A couple of years ago I wrote a post called “How to identify your style” and wrote all about the mood boards I created for myself that help me keep my style narrowed and focused. Since then I’ve been pregnant and had a baby and weigh about 25-30 pounds more (I think? I never weigh myself. I have no idea. All I know is that my old stuff doesn’t fit), and I’ve continued to think about why I dress the way I do and it’s been pretty consistent.

You see, I wear nearly exclusively, dresses. At this point, I don’t own pants (unless you count the sweatpants that I wore for the three months after having Jasper–thank you Winter Water Factory!). Here’s my theory–dresses are time saving and easy and glorious. Why? Glad you asked. Let’s go.

Time Saving

Dresses are so much more time efficient. You only have ONE thing to choose from. None of this, “what goes with this?” or “do I have a clean blouse to go with my skirt?”. One piece.

A lot of CEOs talk about their uniform. Think about Steve Jobs and the iconic black turtleneck. He had a closet full of jeans and black turtlenecks. I worked for a famous designer who wore white jeans, polos, and white sneakers every day. They were slightly different in color but always the same brand and look. It makes morning decisions that much faster.

Whether you’re a CEO or not (or maybe a CEO Mom), we are ALL busy. Having a go-to can be super helpful and narrow the focus. I choose dresses because it’s ONE piece and if I truly love it and it fits, then I don’t stare in the mirror wondering if I’m feeling like it that day. I nearly always do! Which brings me to my next point.

How do I decide to buy a dress

Before Marie Kondo’s “sparking joy” phenomenon, I would only buy clothing that sparked something in me. Something I truly loved. I know it when I see it. And when it comes in the mail, I should want to put it on immediately and wear it around the house. If it comes and I don’t feel that, it’s going back. I should also want to wear it every day. In fact, most times, I do! I have no qualms about wearing the same thing every day for a week. If I love it, you’ll see it. Maybe I’ll wear different shoes or different accessories. Most times not. Ha! I don’t care if people see me in the same thing. I saved time and still love it so there you go! 

(Same dress as above, worn differently)

Women are so lucky!

We are in a world where gender boundaries are much more blurred, but dresses are still primarily used only by women. And we are so lucky that we get to wear dresses! During the summer they’re MUCH cooler than pants. I mean, who wants to wear tight fitting clothing snug around your whole body that suck the life out of you?! Not me, thanks! I want them LOOSE and I want them BAGGY! And PRETTY while we’re at it!

Men are generally limited to pants, shirts, ties maybe, hats…now they do fun socks. I like having more options.

Dresses during the winter time

Some of you may be thinking, but what about the winter? Do you still wear them in the winter? I’ve now lived in cold weather places nearly half of my life (CRAZY!) and my solution is tights. I know a lot of people don’t love tights, but I LOVE them. I love that they keep me snug and cozy and there are some that are really interesting with cool patterns so they even add and complete my outfits. I list some of my favorite tights places below.

Work and Church

I have dresses that fit into different categories. I have my everyday dresses that I wear to work. They are generally loose and baggy so I feel like I’m wearing pajamas, but surprise! They are actually appropriate for the work place and beyond. I go to church every Sunday and wear dresses there as well, so I’ve multiplied by church wardrobe. It may even look like I buy a new dress for every Sunday because of it. Nope! Just my everyday!

I also have a slightly dressier dresses for more special occasions. Now that I live in Utah, I don’t have as much of these (Utah loves casual! and less events). 

The ideal dress

Like I mentioned, I only buy dresses that strike my fancy big time, but they generally have a few more elements than this.

  1. At this moment in time, they are generally loose fitting. No waistbands for this girl! Mostly because I don’t have much of a waist right now, but also, I love the loose fitting look and I’m going to ride it as long as possible!
  2. POCKETS! Every dress deserves pockets. Period.
  3. And SLEEVES! I love sleeves. The more interesting, the better.
  4. Statement pieces. I love patterns and colors though it’s not always necessary. I just bought a black dress from Zara that I love because it’s intentional. It’s got a great shape and feels unique. I love a POP of black (Ok, I know no one uses the term “pop” for black, but I do! As long as the dress makes a statement and is not boring, I’m in. Because LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR BORING CLOTHES. 

Life is too short for boring clothes

On that note, I will always go for statement dresses. Ones that tell stories, whether it’s through the brand I buy from, or the pattern, the color palette, or how it fits into my own story. I’m in a place now where I generally know what types of patterns and palettes I’ll go for and when I see it, I get excited and feel like it’s meant to be. I’m not very subdued in my clothing, because it bums me out!

Ok, that’s my theory on dress wearing. Now, onto WHERE I get them from.

