What I Wore: The Perfect Summer Dress

I'm always on the hunt for the perfect summer dress. That dress that doesn't require special undergarments, will cover my bra, will hide sweat stains, isn't too tight but isn't a muumuu, not too long but I can pick something up off the ground without flashing the world, can dress up and down with ease, isn't made of a sweaty sticky fabric, can be put in the wash, and has pockets. Am I expecting too much? It always seemed so, such a dress is hard to find that is also flattering but I found it this summer at Boden.

Dress: Boden (12, comes in petite and long options, click here for a plus size alternative) | Shoes: SARTO Franco Sarto | Bag: c/o Talbots (no longer available, similar concept) | Earrings: Jenny Bird | Lipstick: Lancome

This is the Jade Dress from Boden in Navy. This dress is available in five different colors and patterns, petite and long options. It's 55% linen, 45% cotton, with a 100% thin cotton voile lining. Back zipper, pockets, belt is two separate pieces attached at the side seams. While I tied the belt in a knot in front, it's long enough you can get creative with it. Tie in the back, wrap around the body for shorter tails, tie in a big bow in the front, hold the ties with a brooch.

When the dress arrived it was pretty wrinkled, but the creases came out great with my travel steamer. I wore this dress for about an hour before this shoot. I was in a car, sat, walked around in the heat and it didn't wrinkle up again. In fact, I got lazy and after the shoot didn't take the dress off. It's four hours after the shoot and I'm still wearing the dress and there's no crotch creases (you know what I mean when you wear a cotton or linen dress and sit for a long period of time).

This is the kind of perfect summer dress you can throw on with sandals or Birkenstocks on the weekend, wear to the office with flats, or to a day wedding or night out with heels. I wore it out to dinner with my cork wedges, but for this shoot I thought it would be fun with a pop of color. These shoes have been some of the hardest working pairs in my summer wardrobe. I wore them this weekend with a dress over jeans, wore them with linen pants and a silk shirt, and find they look great with pants and jeans as well as skirts and dresses. They're so comfy I even bought them in a second color!

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17 Comments

  1. Kat
    June 6, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    This is so Darling! Fits perfect and your choice of cute handbag and fun shoes make it interesting as well.

  2. Ratula
    June 20, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    That dress looks amazing on you!

  3. Amanda K
    June 19, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    I’m bummed out by your plus size pick. While the fabric may be similar, all the options in the link are bright prints/white. It would be more helpful to have a similar color profile. Love the navy blue.

    • June 19, 2018 / 4:05 pm

      I struggled to find plus size that wasn’t a synthetic fabric, had pockets, and wasn’t made by some shady company with shady business practices. There are a few more color options at Macy’s though still none in navy: http://bit.ly/2MGmAeG This one from eShakti is also cotton, navy, washable and has pockets but doesn’t have the tie waist: http://shrsl.com/10hlm This one from eShakti is another option, if it looks short don’t worry you can customize it to be below the knee: http://shrsl.com/10hln

  4. Alexis
    June 19, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    “Doesn’t require special undergarments, will cover my bra, will hide sweat stains, isn’t too tight but isn’t a muumuu, not too long but I can pick something up off the ground without flashing the world, can dress up and down with ease, isn’t made of a sweaty sticky fabric, can be put in the wash, and has pockets.” –> This is an excellently useful checklist, and you make that Boden dress look extremely chic!

    • Kat
      June 6, 2019 / 6:59 pm

      3 yes I agree

  5. Kris
    June 19, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    This dress looks AMAZING on you!

  6. Tia
    June 19, 2018 / 11:57 am

    Hello, are you wearing the petite length or regular length?

    • June 19, 2018 / 12:04 pm

      This is the regular length. Sadly Boden doesn’t have petites over size 10.

  7. Anna
    June 19, 2018 / 11:06 am

    RE: dress over jeans: Very pretty here, and also this really takes me back. When I was in grade school 1000 years ago, girls were required to wear dresses. Jeans were allowed only for school hikes and some rustic-type field trips. If you wanted to play on the monkey bars and hang upside down while not flashing your panties, you wore jeans under your dress–which was permitted. Alison, your look here is an improvement!

    • June 19, 2018 / 11:50 am

      Thanks! I did the dress over jeans back in high school as well and it didn’t usually look very good because I didn’t understand proportion. When I worked in apparel in the late ’90s I had a crinkle gauze caftan-like tunic I used to wear over very skinny flared jeans and that worked, but neither piece with anything else. I saw this combo on Eboni of cabi when I went to visit their HQ and decided to try it. I think the knot is what makes it work!

  8. Patricia Hall
    June 19, 2018 / 9:51 am

    It’s a hit! I can see it becoming a summer “go to”.

    • June 19, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Thanks! I think it will get a lot of wear.

  9. CR
    June 19, 2018 / 8:54 am

    Plus size link doesn’t work

  10. ErinG
    June 19, 2018 / 8:46 am

    This is gorgeous in you, and I love those shoes every time I see you in them. These types of posts are so helpful because you include the “real life” concerns we all have.

    • June 19, 2018 / 11:55 am

      I know these are the things I am looking for so I know I’m not the only one! Now that this is my day job I want to “road test” more things before I feature them and definitely before I do any recommendations!

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