strat investigates

Behold: A $38 Dress You Can Wear All Summer

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer

Update: We do not recommend ordering from Venidress at this time given the multiple complaints from customers and unanswered emails from the company. We are attempting to contact the company and will update this post with any additional information. In the meantime, we’ve found a near-identical, and even cheaper, dupe on Amazon, that we ourselves ordered and that arrived in two days flat. You can find it at the buy button below.

A couple of weeks ago, a dress popped up on Instagram. Or an advertisement for a dress, rather, by a company called Venidress, that showed off a calf-length garment with two tiny straps, buttons down the front and big, swingy pockets; it was modeled in four colors (olive green, white, blush, and stripy pink and blue) and looked very Brooklyn Mom.

And while we cannot prove that the company thought so, too, and savvily decided to market the dresses to Brooklyn-located Instagram accounts — Venidress is mysterious, seemingly foreign, almost certainly operated by a drop-shipper, and wouldn’t respond to any emails — we do happen to know several Brooklyn moms who have recently noticed it on their feeds. Intentional or not, the dress is beginning to take off: Our fashion director Amy Larocca — who also first noticed the now-viral $89 Orolay coat — saw it on the app and recommended that her friend buy it for a summer wedding. Then she told another friend; that friend bought it in two colors. She’s since seen it in a jaunty polka-dotted pattern on a woman walking down Canal Street.

The dress looks a bit like something you’d find at the Reformation (the shape of the $200 “Thelma,” the buttons of the $178 “Shetland,” the comfy ruching of the $198 “Elyse”), except this version costs $38.25. And while the material — described ominously as “blending” on the site — certainly isn’t cotton, it isn’t terribly cheap-looking either; though the texture feels a bit like khaki, or hiking pants, there’s no strange plasticky sheen. The Strategist’s own Dana Trombley bought the dress as well, in olive green, and she was surprised by how, well, nice it was for the cost. “There’s no way you could produce cotton at that price point,” she said. “And I’d much rather do a rayon than an itchier poly fabric.” She plans to wear the dress all summer long, “with Birks or my No. 6 clogs,” she says, “and then with a block heel for dressier occasions. It’s cozy and smooth and flattering and I really like it.”

What else to say about this plain, functional, under-$40 midi dress? I’ll let the Venidress website have the final word: “If you wear size Medium in US, you can choose Medium.” Easy enough. Go forth.

Zesica Summer Spaghetti Strap Swing Midi Dress
$26 at Amazon

Other Strat-approved inexpensive dresses

Everlane Deep V-Neck A-Line Dress
$42 at Everlane

This versatile A-line dress has both a V-neck and a V-back.

Madewell Tie Back Mini Dress
Photo: 18-03-13 maritzaveer PM2 B6 michaelconway W
Madewell Tie Back Mini Dress
$62 at Shopbop

It’s hard for us to resist a gingham smock dress.

French Connection Indigo Cross Gathered Denim Shirt Dress
$81 at Asos

You can’t see it in this photo, but there’s a Peter Pan collar involved here.

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Behold: A $38 Dress You Can Wear All Summer