One Dress, 31 Days || Introducing the Avery Dress

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I’m the furthest thing from a fashion designer. Oddly, I don’t even think of myself as a “fashion blogger” because I still feel like I’m figuring out my personal style as I go. I don’t know what makes the “perfect” piece. I don’t know how to source fabric, or where to put seams, or how to ensure a design works on multiple bodies.

But somehow, here I am. Wearing a dress that I helped create. For 31 straight days.

Everyone, I’d like you to meet Avery. She’s the dress I’ll be wearing all December long while I raise awareness for human trafficking with Dressember. (To read more of what Dressember is, why it’s effective, and why I choose to join in, read this post).

One dress, one full month, countless ways to style it.

I haven’t always been this crazy, don’t worry. Several years of Dressember under my belt (this year is my fourth), a shared inspiration with my sweet friend Emily of A Day Pack, and a desire to make this year a little different was the push I needed to make a month of dresses even more intense by limiting myself to one dress.

Here’s the story of The Avery Slip Dress, because, friends, I’m so excited and so proud that this actually happened.

Emily and I co-led a Dressember team last year. We’ve both done the challenge for several years and, aside from the privilege it is to raise awareness about an issue so close to both of our hearts, we both love the challenge of wearing dresses for a full month. Challenging my closet’s versatility, my own creativity, and yes sometimes, sanity, has become a highlight of each winter.

This year though, as we were chatting over the summer, we decided to try something we’d never done before.

We decided to wear a single dress all month long, because if we could do it, anyone could. One of the most common reasons for not participating in the movement is because people feel limited by their closet or think that wearing one or two or three dresses all month long isn’t possible. Allow us to prove that it is ;) (You can see an example of a previous “Dressember Capsule” where I wore five dresses here for added inspiration).

The problem was, neither of us owned a dress that felt like “the one” we’d want to wear for a full month. Nothing versatile enough. Nothing comfortable enough.

We chatted about what our “ideal dress” would be and, coincidentally, we both had the EXACT same vision for the dress. A midi-length, rib knit, shift dress, perfect for layering and accommodating changing bodies.

Now all we needed was someone to agree to make it for us.

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Enter Hanna.

Hanna is the founder and badass one-woman-show behind Sotela. If you’ve stuck around over the past few years, you’ll know that her brand is one of my all time favorites and I’ve been lucky enough to partner with her lots over the years.

We pitched the idea of designing a “Dressember Dress” for us earlier this summer, half expecting her to say she was too busy or that the idea wasn’t possible.

We underestimated the woman though, because she was as enthusiastic as we were and took our design and literally made it come to life. Hanna had access to an organic ribbed cotton, offered to dye it black, and one sample later, we had the Avery Slip Dress.

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And the best part?

YOU can buy the dress too. We intentionally designed the dress to fit a wide range of body types without being form fitting. The fabric is perfect for baby bumps (lucky me), holiday food babies, bloat from period week, and everything in between. Layer over and under it with ease. Add heels for a night out, or flats for an easy at-home outfit. It’s the most versatile design we could think of (oh, and it’s reversible). We hope you love it as much as we do.

No, you don’t have to wear it all December long (although we’d love it if you joined us!). You don’t have to participate in Dressember to buy the dress. However, Hanna has generously agreed to donate a portion of the sales from the Avery Dress to Dressember during the month of December, so if you’re interested in the dress, your purchase can have twice the impact if your order it sooner rather than later.

It’s been so much fun bringing this dress to life and I can’t wait to see it on real women, during Dressember and beyond.

Click here to order the Avery Slip Dress.

Click here to join our Dressember team.

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All photos by my sweet sister-in-law and owner of Shutter Story Photography.

Transitioning to Fall with Sotela

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If you search my blog for the word "Sotela", it appears in 15 blog posts. That's probably as many times as words like "simplicity", or "versatile"...which, as we all know, I over-use like it's my job.

There's a reason for the Sotela obsession around these parts - the brand, all about creating clothes that flow with your fluctuating body, is one of my most worn and most loved brands to date. You can check the many, many blog posts for even more details on why I love Hanna and which pieces I wear from her past collections, but today, it's all about the Sand Collection

Perhaps the most versatile Sotela collection yet, the Sand Collection celebrates all body types with easy to wear and easy to style pieces that can fluctuation throughout seasons in life and in the year. I'm working with the Barcelona Shorts and, although I was admittedly hesitant at first, they're truly the "unsung heroes" of the collection for a reason. 

Like every Sotela piece I own, the shorts are made of 100% tencel, my all time favorite fabric (with a close second going to linen) for it's seasonlessness, versatility, and durability. Tencel is made from wood pulp fibers, in a closed loop process, meaning it's not emitting any harmful toxins or chemicals and doesn't require any to be made. It feels like silk, has the perfect natural wrinkle of linen, and can be worn almost endlessly without washing (seriously, I only wash my clothes when I absolutely have to). 

The Barcelona shorts are a warm-weather twist on Sotela's best selling Ryan Trousers (see my sweet friend Emily's blog for an amazing example of styling them). High-waisted, with two small pleats, and a slight wide leg, these shorts remind me of vintage silhouettes with a modern, versatile fabric. I've worn them with crop tops, swimsuit tops, bodysuits, sweaters, cardigans, tees, and just about everything else I could think of. And it all works. All of it. 

As the weather cools (rather quickly) and drifts towards fall, I'm planning to extend my summer wardrobe as long as possible - these shorts included. Since they pair so effortlessly with tops of all kinds, I'm reaching for them more often than my jeans, knowing I can layer up on top. 

As amazing as each piece in the new Sand Collection is, I don't know if the Barcelona Shorts can rightfully be called the unsung heroes anymore - because I'm singing their praises all summer long and into the fall. 

**Use the code “Simply10” for 10% off your order from now until 9/17!**

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*This post is in partnership with Sotela. All thoughts, photographs, and obsessions with Tencel are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*