Colette

Do you wear more dresses or separates?

103

dresses-or-separates

I wear dresses because I am lazy.

As much as I love clothes, putting together complicated outfits has never really been my thing. I like things that are comfortable and easy, both physically and mentally.

I keep it simple.

Dresses are a godsend for a lazy dresser, because they’re basically an entire outfit in one piece. Throw on some tights and boots in the winter, done. Add some sandals in the summer, done. Why complicate things?

Add to this the fact that I have a high, wide waistline. I just can’t deal with anything that cuts me in half, and dresses rarely do that.

However, in recent years, I have seen the allure of separates over dresses sometimes. You can do a lot with just a few pieces, for one thing. It’s hard to deny the versatility of a pair of black trousers or a classic white button-up.

Slowly, I’ve been won over a little to the separates side. But in my heart, I think I will always worship the dress.

Are you a dresses or separates kind of person? And which do you prefer to sew?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 103

Sam stitchedupbysamantha.co.uk

I am the same as you. I love dresses, so comfortable, so easy, appropriate for (almost) any occasion. Unfortunately they are not always suitable for my job, which can involve checking contractors work on building projects, so I am trying to make myself like separates more.

I have a couple of problems with separates though: skirt waistbands ALWAYS ride up when I sit down, so they end up somewhere around my ribcage; and I have a small waist in comparison to my hips, so I find it hard to get trousers to fit well – whether RTW or made by me.

Gemma silkpinsandstrawberries.wordpress.com

You’re so right! I love dresses because they’re so easy – lazy dresser, yes that’s me! I do love the looks that you can create with seperates but I’m not that good at putting together outfits and I find it tiring rather than inspiring to sort through my wardrobe to find a different top to wear with my trousers because the one I like to wear with it is in the wash! In terms of sewing I force myself to think of what I’ll wear with it if it’s sperates and that often stops me in my tracks a bit!

Marilla marillawalker.blogspot.co.uk

Total lazy dresser, so mostly dresses for me!

sj kurtz erniekdesigns.blogspot.com

Lazy gal dressing. Also have many cute novelty print dresses I can get away with wearing 90% of time.

Katie

I love dresses too. It’s so easy to look put together and professional with a dress.

I’m too much of a beginner to say which I like better, dress or seperates. I don’t have many dresses in my wardrobe, but I wear them quite a bit.

Fabric Tragic fabrictragic.blogspot.com

Whilst I love dresses, making and wearing them, practically separates suit my lifestyle so much more. But the positive I take from this is that when I do want to make a dress, I don’t scrimp or compromise on the fabric I want to make it from! And I enjoy wearing so much more – it feels like an occasion! But then separates are quicker to make and use less fabric – it’s all win win really :)

Kristian withoutastyle.com

I like dresses, but am definitely more of a skirt person due to the versatility of separates.

Joanne

Sewing has actually made me realise that I never wear dresses. With all the indie dress patterns around its easy to get caught up in the excitement so I have sewn a few but I have never worn any of them, I just don’t feel like ‘me’ in a dress, which is a shame but it does mean I get to sew more!

Jennifer sortingbuttons.com

It switches depending on season…

In the summer, cotton dresses all the way. I have a summer ‘uniform’ of a belted dress, sandals and cardian, which suits most of what I do every day.

In the winter, though, I tend towards separates. Where I live it is cold enough that for at least four months of the winter I rely on warm sweaters (cashmere/wool) daily. I just find layering much easier with separates.

That’s why I’m trying to learn to make some sort of ‘perfect tee’ for winter wear and learn how to knit (wearable) sweaters, because while my summer dresses are nearly all handmade, in the winter a much smaller proportion of my clothes are.

Fooniks needleforthoughts.blogspot.com

I wear separates more. But lately I’ve been starting to wear and want to be in dresses a bit more. Because they are so easy and comfortable in the summer. And I want to make about a million dresses for myself.

And for me it depends on what I’ve been making more recently. If I’be been making a lot of jackets, tops, skirts, trousers, etc, I want to make dresses. And if I’ve been sewing a lot of dresses recently then I want to make separates. Just to shake things up and have a bit of a change. Also seasons are huge contributors into what is pulling me at the moment.

AmyLou

Dresses all the way for me. I have 4 children, homeschool 3 of them and work. Throwing 1 thing on and being done is fantastic. I love a nice knit dress – as comfortable as your favorite pajamas, plus I look put together and feel good about myself. I always get compliments on how nice I look, which I enjoy, but knit dresses are just so comfy!

PS I’ve made 3 Monetas already and have plans for at least 2 more. They are perfect!

