It’s that time of the year when we get really excited about shopping beautiful clothes for beautiful days. But it’s also that time of the year when we’re trying to balance our outfits between being summery and airy for hot summer days, whilst still being appropriate for work.
Dresses tend to be particularly difficult and many struggle with finding something that fits all occasions, which means we end up buying more dresses than we probably need. When it comes to summer dresses we also tend to buy those that are on trend that summer, and often they’re bought to be worn once – at a wedding for example with many stating that if they’ve been seen wearing a dress at a wedding once they can’t then wear it again.
None of this is very sustainable. And it’s a shame because a lot of summer dresses are gorgeous, made out of beautiful fabrics and prints, so we should be making more of them and not forgetting about them at the back of our wardrobes at the end of the season.
Steering away from obvious trends is one solution to avoid not quite feeling the dress by next summer. Try choosing more classic designs that are less likely to go out of style. And choose dresses that you can style with other clothes in your wardrobe so that you can turn them into a nice work outfit or something you can wear all year ’round (with extra tights and layers if you live in a cold country!).
This conscious edit of sustainable summer dresses takes all of this into account, showing a few current favourites together with tips on how to ensure they’re not just worn once. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any other favourites and how you’re styling them all year ’round!
I love stripes. And they work all year ’round. This Vege Threads jersey dress is made out of 100% (GOTS certified) organic cotton, it’s knitted and dyed in Australia and the colour is Australian Certified Organic Standard – it works equally well on its own in the summer as it does with boots and an oversized knit in winter.
A silk dress by Everlane that works for just about any occasion with just a slight change of accessories: stylish loafers for work; nude high heels and a statement necklace for a wedding; and camel/gold sandals for a garden party.
Worn on its own with sandals, this APOM dress, locally designed and made in Australia, works great as a fun but dressy summer dress – and if you add dark tights and heels it can pass for work as well as a cocktail party in winter.
Love this simple, wearable design by Amour Vert – made from 100% organic cotton. Their products are manufactured in America and made from sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics.
Made out of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton jersey, this dress by Danish label Tricotage, works equally well loose with sandals on a hot summer’s day as it does with a belt and high heels for work.
Versatile style by eco brand Jan ‘N June (am enjoying their ECO-ID feature on the website). As styled in the picture for any party. With flats for work in the summer. With boots and tights for work in the winter.
I will put my hand up and say that this isn’t quite one to wear outside of the summer season (and probably not at work either!) – but it’s too gorgeous to not include here. And it’s a classic design, classic colour, and works for any summer party/gathering so is one to wear for many summers to come. And it’s by sustainable brand Reformation, made out of lightweight linen from surplus fabric. Simply stunning.
Excellent print that works equally well with sandals in the summer as it does with tights and a cardigan in the winter. The dress is from the Mata Traders collection that uses sustainably farmed cotton, with traditional block printing, dying and hand embroidery techniques applied. Additionally, the Mata Traders work with organisations that educate, employ, and empower women in India.
Simple but fun design by Riyka – label that uses reclaimed / organic / British made fabrics as well as GOTS certified organic cotton. For summer parties with sandals, for work with trendy brogues, and for winter parties with party tights and party heels.
Gorgeous print by US label Upstate that cultivates shibori and other hand dye techniques. A shirt dress like this works all year ’round for any occasion with a change of shoes – sandals for a summer party / flats for work / (black tights and) high heels for a winter party / white trainers for a lunch out with friends.