Black-tie occasions have a crafty way of popping up when you least expect them (read: always, unless you’re a professional socialite). Sure, you can go with the tried-and-true LBD or a past bridesmaid dress sitting in the back of your closet. But it might be time to freshen up your wardrobe and have more than one go-to fancy evening dress in your arsenal.
So, shop away if you need a wedding guest outfit or want to prepare for all the one-day/what-if events you’ve imagined. We’ve broken down the following 20 frocks by price — starting at $69. There are evening dresses with long sleeves for chilly nights, glamorous minis, and ones with show-stopping details. We don’t believe in the rule that you can’t wear elegant evening dresses once, so in our book, any piece is worth the splurge.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Lulus Moriah Mustard Yellow Satin Wrap Maxi Dress, $, available at Lulus
Smileven Puffy Sleeve Flower Embroidered Tulle Dress, $, available at Amazon
& Other Stories Trumpet Sleeve Satin Mini Dress, $, available at & Other Stories
Eloquii Satin Maxi Dress, $, available at Eloquii
Mango Sequined Halter Neck Dress, $, available at Mango
Jenny Yoo Ryland Velvet Dress, $, available at Anthropologie
Reformation Frankie Silk Dress Es, $, available at Reformation
Free People Look Into The Sun Gown, $, available at Free People
ASOS EDITION Satin Plunge Maxi Dress With Cross Back, $, available at ASOS
Michael Costello Follie Gown, $, available at Revolve
Mac Duggal Metallic Sequin Gown, $, available at Nordstrom
Ganni Twisted Sequined Satin Mini Dress, $, available at Net-A-Porter
Norma Kamali Walter Fishtail Floor-Length Gown, $, available at Saks Fifth Avenue
Tadashi Shoji Metallic Wrap Evening Gown, $, available at Neiman Marcus
Majorelle Zelda Fitz Gown, $, available at Revolve
A.L.C. Delfina Dress, $, available at Shopbop
Ganni Iris Gown, $, available at Net-A-Porter
Staud Willa Dress, $, available at Staud
LoveShackFancy Antonie Maxi Halter Dress, $, available at loveshackfancy
Zara Pleated Dress, $49.90, available at Zara.Under $150
Do your best Angelina with that thigh-high slit.
Topshop Column Strappy Maxi Dress, $150, available at Topshop.Under $150
If you can’t pick one hue, go for a dress that has three.
Front Row Shop Colour Block Chiffon Dress, $66 $33, available at Front Row Shop.$150-300
Hello, elegant draping.
& Other Stories Draped Dress, $175, available at & Other Stories.$150-300
Since wearing a nightgown in public is still a faux pas, this silky number is the next best thing.
Reformation Eleanor Dress, $248, available at Reformation.$150-300
Sartorial inspiration: disco ball.
Front Row Shop Silver Silk Evening Dress with Back Details, $212 $180.20, available at Front Row Shop.$300-500
A little black dress will never be unnecessary.
Rachel Comey Crane Dress, $495, available at Rachel Comey.$300-500
Some nights are made for show-stopping.
Tibi Strapless Stretch-Crepe Dress, $425, available at Net-a-Porter.$300-$500
Get the sleek and sexy look, even while covering up.
Rixo Audrey Backless Dress with Embroidered Man, $500, available at 151Luwolt.$300-500
Remember: Black tie doesn’t always mean stuffy. An eccentric print and cutout bodice works just as well.
Three Floor Accordion Dress, $314, available at Three Floor.$300-500
If your style leans more traditional, this two-toned gown is the perfect blend of classic and modern.
Ty-Lr The Formation Dress, $430, available at Ty-Lr.$500 & Up
“Pretty in pink” has never looked so, well, pretty.
Carven Cady Strapless Gown, $750, available at Otte.$500 & Up
The slightly oversize cut and embroidered details make this strapless piece a winner.
Stella McCartney Black Danika Dress, $2,935 $1,174, available at Stella McCartney.$500 & Up
Why not take that off-the-shoulder silhouette to the dance floor?
Prabal Gurung Off The Shoulder Knit Dress, $1,425, available at Moda Operandi.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?