I told someone the other day that my winter style is very much “little boy.” Straight leg pants, hearty boots, primary color sweaters. I mostly wear these things because they’re functional – and because it’s easy to coordinate in the semi-dark of winter mornings. But by March or April, I am very ready to crank up the femme.
Growing up in Florida, dresses were a year-round option. And if I were still in my early-20s ModCloth phase, maybe I would make an effort to make them cold-weather appropriate with colored tights and sweaters. But I find that look so complicated, and a little bit uncomfortable (tights are the worst).
So the arrival of dress season gives me particular cheer. The patterns, silhouettes, and ease appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities. There’s something very nostalgic – a reminder of being a little kid dressing up for Easter morning – and romantic – a chance to dress in a way that challenges or expands your identity – about them. So even if they aren’t always practical, I’ll always admire a good dress.
Today I gathered nine dress brands that prioritize low waste, natural fibers and fair labor. And as far as I can tell, they’re also all women-owned.
9 Places to Find Ethical & Sustainable Spring Dresses
1 | Pyne & Smith Clothiers
Sizes XS-XXL. Lovely, custom designed linen printed dresses (and more) made in the USA. Owner Joanna has fostered an enthusiastic community of die-hard Pyne & Smith lovers. I have a collared style that I’m excited to wear now that the weather has warmed up.
2 | Mata Traders
Sizes XS-2X (in select styles). Flirty and vintage inspired, made by fairly paid artisan in India.
3 | Reformation
Sizes XS-3X (in select styles). Glamorous cuts and deadstock fabrics give Reformation dresses an overtly feminine, vintage-inspired vibe.
4 | Rakha
Sizes XS-XL (limited quantities). The most theatrical of the bunch, dreamy silhouettes made with sustainable fabrics.
5 | Tonle
Sizes XS-XL. Zero waste and soon-to-be solar powered! Made fairly in Cambodia.
6 | Passion Lillie
Beautiful, classic block-printed cotton dresses and more.
7 | Fair Indigo
Soft, pima cotton knits that are suitable for most occasions.
8 | Hackwith Design House
Woman-owned and made in Minnesota with deadstock and sustainable fabrics. Plus sizes available.
9 | Victoria Road
Made using traditional Pakistani embroidery and fabric processes.
See my Fall Dress Roundup here.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.