The M Dash

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Black Dresses for Work That Will Make Your Mornings Easier

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice begins with the famous first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. We’re not so sure about that, but here’s what we do know: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a busy woman in possession of a good job, must own black dresses for work. 

This is a statement we can firmly stand behind, and if Ms. Austen were alive today, we think she’d agree.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with color. (We’ve been known to get down with some olive, a little aubergine, and the occasional splash of poppy.) But we also know that if you’re a professional woman looking to build your personal uniform, black is a great place to begin.

So let’s get to it. Here are our 15 favorite black work dresses.

1. The Corporate-meets-cool Dress

So your job’s a little stiff, but you are not. How can you dress for work while still feeling like your saucy self? Start with the Masha, whose modern top and pencil skirt create a perfect equilibrium between laid-back and buttoned-up. Also, pockets. What more is there to say?

2. The Renaissance Dress

If the Rachel were a person, she’d be the kind of woman who can talk to anyone about anything. In other words, this versatile dress is always in its element. Wear it with a knit jacket for a formal look at work, or pair it with heels and mega-watt earrings for a big night out.

3. The Interview Dress

You know what they say about job interviews: You want to be remembered for what you say, not for what you wore. That said, it never hurts to make a strong sartorial impression. The machine-washable Ruth is memorable without being distracting. Not too short, not too tight, not too low-cut—it’s the perfect style in which to land your next job.

4. The Wardrobe Workhorse

There’s a reason why this belted dress is our best-selling style of all time. When it comes to practicality, it checks all the boxes: flattering sleeves, useful pockets, lots of stretch, wrinkle-resistant, machine-washable, travel-friendly. This dress is the definition of ease, and it has a magical ability to flatter different body types. It’s no surprise that one customer wore it to take her company public.

5. The Break-the-internet Dress

Soon after its release last summer, the Tory dress became a media darling. Bustle, Refinery29, and Glamour practically lost their minds as they witnessed this dress’s rise to fame. A work dress with a 1,600-person wait list? Unheard of! Until now. Machine-washable and a little bit insouciant, this coveted piece is the go-to of professional cool kids everywhere.

6. The Office-to-cocktails Dress

There’s no need to go home between work and play when you have this day-to-night dress in your arsenal. It’s a pretty alternative to your usual work shifts; and thanks to artful draping and wrap detailing, it looks incredibly elegant come cocktail hour.

7. The Presentation Dress

Public speaking—love it or loathe it, you’re going to have to do it at some point. Set yourself up for success by wearing the Taylor dress. elegant and flattering, this MM classic is an instant confidence booster.

8. The Simple-yet-chic Dress

This is one of our most figure-friendly dresses yet. Given how chic it is, you’d never guess that the Shirley is also wrinkle-resistant and machine-washable.

9. The Always-works Dress

You know those stressful scenarios that seem to come out of nowhere? An ambiguous coffee meeting that might actually be an interview. A surprise lunch invite from your mother-in-law. A last-minute speaking gig. You want to wear the exact right thing, but you have no idea what that thing is. Well, that thing is the Suzanne—and it always works.

10. The I’m-the-boss Dress

Who’s in charge here? That would be you. This elegant long-sleeved dress has a built-in sense of authority that lasts from morning ‘til night. The Akiko will help you take charge at your first meeting of the day, seal some deals in the afternoon, and then celebrate over dinner and drinks.

11. The Feels-like-pajamas Dress

There’s something you should know about this dress: It possesses otherworldly softness and stretch. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and try it for yourself. For those Monday mornings when you don’t want to change from your pajamas, now you don’t have to.

12. The Get-ready-in-one-minute Dress

Some days we get up, go for a run, and read the paper before heading to work. Other days, we hit snooze seven times and then sprint for the door. On those days, we wear the Adelaide. This clever, machine-washable dress creates the illusion of a perfectly-tucked top that won’t budge throughout the workday.

13. The Sneaky Suit Dress

At first glance, the Lydia is an Audrey Hepburn-worthy dress. And on closer inspection, it only gets better. A versatile style that can be worn on its own from day to night, it also provides a gorgeous foundation for a modern “suit.” Pair it with our classic knit jardigan for a soft but formal feel.

14. The Breezy Business Dress

Gallery-hopping after work? Power lunching with the ladies? Explore the sleeker side of workwear in the Gwen, which provides the perfect antidote to traditional office garb. Made from an ultra-soft, ribbed-wool blend, the Gwen might just be the most comfortable cocktail dress you’ve ever worn.

15. The Business Traveler’s Secret Weapon

Running to a client meeting straight from the airport? Panic not. Machine-washable and wrinkle-resistant, this little number will still look crisp when you roll off the red-eye. In other words, jet-setters have met their match. A sleek shift with a structured shoulder, there’s no wonder why the Sarah is a cult favorite of business travelers everywhere.

Need a great work wardrobe but no time to shop? Order a Bento and let our stylists do the work for you. 

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