Andie L sewprettyinpink.wordpress.com

I wear dresses all the time. If I am not wearing dresses, I am wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt to bum around the house. I love dresses, because they are minimal effort, look great on me, are super comfortable, and people are always really impressed when you wear them in spite of all that. :)

Lisa in AZ thirdactevolution.wordpress.com

Separates for me! I have a few dresses I”ve made but I find it much harder to fit them. Actually sitting in my black mabel with a white t-shirt (standard uniform) waiting to board a plane. I packed all separates!

Chris Griffin griffinfoodandsewing.wordpress.com

Dresses! I need to look “professional” every day, but many days are long and tiring. By Fri 8am at 6:30, I can’t figure out if a skirt and shirt match or if my pants are “work appropriate”. Instead, polar fleece tights, dress, sweater, boots for the winter!

Dresses!!!

Raphaelle deuxsouriceaux.wordpress.com

I understand the theory of dresses being easier but somehow, my daily uniform ends up being jeans and a T-shirt or top. I do wear more dresses in Summer. Especially on the hot and humid days. A skirt always needs a waistband of some sort which feels a little oppressive in the heat. Dresses can be loose and flowy all over and are so very comfortable in the heat! I find separates easier for travel as well.

Jane draperyfinefabrics.blogspot.com.au

Oh yeah, dresses for me too! Being on the short side, and short-waisted, that is if I have a waist at all… I need all the visual lengthening I can get! Plus, yeah, so easy. Especially simple styles that can be layered up (or not) for all seasons, and that don’t take much ironing. That said, there are a few too many lovely separates patterns out there to ignore them totally :)

Jaclyn mrstathome.wordpress.com

I definitely own and wear more separates, but I really want more dresses. Specifically, comfortable, casual dresses–I have quite a few, but they run more to the dressy side. I think I’d like to make some knit dresses–they are the ultimate in simple and comfortable. In fact, I have a big swath of green knit fabric just waiting to be cut out for my next project!

ladanu modistegirl.blogspot.co.uk

Over the last three years I have got into dresses a lot. I buy them (vintage) and I make them (vintage inspired). I have spent my entire adult life in separates but now dresses are the order of the day, and what a relief it is to discover the easier way to get dressed, not to mention the prettier way. I am also now into lindy hop dancing, so I love fact that a dress generally doesn’t come untucked at the waist, or give you a wedgie mid dance!

knitmo

I’ve gone through phases in my life. But now, in my mid-thirties, I am a dress-loving kind of woman. There is little thought that must go into wearing a dress. One item of clothing and *boom* dressed appropriately for the day. Separates require more thought and matching. I have exactly one pair of trousers that fit well and are comfortable for me to wear to work. Thus, I wear pants one day a week — it’s today!

After having kids, my waist is different. Now that I am working to fit a couple pairs of pants I realize that it is because I have a full butt, a poochy tummy that requires extra room in the front waist, but not at the back. I need to take out all that extra in hips. Dresses don’t have to fit through that area — so it isn’t a problem.

Molly mygrandmotherlegacy.wordpress.com

I love dresses, but usually wear separates because I am nursing a baby–and have been nursing one of my babies for nearly 9 years. I love separates also because if a bottom or top gets wet or dirty (happens often when around little children or in the garden), you can change it quickly without having a whole wardrobe change. When I am not nursing anymore, I look forward to wearing dresses again (more often than at the occasional wedding or fancy dinner date).

Jenny cashmerette.blogspot.com

I am SO Team Dress. Not only do you not have to think about it, but they’re incredibly comfortable (seriously, waistbands?) and everyone always thinks I look fancy. Win-win-win.

lisa g notesfromamadhousewife.wordpress.com

i love the dresses, but i find it hard to get that perfect casual fit without looking frumpy. a fitted dress is usually too fussy/uncomfortable for the daily running kids around, playing on the floor, housework, etc. for those reasons, i make more separates. it’s also nice to have a mix and match wardrobe for variety.

Andrea zoopolis.wordpress.com

I love dresses for ease and comfort, but they are tricky in a “where does the insulin pump go” sense. I can stick it in pants or jeans pockets no problem because they usually have the structure and strength to support it, but in a dress, the weight of my pump in a pocket often changes the lines of the whole garment. There are ways around it, but it puts me in the minority “dresses are more work than pants” camp.

In the winter, almost exclusively pants. I hate having cold legs–tights don’t make much of a difference when it’s -15C. So separates all the way. More dresses in summer but even then it’s nice to take a break and just put on a pair of lightweight pants or shorts. With good pockets.

Roxanne Guillemette (@RoxGuillemette) roxthinks.blogspot.com

I love both separates and dresses, but my love-hate relationship with dressing up has me hesitating daily between the two. I want to look pulled together, but I don’t want to look like I tried too hard!

I love dresses, but since they are “dressier” I tend to keep them for social outings. I feel like i’m “wasting” a cute dress if no one can see it. (I know it does not make sense and I should be able to enjoy my dress for myself, but I’m weird that way…) When I know I’ll be working at home or have a lot of running around to do, I tend to go straight to jeans and a simple top. I want to learn how to wear more skirts, but I am totally clueless: my thick high waist makes skirts feel and look off.

