Style

12 Pretty Dresses for Spring

Sezane white dress

The weather is finally getting warm enough for dresses. Don’t you love those easy pieces you can thrown on for work or a date night? Here are 12 lovely options…

Thoughts? What are you excited to wear this spring? I also have my eye on this flirty number. Also, update: Shopbop is offering up to 25% off for the next three days!

P.S. The best shoes for work, and seven everyday clothes I wear all the time.

(Top dress by Sézane.)

  1. Cait says...

    Ah, can’t believe a lot of these are nursing friendly! That severely limits my dress wearing these days. Thanks!!

    • t says...

      I am a bit confused though because it isn’t just fast fashion that burns millions of dollars of clothes and leave hundreds of thousands of items unsold (that were made, transported, etc and remain unused). It is also luxury brands that do the same thing (and even more so because it diminishes their exclusivity by deeply discounting their products).

      What are the sustainable clothing lines doing with their unsold goods?

    • Jeanne says...

      Yes, well my two $10 Old Navy dresses will be worn hundreds of times until they likely fall apart because I love them that much! Just because you buy a $10 Old Navy dress does not mean you have a closet busting with fast trendy fashion. It does not mean you aren’t thoughtful about your purchases or aren’t aware of your responsibility to care for mama earth.

  2. Alyssa Cable says...

    Completely missed the memo that Anthro is doing plus size now. There goes my bank account ha!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! their pieces are so good — they just launched this week or last, i think. xoxo

  3. Alice says...

    For anyone who likes that white dress and is in the UK, Topshop has a lovely white linen one for a fraction of the price. I eyed it recently, but young kids + white = disaster.

  4. Sasha L says...

    Wearing a spring dress today! It’s only 45° though, so with a black cashmere turtleneck over top and thick leggings underneath. And wool socks. It was so fun to pull out all my spring/summer dresses from storage this weekend. A flowery dress in spring colors certainly helps me through this grey and muddy and often cold season.

  5. Yup, living in skirts this spring/summer. It’s the only way to survive the desert heat.

  6. jay says...

    I’ve just discovered Jane the Virgin – late to the party – AND the gorgeous clothes which I am now using as my style guide!

    • Claire says...

      Jane the Virgin is fabulous.
      I am the same way about Sharon Horgan’s clothes on Catastrophe.

  7. Emily says...

    OH my gosh I need that h&m black midi dress!! So chic.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love that one too, especially the criss cross straps in back.

  8. Amy Powell says...

    Hi Cup of Jo team!

    I have been appreciating the product recs in the last few posts but really really miss some of the more rich writing that your team produces on thoughtful topics.

    Really hoping that we get one of those soon? (Caroline I’m lookin at you girl :P)

    Cheers!
    Amy

  9. Jamie says...

    I love that Striped Flare dress! Bummer, it’s only plus sizes! Beautiful.

    • jay says...

      Just take the photo to the personal stylists somewhere like Nordstrom’s – they live for tasks like sourcing similar’s, lol and it’s free.

    • Amanda says...

      I often find beautiful clothes only to realize they only come in plus sizes. Then I realize that the let down/bummer I’m feeling is what ALL plus size folks feel when they see ANY lovely straight size piece they want but it’s not made in their size. And that they’ve been feeling it for a LONG time. I’m happy that fashion is finally focusing on the broader size range.

  10. Amanda says...

    As a woman with no shred of a thigh gap in sight, I would love a round up of bike shorts/undergarments (not shapewear, I don’t need shapewear) to wear underneath these cute dresses. The thigh chafe is real, and I hate slathering on concoctions just to be able to get through the day. Anyone have a go-to brand?

    • CaraM says...

      Yes – I absolutely love Jockey Skimmies! You can find them through their website or via Amazon. They are light and just provide coverage – no shapewear! I’m also a huge fan of using Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel which lasts and lasts if you aren’t feeling shorts underneath.

    • Susan says...

