Fashion can be daunting, in part because there are so many options to choose from. When you head out to shop for dresses, you’ll see all kinds of pieces: button-up shirt dresses, long and light summer dresses, gorgeous ball gowns, and smaller dresses for the club-going set. So which one should you add to your closet next?

Let’s narrow things down a bit, shall we? Here are just a few options for you to consider. These great dresses are versatile essentials that add depth and flexibility to your wardrobe. And don’t worry about trying to figure out when you’ll wear these: we’ll lay that out for you, too.

The white lace dress

White lace is a beautiful material, but some people are intimidated by whether they can pull off. Don’t fret, because you can wear lace at any age. Pulling it off is just a matter of getting the right piece. Head to a boutique (in person or online) and pick out a really stylish, grown-up take on the white lace dress. You’ll gain a go-to dress that really enhances your wardrobe.

So when is it time to bust out your white lace dress? The bright white color and lightweight lace make spring and summer the best time to make use of your white lace dress. You could dress up a bit for an outdoor cookout (and remember that you can use accessories to dress down the lace a bit), or you could wear it for a night at the concert hall. Just leave it behind when you head to a wedding — other than that, make it your go-to all summer long!

The colorful knit dress

It’s a bit less iconic than some of the other dresses on our list, but the knit dress can make a real difference in your wardrobe. And opting for a colorful pattern brings attention to the dress’ uniqueness while also pairing comfortable colors with cozy materials.

So when should you wear it? A knit dress is going to be fairly warm, so you should save this fashion move for the winter months. Its cozy look is pretty laid-back, so consider this a casual dress. A knit dress can be your go-to for winter morning coffee runs and casual weekend dinners at cozy bars and woodsy restaurants.

The little black dress

You didn’t need us to tell you this, did you? The little black dress has been a fashion staple for decades, and it doesn’t look to be going out of style anytime soon. Sure, little details may change, but you’ll always need some sort of little black dress to grab when you want to look great and feel comfortable on a date, at a casual cocktail party, or while out on the town for the night.

In fact, why not get more than one little black dress? You’ll have so many uses for this one that you might need to spread the work around between a few different dresses.

The simple shift dress

A shift dress is a straightforward piece that you can use in all sorts of ways. We recommend picking one in a solid color, especially a neutral or dark color. Why? Because then you’ll have the perfect base for some fashionable layering. Building on your dress with shawls, accessories, sweaters, and coats, you can create all sorts of different looks on the foundation of the same basic piece.

And that means that you can wear your shift dress almost anywhere. Casual coats and other comfortable layering items are great for giving you a low-key look that feels beautiful without feeling over-the-top, while fancier layering choices can help you dress up a shift dress and make it suitable for more formal occasions.

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