How To Navigate Summer Dress Shopping

Dresses are here. There. Everywhere. Quicker than you can ask "am I a dress person?", dresses of all cuts, patterns, and prints are walking past you on the streets or staring back at you from your inbox. 

Our Chief Marketing Officer Erin came back from a week in Florida with an enviable tan and a new dress. She announced:

"I'm becoming a dress person, and I found the perfect dress. So, I bought it in two different colors."

This is gold, people. Pure gold (as is Erin's tan...nah, we're not jealous at all). But seriously, as you wade through the sea of dresses, don't get overwhelmed and definitely don't feel sucked into this trend if you don't want to be. But, if you want to become a "dress person" this season, we have four simple tips for you.


4 Tips For Summer Dress Shopping:

1. Find Your Dress Cut.

This may be the single most important tip to finding the perfect dress. Erin recently discovered that she loves button up shirt dresses. So what did she do? She found versions of this dress in multiple shades and fabrics. She also loves t-shirt shift dresses. These are quite literally the only two types of dresses she owns. Is that a problem? No way. Because they're her favorites, she'll wear them again and again and again.

2. Be picky.

Seriously, this may sound silly but there are so many dresses out there. Don't settle. Find the dress that fits your needs, lifestyle, body type, and preferences. If you don't like the length, try another store; there are more fish in the sea!

3. Don't be afraid to invest.

If you've found the perfect dress (and it's a little out of your normal budget), just remember that buying one dress that you love rather than three mediocre dresses all summer might just even out in the end. And buying something of real quality means that next summer - rather than bringing your old dresses to Goodwill and starting again - you'll get to pull out your favorite dress from the previous year and skip the annual shopping trip. (This also means that if you found the perfect dress, and you'll wear it in two colors, invest in both. Cause the perfect dress doesn't come around everyday).

4. Wear. Re-wear. Re-style.

Now, just do it. Wear that dress. Wear it again. Oh, and again. Try it casually with tennis shoes or dressed up with a statement necklace. But most of all, wear that dress. You love it. You feel great it in. Wear it. Throw it on and enjoy your summer!

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For Those Of Us Skeptical About Minimalism And Tiny Houses

I do not own only neutrally colored clothing.

I cannot number my possessions.

I like shopping and buying new clothes.

I have no desire to live in a house the size of my playhouse in grade school.

I am not a minimalist.

I value people over possessions.

I believe the best lives prioritize what is important over what is urgent.

I think that disordered loves of possessions and clothing and technology distract us from focusing on the best things in life.

I believe that our habits - where we spend our time and money and thought - should reflect what we hold to be the most important.

I am a minimalist.

Wait, now I am a minimalist? Is that even possible? Me, the girl who is mocked by her housemates for owning a bevy of summer dresses?

Well, surprise, surprise, unlike all the other terms in our culture - which are so well defined, researched, and carefully used (I jest) - minimalism is used in quite a few ways. It is connected to style, homes, food, and lifestyle. And usually in two ways - with regard to aesthetic and with regard to habits. For example, having white couches and one clock on the wall can aesthetically make you a minimalist. But you can have intentionally purchased possessions and color on the walls and also be a minimalist.

What is Minimalism?

Here’s how the “professionals” define the heart of this movement:

Minimalism is intentionality. Minimalism is freedom from the passion to possess. Minimalism is freedom from modern mania. Minimalism is counter-cultural. Minimalism is not external but internal.
-Josh Becker
Intentional living, personal freedom, deeper awareness, better health, improved relationships, individual growth, and meaningful contribution.
-Joshua Millburn

Answering A Busy World By Slowing Down

So, at heart, minimalism is an answer to a question: how do we learn to re-prioritize our lives around what is most valuable to us?

The problem minimalism is solving isn’t new. It is a reaction to a busy world where we miss what is most important because of our attachment to possessions. Minimalism is a tool for paring away the excess to help us focus on the important. It is the return to family dinners. It is the prioritization of the best things. It is a solution as old as Aristotle’s “good life.”

So, I guess we can use the word minimalism or reasonablism or whatever we want to; we just want to keep our eyes on the goal rather than the aesthetic. We want to stay focused on pursuing what is best over pursuing what is trendy at the moment. Because, just as quickly as minimalism came, it may go. But even when the word minimalism isn’t thrown around in Instagram posts any longer, the concept of living intentionally will stick around.

So, where does that leave me?

Am I committed to forming good habits in shopping? Yes.

Do I want to pursue the best things rather than a lot of things? Yes.

Will I practice saying no in a culture that is constantly calling me to commit to more and more? Yes.

Should I be cautious about the effects of technology upon my daily life? Yes.

Does that make me a minimalist? Maybe. (but most likely not, due to bevy of summer dresses and the whole tiny home aversion).

Yes, so-and-so absolutely needs to see this article. Yes, you should share it. Yes, with everyone.

You can stop shopping. Start layering instead.

This post was written by Jennifer Shaffer, Cladwell's digital marketer extraordinaire.

I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts to shift, I get antsy for shopping. Everywhere I look there are new releases of cute spring dresses and short sleeve tees I *need* to have! New items for spring here, and over here, and over here! Just released must-have sandals! Gimme! Gimme! ... wait. It’s time for a small self-pep-talk-intervention.

