I Just Tried On M&S’s Best Dresses—16 I Really Rate for Autumn

When it comes to shopping for dresses, there are a few brands I regularly rely upon. I trust Reformation to cater to my fuller bust, & Other Stories to deliver pretty options to suit my budget and Ghost to create the easiest throw-ons to elevate my daily wares. These are a few of the labels I love and make a beeline for whenever I’m looking to up my dress game. However, recently, I’ve found that many of the best dresses I see on social media come from another store: Marks and Spencer.

If you’re an avid Who What Wear UK reader, then you’ll know our editors have a serious soft spot for M&S. From its lingerie to its cashmere, its jeans to its various clothing collections, the high-street hot spot never lets us down when we need a sartorial pick-me-up or a basics refresh. And right now, Marks and Spencer is serving up some of the best dresses for the warm weather that’s currently in the forecast.

On the cusp of a new season, I’m keen to update my dress roster. So naturally, I’ve turned to M&S to try on its best-selling dresses right now. In the interest of being transparent, I’m 5’3″ and a pretty true size 12 with curves and a 32G bust. However, M&S is one of the few high-street stores where 10s are an option for me, so if you too are between sizes, I recommend opting for the smaller. All the dresses you see me in below are a 10.

Now that we’ve got the facts straight, let’s turn our attention to the dresses that truly impressed me. Some tap into my penchant for neutral tones, while others, well, I was surprised at just how much I loved them. Scroll on to read my honest reviews of the best M&S dresses to buy now.

Style Notes: I’m drawn to anything with ruffles and so this midi dress was an easy add to my basket. I love the contrast floral print and the gathered hemline—it billows as you walk in the most beautiful way. The ruffle shoulders, fluted cuffs and tie neckline are details I appreciate and reminiscent of the sort I’d see on creations by Sea New York or Isabel Marant. Although the fabric is lightweight, I know it’ll wear well with my burgundy knee-high boots and a chunky cable-knit cardigan once the temperatures drop. 

The perfectly positioned waistline on this dress will help hone and create an hourglass silhouette. 

Style Notes: This is a dress I’ve had my eye on for a long while. Typically, this is the one I accidentally picked up in an 8 instead of a 10, but what I’m about to say still holds true. This dress has restored my faith in knitted dresses. Often, I find knitted dresses are unshapely and unflattering, at least on me, but I love how this midi style holds my curves—the cut is flawless. The ribbing is extremely flattering and really helps to hone the silhouette. I also adore how the kicked-out hemline is mirrored in the delicately fluted cuffs on the sleeve. In a word: beautiful. 

I can’t wait to try this in my correct size. 

Style Notes: This is a dress I almost passed by—shorter styles isn’t my favourite option, but I was keen to find something to pair with my Sézane suede knee boots. The hemline was perfect for me, falling elegantly just below the knee. Again, it’s worth bearing in mind my 5′ 3″ stature but, either way, this won’t feel like a micro mini for many. The combination of green and pink isn’t something you see often, but I think it works. 

I enjoyed styling this dress with beige accessories, but black will work just as well. 

Style Notes: I’ve long been on the hunt for the perfect satin dress, and you know what? I think I’ve just found it—and just in time for party season, no less! Honestly, my photos don’t do it justice—the colour is much more like the e-comm photography below. The fabric has a beautiful weight to it which stops it from being clingy (a typical issue I have with most satin fabrications). Instead, it hangs just as you’d want it to, flattering your figure. The waistline is sculpted and strategically positioned to skim over the stomach and hips, while the sleeves feature just the right amount of puffing to create a pretty silhouette, without becoming OTT. Genuinely, I felt great in this dress. 

I wore mine with sparkly heels, but it would pair just as well with velvet flats. 

Style Notes: This M&S dress has been doing the rounds on social media, so I was keen to try it for myself. The material is a cotton jersey which, all being soft, is something I usually avoid as it typically doesn’t look all that expensive when you compare it to other fabric options. The polka dot motif is also a print as opposed to being woven into the material itself, so I’d be wary of the spots cracking in the wash. I am, however, a big fan of puff sleeves, midi hemlines, tiered silhouettes and polka dots in general, so this dress does have that going for it. Ideal for the school run or a casual work day, still, I would have loved to see this in another fabrication. 

The perfect little black dress that will work for so many occasions. 

Style Notes: M&S is backing florals in a big way this season, and although I’m personally not the biggest fan of v-necklines, I did enjoy the khaki colour and white ditsy floral pairing on this midi. The shade itself is truly made for autumn and will look gorgeous paired with other seasonal tones of chocolate brown, rust, burgundy and tan. I would, however, feel the need to toughen this up should I keep it; perhaps biker boots or a leather blazer. 

This is a dress that requires little fuss by way of accessories. 

Style Notes: Party season is definitely beginning to touch down at M&S, and this was another dress style that caught my eye. Look closely and it has a sweet star print. Initially, I thought these were sequins sewn to the dress but, upon receiving it, I realised they’re a foil transfer print. Although I would have liked to have seen some embellishment, the print does seem to have been applied with consideration—I can’t see the stars cracking, even with wear. Tiering is a recurring theme in M&S dresses, and this interpretation is featherlight in chiffon—I can just picture how it’ll move on the dance floor. The elasticated waistline doesn’t detract from the chic finish either. 

The print looks even better up close. 

Style Notes: Shirt dresses are something I always reach for come autumn, and in a versatile faux-leather fabrication, this dress has my name written all over it. I love how it can be dressed up just as easily as it can down—simply swap out my Mary Jane heels for a pair of biker boots or trainers, and you’re good to go. I’ve tried on my fair share of leather dresses, both real and faux, and I have to say this has the perfect weight to it and as such glides as opposed to looking restricting. 

It also looks great with chunky loafers. 

Next Up: The 9 New-In Pieces I’m Adding to My Wish List This Week

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.