I’ve been looking for the perfect day dress ever since I saw Alessandra Mastronardi’s looks on Master of None. Nailing Italian-girl style, she went from channeling a cocktail-party-ready Monica Vitti to looking like she could whip up homemade pasta at any moment. No dress in any write-up I read about Mastronardi’s outfits quite hit that perfect note of glamour and ease (and affordability), so you can imagine my surprise when I found exactly what I was looking for where I least expected it: at Target.
On my usual run to pick up ponytail holders and clothes hangers, there it was: a rack of simple midi-length, high-waisted dresses in stripes, a solid black, and black polka dots, all part of a capsule by Who What Wear. I thought I was witnessing a retail mirage. (There was also a fourth dress that I absolutely adored in polka dots that’s almost all sold out, but which you should definitely buy if you are an XS.) Somehow, they were even better once I tried them on. The midi length made me look taller; the high waist was slimming. I looked at the tags. Most of dresses were $33, and one was just $30. There had to be some catch. But a week later, I had worn one dress every single day since I bought it (styled slightly differently each time). I promptly went back and doubled up.
I work from home a lot, and always want to wear something like sweatpants without actually wearing sweatpants. The Target dresses are the next best thing: They’re stretchy and machine washable, so they’re fine to get dirty. I lust after those HVN silk dresses as much as the next person, but the idea of wearing a day dress that costs as much as a couch while I do my errands is anxiety-inducing. (What if I actually sweat in it?) I’ve worn my dress at home with flip-flops, out to brunch with sneakers, to an art opening with knee-high boots, winter through spring. My tiniest complaint is that the sleeves on my striped dress were a little long in that telltale fast-fashion way — so, like a crazy person, I had them shortened for $10 dollars. At $30, why not make it super perfect? These are dresses you can, in fact, make pasta while wearing.
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