I Found the Best Fall Dresses, and—Wait for It—They're All Under $40

After a long summer of wearing dresses almost exclusively (I'm talking linen maxis, strapless minis, and everything in between), I'm not feeling the least bit ready for pants. In fact, I see my dress phase lasting all the way through fall and heading straight into winter (remind me to buy new tights, please). Why? It's simple: Dresses are insanely easy to style and, in many cases, comfortable to wear from my desk to dinner and everywhere in between.

So I've been on the lookout for fall dresses and new styling ideas to go with them in order to bring some freshness into my wardrobe. I'm off to a great start with both tasks thanks to Ceta Walters, who's been wearing Free Assembly's affordable dresses on repeat. See how she's styling the under-$40 styles, and don't blame either of us when you find yourself on a dress kick, too.

Walters is based in Chicago, so she knows a thing or two about dressing for fall weather. Her go-to for colder months is a versatile dress. "I love to layer dresses with a turtleneck or jacket for cooler temperatures," she says.

I particularly love two things about this look. First, while it's almost impossible to go wrong with a black-and-white outfit, this combo is especially right. Even those sneakers feature both colors. So chic! Second, the turtleneck makes this look both interesting and practical. Staying warm is important when it's cold out, after all.

As mentioned, versatility is key with fall dresses, and Walters is especially into day-to-night styling. To transition this dress into the perfect outfit for a night out, simply "remove the turtleneck, pop the collar, layer gold necklaces, and add an ankle bootie with a heel."

Walters' second dress choice is the wardrobe piece I didn't know I needed: a sweatshirt dress. I live in T-shirt dresses during the summer, and this style is the natural evolution of that trend. "I love sweats, so this sweatshirt dress was a no-brainer," she says. "Plus, this shade of green is one of my favorite colors, so I simply had to have this dress."

"I don't like having on a lot of layers, but I live for fun jackets that I can layer with a cute dress," Walters tells me. The quilted-fabric trend is continuing to pop up everywhere, so I'm not surprised she chose this particular style. Plus, the dress really pops against those white boots (also from Walmart, FYI).


If you're the kind of person who loves pumpkin patches and apple orchards, then do yourself a favor, and buy this dress to wear for all of your fall activities. 

This dress plus a leather jacket plus chunky boots equals perfection.

Smocked fabrics have been trending for a minute now, so I suggest you snap up this dress ASAP.

This one will look so cute with tights come winter.