      Me, too! Especially ones that work for spring and summer without being too hot or itchy

    • Sasha L says...

      Same!!

      Last year I bought some undershorts in the shape wear section at Target. They aren’t shape wear though, just very breathable, light weight, black super stretchy shorts. They are AWESOME. So comfortable and they stay put, don’t ride up. They weren’t expensive at all either. They are also opaque enough to wear as actual shorts (ask me how I know!! I forgot to bring other shorts on vacation and ended up wearing them zip lining).

    • Amanda says...

      Y’all are amazing!!!! Getting some Jockey shorts today to prepare for all the summer weddings I have :)

  11. Elizabeth says...

    Am I the only one who loves the look of midi dresses but they never seem to look right on me? I keep reading that they are good on tall figures (I am 5’9) but where they fall on me always leaves me feeling frumpy. Any suggestions? They are so pretty but I end up returning them. :(

    • Rachel says...

      Same! I’m 5’8, but no matter what style I try they always looks terrible!

    • Sasha L says...

      I think they can look a bit frumpy on anyone, depending on the style. Some of the styles are just sort of depressing looking? 🤷‍♀️

    • Caroline says...

      Me! I’m 5’7″ and I always get reminded of the mothers I would see at church when I was a young girl.

    • Claire says...

      One length and style doesn’t work for everyone, but a good tailor can easily make adjustments to a hem length. I have found that an inch or two can make all the difference, depending on your height and the shape of the dress. I love the longer styles, so much more than mini dresses that I find uncomfortable to wear, and to me always look like the wearer outgrew the item a long time ago.

  12. Jeanne says...

    Old navy has a simple shift dress. It is light, simple, and effortless. Like a slip dress. Currently on sale too $10. It is 100% rayon so I size up to account for shrinkage because even with my best efforts everything ends up in the dryer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      my favorite dress over the past couple years has been an old navy dress. it’s black with little colorful flowers on it and i love it so much and wear it all the time. i’m so bummed it’s out of stock, i keep hoping they’ll bring it back!

    • kenzie says...

      Could you post a link, Jeanne? :)

    • Jeanne says...

      Hi Kenzie,
      Here is a link to the Old Navy dress. I hope I did it right. For an update I did a wash and dry test this evening. It does say not to dry but since I sized up it made it just right for me. Still loose and a little oversized but I like it like that. And if you are small busted you can absolutely get away with no bra. It’s great.
      https://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=390755

  13. Taylor says...

    Totally unrelated to the dresses, but Joanna could you possibly do a post on the importance of vaccinations from a medical professional? Especially after the news of the measles outbreak in your neck of the woods today, facilitated by parents, often wealthy and white, that alternative medicine is a replacement for medical advancements, I think using your voice and platform on this issue would be important to many of your readers.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note! we’ll definitely talk about doing a post — i am a huge believer in vaccinations and modern medicine. thank you, taylor.

    • Cynthia says...

      Yes! It’s a shame that mostly eradicated diseases are coming back because parents don’t want to vaccinate their children because of rumors they’ve heard. Many claim that certain vaccines cause autism, but that’s not so. I think we are seeing more children with autism because doctors have become better at diagnosing it. Then there are those because of their extreme religious beliefs don’t vaccinate. I do know that in my state, your child’s immunizations have to be up to date and you have to show proof to enter public school. I am not sure about private schools.

    • celeste says...

      Great idea! I’d like to also see a post on what working reader’s kids are doing for the summer. I finally feel like I’ve hit the right summer school/camp/daycare combo! How do you resist the guilt to take the whole summer off yourself? What will A and T do?

    • Heather says...

      I just wish the media wouldn’t overuse the word “outbreak.” We recently had an “outbreak” near my area and it was SIX confirmed cases. Not arguing for or against vaccines here, but using language like that causes unnecessary panic.

    • Amy Powell says...

      yes!

