42 Stylish Dresses That Will Work for Any Upcoming Special Occasion


(Image credit: @slipintostyle; WEARING: Taller Marmo Ubud One-Shoulder Feather-Trimmed Crepe Maxi Dress ($2135))

Do you know how some people swear by capsule wardrobes? Well, it could not be me. Not just because I own way too many pairs of shoes, but because I have a secret stash of special occasion dresses. Yes, you read that right, and before you judge me, hear me out. I am always prepared for any sudden invitation that may arise—no matter the dress code, I can pull out a full-length cutout Dion Lee dress or a hot-pink feather cocktail dress and be ready to go. Maybe that makes me a little unhinged, but for those who love the opportunity to dress up for a special occasion, investing in a piece we can pull out on a moment’s notice is worth the money (and closet space).

So if you have yet to find the perfect dress for that upcoming event, don’t fret—I’ve rounded up the 42 best special occasion dresses at every price point. Whether you’re attending a summer wedding, a gala, a baby shower, or are meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, these dresses will work wonders for you and impress everyone in the room.

Special Occasion Dresses Under $250

Special Occasion Dresses Under $500

Special Occasion Dresses to Splurge On

Next: I'm a Stylist, and Here's How I Define Party Dress Codes

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.