Shannon

I wish I wore more dresses for the reasons you mention (no matching!) but I shave my legs far too infrequently to do so. I am also most comfortable in pants, but have a hard time finding shirts I like. I wear a lot of slacks and button downs at work, and have a huge stack of fabric dedicated to making blouses and dresses whenever (ahem) I get the time to do so.

Sarah

I’m glad I’m not the only one!

Marie asewingodyssey.blogspot.com

I’m a dresses person too, due to my body shape. I’m short, with a short and high waist, as well as a large bust. So skirts always sit too high up on me, making me appear like I have no waist at all…just boobs…which is a scary look! I’d love nothing more than to be able to rock breezy separates and tops/blouses tucked into a cute little skirt *sigh*!

Alaina thesewentist.tumblr.com

A year ago, I wore exclusively jeans and T-shirts (I worked in a research lab back then) and since I no longer have wardrobe requirements (for literally the first time in my whole life) I’ve transitioned into wearing way more skirts and dresses. So much more comfortable!

I work in a professional environment now (clinic), so usually it’s skirts and nice tops for me during the week. I have two or three professional dresses that I wear when it’s too much work to match a skirt and a top (though with my palette-restricted wardrobe, that isn’t stupendously difficult). I’m actually wearing a plain black Mabel skirt today, and I love it and want to make at least one more of them for work alone.

The Nerdy Seamstress thenerdyseamstress.net

I love dresses for the same reason. I’m lazy. I love the fact that I’m lazy and I look put together without the effort! Like you, I’m slowly venturing into separates. I want more variety on my wardrobe. So, slowly, I’m working on staying more separates even though dresses are do enticing!

Angela

Oh, that is hard! I LOVE dresses because I don’t need to find things to match, and because they don’t end up showing off my belly/back all the time. But, I’ve never had many because I am tall/long-waisted, and finding a RTW dress that didn’t have the waistline sitting around my ribs was a challenge. Now that I am sewing again, I am able to make dresses that fit and LOVE it!

However…. there are so many cute skirt patterns, and outfits that can be made with mix and match…. I was quite happy to see that your newest patterns for knits included one of each! I need to make shirts longer than normal or else I look like a teeny bopper trying to show off her belly (and that isn’t a great look on a 50 yo!)

Piper Springs

I live where it is extremely hot, and if am rediscovering how fabulous house dresses are in the summer. I am particularly fond of cotton wrap dresses and shirtwaist dresses. Our grandmothers knew what they were about! I feel comfy and cool and *bonus* what used to be for the house actually looks quite dressy for casual wear today!

Lisa G. searchingforabalance.blogspot.com

Separates are what I’ve always relied on – a dress always looks the same, but a skirt can have many looks. Although lately I’m finding that most of my skirts only go with one or two tops, and I’ve never like the idea of the “outfit”. I’m working on the Wardrobe Architect plan to improve things. Meanwhile, I bought the Laurel pattern and am working on a summer dress!

Carolyn themodernmantuamaker.wordpress.com

Dresses all the way!!!! And for much the same reason(s) you stated for yourself. I’m a very lazy dresser! Also, I just love sewing dresses, they’re usually what I find most fun to make. One of my conscious realizations during my participation in MeMadeMay this year (my first official time) was that I really want to have enough dresses in my wardrobe to be able to wear a dress pretty much any/every day of the year (and I live in Canada!) if I want to. On my final MMM post I actually stated that I’ve decided to focus intentionally on building my dress wardrobe for the rest of this year. I particularly need more fall & winter ones. While there are lots and lots of cute and fetching separates patterns and ideas out there, I currently want to build a solid core of dresses as the backbone of my wardrobe, and then add separates to augment/compliment it.

Sparrow pumpkinandbunny.com

I love wearing dresses, but they aren’t practical for me right now because I’m nursing my daughter still. So I end up wearing mostly separates. For myself, I end up sewing mostly dresses though. It’s funny that I love dresses so much now, though, because as a kid I was a total tomboy and refused to wear any dresses or skirts or anything girly at all. I think it really is the lazy thing; dresses are just so much easier!

Leah noidlehandshere.com

Both, I started sewing more skirts and tops, then got into dresses. Love wearing both

Danica

Dresses! I am short with a high waist, so I prefer the streamlining effect of a dress. I just need to stay away from the crazy prints. It’s hard.

I also live in a hot, dry climate and a dress is very cool – a nice alternative to shorts, which tend to “cut me in half,” so to speak – not a good look.

kc theactofmaking.tumblr.com

I love myself a good dress, but only if it can be worn like separates. I will get TONS of wear out of a dress I can layer under sweaters, over shirts, under skirts, with or without belts, with or without tights/leggings, with shirts underneath, etc. I’ve got two dresses like this in my closet and they pretty much get worn year-round at least once a week. I should probably get to sewing more like them before they completely fall apart from overuse.

