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The Dress I Wear All Summer Long

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The Dress I Wear All Summer Long

I was writing my What I Wore in May post (coming this week) and when I got to one outfit, I started writing a novel. I decided to turn it into an individual post. It's about this dress, and it's the dress I wear all summer long and I have already worn the one I bought this year at least a dozen times. In fact, I am wearing it right now as I type this!

Alison in the Christopher John Rogers for Target Orange Shift Dress smiling at the camera
Wearing the Christopher John Rogers x Target dress in 2021

The Dress I Wear All Summer Long

In 2021, I bought this dress from Amazon in size large. You can see me wear this dress in this blog post. It's a very similar dress to the Christopher John Rogers for Target dress I got earlier that same year, but no longer available. I thought the black would be a dressier option of what proved to be a fantastic silhouette for hot summer days, this Amazon dress also available in 100% cotton. And like the Target designer collaboration, this dress is size-inclusive offering every color in XXS-5X.

Wardrobe Oxygen in a black poplin drop waist sundress
Wearing the Amazon Ilana dress in 2021

The size large fit everywhere except my bust. I tried a minimizer bra, but this dress was supposed to be easy, not require specific underpinnings. The top part of this dress is lined so I thought maybe if I cut out the lining it would have more room for my chest. I didn't realize the lining was the same fabric as the actual dress and I ended up making a real mess of things.

Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen in the Amazon The Drop Ilana poplin drop waist maxi dress
Even wearing a minimizer bra, you can see the size Large is too snug for me in the bust

I tried sewing the arm and neckholes to hide the chopped-out lining but it didn't look as polished or crisp. That being said, I still wore the heck out of this dress all summer long, just in more casual situations. Removing the lining did give my bust some more room, but the dress looked a lot nicer with the lining still intact. I couldn't justify purchasing another of these dresses with two dresses in my closet that were already so similar.

orange dress sightseeing in NYC
Wearing my orange dress sightseeing in NYC

But at the end of the summer, I decided to donate the black dress. It served its purpose being an easy thing to throw on with Birkenstocks and a pair of Thigh Society slipshorts to run errands, walk the dog, or wear as loungewear around the house. But it wasn't quite right.

The Dress I Wear All Summer Long
The same orange dress worn to a farm with Crocs and a bandana
The Christopher John Rogers for Target dress continued to be worn a LOT.

I wore it on a 12-day road trip up the East Coast, finding it perfect for sightseeing in NYC with a pair of sneakers, and enjoying an event at a farm in Vermont (that time styled with a pair of Crocs).

summer orange dress
Last summer in the same orange dress

Just last summer, I took it with me for a romantic DC weekend for our wedding anniversary. It again proved to be perfect for sightseeing on a hot summer day, not clinging to my sweaty back and legs, and having pockets deep enough to hold a water bottle. By the end of last summer, this orange dress was looking a bit faded from all the washing and wearing and I knew I'd want a replacement for this summer.

Amazon The Drop maxi dress
A screenshot of the dress on Amazon in the colors available and showing how I've already purchased this dress twice
So I returned back to that Amazon dress, and checked out the current colors.

All of them are pretty great; you can find neutrals and brights. I was thrilled to see the dress in chartreuse. Like orange, it's a bold color that is surprisingly versatile, and a color that even if it's not “your color” it's enough of a statement to look great on most anyone.

Chartreuse dress

Chartreuse I find even more versatile than orange in that it's a color that can look dressy with a change of accessories and what other colors it is paired with. Chartreuse with olive is a whole other thing than chartreuse with hot pink which is so different from chartreuse with black and white and chartreuse with gold heels and hoops looks downright luxe while looking equally cool with white sneakers and an athletic-inspired belt bag worn as a crossbody.

Amazon XL size dress

I decided to size up to XL to fit my bust, feeling that this trapeeze-style dress is already a loose fit and a little more volume below the chest won't be terribly obvious. I found the XL dress roomy enough for all my curves, but not gaping under the arms or too long on my 5'3″ frame. I washed it on hot and put it in the dryer to see if it would shrink a hair and it did, but not so much it was too snug anywhere.

