February 27, 2012

My Hands-Down, Favorite Place to Buy Affordable Day Dresses For Moms (Especially Nursing Moms)

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Mamas, are you getting as sick of the boots-over-skinny-jean uniform as I am?  Not that there's anything wrong with it (it is the most practical mom-i-form for messy winter months), but GAH.  I needed a sartorial break.  And now that we're in Philly, I couldn't count on Denver's surprisingly mild climate to bail me out anytime soon (although I hear Denver's winter has been brutal this year).

What I wanted was a dress.  A sweater dress maybe, or something mod with a short hem and a high neckline.  God, after four (almost) straight years of nursing, I dream about high necked dresses.  While I have learned to nurse in a crew-neck top, pulling a dress all the way up is beyond my comfort/skill range.  

Finding this dress, this everyday, chic, yet nursing-friendly dress became an obsession.  I trolled my usual haunts – Shopbop, Piperlime, Revolve, Nordstroms, etc.  Nada.  Amidst the flurry of ordering and returns there were a couple of close calls, but they were either too expensive for the style (Read:  Not cute enough for the money), or they were too sexy for everyday or too cold or too…too…something.  Not right. 

I had just about given up when I, in desperation, tried Zappos.  Only because they ship virtually overnight for free, and I wanted this holy-grail-of-an-everyday-dress in time for the weekend.  

WHOA. A total score.

You've shopped Zappos for shoes, right Mamas?  I love that one can browse their shoes, then down-select on virtually any shoe feature:  style, heel height, color, even accents like bows for crying-out-loud.  Well….when shopping for dresses, Zappos employs the same genius search technique.  Many of the searchable features you can find anywhere:  shop by color, style, or brand.  But additionally, Zappos also lets you browse dresses by crazy-helpful features such as sleeve length, collar style, fabric and accents.  

Holy Moly.

This means, Mamas, that if you are looking for a nursing-friendly dress, you can simply check the boxes that say "V-Neck" and "Cowl Neck".

There are currently 998 results.

Down-select further by choosing your sleeve length (I wanted long) and the type of dress (I wanted casual) and you're looking at 95 day dresses, almost all of them perfect for nursing mamas!

While prices range from $40 – $400, the vast majority of the dresses are under $200, with many amazing choices in the $40-$70 range (mine was $50!!).

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Christin Michaels Zurina Dress | Costume National Dress 

Now pooch-hiding is a bit trickier, since it really depends on the cut of the dress and how it hits your particular figure.  As an experiment, I down-selected on Empire-Waist, Dropped Waist, then added in V-Neck and Cowl Neck for a nursing mama.  This one popped up, on sale for $50:

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Wow.  Not bad at all.  This dress (RSVP's Celeste Dress) would certainly hide a post-partum pooch, and I'll bet that neckline pulls down easily for nursing.  

Personally, I ended up with a nursing-friendly dress that requires major Spanx for the pooch.  

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But at the end of a night filled with too much pizza, wine, and then The World's Best Gelato at Capogiro, even the Spanx had trouble keep the pooch in control.  But I didn't really care.  I was just happy to be wearing a dress on a Saturday night.  

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(wearing: Roxy Winter Tide dress – black sold out, but other colors here, Kate Spade pink dot tights, Mia Buckaroo boots)

I hate to admit this, but I find Spanx insanely comfortable.  Just sucks me right in, and supports the back.  Whiiiich makes me sound about a hundred years old.  Ah, well.  I still wore a dress on a Saturday night.  That's success in my book, Mamas.

xo,

S

16 Comments
  • Lisa
    February 27, 2012

    Super cute Shana! Thanks for the idea on Zappos. I’m already on the hunt for a couple dresses for this summer after baby is born in July. Nursing friendly is top priority, then comfortable, then stylish. :)
    If you feel like doing another post on summer-weather nursing dresses, that’d be super awesome. Or I can do the searching myself. :)

  • Rachel
    February 27, 2012

    Of course I fall in love with the $400 one!

  • Alisha
    February 27, 2012

    Fabulous. Love the post :) The dress looks awesome even after dinner too.

