Basic Style

Behind the Seams: The Sway Dress

In “Behind the Seams” we dive deep into how and why a new piece was made. Everything we design has a purpose in your closet. And we want you to better understand why we choose to create our new items. We sat down with Jay Adams, Co-Founder and Head of Design, to talk all the deets on The Sway Dress. 

What were the main elements behind designing The Sway Dress?

Whenever we go to design something new, we look back on other styles we have designed in the past. We see what elements really worked and what we can improve. The approach to The Sway Dress was no different. Last summer we released a dress called The Swing Dress, which sold really well. It was a drop waisted dress, very comfortable, easy to throw on, and super casual. It was made from a jersey knit and women really loved that. The great part about that dress was the way the skirt fell and the flattering fit in the body. We wanted to keep that in mind while designing The Sway Dress. This is why there is a drop waist and a nice flirty, flouncy skirt. However, we aimed to design it in a fabric that was a bit more structured, so it could be worn to work. Those were the two main elements we thought about when we were designing this dress.

Can you walk me through the creative process for The Sway Dress? Has this been in the works for a while?

When it comes to the creative process for designing, initially, we like to use feedback from our customers. I think that is one of the things that makes our design process unique. Other designers use their own inspiration, or they are inspired by art, architecture, or other things like that. Our inspiration is our customers. That is why feedback is so important to us. It’s our main starting point. Hearing things that women are missing in their closet gives us something to work off of. And that’s definitely how The Sway Dress was adapted. There was room for another dress that was a bit more business professional, more elevated, and for that woman who is in a very professional office. It was designed to be an alternative to a suit. I think that we achieved that. When women feel the dress and the fabric in particular, it really puts forth that professional vibe.

What materials were used to create this dress? Why? 

One thing we do during the design process is visit our manufacturer over in Hangzhou, China. We go two times a year at least. But when we visit we’re not only talking about new product, we are also going through their warehouse of fabric. We’re lucky to have a manufacturer that works with really amazing designers like Calvin Klein and DVF. Often times, there will be bolts of fabric that are leftover from larger production runs. This gives us the opportunity to use that fabric in producing our clothes. It’s a win/win because not only do we get access to smaller runs of very beautiful fabric, but also we get to use fabric that might not have been used otherwise. That’s what happened with the fabric for The Sway Dress. It’s 100% polyester, but it’s mid-weight, which creates a nice drape to it. That’s where the flounce on the skirt comes from. It’s also wrinkle resistant and has a great texture to it. It is really quite a beautiful fabric.

What is the product fit like? 

I would say The Sway Dress fits differently than a number of our other dresses. It’s a bit more tailored. But while I’m using the word tailored, the seams of the dress and the way the drop waist hits makes it flattering on a lot of different body shapes. The effect of a drop waist is to lengthen your torso. So it’s fitted through the torso, but it’s not super clingy. The length of the skirt is meant to hit at the knee so it’s not too long, but not too short. This allows women to easily wear it with or without tights in an office setting. We added the sleeves because we knew that women loved the sleeves on The Pencil Dress. And seasonally, at this time of year, we wanted women to have a dress that has sleeves.

How would you pair this dress for each season? What makes this an elevated basic?

What’s special about this dress is that it’s a unique, stand-alone piece. Many of our other clothes are fun to mix, match, and layer. But this is actually a dress I would wear alone. You don’t have to be that worried about putting on a cardigan over it because of the sleeves. And as I said before, you can style it with or without tights. It really epitomizes that idea of putting on a dress and feeling instantly pulled together. Throw it on with a great pair of heels and walk out the door looking fabulous. In terms of styling, it’s great when you have a meeting where you need to look like a million bucks, but not too buttoned up. It’s also an awesome dress if you have an early Spring or Fall wedding, a cocktail event, something like that. It’s still feminine and has that great neckline. If you wanted to put on a fun piece of jewelry, or put your hair up with a great pair of statement earrings, you’d really look phenomenal.

This post was adapted from an interview with Jay Adams.