Style

Why the sweater dress is our new do-everything staple

Cozy-yet-presentable with optional pockets? Yes please!

As the weather turns cold across the country and we face a fall and winter with continued physical distancing and working from home, one naturally turns their mind to some of the more pressing things in life like…what kind of clothing do I need for this new reality?

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a sweatsuit, or even staying in your pajamas all day—it was cozy tops and bottoms that got us through the dark days of March and April when we were all new to the concepts of lockdown and perpetual working from home layered with homeschooling and late night doom scrolling. 

But now we’re eight months into this pandemic and while there is still uncertainty with what the coming months will bring, for now, we’ve all gotten into a bit more of a routine. For some of us, that’s dropping off our kids at school or daycare and then rushing home to pop on a Zoom call. For others, it’s homeschooling our kids or taking care of littles who had previously been in daycare while running household errands and walking our pandemic puppies. We all need clothing that’s comfortable, versatile and presentable. 

Enter: The sweater dress.

Now, if your mind immediately went to a belted eighties polyester ensemble—hear me out. Today’s sweater dresses come in a myriad of fabrics, lengths and styles—everything from cotton, viscose or wool; soft and stretchy, thick and cozy. There’s definitely something for everyone. And don’t worry, if a belted sweater dress is your jam (they look great!)—there’s plenty of those available too. 

If a sweater dress is new to your wardrobe, here are a few words of advice. First—definitely wear it with leggings, for optimal warmth and comfort. Paired with a boot you’ll be rocking that walk to school pickup or the outing to the grocery store. To avoid looking dowdy (who needs that!) aim for something that hits above the knee, especially if you’re on the shorter side, like I am.

One of the great things about the range of sweater dresses out there right now is you can easily find something loose and drapey or a dress with a more fitted look. This means you get to decide if you want to accentuate certain body parts or hide them— and both are completely reasonable options. For this reason, sweater dresses work postpartum as well. If you’re breastfeeding, however, you may want to choose something where your baby can access milk from the neckline, so you don’t need to pull up from the bottom to feed. 

When choosing a style, also keep in mind that if you’re on the go with your kids, pockets are a great place to tuck a plastic baggie with masks. Dark colours are the most practical with young children and of course—machine washable is preferred. 

If you’re worried you’ll be hot and sweaty in a sweater dress all day: I get you. Especially if the wonders of perimenopause—and the accompanying hot flashes—have begun making their way into their life. The key here is lighter weight fabrics that drape rather than fit snugly. An under-layer, like a camisole, can also help regulate your body temperature.

And if you’re thinking. “What’s wrong with the jeans and tops I’ve been wearing?” The answer is: Nothing. It’s a super versatile outfit that can be dressed up or down, perfect for a live/parent/work-from-home existence. But if you’re like me, and jeans are becoming a bit harder (both metaphorically and physically) to pull on every day, a sweater dress is a great option.

Besides, there’s something about being in a dress that just boosts your spirits. You feel like you’ve put some effort into your outfit—and you’re worth it!—even if you’ve just essentially pulled a large blanket over your head and paired it with fleece-lined leggings. Which reminds me. On the days you DO just want to lie on the couch under a blanket all day and hope this whole pandemic goes away—go for it. You can still jump up, unwrinkled, and hop onto that zoom call if your boss is looking for you. 

The only thing that might be better than a sweater dress? A sweatSHIRT dress. But I’ll be saving those for the weekends.