now been adopted by mainstream fashion and nails that 'just threw it on' look. They traditionally have a floral print and stop just above the knee. Team with a cardigan, mannish brogues and ankle socks for a cuter-than-cute look.
12. Trapeze – Approach the trapeze dress with caution as it can be unflattering on some figures. Trapeze dresses are cut above the knee, with no waist line and a fuller bottom.
13. Wrap – A winner for all, this dress has been awarded our ‘favourite dress in the whole of the UK!’ The wrap dress is great for all body shapes (it can hide a multitude of sins!). This style crosses over underneath the bust and then falls down concealing the tummy area. If you’re a busty lady, this should be a wardrobe staple as it will enhance your gorgeous figure.
Understanding dress types is half the battle, now let's look at what dresses will flatter your figure.
Apple-shaped ladies – Bigger bust, rounded tummy, slender hips and lovely pins. When buying a women’s dress online, follow these tips:
Pear-shaped ladies – Small bust and big bum, thighs or hips. When browsing dresses online be sure to follow these golden rules:
Hourglass figures (the lucky few!) – Lovely balanced figure, curvy hips, big bust and a tiny waist. Although you have an amazing figure you should still try and follow these rules when shopping for dresses online:
Slender Ladies (banana shape) – Small bust, small waist, and small hips. You really can buy most dresses online, but to make the most of your figure, review these tips below, but you’ll look good in almost anything!
When it comes to choosing which fabric to opt for it’s mostly down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a cheap dress you may want to bear in mind that certain materials, such as polyester, cost less to manufacture than others, while some fabrics are easier to maintain.
Sizing is an important factor to consider when buying a dress online, as retailers can have slight differences in how they measure their sizes.
It is always best to check the size guides on the retailers’ websites for specific details. However, if you are coming to the UK from another country (or vice versa) then these conversion size guides should be useful.
Before you can know what colours will usually suit you, the first thing to work out is whether your skin has a pink/red or yellow/golden undertone.
When choosing colours for dresses, another key factor can be hair colour:
It is always best to read the care labels on your clothing, or you may even be able to find care instructions online before you buy your dress. Be aware that some dresses will require dry cleaning. Make sure you also know whether you can iron your dress, what temperature to wash it at and finally if it is a strong colour whether there will be transference.
For more details about different materials and any specific care instructions, please refer to the “What different materials are there?” section.
Delivery time will depend upon the website you buy your dress from. Be aware that if you buy a dress from outside the UK then the wait will be considerably increased as the shipping process will be longer.
You also want to make sure you are aware of any additional costs that can be incurred from delivery. Most retailers will offer free delivery to the UK when you spend over a certain amount. Make sure you check the delivery policy before you confirm your payment.
When buying a dress online there will be some occasions when it’s just not right, whether it’s the wrong size or the wrong colour. No matter the reason, by purchasing online you are given a seven day cooling off period in which you can return an item.
You have these rights because you are protected by the Distance Selling Regulations. In addition to your DSR rights always check the retailer’s website as some will give you an extended returns period. For more information on DSR and your rights when buying online, visit the UK Government website.
Now you’ve got a better idea of the kind of dresses you’re looking for, why not check out price comparison tables where you will find the best deals and offers on all kinds of women’s dresses, from the cheapest dresses to the best fast fashion dresses. Whatever you are looking for you are sure to find the best selection of dresses here at Cafe La Moda.