Sometimes, you just want to look cute. Not vampy or elevated or trendy — just cute. For these times, one of the easiest looks to put together is a cute dress outfit. With the right accessories and styling choices, almost any dress can be the focal point of a cute lil' 'fit, but there are a few dress styles and silhouettes that are particularly well-suited for this vibe.
Putting together a cute dress outfit poses a bit of an existential question: What exactly makes a dress look cute? Fashion-focused as we are, we've spent time — probably too much time — ruminating on the subject. Some scattered sequins at the hem? Super cute. A fully rhinestone-encrusted minidress, on the other hand, is less cute and more show-stopping. Patterns and prints are definitely within the domain of cuteness, as are fluffy or flouncy fabrics like tulle and chiffon, and soft, fuzzy knits.
Ahead, find 20 cute dress outfits featuring all kinds of styles, from stretchy maxis to flouncy minis, to wear when you want to look and feel great.
Break Up a Floral Print
One way to tone down a potentially twee-leaning floral printed dress is to add some rugged or dark-colored accessories. Case in point: A puff-sleeve mini dress with a sweet floral print gets a bit of an edge courtesy of black knee-high boots and a practical black tote bag.
Add Streetwear Accessories
We love a fuzzy maxi dress for fall, especially when paired with streetwear-inspired accessories like colorful kicks and a bold bomber jacket. After all, the blend of edginess and softness is part of what makes cuteness, well, so cute.
Keep a Babydoll Dress Light
A pair of flat loafers or Mary Janes worn with white socks blend in seamlessly with the youthful vibe of a simple frock dress. This easy, breezy outfit is meant to be loose-fitting and casual, so don't worry about adding too many matching accessories.
Keep a Shirtdress Casual
If you prefer tailored looks, you can't go wrong with a crisp shirtdress. Rather than going for contrasting accessories, we recommend picking a purse that matches your dress and adding neutral-toned flats for a casual vibe.
Add a Pop of Color
To make the most of multicolored or patterned sweater dress, try adding a pair of matching boots and just one pop of contrasting color, courtesy of a crossbody or shoulder bag.
Go for Subtle Color-Matching
Satin is returning as a trending textile, and we love the look of a smooth silk or satin slip dress when worn with heels in a matching color. To keep this cute dress outfit from veering into bridesmaid territory, add a casual and contrasting purse.
Go for Romantic Minimalism
It doesn't get much cuter than a cold-shoulder corset dress with ruffles and tulle. When you've got a dress that's already very romantic, let the dress speak for itself with minimal styling and accessorizing.
Highlight a Pattern's Pop of Color
One way to create a cohesive look is to go for a look that's almost entirely color-coordinated. Matching shoes, sunnies, and gloves might seem like too much, but influencer Greivy Lou tones it down by mixing up the palette with a contrasting trench.
Match Metallics with Sequins
If you've got a dress with sequin detailing, but want to stick to more casual styling, you can't go wrong by adding metallic accessories in place of sequined ones. The shine of shoes or a purse in a metallic color will highlight your dress's spangly details.
Try Preppy Styling
The right dress can be as preppy as a polo. Play up the innate cuteness of a plaid patterned minidress by adding socks with sandals and a classic purse.
Add Earth Tones
We love how warm-toned brown accessories bring out the best of greens and blues. They can also serve to dress down a look that reads a bit too formal. To replicate this earthy feel, try wearing wood-soled heels and a brown statement belt with a long or ornately ruffled dress.
Spice Up a Simple Silhouette
A modest or conservative dress can be given a boost with mixed prints or textures. To make the look feel more personal, create lots of contrast by adding metallic heels and a radically differently textured purse.
Add Sparkle to a Skater Dress
The silhouette of a skater dress is already cute on its own, but the vibe can be amplified with sparkling accessories. Try layering on body chains under or over your dress and add a rhinestone statement bag for an extra bit of glamour.
Pick Pattern-Matching Accessories
If you're working with a patterned maxidress, choose one or two shades to highlight, and add accessories that make those colors pop. Anything more and you risk looking overdone.
Weatherproof a Sleeveless Summer Dress
Can't bear to part with your favorite strapless summer dress? Don't. Instead, wear it over a cropped sweater for a look that's light and breezy, but will keep you warm in chilly weather. If your strapless dress is a solid color, we recommend going for a patterned sweater and vice versa.
Belt a Silk Dress
Give a silky midi dress an entirely new silhouette by cinching it in with a thick statement belt. This is also a great hack for adding shape to a dress that's a few sizes too large. Rather than swimming in it, you'll be stunting in it.
Colorblock with a Button Down
Turn a minidress into a whole fashion moment by layering it over an oversized button-down shirt. To create a colorblocked effect, add boots that match your button-down.
Create a Denim Moment
Want to recreate the celeb-loved denim-on-denim trend without actually stepping into a Canadian tuxedo or other stiff separates? Slip on a cute dress in a solid, warm-toned color and you've got yourself the perfect backdrop for layering denim accessories or outerwear. Pro tip: A few denim-adjacent layers won't distract from this overall look. If you've got a jean jacket and denim purse, you can opt for blue boots or heels while still serving blue jean baby.
Add Lightweight Layers
Transform a simple slip dress by adding lightweight layers like a sheer long-sleeve shirt or wide-leg satin pajama bottoms. The look will be as cute as it is modern, trust.
Create Contrast with a Printed Dress
There's no need to match your accessories to your dress when you're putting together a casual cute dress outfit. Instead, try adding accessories from the opposite side of the color wheel. If you've got a cool-toned dress, try orange sneakers and a matching purse. If your dress is red, yellow, or orange, go for cool-toned aqua or sage green accessories.
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