Rock back inside my heart, to the house dresses of yore
June 3, 2016 12:13 AM   Subscribe

I need more cheap cotton floaty comfortable-but-still-somewhat-miraculously sexy somewhat disposable dresses that I can garden, read, and drink wine in. Examples below. Any ideas?

In a valiant effort to self medicate some anxiety and need for comfort I bought about ten of this style of dress. They're cotton, unlikely to leave the house with me (they're cheap and see through) and I love them at the end of a hot day with size Large underpants (a thing you can actually do! nobody stops you!) and a house bra.

Obviously I want more:

Would like:

A few that go to my ankles.
A few that have long sleeves.
Heavier weight ones (though its a fine line between looking homey and sexy and looking like a sexy home, though.)
Different styles, or prints. I'm doing quite a bit of 'hippy', which is pretty on the nose.
Must be 100% cotton.
Would pay a little more for something special, but I'm doing anything from flicking aphids from tree branches to cooking to lying down reading.....I'm not wowwing anyone with my special guest appearances.

I also bought this and this but the dresses do not need to be quite so hippy. I want to feel a little sexy in them. Even, bizarrelly, a little empowered.

Not completely true. I admit it. I've wowed myself. Last year I spent all heat waves lying around, rocking my husbands boxer shorts. I would like to aspire to greater heights.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
You need this Etsy shop.
posted by MadamM at 12:38 AM on June 3, 2016 [20 favorites]

A Hawaiian-style muumuu? I put in "cotton" + "muumuu" into the big G and came up with this dress, which I think looks comfy, has pockets, and is totally a reasonably chic house dress. I have two muumuus (note I do live in Honolulu), one of which has long sleeves, and I need to acquire at least one more before summer sets in here.

Other searches to try would be "maxi dress" + "cotton" or "tank dress."
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:08 AM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

They may not be 100% cotton, but you can get attractive, ankle length dresses at target. They have tanks and shirt sleeves. They are very disposable for gardening etc because they cost very little.
posted by Kalmya at 4:09 AM on June 3, 2016

Old navy have a few really good maxi dresses this year. I put a shirt on over them and pretend they are skirts.
posted by tilde at 4:26 AM on June 3, 2016

If you are up for a little project, Dharma Trading has quite a few cotton, knit and rayon dresses. Mind you, they all come in white, as they are meant to be dyed, unless you want to rock the virginal look...
posted by sarajane at 5:39 AM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Does your city have a Chinatown or a district/mall with lots of South Asian stores (meaning not shops that sell saris and such, though they may have that, but stores catering to South Asian clientele and with lots of clothes imported from the region?). I've bought lots of dresses in this style there and they're cheap, to boot.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:41 AM on June 3, 2016

Dharma Trading was the first thing I thought of, too. They also sell all manner of things to dye fabrics with, and you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest. Dharma Trading is also on Pinterest. And (self link, kinda) I've got some ideas saved here.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:13 AM on June 3, 2016

Check out uniqlo! They appear to be having a summer dress sale right now.

More stripy
Long sleeve

The ponte and jersey dresses are mostly not cotton. They also have cotton/linen blend dresses, if
that works for you.
posted by mskyle at 6:53 AM on June 3, 2016

I think the magic word you want is "cotton caftan." There are several others on amazon, which lets you search by hem length.
posted by bilabial at 7:14 AM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Another term to check out is 'swing dress' for unseamed flowy short dresses that usually have thin straps. They are pretty in style so there are lots of them available from Asos, Forever 21, Anthropology, etc. but those aren't normally cotton. Gap and Old Navy might be more likely to have cotton.
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:03 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, I was going to suggest looking for swing dresses or trapeze dresses too. I'm wearing one from target right now (I'd recommend it but it's not cotton) and it is sooooo comfy. I can throw a belt or a structured jacket on it and it magically gets a nice shape, but the loose no-waist cut makes it my favorite thing to wear around the house on hot days. It's like wearing nothing. I have it in two colors.
posted by misskaz at 8:18 AM on June 3, 2016

I have a few I won't link cause they're not cotton, but what they do have is smocking around the ribcage, which gives you a waistline, which I think helps a lot with "sexy". So ... try searching on "smocking/smocked" for something with a little shape.
posted by timepiece at 9:46 AM on June 3, 2016

I love embroidery, so I'm going to recommend these Mexican cotton dresses.

This Etsy shop, Lotus Traders, might have some dresses of interest too (lots of rayon, which I find breathes comparably to cotton.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I just wear a muumuu with nothing under it, which makes me *feel* damn sexy. Until 90-something degrees, over which I feel nothing but woe.
posted by clew at 12:46 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I got my muumuu from the Vermont Country Store catalog, because I don't live in Hawaii; they have other housedresses though they aren't cheap-cheap.
posted by clew at 12:50 PM on June 3, 2016

I am all about the linen right now. Crazy in love with the comfort and the look.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 10:33 PM on June 5, 2016

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