  • Carin
    February 27, 2012

    Really? V-necks or cowl necks are considered “nursing friendly?” It’s not like I’m a large person… size 2-4 depending on the garment, 117 lbs, 5’3″… but most of that weight is in my boobs, and I’m spilling out of my 32H/I bravado nursing bra. No way would a V-neck or a cowl neck be “nursing friendly” on me. Most of the moms I know feel similarly.

  • Juggling Chic
    February 28, 2012

    Very cute! I have never tried Spanx, but I should get on board!

  • Shannon Schlachter
    February 28, 2012

    As a bigger girl (5’11″ size 14-16, 40 D) I can attest to the cowl neck dress. A grey sweater cowl dress has been my go to this winter nursing my 4th little girl. The trick is making sure your dress has plenty of stretch to it. S- have you checked out. 6pm.com? I think they are zappos outlet and they’re like brownies. I’m totally hooked. Very affordable and so far customer service is good. Thanks for your blogs! I have found so much inspiration here, even for an amazon such as myself!

  • Melissa@HomeBaked
    February 28, 2012

    Can you share what style of Spanx you find most comfortable? I could use a little direction. I just want to smooth out my permanently stretched out tummy flab without feeling like I’m in a torture device. Something that doesn’t ride up or require trips to the ladies’ room for adjustments would be a bonus. :)

  • Miranda
    February 28, 2012

    I wanted to comment on the whole sick of boots and jeans momiform issue. I’m also so sick of this look and think this may be my last winter relying on it often. Dresses are one good option, but I need other ideas. Boots over jeans is getting almost as stale as boot-cut jeans were 6 years ago, so it’s time for a change but I’m stuck in a rut. Maybe a future post topic? Please??????

  • Megan B.
    February 28, 2012

    I love Boden for comfortable, cute day dresses/tunics to wear with leggings and boots. I’ve found a few styles this year that have either a few buttons in the front or or a v-neck, which make them very nursing/pumping friendly.

  • Sarah Hepner
    February 28, 2012

    Can you please tell me what style of spanx you love? I was looking at their catalog yesterday trying to decide what would work without torturing me :)

  • Julia Smith
    February 28, 2012

    In the (recent) past, I found spanx equivalents at Target – very reasonable, and you can find a style that fits. Occasionally I wear them just to hide panty lines, or to give a nice smooth fit. Since then I’ve lost some weight and am rediscovering some fun things in the back of my closet (imagine!). I have a simple black jersey dress from express that I picked up for dirt cheap years ago at consignment.
    Can you do something with ways to spruce up a simple LBD for casual or dressy wear? I’ve partnered it with tights/boots and a flowy cardigan but could use some other ideas.
    Also have to give kudos to Kohls – I bought a charcoal grey cable knit sweater dress for $50 (which I thought was a bit pricey, but it felt so comfy and fit perfectly) and sure enough, I wear it all of the time. I adore sweater dresses – but what is the spring equivalent when it’s too cold for summery dresses?
    LOVE your blog and use your tips all of the time!!

  • Tysie
    February 28, 2012

    I mean, just going to go out on a limb here and let you know… “what pooch”? I was busy staring at your rack (thanks hot v-neck) – haha! Love the dress, love that you mixed it up with those great tights, and loove that you gave us a picture post-meal and wine via a good helping of Spanx! You’re my hero :)

  • Em
    February 29, 2012

    “After four (almost) straight years of nursing, I dream about high necked dresses.” So true! I’m barely 2 1/2 years in, and I’m right there with you! I never knew turtlenecks could be so alluring….

  • Shana
    February 29, 2012

    Tysie, your comments always brighten my day!  Thanks chick….
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Shana
    February 29, 2012

    Ah, Em.  You are so right on with the allure of the turtleneck.  Lol!  So glad I'm not the only one….
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Van
    February 29, 2012

    I’ve got 11 years of continuous nursing behind me. I have to say that I rarely wore dresses. Skirts became my substitute dress. I also prefer lifting from the bottom, and keeping the top covered with my shirt as I don’t use a nursing cover. A cardigan or jacket keeps my sides and back nicely covered.
    It is funny how a nursing mama suddenly looks at clothing in a whole new way as we try to ascertain if it’s nursing friendly.

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