Outside of bright yoga pants and trendy running shoes, I have very little natural fashion sense. No matter how perfect they are in the store, when it’s ten minutes before leaving for work in the morning, all of my clothes look ridiculous, fit awkwardly, are extremely unflattering or look like they belong on a grandparent in the 1990’s. I spent a lot of time in my late 20’s trying to build a closet that caters to my natural talent of always wearing the wrong thing. The more basic, the better. The more versatile, the less I’m caught wearing something inappropriate. The better quality, the less clothes I have to buy, meaning the less chance I have of looking like I borrowed someone’s hand-me-downs.
Fashion bloggers have been a huge part of my long winded and often futile style journey. I’ve found a few women that naturally capture the style I don’t have, and I’ve taken a lot of tips, clicked on a lot of links (and let out a lot of sighs when the dress they’re wearing is upwards of a thousand dollars, and no, the “cheap” version looks nothing like the original) and become a close acquaintance to the UPS guy who arrives every night between 7:30 pm and 8 and knows us better than anyone else this side of the Mississippi.
I was incredibly excited when a dress I’ve been pining after for months arrived in the mail this week, a dress I saw on a blog in a perfectly photoshopped family outing on a blogger who could double as a model. Over the past couple years, three brands have stood out to me, whether for their unique place in the market or their pitch and pictures online. Here are my top three dress purchases from blogs around the internet. (Please keep in mind, I am not a model and my husband, bless his heart, is not a photographer).
Where I saw it: I have to be honest and say that my friend told me about Sonnet James before it appeared in my blogosphere. But in 2014, Naomi Davis from Love Taza did a campaign with them, as usual looking entirely too put together to actually be a mom of three. I’ve been searching for a longer dress that I could wear to work and wouldn’t immediately go out of style, so I was extremely excited and completely disappointed when my friend told me about Sonnet James. Their dresses are perfect. And cost most of my paycheck. I finally ordered the Reese dress (which was on preorder) in February, and after waiting not-so-patiently, it arrived this week.
Price and Quality: You definitely get what you pay for with Sonnet James. The dresses are extremely simple and unniverisally flattering. While a lot of stretchy dresses can look and feel cheap or hug too tightly around the stomach and hips, their fabric is thicker and the cut is straight not rouched, so it flows with your natural curves. The Reese dress set me back $148.
Fit and Flatter: Sonnet James is meant for play. It’s meant to be sat in on grass, to slide with your kids at the park, to bend and roll and lift and stir. The length is very forgiving, there’s a lot of coverage and stretch, but, even though it’s more conservative, it’s not stodgy. I feel extremely comfortable in this dress, but also like I’m making more of an effort than my usual yoga pants and NY Giants t-shirt.
Where to Wear: This is a perfect dress for work. Whether that means working as a stay at home mom or working form an office. As long as I don’t spill coffee on it (white was a little ambitious), I’m hoping this dress lasts through my next baby and long into when my kids are toddlers.
Where I saw it: I first noticed this dress on Instagram through A Little Bit of Lacquer, and immediately followed Brass Clothing, where I started seeing it everywhere, on all different body types and captured in different lifestyles. I loved this dress in pictures, it’s classic and easy and looked like a staple that I could grab from my closet on especially uninspired mornings.
Price and Quality: Brass prides itself on creating capsule wardrobe basics and assume their customers are willing to spend more on a single item with higher quality. I bought the t-shirt dress as part of their Dress Duo deal, two dresses for a total of $120. Stand alone, the t-shirt dress is an even $100–a fair price for any well made piece of clothing. Brass is designed in the US but the company outsources their manufacturing to a facility in China, and, while I would much rather buy American made, I definitely appreciate the transparency and the care they took in choosing a quality manufacturer. The fabric is nylon, spandex and knit jersey, which combined feels silky but has a little extra weight, making it seem more durable and flattering.
Fit and Flatter: The website says the dress runs large, so I ordered a size down, literally the smallest size they carry. I was extremely excited when I picked it up out of the box, the fabric was thick, the lines were crisp and it looked like a perfect combination of not trying at all and looking effortlessly put together. Then I tried it on. I’m not sure who the dress was built for, but the fit is completely off. It’s too short and cut too high on the sides and I have to wear a shirt underneath because it’s so baggy on top. I almost wonder if this is a recurring problem, because Brass claims to pay for alterations on their website if you’re not completely satisfied. I’ll be taking advantage of that.
Where to Wear: I wore this to work once and the whole day I was tugging it down. It’s a little short for a traditional office, but a great fit if you’re more comfortable in something casual. I would feel better wearing this dress to work on my blog from a coffee shop, or a nicer lunch when the weather cools off.