As for the other dresses in my closet, they fall more into Man Repeller’s assertion that “A dress is a commitment. To saying something and saying it over and over again.” Dresses are so easy to put on when you don’t want to think about coordinating anything, but once I get sick of the statement that particular dress makes (and once I’ve determined that it’s a terrible layering piece) it’s hard to get excited about wearing it.

Juliana @ Urban Simplicity urbansimplelife.blogspot.com

Yes, this is exactly what I was trying to articulate! I love dresses with layering possibilities, and have one or two that fit that bill, but the other dresses in my closet languish because I’m not interested in “making that statement” all the time. Perfectly phrased.

kc theactofmaking.tumblr.com

Thanks! And why is it so hard to find the perfect fabric/silhouette combo for making a dress-to-be-used-as-separates?! Every time I’ve tried to replicate the two (handmade thrifted) dresses I have I totally fall short. I even found the vintage pattern for one of them, but the woman who sewed it must have been some sort of magician. My first stab at a copy was not a success.

Ripple Dandelion asewinglife.blogspot.com

Dresses, definitely! Especially in summer.

With a short torso, a relatively full bust and a (darn it) thickening mid-forties waistline, it is so hard to manage the way separates all converge in the middle of the body. Dresses give me a much more cohesive look. I am noticing that even dresses with too many details seem increasingly overwhelming on me.

If I do make separates, it’s important for me to remember that they should either be very soft and drapy or the exact opposite: very structured. I just made a pair of silk crepe track pants with a drapy poly tshirt and I think that combination has promise. But if I added in a jacket or sweater for warmth, it would get to be too much.

Robin Hayden

Separates all converge in the middle…that’s so true! I have been trying longer tailored shirt blouses and tunics for this very reason. Just to get away from the split in half look.

Tasha bygumbygolly.com

Tough call. Lately, it’s been dresses all the way. I love separates, but they’re more complicated! Solid tops for printed skirts, printed tops for solid skirts, printed skirts for solid tops, solid skirts for printed tops. And then there’s pants in the mix. Yak!

I used to lean towards separates more often but always struggled with “but I’m missing X item” all the time. I know I could correct this by making a to-sew list (and I have; more than once, I might add), but it’s more daunting than just saying, “yep, another dress–easy peasy”. Part of me wants to just limit myself to one particular separate (say: solid tops) for a month or two, then more onto the next, but I suspect I’d get bored pretty quickly doing that. But I still might try it!

tanyamaile tanyamaile.com

Dresses are the best! I live in them on a daily basis, mainly for the fact as they are a total outfit in one piece and easy and [usually] comfortable to wear.

Betty Jordan Wester nouvellegamine.com

I usually make dresses bc they’re nearly impossible for me to buy off the rack. If it fits in the bust, it won’t fit in the hips. And I don’t always want to wear dirndl styles which negate the hip fitting.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make more separates. They are pretty quick at sewing up.

The Sewing CPA thesewingcpa.blogspot.com

Definitely more dresses for me too. I love that they are a complete outfit on their own. Separates can be a lot of work trying to match them – colors, style, etc.

Tyan

Separates! I like a pretty fitted silhouette on both top and bottom, and it it a little overwhelming sometimes to take on fitting both top and the bottom halves in one project. I love a high waisted narrow skirt with a little top tucked in or tied at the waist. So flattering.

Mary

I don’t own a dress. I have a couple of maxi skirts for whenever jeans, slacks or capris aren’t appropriate.

Juliana @ Urban Simplicity urbansimplelife.blogspot.com

It’s funny you wrote about this today, as it is a process I’m thinking through myself. I’ve always said I was a dresses girl, and I think for a time I was, but since I’ve had kids, I tend toward skirt+shirt separates (doesn’t help that I’ve been pregnant or nursing since late 2006) I like dresses for the reasons you do (except I have a small waist, and like the definition a dress can give) but because I have a large hip to waist ratio (10″) it can be challenging for me to fit them properly. Also, I wear a more 1940s style look, so fitted is a must for me. I think also for me, dresses end up feeling too dressed up, and while I like dressing up, I also don’t like standing out in a crowd, and I live in a VERY casual area and have very casual friends. I have a hard time finding dresses that are casual enough to suit my surroundings and lifestyle, fitted enough for me to feel good in them, and styled appropriately (i.e. 1940s-esque) to fit with my overall look.

