3 Key Factors to Look for When Dress Shopping

Grey sweat dress with zipper details

Kate Spade Statement Handbag, Zipper detail sweatshirt

BCBG Sweatshirt dress, fringe slides


The Lesson 

I was asked recently how to dress yourself when you’re too lazy (too busy, don’t know how to pair things, etc) and still look put together. Well, let me introduce you to “lazy chic”. Lazy Chic is the art of looking put together and polished with minimal effort. My #1 go to for this look are dresses and jumpsuits, mostly dresses. Dresses became my go to not out of laziness but having a 15″ hip to ratio difference (28″-43″). It can be very challenging and depressing trying to find pants that fit well and are flattering. Also, I live in the south and it is HOT AF and you couldn’t pay me to wear pants in the Summer.

What to Look for

When shopping for a dress there are 3 key factors.

Weight of Fabric: This is hands down the most important factor when dress shopping. The weight determines how well the structure holds up and how much jiggle you’ll be sharing with the world. Even with proper shape wear you’ll still show the world your jelly in the wrong garment. Jersey is your worst enemy. Jersey is Voldemort! All jersey fabrics are not created equal but most pieces found at fast fashion spots are the lowest quality and will show ever single curve of your body, every spot of cellulite, every stretch mark, every doughnut you’ve ever had in your whole life. Stay away. It also pills after one wear, so there’s that. I have purchased one or two jersey pieces in the past year because they were inexpensive and the style I wanted. I regretted every one of those purchases after the first wear. IJS

With that being said, you want a solid weight on the fabric. You should never be able to see through a garment. It’s very hard for me to explain because for me it’s just a feel. I’m able to touch a garment and determine the weight and fabric. However, the thicker the garment feels to touch the better. For good quality, you’re going to have to spend more than $20, if you shop at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx you’re looking at a $30 minimum.

Shape/Structure: The shape and structure of a dress truly goes hand in hand with the weight of the fabric, you need both. Fit n’ Flare styles are almost flattering on everyone because they are slim through the waist and flare out through the hips and thighs creating the illusion that your waist is slimmer than it really is. However, you don’t need a slim fit through the waist to give the illusion or show your shape.

For example, the dress I’m wearing in this post is literally a sweat shirt material but because of the minor cuts in at the legs and the taper through the waist it still shows my shape without be constricting. Also, the zipper detailing at the shoulders creates weight at the top and draws attention upward giving the illusion of a smaller waist (think shoulder pads a la the 80’s). So, while I’m literally wearing a sweatshirt dress *praise hands* because of the details and structure of the dress I look more polished like I have my life together #goals

Color/Pattern: How long a garment will last in your closet due to its color or pattern is mostly determined by your personal style. Personally, I stay away from patterns as they easily age an item and you get less wear out of them. By age I mean, I know I bought my favorite cardigan Fall 2011 because it’s the Missoni for Target print. Every. one. knows how old that cardigan is and where I got it from. I still love it none the less but you see where I’m going with this.

Grey is my favorite color to wear because it’s a neutral so I can wear it with anything, it’s has blue undertones that goes well with my skin, it doesn’t wear down like white and black (my second two favorite wardrobe colors, my third favorite is denim).

To get the most use out of a garment I highly suggest a neutral (black, white, grey, taupe, camel). You can literally wear neutrals with everything and they also make a garment look more expensive. If you want or need color in your life choose your favorite solid color. My go-tos are shades of pink, blues and mint. When print shopping you’ll get the most wear out of polka dots and stripes as these are both classic prints.

When you combine these 3 factors you should have a great quality dress that flatters your body that you can wear for years!

Top Knot Bun

BCBG Sweatshirt Dress

Kate Spade Pink Statement Bag 2


The Outfit

This Sweat shirt dress is one of my hands down faves even after a year for all the reasons listed above. It fits ALL of my lazy chic requirements. One pieces equal less thinking and more time to do things. Even though it’s a sweatshirt material it’s still light enough to wear in the Georgia heat. Best of all I scored this BCBG Max Azria dress for $30 at Marshalls! *praise him*

On to the slides, during my Summer of clearance finds I was blessed to come across these Old Navy slides for $12. I literally wear this every single day (usually for errands or the pool), I need at least 5 more pair. Unfortunately due to the color and fabric they do wear quickly. I mean how long to you think a pair of cream cotton sandals will stay cream? lol Not to mention because of the humidity the fabric becomes icky. But I LOVE them so much! Easily my favorite and best buy this Summer.

Handbag. I purchased this Kate Spade bag two years ago and still love and wear it. I prefer to purchase one or two quality bags a year because bags are investment pieces. You wear them every single day and they can elevate the simplest outfit. When you break down Cost per Wear (I will be writing a post solely about this and it’s importance at a later date) it’s worth every penny. I love Kate Spade because their bags are typically very structured and they always have bright preppy colors. Because I wear so many neutrals a colorful statement bag can really make my look pop.


Dress: BCBG via Marshalls (old) similar HERE, HERE and HERE / Sandals: Old Navy (sold out) similar HERE also loving THESE / Handbag: Kate Spade (old) similar HERE / Sunglasses: Prada c/o Ditto (Use code: JULIAMARIE for one FREE month)

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