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Which red dresses are best?

If you’re ready to add a pop of color to your wardrobe, invest in a red dress. While a vivacious red cocktail dress might come to mind first, it’s far from the only style worth buying. As you’ll find, there are countless red dress styles on the market for all occasions, ranging from casual hang-outs to formal affairs.

Red dresses are eye-catching designs that are memorable, easy to style and photograph well. If you’re looking for a red gown for a formal event, B & A by Betsy and Adam Ruched Halter Grown in Garnet Red is a customer favorite for its rich jewel tone and flattering cut. 

What to know before you buy a red dress

Shades of red

There are several shades of red, including brick, burgundy, ruby, scarlet, raspberry, crimson, sangria, rust, maroon and vermillion — just to name a few. While red is considered a universally flattering color, many individuals discover that certain shades are more flattering than others. 

For instance, people often choose red lipstick in shades that complement their complexion. Red dresses are no different and finding the right shade boils down to determining whether you have cool, warm or neutral undertones. Those with warm undertones often gravitate toward orange-toned reds, whereas those with cool undertones may opt for blue-toned reds. Individuals with neutral undertones find that most shades of red work with their complexions. 

How to style a red dress

Red dresses are easy to style with many colors and accessories, though certain ones may coordinate better than others. 

  • Gold and rose gold jewelry help red shades pop, not to mention they add a regal touch to an overall look.
  • Black patent leather accessories, particularly handbags and shoes, create a sophisticated contrast to red dresses.
  • Chic or sporty sunglasses are essential accessories when you spend time outdoors in red dresses.
  • Hats can take many red dress looks to the next level, particularly styles like wide-brim sun hats, cowboy hats and fedoras.

What to look for in a quality red dress


Lightweight and casual red dresses are often made with cotton or polyester blends. Most dressy styles, including many wear-to-work dresses, are made with better-quality polyester blends or premium materials like satin, wool, cashmere or silk. Formal red dresses, such as those worn to weddings or cocktail parties, are often made with chiffon, lace, sequins, linen or leather. 


Finding the right cut for a red dress is just as important as finding the right shade. The most flattering styles are ones that complement your body shape, which may be apple, pear, athletic or hourglass. A well-cut dress adds balance to your look and silhouette in different ways. An A-line skirt may emphasize the waist, whereas a halter top may accentuate the shoulders. As expected, it’s worth trying on red dresses in several cuts to find one that suits you best.

Ease of washing

When you buy a red dress, look at the care tag instructions to determine how easy it will be to wash. Specific dresses are dry clean only, which means you’ll have the ongoing cost of getting it professionally cleaned. Others, including many cotton and polyester styles, are machine-washable. If you’ve ever washed red clothing or sheets before, you know that the color is prone to bleeding and transferring onto other items in the machine. For that reason, it’s a good idea to wash red dresses separately. 

How much you can expect to spend on a red dress

Lightweight and casual red dresses made with cotton or polyester cost $40 and below. Dressier styles, including those suitable for work or semi-formal occasions, run between $50-$250. Designer red dresses made with fine details and embellishments cost $350-$1,000. 

Red dress FAQ

Can I wear a red dress to a wedding?

A. Whether red dresses are appropriate for weddings is a hotly-debated topic. Many people agree that it is an acceptable option as long as the dress and shade don’t draw too much attention from the happy couple. For example, burgundy cocktail dresses remain popular choices for evening weddings. Other people err on the side of caution and stick to more subdued colors. 

Can you wear a red dress with pink accessories?

A. Yes, and according to some trend experts, it’s gone from a faux pas to a fashion-forward look. Many reds, including bold and bright shades, coordinate well with light and pastel pinks, fuchsias and magentas. To add more dimension to a red and pink look, you can wear the colors in different materials, such as a red satin dress with a pink lace shawl. 

What are the best red dresses to buy?

Top red dress

B & A by Betsy and Adam Ruched Halter Grown in Garnet Red

B & A by Betsy and Adam Ruched Halter Grown in Garnet Red

What you need to know: If you need a formal gown that is just as comfortable as it is flattering, this design is the top choice. 

What you’ll love: The dress creates a figure-eight silhouette with a halter neckline and ruched waist. The zipper is hidden in the rear seam, making it virtually undetectable. The halter has a large rhinestone-embellished bead that coordinates easily with other jewelry. 

What you should consider: The skirt is rather long, and shorter wearers needed to get the hemline altered. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top red dress for the money

Nina Leonard Embellished Keyhole Swing Dress in Red Gold

Nina Leonard Embellished Keyhole Swing Dress in Red Gold

What you need to know: This timeless swing dress is a versatile option that can be worn for several occasions.

What you’ll love: The classic style has a few contemporary features, including three-quarter sleeves, keyhole neckline and high-low hem. It has a bold red color that is universally flattering. The swing skirt is comfortable and moves naturally. It’s conveniently machine-washable. 

What you should consider: Some wearers felt the high-low hem was a bit higher in the front than expected. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Worth checking out

Tommy Hilfiger Hooded Shirt Dress in Scarlet

Tommy Hilfiger Hooded Shirt Dress in Scarlet

What you need to know: A sporty option, this Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirt dress is well-received for its cozy design. 

What you’ll love: It features the brand’s signature details, including a white logo across the chest and tri-color ribbed cuffs. The dress has a kangaroo pocket that is large enough to hold smartphones or wallets. The scarlet color is suitable for all-season wear.

What you should consider: Some people may need to size up to accommodate tank tops or leggings. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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