I’ve sewn a lot of separates this year, but also some dresses, but the separates get the most wear. I’m trying to embrace that my style changed before my headspace about it did, and just go with it. I still have some dresses I love, but they tend to be knit rather than woven, and I’m not ready to tackle that particular sewing hurdle just yet (although when I do, I’ll be giving the Moneta a try!)

vintageattempt aseriesofvintagesewingattempts.blogspot.com

I love dresses, but I own & wear more separates. This is partially due to the fact that I have to wear a company shirt 5 days a week. But besides that I feel like I have more options with separates. When I make dresses I even like to make sure that I have a skirt that coordinates that I can wear over the skirt if I want to change it up.

Christine

I would love to make and wear more dresses, but working out access for nursing discreetly in public is tough, so it’s separates outside the house. I’ve been trying to wear dresses on days I don’t have to go out, but more often than not I end up wearing the top unzipped all day because dresses seem to make baby extra hungry. Haha.
I would like to try out a Hawthorn to see if that will work for nursing, but with a large bust I might have to take that fitted bodice down around my waist to nurse.
If anyone has figured out how to make the Moneta nursing friendly, I’d love to know how!

Melissa

This pattern hack for breastfeeding access by So, Zo (part of the Pattern Hacker category for Sew Indie Month) should work for the Moneta. It was designed for Tilly and the Button’s Coco dress, but would work well for any knit dress with a fitted bodice.

Christine

Thank you, I’ll check that out.

Sarah Jane janemumbles.blogspot.com

About 4 years ago I switched to an all dress wardrobe. I love that I have fewer choices to make in the morning. I also love that dresses can be as comfy as wearing pyjamas all day, while never looking like a slob.

Though I need to find a way to integrate graphic Ts and lovely blouses into my wardrobe. I think there’s some skirt sewing to do.

Susan

I only wear dresses in summer and for special occasions in the winter. Why? Canadian weather. Having to coordinate shoes, boots, leg coverings and jacket length in the winter makes it too complicated. It is so lovely to just put on a dress and sandals or flats, and a cardigan if necessary, in the summer.

Sheila

I’ve always been a separates gal. I thought they looked better on me…I have a high, wide waist, also, but no hips to speak of. I guess I could create an illusion of hips with separates. However, thanks to you and Coletterie, your book, and another blog I follow, I have really come to like dresses! They are soooo easy. Like you said, I don’t have to think about what to pair it with…no muss, no fuss. Thank you so much for introducing me to the wonderful world of dresses!

Jet Set Sewing jetsetsewing.com

I’m from the generation that had to wear 60s shift dresses to school every day in the Michigan snow. We would hike snowpants up under our dresses, or wear shorts under our dresses so we could swing on the monkey bars without showing our underwear. We would sit bare-legged on the gritty, cold linoleum floor when we had our reading groups. We’d skin our knees on the playground and get giant holes in our tights. It stunk! When the dress code changed in the early 70s, we all wore jeans and never looked back. That’s why the urban grannies are all in black jeans and moto jackets. I’ll wear a dress or skirt jacket when I go out, but day to day I’m in pants/jeans and a tee or sweater.

Carlotta Stermaria carlottastermaria.fr

They might be my favorite garment too ; it took me some time to wear them regularly, but I really enjoy the fact they’re the only type of garment to really draw a silhouette just for the sake of slipping it on (more about this here if you’re interested : http://www.carlottastermaria.fr/blog/de-la-robe-chemise/ ).

They’re probably my favorite thing to sew as well, because they have the best work/satisfaction ratio, too!

Linda S

I used to wear a lot of dresses, but then when I was nursing a baby I went to all separates because that’s just what works at that stage. Now that the nursing years are 8 years behind me (yikes!, time flies), I realize that I’m still stuck in the separates habit, with hardly a dress in my closet. I have gotten a few lately & am really enjoying wearing them, so will probably work my way back in that direction.

Laura J.

Same here. All about the dresses. I have a high waistline too, and I’m also struggling with losing some baby weight around my mid-section, so I just feel really uncomfortable with dividing my body in half. Plus, what’s more fun than sewing dresses!

Tiffany tiffanysnotionsandknits.blogspot.ca

Seperates! Because of the activities I do (eg. hiking, ride a motorcycle, working ‘out in the field’) and because of the climate (I’m up in Canada), pants work better for me. From my point of view, it seems like there too many dress patterns by indie companies out there and not enough for separates. I’d love for there to be more intresting patterns.

krystina

I love separates! I made the switch to separates before I started sewing because RTW dresses don’t fit properly. Now that I sew fairly well, I’m going to start making myself more dresses for the sake of switching it up a bit, but separates will still be my favorite.

Lisa lisatheknitter.wordpress.com

You’ve touched upon the number one issue in my capsule Wardrobe! I’m definitely a dresses gal for all the reasons you described, plus the fact that vintage dresses are the easiest way to dress up for the office while still looking original. But on the other hand, I realized that I can get a lot more outfits out of my capsule wardrobe if I have separates. So while a simple shift dress is my “uniform” I’ve also been trying to mix it up with simple a-line skirt and short sleeved sweater combos, like sort of a Nancy Drew look.

