The Day Dress, with Props to Tim Gunn

One of Tim Gunn’s Ten Essential Items is the Day Dress. Tim says about this item: ” . . . Women are not wearing as many dresses anymore. It was certainly liberating to go from the ’50s when women wore dresses every day to wearing more practical pants for gardening, exercising, and so forth. But the dress does not have to be abandoned altogether. They can be very flattering, and there is nothing wrong with “dressing up” for daytime.”

I love this idea, and I love Tim Gunn, my best imaginary shopping friend ever. I am not 100% sure what a Day Dress is, in real everyday life. For work-wear, I imagine a simple dress, probably knit, easy to pull on and style. An effortless alternative to trousers for the office.

For example, today I wore this to work (I wore it during the day, so it a Day Dress):

Knit Dress: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Layering tee: Gap, Faux Pearls: Consignment,
Shoes: White Mountain

For off-duty hours, a Day Dress would have more leeway. This season, I think a maxi dress will do nicely, if it has a little bit of cover up-top. Being a stripe-aholic, I like this one:

Knit maxi dress from Nordstroms

I also like this simple dress by Land’s End. While not dressy enough for most offices, it looks feminine and cool for hot, humid days:

Cotton Voile Dress from Land’s End

I don’t love a shirtdress on me, but this casual number probably qualifies for Tim’s Day Dress:

GAP Shirtdress

What say you? Would you reach for a Day Dress instead of jeans, shorts or a summer skirt? Do you want to have lunch with Tim and me??

Reminder: Monday July 4th is our Visible Monday group posting for anyone who’d like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and send me a link to it. I’ll post all the pics and links here!

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  1. I have a summer day dress in cotton & a couple of cooler-weather ones in knits. They're easier to throw on than 2-piece outfits & I always get at least one compliment. I like to accessorize with an interesting necklace – in our area a belt would be too hot in the summer.
    It would be a blast to have lunch with Tim & you – he reminds me of a friend I had in college

  2. I love your dress–but I wonder if it might look even better with a leather belt–maybe even in a color?

    I have several day dresses–which I define as something between a sundress and a cocktail dress–I love love love solid ponte knit ones by Calvin Klein, Tahari and Banana Republic. I find them through ShopStyle, eBay and TJ Maxx!! TJs and Marshalls have racks of Calvin Klein ones right now! Very practical, and they can be dressed up to cocktails or down for far more casual wear. I wash them in my front loader, even though some say dry clean. They show no wrinkles, and are nice and cool for my humid summers…

    The other type that is super nice is, of course, the Diane von Fürstenberg-style print jersey wrap or wrap style dress–not as versatile, perhaps, but hides any spills! Department stores and Boden are great sources. Boden has tons of day dresses suitable for grownups!

  3. Paula – you always make me laugh! Challenge: Let's do a cocktail dress, styled for daytime : >

    Anne – Tim cannot be wrong, that is the law. Go for it, do a day dress and break through the frontier ; >

    Thanks, Pam – you're right, dresses are *much* cooler than trousers or even shorts.

    Terri – I look forward to your visible monday look, whenever you can make it. Work first, naturally : > Maxis would be fine at my workplace, as long as cleavage is covered. You've been part of my "dress inspiration" since I found your blog.

  4. Patti–first, I want to participate in visible Mondays but I am staring at a stack of papers to grade and probably won't get my act together for another week or so! Second, I like your day dress a lot. I know since my blog began I've been pushing myself a bit to wear more dresses. Could you wear a maxi to work?

  5. I've always thought day dresses were too formal for me, but they may be a new frontier, just waiting for me to try! I mean, Tim Gunn can't be wrong, right? (I've been known to indulge a few Tim Gunn "imaginary friend" fantasies as well).

  6. Love your day dress! And any dress that isnt a cocktail dress is a day dress to me–altho I could probably dress that down….
    Love Tim Gunn too!
    I may not make this monday cuz of the 4th, but I'll be there after!!!!

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