Day Dresses – Surprisingly Perfect For Moms


DSC04288Readers, allow me to introduce our newest contributor, Madeleine!  Madeleine Burka Hill is a writer, shoe-lover, and girly-girl raising two boys with her fabulous naval aviator husband. In her spare time, she indulges her online shopping habit and practices yoga. In Dec. 2010, her husband's Navy career will take this self-proclaimed east coast girl and her family to live in central California.


Due to the fact that I live in a locale where summers are super hot and steamy, one of my seasonal staples is little cotton knit dresses. What I love about dresses is the effortlessness: I can grab one piece from my closet and I’m dressed. And the right dress is capable of transitioning from the park to a casual dinner out. This fall, I’m already looking for ways to break up the jeans monotony, so I decided to “autumn-ize” one of my favorite summer uniforms.

My criteria for fall/winter dresses is the same as my summer criteria: not too tight (I want to look casual, not tarty), but not a mumu either, soft non-wrinkling fabric, unfussy yet polished, and capable of spanning at least two seasons.

I adore this J. Crew flannel dress. I’m wearing it with tights (one of the best things about cooler weather, in my opinion) and tall flat boots – all pieces are capable of withstanding a day with my little guys. When it gets colder, I’ll throw a parka on over it. You can catch some parkas on sale already.

As is the case in any season, my everyday uniform always includes a roomy carry-all bag. Although I have my fingers crossed that I’ll soon be able to ditch the pull-ups, I still need a very large bag. Any day I venture out with both boys, I am poorly prepared if I don’t have two snacks, two drinks, and pull-ups on me at all times. Only two of these bags are actual diaper bags, but they all are capable of carrying the many essentials a mom needs.

Here are some potential outfits incorporating all the above elements!

Knitted Military Tunic
$80 -
Knit tops »




Caravan Gypsy Tote by Serena & Lily, Tote
$164 -






Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots
$348 -
Tall boots »







  1. I don’t know what I’d do without day dresses! Giving them up was probably the hardest part of breastfeeding for me (although I found a few cute henley designs that worked). Now that The Pup isn’t eating as often, is getting teeth that hurt the girls, and I’m therefore supplementing with formula during the day, I’ve been so happy to pull the dresses out of the closet.
    Loving that free people one in the second look! I definitely need to get something fair isle…

  2. I almost fell outta my chair when I read “relocating to central california”, I lived spack dab in the middle of central california…too funny! Love the outfits BTW!

  3. Welcome Madeleine! 🙂 Your post was great!!! I love dresses, too, and always find them to be very comfy during the day with my kiddos.
    I’m feeling kind of sheepish here. I was looking for an email address or “contact” info so I wouldn’t have to post the link in the comments – I feel like I’m being tacky to link up in the comments, but I couldn’t find contact info, soooo…
    I’m having trouble working with trouser jeans this season. What shoes do you wear during the day with trouser jeans right now?! I don’t mind wearing a heel with my children if we’re going shopping, running errands, etc. So I tried to put something together with shoes from Piperlime. Would you mind taking a look at this and telling me if I’d look like a total i-dot wearing these pieces together?
    My personal style is very classic/natural, but I like to jazz it up a teeny bit to keep things fresh. I need help with these winter booties, though!!!
    ~Jacci in Ohio

  4. Love the idea of mixing these dresses with some things I already have in the closet but I get reluctant when it comes to the hemline …found some adorable dresses over the weekend at urban outfitters but again the hang-up with the length…any words of wisdom ?

  5. Amy – I echo your comment on the Free People dress! UGH…since I’m now back in the nursing game, I’ll be looking for more henley styles (links, please, if you still have them!!)
    Thanks for the comments, Girls – SO glad you like Mad’s article as much as we did!!
    Jacci – I LOVE your outfit!! It’s perfect! Trouser jeans are totally versatile, since only a bit of the shoe shows…I love to play up a ’70s vibe with a clog-ish bottom, but your lace-up booties are totally fab. Even cute ballet flats or cool sneaks work as long as the jeans are hemmed appropriately! Really, almost anything goes here.
    Sandra — I’m guessing they are a bit short? In this situation, pair them with leggings instead of tights for extra coverage. As long as you aren’t showing tons of cleavage also (boobs OR legs)…you should be fine. 🙂

  6. Ok, I need a bit of definition here – what is a “day dress” and what is “henley style”? I’m nursing, too, and have mostly put aside dresses at the moment unless they have deep necklines or button up the front.

  7. Bethany – A day dress is typically something made out of cotton, jersey, flannel, linen, wool, etc. as opposed to a dress you’d wear to a cocktail party at night (cocktail dresses are typically made out of silk, or something shiny, etc). Basically, any dress that wouldn’t look out-of-place at an office, or walking around shopping can be considered a day dress. (To make this more confusing, many day dresses CAN be dressed up for night, but that’s a whole other story).
    Henleys are typically shirts with buttons going part-way down the front. We did a series on henley styling last winter, for reference: or
    A henley dress is simply a dress with the same partial-button down thing goin’ on. The plaid J.Crew dress above is an example.

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