Self to self: “I already have items I love from last year’s spring and summer just waiting to be released from their containers under my bed. WAIT... I have plenty of well-loved, tried-and-true tops that I wear throughout the winter that can be styled for spring. Also, spring is so awkward: I can’t just wear a dress or a tank or a tee… I need to layer! Helloooo, it’s freezing in the morning!”... you get the idea.

So, pep talks are great. But you know what's even better? New habits. So, here's how I'm layering this spring. And hopefully this gives you some layering and re-purposing inspiration so you can do the same.

Look 1


Explained: Grey grandpa cardigan and a navy & white striped tee shirt. This cardigan is one I reach for on those extra chilly mornings. In the winter, I'd wear it under my coat. But in the spring, it's a perfect outerwear option. If it stays cool all day I can pair it with a long sleeve tee, but on warm days a short sleeve tee will do!

Extra tip: Tuck the short-sleeved tee into the high waisted jeans and roll the sleeves a few times for those extra-warm afternoons.

Look 2

Explained: Green military jacket paired with a grey tie-front tee. In the winter, I’d wear this tee with my fave grey cardigan (above), because I’m a big supporter of grey on grey. Switching to this military jacket is the perfect transition to springtime mornings (aka warmer-but-still-pretty-chilly mornings).

Extra Tip: Roll up the sleeves of the green jacket a little more and pop the collar for a bit of a warmer morning. Throw on a light scarf for a cooler morning!

Look 3

Explained: Light-washed jean jacket and a red long-sleeved embroidered blouse. Jean jackets scream spring! I don’t even wear mine in the winter. It’s the perfect top layer for this lightweight long-sleeve top. I’ll shed the jacket before walking to lunch on those warmer days, but it’s crucial for keeping me warm in the chilly office!


Extra tip: Roll the jean jacket sleeves to reveal the red long sleeves underneath or do the beloved half-tuck to the front of the red shirt for warmer times.

Look 4

Explained: Long-sleeved button up, grey crew neck sweatshirt, and dark-washed jean jacket. This option is for those real cold mornings. The two-layer look is something I’d wear on any day in winter, paired with a winter coat, a blanket scarf, and probably a million socks. What gives this trio of tops a springtime feel is the lighter top layer of a jean jacket. The primary layer alone can be comfortably worn in 80 degree weather - just roll those sleeves and tuck that front!

If anyone out there is also from the midwest, you’ll know why outfits like this are necessary in the spring… or anytime. The key here is three light layers that can be shed throughout the day equaling one warm morning look


Extra tip: get creative with your light spring layering! Hooded jackets or sweatshirts that you typically only wear at home in your cozies look great when layered with a jean jacket (and can be shed at the same time!). 

Your turn! On your mark, get set, transition those tops! be sure to Share on Instagram And tag us @cladwellapp!

Yes, so-and-so absolutely needs to see this article. Yes, you should share it. Yes, with everyone.

3 Spring Trends You Can Embrace (if you want to!)

Myth-buster: Cladwell doesn't think that "trend" is a dirty word. Contrary to common opinion, having a capsule wardrobe doesn't mean you have to reject every seasonal styling suggestion.

What we fight against is the endless cycle of consumerism and insecurity that trends can create in the lives of consumers: i.e. when you feel like less valuable of a person because you don't own a stupid pair of joggers. That incenses us. That's what we're all about fighting. But the joggers specifically? Nah. They're pretty sweet. Also, when wearing sweatpants to work is socially acceptable, go for it.

So, how do we deal with trends? Simple:

If you love it, wear it.

This simple line will save you from countless trendy impulse buys you'll surely never wear again. It also means that if you love the way a new style looks, then wear it. Own it. And as Taylor in all her wisdom says, the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate...

Trends become a menace when we follow each one, on a monthly (even weekly!) shopping cycle, because we're not thinking about what we love, but what we are being told to love. Well, heck with that. "If you love it, wear it" is the new watch phrase of the trends for us. And here are the three trends we're wearing to the office and loving this Spring. Some of these have been a part of our style for years, others are new. And if you love them too, then here are 3 different styles and a quick pro-tip for each:

1. Joggers

Pro-tip: If you're new to joggers but want to maximize your jogger interchangeability, slowly pull them out of the athleisure category by styling them with a new piece every time you wear them: ie a jean jacket, non-athletic shoes, a necklace...and so on. 

2. The Half-Tuck

Pro-tip: The half tuck is perfect for your high waisted jeans or a high waisted skirt. The key here is to remember that it will never feel perfectly tucked to YOU. To everyone else, you're rocking it. Just grab the front portion of the top, tuck, and head out the door as fast as you can. (Need a little more tuck security? Try tucking in an equal portion of the back of the shirt as well).

3. Bandanas (neck scarves? neckerchiefs?)

Neck Scarves-4.jpg

Pro-tip: Just do it. Wear it. Seriously. You do not look like a flight attendant, an adventurer on a safari, or a boy scout. If you love this look, wear the bandana or whatever you wanna call it. Cause it's darling.

What looks are you loving and owning this Spring? Post a pick on Instagram, tagging @cladwellapp and using the hashtags #TakeTheTime, #ootd, #wiwt.

Yes, so-and-so absolutely needs to see this article. Yes, you should share it. Yes, with everyone.