Jennifer

I sew mostly dresses, but I wear more separates. I love silky blouses that I can pair with jeans, skirts, or trousers. I think I don’t sew as many blouses because I find fewer patterns for blouses that interest me.

Sarah

I’ve gotten so excited about a number of dress patterns out there, but ultimately I really am a separates gal, specifically pants. I actually quite like the curve of my hips/thighs as they make me feel strong, and dresses/skirts have the uncomfortable thigh rubbing situation going on, made only worse with my sensitive skin that can’t handle frequent shaving and general distaste for/discomfort with stubble. I’ve bought a couple skirt patterns but I usually feel pretty frumpy in them as I don’t really like tucking my tops in and frump is the result of leaving them out. I also don’t feel like dresses are all that versatile–the few that I have usually get worn with the same shoes and accessories (if any, b/c that’s not really my thing), so there’s minimal mix-and-match capability. I do want to try the Zinnia skirt/leotard combo and see how I like it, but it’s not something that’s been a super high priority for me.

I made a pair of Iris shorts last summer and quite liked the process aside from needing to figure out some fit issues (of course). I look forward to making some legit work pants soon!

Sewing separates is also closer to instant gratification!

MJ

I agree about the problem with the thighs rubbing together. I have to wear supportive undergarments if I want to wear a dress so that ruins the comfort factor for me. I find pants to give my body more shaping and support without needing Spanx or similar undergarments. It’s been a constant disappointment for me.

Jessie

My favorite thing to wear is knit dresses, but I haven’t started sewing knits yet, so I sew mostly blouses. I don’t think I’d every wear dresses all the time though for the really mundane reason that I don’t have laundry in my building. If I dress in separates I can wash my blouses after each wear but wear bottoms until they could pretty much walk to the laundromat on their own, so dresses just create a lot more bulk to haul down the street to wash!

Samina

I’m a separatist! I love the way that dresses look, but I find that my daily outfits usually consist of a skirt & a top. I’m sure I wear the same combos of top & bottom, but I just feel more comfortable & find them more versatile than I find a dress.

carla

Being a larger woman, I don’t like to wear dresses very often because I need to wear longline shapewear from my knees to my bra band – no thanks. Even if I could skip the waist to bra band, I’d still need the thigh-shaper to prevent chafing. Separates are easy too. For work I pick a pair of dress pants, a sleeveless top, and a cardigan. Done.

Annette Tirette annettetirette.com

I’m in the same boat. I love prints and find it hard to wear them as separates, especially because I barely own any ‘basics’ that go with them and I’m not interested in sewing those! Dresses mean I don’t have to think about what to wear with the print, I just have to add shoes.

Beth

Separates! I have a hard time finding dress designs that are flattering to my body shape in a way that makes me feel confident. Sewing dresses helps since I can address the fit as I go but even then I’m usually more comfortable in a blouse and skirt than a dress. I’m still exploring dress shapes for sewing and wearing but I get far more excited about tops and skirt projects. I love the variety separates provide; the Wardrobe Architect series really helped me reduce the “too many choices” issue by providing structure around color and style.

Inder inderlovesfolkart.com

Interesting! I’m definitely in the separates camp. I love dresses and do wear them, but I wear a blouse and a skirt about 90% of the time. I think it suits me because I can have less clothes in my closet overall, and not feel like I’m repeating the same outfit too frequently. I wash/dry clean my skirts only as needed rather than after each wear, so wearing separates also cuts down on laundry and costs. My job is business casual/professional, so I choose a cardigan or suit jacket (or full suit) based on the formality of my engagements that day, and I’m done. It doesn’t feel like more work to me; that’s my “uniform,” and it seems to work for me. I will say, this approach works best when you have a great mix and match wardrobe and practically everything works together!

Meg K. suitsmejournal.wordpress.com

For work as a creative professional I always start with a jacket, then add pants or sometimes a skirt. I only have three dresses. I find then difficult to style with the jackets. This may sound strange but I feel too dressed up in a dress or too girly – like they are not serious enough.

Annie

Sarai, there is a dearth of good patterns for sweater knit fabric. Can you fix this? :) We are not all knitters, and need cardigans to wear with the Moneta and Mabel, and Hawthorn. These three patterns look lovely with fitted cardis. As do some of your other dress patterns. Many of the sweater knit patterns are loose and drapish, and I’m trying to copy off one of my own smaller closely fit cardigans with mixed results. A little bit of blousiness with ribbing, and some sort of front band would also look wonderful. Even a little cropped cardi…..super simple
Just sayin! :)

cyngehin@gmail.com

All comments so cute. I day-care my 4 year old grandkids. Recently my grand-daughter made the comment that I should ‘wear more dresses’.