The Dress I Wear All Summer Long
A casual lunch with the husband

And this dress is rivaling my orange Christopher John Rogers for Target dress in regard to how often I wear it and how versatile it is.

Some ways I have styled it:
The Dress I Wear All Summer Long
Next time I wear with cream, I'd likely replace the sneakers with my cream Teva sandals!
The dress is 100% cotton so it washes well.

Though I put it in the dryer the first wash, I now let it air dry by just hanging it on a plastic hanger off my shower curtain bar. It's dry overnight, and it looks okay being a bit rumpled. If you want it crisp, it's easy to iron or steam, but I don't think it's necessary. In fact I think it looks cooler and dare I say more expensive when it's imperfect.

The Dress I Wear All Summer Long
Comfortable in the heat while working with the Girl Scouts!

Like my orange dress, this dress has deep pockets so I can fit a water bottle, my sunglasses, and my phone without issue. It's opaque; I can wear any color underpinnings of any texture or style and they're hidden. It doesn't crease easily; I can sit in it for hours in the heat, stand up, and not have an accordion at my crotch or a butt imprint on my backside.

Red and Chartreuse
I love this color combination!

A few weeks ago, I was in The Washington Post for an article about Amazon fashion. The journalist found my post about how I am over Amazon's The Drop and wanted to get my perspective as someone who isn't all sunshine and rainbows regarding Amazon. In the interview, I shared how I do find most Amazon fashion crap, a lot of the brands sold there sketchy, but I have found the occasional gem such as this dress.

I wouldn't call this a “flattering” dress, but as a grown-ass woman, I know that comfort and joy trump style rules. This color brings me joy, and being breezy both literally and figuratively with this versatile dress is why this is the dress I wear all summer long!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I love this post and love that dress on you! I adore wearing long flowy dresses during our steamy DC summers. I also see this dress as the perfect thing to wear to one of our local vineyards or to an outdoor concert, like Jazz in the Garden. The color makes it seem like a summer celebration in a dress. I recently purchased the coral canvas tote that Debbie recommended in her Miami capsule https://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/weekend-capsule-wardrobe-miami/. It’s one of those things I didn’t realize how much I needed until I bought it. I can see it with this dress in many of the settings you mentioned. I’ve already used it for thrifting in NYC, a day out shopping in Georgetown, a night out at Wolf Trap to carry picnic supplies, and several other outings.

  2. I bought both of these dresses on your recommendation and absolutely no regrets! they’re so comfortable and perfect for a summer day where you want to be as breezy as possible – and then surprisingly versatile for spring and fall too. great finds!

  3. Yes, that’s the one– I love it and would not have found it without your post. Anthro is usually too…much… for me. For anyone whose is interested in Kibbe/Kitchner categories, it’s a rich Romantic vibe.

  4. I bought this dress in navy, and while I love it, it is a lint magnet. It’s really challenging to keep dust and cat hair off of it, but I do love wearing it.

    1. Are you putting it in the dryer or air drying? I had the issue with the black one, but not with the chartreuse and I wonder if it’s the laundering process?

  5. The problem I have with these and similar dresses is you’re often sitting on the ruffle seam. Is it my imagination, or does the orange dress have the seam placed lower on the body? I love the orange one and wish it were still around.

  6. Thank you, Alison, for this excellent post. I like how it is as much about a concept as it is about a garment.

    I recently purchased one of the denim dresses in your denim dress post—the sweetheart neckline one from Anthropologie—that I intend to use for a similar breadth of summer occasion. (insouciantly hip and dog-walk-friendly w black canvas sneakers, Grecian goddess elegant w minimal flat sandals and big earrings, upscale w heeled sandals and linen wrap). It is very helpful to see an example of such style cycling on another grown woman.

    About the cut of the dress you feature: I find that one hidden win of loose dresses is, it’s easier to have lovely posture in unconstricting clothes, which then reads as elegant.

    Hope you have a lovely day today rocking the chartreuse glamour!


    P.s. for anyone else considering the denim Anthro dress from Alison’s previous post, contrary to other reviewers I did not find it difficult for a larger bust. I wear a 34 G, and it’s fine. It’s not a Puritan cut by any means, but I am not falling out or popping buttons either. The smocking across the back makes for a secure, flattering fit.

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