The Dresses That Really Mattered in 2019

Being on the cusp of a new year always inspires reflection. Reflection on the 365 days gone by and the things that defined them. And, fashionably speaking, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that 2019 was defined by one particular item: dresses. 

In fact, 2019 granted us more cult dresses than any previous year. Our frock fixation kicked off early—m.92's smock dresses was the first It dress to emerge—and things only progressed from there, taking us up to, well, right now, where Ghost's velvet dress continues to dominate our Instagram feeds. 

In the spirit of reflection, we decided to honour the cult dresses of 2019 by bringing them together in this, one of our many end-of-year round-ups. Keep scrolling to see the most coveted dresses of the year. If anyone has collected them all, we want to hear from you!

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ASOS
(Image credit: @styleidealist)

Frugal and fancy, it's little wonder ASOS's floor-grazing checked maxi took off in April (and continued to prove popular throughout the summer). 

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CECILIE BAHNSEN
(Image credit: @maria_bernad)

Easily one of the most desirable brands of 2019, too, Cecilie Bahnsen's oversized dresses sparked a new, incredibly comfortable dress trend, for which we're ever thankful. 

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FAITHFULL THE BRAND
(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

You could barely go anywhere in London—or the globe—without seeing someone wearing a Faithfull dress this summer, with this blue offering becoming the brand's signature style.

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GANNI
(Image credit: @heartzeena)

Ganni is no stranger to creating a cult-worthy dress, but this green checked maxi proved to be its most sought-after to date. 

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GHOST
(Image credit: @nicoleocran)

Ghost may be known for its beautiful bridesmaid dresses, but in 2019 its designs piqued when it came to this wine velvet creation. 

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GÜL HÜRGEL
(Image credit: @hannahalmassi)

With puff sleeves, a belted waist, a gorgeous pink hue and kitsch daisy print, this Gül Hürgel dress practically had the word "cult" written all over it. 

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RIXO
(Image credit: @babbac)

While this list could have been made up entirely of Rixo dresses, its multicolour polka-dot design had the most hype surrounding it. 

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M.92
(Image credit: @charlottejacklin)

Ah, the dress that started it all—a cotton floral frock from London start-up, m.92. 

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NANUSHKA
(Image credit: @venswifestyle)

Previously considered frumpy and dated, Nanushka (in particular, this dress) is single-handedly responsible for the jumper dress revival we've witnessed in 2019. 

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REJINA PYO
(Image credit: @handinfire)

Second only to perhaps its bags, Rejina Pyo's 2019 mark was made by this dreamy satin dress. 

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ROSETTA GETTY
(Image credit: @monikh)

Worn by both Monikh Dale and Lucy Williams, as well as a host of other sartorially blessed influencers, best commit the name Rosetta Getty to memory, as we have a feeling this brand is going to be just as prevalent in 2020. 

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ROTATE BIRGER CHRISTENSEN
(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Co-founded by Instagram royalty Jeanette Madsen, it's little wonder Rotate Birger Christensen has enjoyed huge success in 2019. This dress, however, has a big part to play in that, too. 

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SELF-PORTRAIT
(Image credit: @aimeesong)

Forgoing its trademark heavy lace, Self-Portrait's most noteworthy dress came at the start of the year in the form of this crèpe thigh-split number. 

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& OTHER STORIES
(Image credit: @asos_lotte)

While we'd gladly take any dress made by & Other Stories, this sellout floral, puff-sleeve dress will always be the one that got away.

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TOPSHOP
(Image credit: @florriet)

At £39, Topshop's angel-sleeve dress literally flew off the shelves. 

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ZARA
(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

Zara knows how to create a must-have, and this tiered, oversized dress was no exception.

Opening Image: @monikh

Next: 10 dress-and-boot combinations that work every single time.

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.