Kez

I love the idea of dresses, but I always lean towards seperates. Fit and flare dresses somehow make me look wider than I am, and I feel frumpy if I try to wear an extra layer over top. I don’t know how to do dresses in a way that makes me feel comfortable!

Chantilly

Dresses are pretty, but I definitely wear and sew more separates. Long skirt and top, or jeans and top… I like to have more than one way to wear things.

Leah

I wear mostly separates. As easy as dresses are to put together (just add shoes), the need for spanx means that I don’t find them easier or cooler in the summer. I wear more dresses in the winter as the added clothing (shapewear) helps to keep me warm.

Tammy

I definitely prefer to mix and match separates. I often wear a pencil skirt, Briar and a blazer in the fall and summer, however, pants get serious rotation in my closet, as it’s cold in Canada where I live in the winter and early spring. I never sit down all day at work and often go outside and find that pants are warmer than skirts.

Anne sewanneuk.blogspot.co.uk

Separates for me. Fit issues with RTW always meant that separates worked better (when I could find them). Dresses were ‘dressier’ and didn’t fit in with my lifestyle either professional or casual. When I started sewing, I did sew some stretch dresses which do fit and suit my smart casual events but mainly I wear trousers and blouse or top. Cropped trousers for golf. I wish there were more decent patterns for separates; at times I seem to be bombarded by dress after dress and a magazine I subscribe to has a free pattern which has had many dresses all looking similar; I’m inexperienced but don’t need several versions of nearly identical patterns which I feel could be easily modified by the individual sewer. I have just bought Mabel – I don’t have a stretch skirt in my wardrobe.

Shelley

Separates in spring & summer because…I don’t have shoes that work with dresses. Really, I don’t think athletic shoes work with them and I’ve yet to find non river style sandals I can stand. If I were 20something I might be able to get away with it.
Also prefer separates in winter although in the ‘banana belt’ of the Willamette Valley we rarely see much snow, but it’s still cold and rainy.
Also dresses require more fabric. < : )

Paola lasartora.blogspot.com.au

My job and my day to day life dictates separates (mainly pants), sadly, as I do enjoy wearing a dress. I feel more put together in a dress than anything else.

amy w booksbobbins.blogspot.com

I’m definitely on Team Separates. I find it easier to mix and match items for work and regular life. However, I really want to add dresses to my wardrobe. I feel much more grown-up when I have a dress on, especially with heels.

Annabella hollyannabella.wordpress.com

Lately I’ve found myself more drawn to jeans and a loose top with a cardigan. I used to be a dress girl, but lately I’ve been feeling less girly and I think that wearing pants again has something to do with that. The fact that I have a pair of jeans that I love helps! But yeah, I’ve been feeling more of a tomboy vibe I guess. Also pants are more practical for my job. I definitely agree that dresses are easy and no fuss, though. Maybe I need some more non-girly dresses in my life.

Kim

I love dresses because I hate having anything tight across my stomach. The longer the better because it’s so comfy and modest. I like sewing dresses and I can mix and match the top and skirt of a dress to make it versatile. DRESSES are the BEST!

Donna Wyatt

I love wearing dresses, and making them – one garment, a whole outfit!

Nikki

I am really fond of both, but I prefer separates. Wearing dresses always makes me feel dressed up and slightly restricted, making me be careful of how I sit or being more careful than usual when I paint. Separates generally work better for the painter’s/ college student lifestyle, but I always enjoy the seamless look of dresses.

Becky sew-and-so.blogspot.com

Team Separates for me! I do like dresses, particularly for wearing to church or in the summer months. But I like the mix-and-matchability of pants and skirts and jeans, too. Honestly, during the colder half of the year, I’m 10x more likely to wear pants anyway, because I get cold super-easily, and wool tights to keep my legs warm are a no-go for me due to allergy issues. So it’s a practicality thing, too.

Sarah O. ohsaraho.blogspot.com

I am a separates girl. As much as I love to look at dresses, I find them too fussy and impratical to wear day-to-day (particularly since I work with special education preschool students). It’s easier for me to grab wash and wear separates and go.

Cheryl

Separates for sure. I live in Alaska, where we have snow 6-9 months of the year. Additionally, my job (in a kindergarten classroom) requires that I sit on the floor occasionally, spend some time outside regardless of the temperature, and have clothes that are easy to wash. With separates I can layer for the weather. Dresses are impractical for me most of the time, even in summer, which is often cool and rainy.

Katie Emma

I much prefer a dress over top + skirt, but my usual outfit is jeans/trousers + blouse or tank. My work environment is very laid back, so casual separates make sense for me. When I want or need to dress up I almost always go for a dress. I like to have waist definition, and my waist is rather high, so it’s hard to find comfortable and flattering skirts.

