Class It Up – The Classic Wrap Dress

In the Commandress feature Class It Up, contributor Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach shares ideas for taking your wardrobe to the next level.

Does your wardrobe include a wrap dress? Maybe ten?

The only wrong answer to this question would be “none.” Wrap dresses are universally flattering and versatile. From work to a cocktail party, from a shower to a dinner, it’s always easy to throw on a wrap dress and change your jewelry for the occasion at hand.

By nature of the design, wrap dresses have surplice, or v-shaped, necklines that are very feminine, but powerfully so.

Today we are profiling four irresistible knee-length wrap dresses from brands we love. There is, indeed, a wrap dress for every woman who wants one.

First, a post about wrap dresses must include one from its creator, Diane von Furstenberg. In either Midnight or Black, DVF’s point collar, long-sleeve New Jeanne Two Jersey Wrap Dress will be a wardrobe staple for years to come ($276 on sale from Nordstrom; regularly $368).

Diane von Furstenberg New Jeanne Two Jersey Wrap Dress in Midnight Navy - professional fashion | office style #commandress

High quality and British flair make Boden’s long-sleeve Wrap Dress in Navy Scallop an excellent choice. I love the mod pattern and flattering vertical design. For readers who like to avoid the dry cleaners, the good news is it’s machine washable ($88.80 on sale in regular, petite and tall; regularly $148; also in Black, Blue Scallop, and Mandarin Scallop).

Boden Wrap Dress in Navy Scallop - professional fashion | office style #commandressWe love BCBG’s Adele Wrap Dress – which is updated every season in a variety of gorgeous prints. There is something striking about BCBG’s Adele Jersey Wrap Dress in this new Poinsettia Combo Print. Between its sophisticated warm weather color palette and the “ribbon-like” detail along the surplice, this is a stunning wrap dress. It is also machine washable ($198 from Nordstrom).

BCBG Adele Wrap Dress in Poinsettia Combo Print #commandressRounding out our selection of wrap dresses is Pendleton’s long-sleeve Breezeway Dress in Salmonberry/Ivory Zebra Knit Print. Technically it’s a wrap-style dress, which is also very figure flattering. And it’s washable. ($159.00 in regular and petite from Zappos; $169 in plus).

Pendleton Breezeway Wrap Style Dress #commandress


Pendleton Plus Size Breezeway Wrap Style Dress #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Boden, Nordstrom and Zappos. 

Fresh Fashion Finds – Lands’ End Garden District Collection & Botanical Prints

Today’s post features Amy Bergsma Schwarzenbach’s top picks from the new Lands’ End Garden District Collection. 

Last night I was finally able to look through my latest collection of catalogs. When I got to my Lands’ End catalog, the spring line of botanical prints immediately grabbed my attention.

Much of the spring collection is inspired by the blooming vines and flowers found in the New Orleans Garden District – a distinctive neighborhood full of exotic flora.

But that isn’t the only reason I like these handsome prints. They are fresh, refined, and classic. Better yet, you have a choice between pieces with an off-white or navy background.

Warning:  when I visited the website some of the pieces in the catalog were already sold out, so if you like something you may want to act fast!

Whether it is paired with a blazer for work or simply worn with jeans after hours, the Slub Jersey Art Tee in Juniper Botanical is both lively and lovely ($29 in navy or ivory and in regular, petite, tall and plus sizes).

Lands' End Sub Jersey Art Tee - juniper floral top #commandress

Sometimes a dress is just the ticket. The Ponte Keyhole Sheath Dress is a true winner in Juniper Botanical Print or in Blue Multi Garden Floral ($89 in regular, petite, tall and plus sizes).

Lands' End Ponte Keyhole Sheath Dress in Juniper Botanical Floral Print #commandress

Lands' End Ponte Keyhole Sheath Dress in Blue Garden Floral Print #commandress

The Blue Floral print shown above also comes in a eye-catching Randi Mid Heel Pump ($79).

Lands' End Randi Midheel Pump in Blue Floral #commandress

The easiest way to add panache to any outfit is with a scarf like the versatile Canopy Botanical Scarf ($29).

Lands' End Canopy Botanical Scarf - floral print #commandressAlternatively, carrying a fresh tote like this Botanical Canvas Large Shopper will brighten up the clothes that you already have in your closet ($78).

Lands' End Botanical Canvas Shopper - floral tote #commandress

If you like this look for weekend or casual wear, consider wearing the botanical print as either pants or shorts like the Digital Floral Print Chino Crop Pants in Canopy Botanical ($69) or Digital Floral Print Bermuda Chino Shorts in Canopy Botanical ($55).

Lands' End Digital Floral Print Chino Crop Pants in Canopy Botanical #commandress Lands' End Digital Floral Print Bermuda Shorts in Canopy Botanical #commandress

In addition to the prints, the Lands’ End Garden District collection includes some very pretty lace dresses. My favorite is the Short Sleeve Lace Sheath Dress in Limelight ($149 in regular, petite or plus sizes). The dress’ scalloped lace and grosgrain accents are both understated enough for most days at the office and lively enough for a social event – and it looks fantastic paired with the Randi Mid Heel Blue Floral Pump ($79) that is featured above!

Lands' End Short Sleeve Lace Sheath Dress in Limelight #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Lands’ End.

Fashion Flashback – Pinstripe Jeans Reimagined by Ann Taylor

The Commandress feature ‘Fashion Flashback’ by Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach features the author’s 1980s fashion retrospectives as a new way to understand – and inspire – contemporary fashion styles.

This past weekend during a break from a wrestling tournament – yes, a wrestling tournament – a friend and I went shopping. As we wandered into Ann Taylor, my jaw dropped when I spied with my disbelieving eyes a pinstripe jeans revival!

Do you remember this classic 1980s style?

1980s vintage high waisted pinstripe jeansWhile Ann Taylor’s pinstripes are certainly a nod to this 1980s fad, the updated styles look fresh and fun.

Ann Taylor’s Modern Railroad Stripe Super Skinny Jeans in Placid Blue ($69.50 on sale; regularly $98; available in regular, tall & petite sizes) reeled me in. The pinstripe is narrow and subtle enough to remind me that the pinstripe jeans I owned in the 1980s looked stiff and awkward by comparison.

Ann Taylor’s Modern Railroad Stripe Super Skinny Jeans in Placid Blue - Commandress Fashion FlashbackThe next item to catch my eye was these Ann Taylor Curvy Skinny Stripe Jeans in Wet Stucco ($69.50 on sale; regularly $98; available in regular and petite sizes). The wider stripes make the pinstriping more noticeable and lively.

Ann Taylor Curvy Skinny Stripe Jeans in Wet Stucco - Commandress Fashion Flashback

While I like both styles of pinstripe jeans very much, I must confess that after my initial scan of the jeans on display my attention turned to these Ann Taylor Curvy Floral Skinny Ankle Jeans in Dark Sky ($98 in regular & petite sizes). The symmetrical abstract flowers scattered across the print are playful in a refined way – just the way I like it.

Ann Taylor Curvy Floral Skinny Ankle Jeans in Dark Sky - Commandress Fashion Flashback

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Ann Taylor.