The Short List

Or places I have frequently shopped from and are currently in my closet. Please note, I love shopping for clothes when I travel because I find that they are the ultimate souvenir. I love that my travel stories come through in where I shop. That said, here’s where I go online. I shop pretty much exclusively online right now because I live in a place without many shops.

  • Gorman Based in Australia, they do collaborations with great print artists. Most of my wardrobe is from them. They have great sales and I usually just buy from those. And because their seasons are the opposite from the US, I always get sales on the upcoming season!
  • Whit NY I love Whit! I have a number of pieces from her. I love her use of color and patterns and shapes. I love her collaborations too.
  • Zara Everyone knows it, but you can’t beat the price. And the shapes are interesting.
  • Ace and Jig I’m a big Ace and Jig fan and I love their mission to do their work sustainably. I have quite a few pieces from there. I find that I always have to down size.
  • Ulla Johnson Admittedly, I haven’t yet purchased because the prices are just a tad too high for my budget, but I drool over everything they do.
  • Day Dress I LOVE their patterns. It’s Indian block, but with an English sensibility.
  • Free People I love their free flowing dresses
  • Marimekko I’ve always been a big fan of Marimekko and have quite a few from them. Going to their factory in Helsinki was a such a lifetime highlight.
  • State the Label I love Adrienne’s focus on the handmade. I love her use of color and small batch concept.
  • Anthropologie Everyone’s favorite. I do spend a bit of time going through their pages to find some dresses that I like. Sometimes they’re a bit too boho so it takes a bit of sifting.
  • Toast One of my favorite dresses is from here.
  • Ganni Found them in Denmark and love them!
  • Asos A huge marketplace and it takes some TIME go through. I have a lot of my basic, everyday dresses from here since they are generally so cheap. But that means generally more of a starter clothing brand. And plus, they’re 2 day shipping, which is my love language.
  • Shopbop Another huge marketplace for a higher price point. They have a beautifully curated collection. I love digging through their “new arrivals” and “dresses” and of course, “sale”.
  • Doen Love their romantic approach to fashion.

Shoes & Accessories

I love shoes and accessories, but I find that I don’t spend too much on them. I reserve it for dresses, since that’s what makes the most impact.

  • Loeffler Randall Lovely shoes and accessories.
  • Clare V LOVE HER BAGS! And I love following her on Instagram because she has great style and travel itineraries.
  • Hansel from Basel I have a ton of their tights that I get on their sale. I try and get them a size too big because it’s never comfortable to have too tight of tights.
  • Bonne Maison The most beautiful socks! Ever!
  • Bobbies Great French shoes.

My Dream Closet

Here’s where I wish I could frequently shop from:

  • Horror Vacui Is a German based brand that has the most interesting details. I love their scallops. It’s romantic yet modern.
  • Dodo Bar Or One of my favorite dresses is from here from earlier this year, though I haven’t seen much since then that I’ve loved. Maybe it depends on the season.
  • Obus Clothing Another Australian brand with fun prints and casual shapes
  • Tata Naka (this one is on sale right now!)
  • Zimmerman Beautiful, romantic dresses. In my dreams!
  • Vita Kin Folk-inspired dresses that would be a staple in my closet if I wanted to have no more money.
  • Innika Choo Love her shapes!
  • Rennes Such a beautifully curated collection of brands in this shop in Philadelphia and online too. A lot of Japanese brands.
  • Moda Operandi A huge marketplace for beautiful, more luxurious lines.
  • Stine Goya A brand I discovered while in Denmark. Love her colors!
  • Peter Pilotto An Italian brand who I can’t get enough of.
  • La Double J Another Italian brand with a love of patterns. Also, a great dinnerware collection.
  • Kule Love their stripes!
  • Temperley For more special occasion and high price point. I dream!
  • Mara Hoffman LOVE her shape and colors. Such a unique view on fashion.
  • Dusen Dusen Great patterns
  • Bobo Choses This children’s brand finally started making women’s wear at around the time I had Jasper. Colorful casual wear.
  • Cecilie Bahnsen LOVE her romantic and frilly dresses
  • Mr. Larkin Such great shapes and patterns from this Copenhagen based shop. They also have exclusive designs.
  • Casita de Wendy Whimsical Spanish brand.
  • My Little Belleville I have my favorite jumpsuit from Michelle and get asked about it all the time.
  • D’Ascoli The pattern and color combos!

There you go! Do you have any places you’d add to my list? I’d love to hear about any shops and designers that you think I’d love!

And what about you? Are you a dress wearer? Why or why not? Would love to hear your thoughts!