Jessie

As much as I love dresses, I do share the too girlie worry several people have mentioned.

Christianne

Well, I love to wear dresses, but I haven’t had much success sewing them. I have very narrow shoulders, a large bust, and long waist. I love to wear knit dresses, but have only ventured into sewing one. It did come out great. I love to sew skirts and blouses..my favorite skirt pattern is a sewaholic pattern with a lovely pieced yoke. I also have 4 versions of a Colette blouse…two in flannel, one in a sheer white, and one in a tiny red stripe. I wear them alot. I realise as I write this that I definitely need to branch out and sew knit dresses for myself !

Heather newbiesewist.blogspot.com

I like making dresses because they are an outfit by themselves. It’s also easier and more comfortable for me to have a flattering higher waisted silhouette in a dress.

Izy

I grew up with dresses as my mom would sew for me. I stopped wearing dresses as I got older because mom was working full time. Now in my 30’s I started to sew & getting better at it. The feeling of wearing a dress no one else has is special. Also I could never afford to buy what I sew. It’s easy to put on a dress & go to work!

Em

I’m a stay at home mom, so I wear jeans a lot — but in the summer, I wear dresses as often as I can. As you say, they’re an instant outfit, and I love feeling comfortable and put together at the same time. I especially love “Grecian” dresses, really anything flowy and knit with an empire waist, v-neck or wrap front or scoop neck, and ropy detailing at the straps or waist. Please, please design more knit patterns! I am wearing the heck out of my Monetas, and if you came out with a Grecian-style knit dress I would make a dozen and wear them every day!

Rebecca tsurahdesigns.com

I love dresses, so simple to get ready in the morning before getting kids ready for school. Dress, shoes, keys, phone, kids, lets go!

Jessica ayenforcraft.blogspot.com

Like others, I’ve gone back and forth between this one – when I was younger, I felt very self-conscious of my waist (or lack of one) and found that dresses clung in all the wrong places, whereas I could control silhouette optical illusions better with separates. A couple years ago, I started wearing dresses more, but I do really love separates for their versatility. Honestly, I find my style evolving every couple of years – I’ll be really into A-line skirts, and then it’s dresses, and the it’s straight casual skirts. I don’t think there’s one “solution” – but rather, phases. So then as a pattern company, providing offerings that speak to the different style phases people may find themselves in!

janeray1940

I’m a dress girl too, for many of the reasons mentioned in the original post. Lazy? Oh yes. High, wide waistline? Yep. As for the “girly” thing – I’m pretty much the same tomboy I was as a child, but as an adult I’m perfectly fine doing most activities while wearing a dress. Plus, it’s so out of character with my personality (no makeup, not afraid to get dirty, no… um… “stereotypical” female gender-specific behavior that I am aware of) that the dresses keep people guessing, and I have to admit I really enjoy that part :)

Amber

Dresses for me- I feel like they are more flattering on my body type.

Jess alittlebitofjess04.blogspot.com

I love dresses but don’t wear them as much as I want to! I will almost always choose dresses and skirts over pants for work and would love to sew more skirts and dresses that I can wear after hours. – J x

Zoe

I hardly ever wear dresses, mainly because I have always found it difficult to buy well fitting ones. I tend to wear trousers/ jeans and a pretty top. However now that I am learning to sew I am trying new things and have made a Ginger skirt and a Laurel dress. Am wearing the Ginger today as we have sunny weather in the Uk, but struggled to find a top to wear with it, it seems I need a very fitted top for it to work, so I guess I need to buy/ make some. Haven’t actually worn the Laurel yet as it seems quite formal compared my usual outfits.

Love the idea of a dress = outfit! however I need to find the right style for me, am going to make a Moneta next and hopefully that will suit.

Also, I agree with one of the comments above about cardigans, I have plenty that go with jeans, but they don’t look right with skirts/ dresses, so a pattern for a fitted cardigan would be great!! X

Mea

I love dresses AND separates. The deciding factor for me is usually whether or not the garment in question has POCKETS!! I am a teacher and sometimes our phones are our primary form of quick communication in the school as the intercom is usually malfunctioning. In addition, I have to have my keys on me at all times- ALL TIMES. (Keys and then cars have been stolen.) Those two requirements, keys and cell phone, mean that I’m usually in pants or a skirt with nice deep pockets and someplace to clip my keys. Occasionally, I would stuff my phone or keys in my boots when I wore a dress or skirt this past winter with leggings/tights and a cardigan or pullover.
I have yet to find a dress that can hold keys and phone without the lines being ruined. Dresses with fuller skirts work better but can sometimes be overwhelming on my slim frame with too much volume – I look like the feather duster maid from Beauty and the Beast.

lorena

In my case it depends… sometimes I do dress weeks so I dont have to worry about much- also when I have gained weight because dresses seem to help keep it less noticeable than a tight pair of trousers-

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