Favorite Bra-Friendly Dresses of Blair Braverman

The main reason dresses and skirts haven’t been fully welcomed as useful outdoor clothing is that men (typically) don’t wear them, but times are changing, and it’s uncommon to find an outdoor business that doesn’t offer at least one or two dresses at this point. There were a few trends in this summer’s dresses: a lot of sleeveless alternatives and a lot of bra-friendly styles that are more adaptable than the typical spaghetti strap. Two stood out above the rest in my testing—for inside, outdoors, or anyplace else. (Add Duluth Trading’s Instaskort Undershorts ($20), which are light and super-comfy, if you want a bit additional coverage or to avoid chafing.)

Tank Dress by Wool& Sierra ($128)

Photo: Courtesy Wool&

Sizes XS-2X (0-22W)

Wool& has been making the rounds on the internet for a while due to their 100-day challenge, in which bloggers and influencers wear one of their dresses for 100 days in a row, with varying degrees of success; nonetheless, I had never tried anything from them until now. This garment was clearly constructed with care from the time I opened the package. It has a sumptuous vibe to it, and everything about it is appealing. The fabric, a flexible merino-blend terry with weight and a good flow, is substantial without being heavy. The shoulder seams are reinforced, and the pockets are stitched in place and large enough to securely accommodate a phone or wallet.

This dress has all the hallmarks of a classic: you could wear it to a business meeting and then go trekking in it. It has all of the anti-odor properties of wool (it doesn’t stink, and you don’t have to wash it as often) in a cut that flatters a wide range of body shapes and sizes. It’s also a true year-round piece that looks equally good with tights and boots as it does with sandals or bare feet. The one drawback I found is that it wrinkles if you sit for an extended period of time, though the wrinkles usually go once you move around.

The dress hasn’t pilled after roughly two months of testing (and machine washing)—which isn’t to say it won’t, but plenty of merino dresses would pill far sooner. There’s also a variation with a 2.5-inch longer hem if you want more coverage.

Freelance Dress by Title Nine ($99)

Photo: Courtesy Title Nine

Sizes XS-XL (0-16)

It amuses me that this is named the Freelance Dress since it implies that one might wear it while, say, walking barefoot on a beach, scribbling ideas in a Moleskine, and earning per-word mag rates rarely seen in this decade. If that is the nature of your freelancing work, then this is a perfect garment for you, and if it isn’t, it’s still a great summer dress. Except for appealing black mesh portions that are reassuringly opaque, the nylon-spandex material is swimwear-like and surprisingly adaptable (and wrinkle resistant). It also features a (very flat) zipped kangaroo pocket, a detail that is both amusing and practical.

The true claim to fame—not just of this dress, but of a lot of Title Nine dresses—is a product called SwiftSnap, which claims to be able to transform any dress into a romper. The SwiftSnap is a little snap at the front inside hem of the dress, and another at the rear, that may be quickly attached between your legs. The end product is a romper that isn’t really usable, or at least not flattering; you look like you’re wearing a saggy diaper. In practise, though, it is brilliant. What’s better than hopping on a slackline? Sitting in the grass, cross-legged? When does a breeze become a powerful wind? On your watch, there will be no skirt flying up. The snaps are unobtrusive—you wouldn’t notice them unless you were looking for them—but in those moments when you don’t want to be seen, you’ll wonder why you ever wore a dress without them.

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