      Also I think women’s health or like an OBGyn recurring contributor would be SO good. Particularly after topics like painful sex, miscarriage, etc. have been talked about here, having a medical professional who is full of girl power fire would be amazing. there are so many topics (female anatomy/menopause/etc.) that women at ALL stages of life deal with that don’t get talked about enough.

      (sorry i didn’t mean to co-opt your point which is definitely a stand alone awesome suggestion, but I just got real excited haha)

    • Sarah says...

      Could not agree more, Taylor!

    • Taylor says...

      Amy–I felt emboldened to comment asking for discussion on this topic BECAUSE of Joanna’s amazing work with this recent article on vaginymus, the comments are also wonderful, per usual: https://cupofjo.com/2019/03/pelvic-painful-sex/

    • Ella says...

      Just because people are popping in I would really like to not see an article on this. Anybody who is anti doesn’t trust the medical professional who would write such a piece and anybody pro doesn’t believe in any of the concerns the alternative medicine people bring up. If it could be done respectfully I’d love to read it but I have yet to see something that talks to parents on BOTH SIDES like they are valuable, reasonable, and trying to do the best by their kids.

    • Sasha L says...

      Ella, agree so much. Please don’t wade into this Joanna. If you’re going to, you might as well do a post on the ethics of abortion. Few people haven’t made up their minds already, usually based on feelings (every which side), and even if your post is thoughtful, fact based, open, in fact, ESPECIALLY if it’s those things, you will only invite diatribes and commenters attacking each other for being idiots, and dare I say, monsters. And you will personally be attacked, no matter how carefully you tread.

      I’m honestly so sad that this is an issue about which thoughtful people can’t seem to have a conversation, even here, in the most thoughtful and polite place on the internet.

    • Jules says...

      Seconding a call for vaccine and other health content here. Women make 80% of health care decisions in the US, per the Department of Labor – for themselves, their kids, partners, parents, etc. This site could be a wonderful addition to the resources available to aid those choices.

      And re: calling measles an “outbreak” – the disease was formally eradicated in the US almost 20 years ago. Any occurrence is justifiably called an outbreak once that happens!

    • Adley Vanderhyden says...

      THANK YOU Ella! So well stated and I couldn’t agree more.

    • C. says...

      Yeah, thanks, but I will opt out on reading that article. The information on this topic is available everywhere, as is the debate, insults, resentment, intolerance, and hysteria. Already these comments seem to indicate that people are revving up to launch a war. Which does nothing but damage, and does not work the problem.

    • Molly says...

      To Heather (and others): I agree with the language concern, but in this case I think the media is simply using the CDC definition for measles cases, as the organization terms 3 cases or more an “outbreak”: https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

  14. NN says...

    WHAT IS THE MODEL WEARING OMG! I need that dress. Please COJ id that dress!

    • NN says...

      To be more specific, the model in the first pic with the white embroidered dress and tan bag. Dang, didn’t realize there were so many others models too. lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! it’s this beautiful white dress from sézane: http://bit.ly/2UGyo7E

    • Laura says...

      I have had my eye on that very dress for a few weeks. I think this is the sign from the universe i needed to pull the trigger. thanks, joanna! xoxo

    • Rae says...

      That dress is a dream. It comes in a chambray version also and has a lovely back detail. How to decide between the two?

  15. Hannah says...

    I wish a liked ruffles more as I have been shopping for dresses and am finding it so hard to find anything without them! If anyone has any stores they know of that don’t have all the frills I’m all ears…

    • Claire says...

      I always keep an eye on the Boden website for dresses. The clothes are well-made and I find them more flattering on me then most brands. If you sign up for their emails you get sale info and other promos, and their clearance sales are pretty good.
      here is the link in case you want to browse: http://www.bodenusa.com

    • Em says...

      Hi, Hannah ~ You might like to try Universal Standard. I find their clothes comfortably un-frilly :-)

    • Liz says...

      I love it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so cute! i love yellow + denim!

    • Cynthia says...

      Cute dress! I like the clothes in the A New Day line.