Basic Style, Conscious Closet

Behind the Seams: The Work 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 Work Dress. 

What were the main elements behind designing The Work Dress?

With The Work Dress we were really focused on making the “ultimate” dress. That might sound sort of extreme, but over the past two and a half years we’ve observed so many different elements women love about each individual dress we’ve made. When thinking about The Work Dress, we felt like we had an opportunity to make this Frankenstein of dresses. Melding all of our best elements into one. We started off looking at our best sellers, The Pencil Dress, the A-Line, and The Fit and Flare. We compiled a list of what women really love and adore about those dresses, and also thought about the elements women do not like. And so creating that pro and con list was really the catalyst in creating this dress.

Can you walk me through the creative process for The Work Dress? 

After looking at all the other dresses, we came up with a final definition for this “ultimate dress.” It was primarily a dress that’s just super easy to wear. You want to wear it to work because you can throw it on quickly, it fits a lot of different figures, and is both put together, but at the same time feels effortless. You’re not going to be pulling at it all day. This dress we believed had to check all those boxes. Then, it was a matter of putting pen to paper and actually designing it. Melissa was thinking about how their needed to be a lot of seams on the dress, which would allow us to achieve a very effortless silhouette that was still feminine. This was how we were able to create the lovely shape of the dress. We also still wanted a little flare in the skirt (think Fit and Flare), but not so much flare to make it overly girly. Having those raglan sleeves, which pulls from the A-Line, gives a nice fit around the shoulder area. However, we made it a little longer than the A-Line is. Once the construction details of the design process were thought out, we moved onto what the right fabric should be.

What materials were used to create this dress?

We knew we wanted to do some kind of knit because one of the things women love about The Pencil Dress and The A-Line is the fabric. Both of those are a Ponte fabric, which means that they’re a tightly knit fabric that’s smooth on the body, but also has good structure to it. With The Work Dress we wanted to try and introduce a new fabric that had more texture. We ended up using this nice blend that’s mid-weight and has a slightly bumpy texture to it. It also comes in this great heather gray color, which gives it variation.

What is the product fit like? 

Now that we have started our Style Studio, we’re seeing this dress in person on more and more women. We’ve found that the dress is truly flattering on almost all figures. And we are so happy to see that because that was such a big part of making sure this dress was successful. It needed to be easy for a lot of different women to wear. The princess seams are smoothing and slimming, but it’s not clingy in any place. Another nice thing about this dress when we see women trying it on, is that there’s some flexibility. So if you are wanting your clothes more fitted you can try to size down. This way you might find that you like the fit of the dress because it’s going to be a little bit closer to your body. But, if you want it to fit more effortlessly and more off the body, you would want to order it true to size.

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

This dress is definitely going to be something that you’ll want to reach for year round. We show it on the website styled with leggings and those really cute pumps. To me, that look feels young and contemporary, but also just so comfortable. Throwing on a sassy pair of shoes definitely elevates the outfit too. It’s also total perfection with a simple pair of shoes. Whether that’s black stilettos, which dress it up and look like a million bucks, or wearing it with flats if you’re more comfortable in that. I can also see it being really cute with a jean jacket thrown over it, but working well if you have a great black blazer too. I really think that women are gonna find this dress easy to wear in multiple seasons. Layering it up when it’s a little bit cooler and then looking great wearing it really simple by itself in the Spring or early Fall.

This post was adapted from an interview with Jay Adams.