Every summer there's one dress that ends up in my constant rotation. I wear it all the time because it's just too good to leave on the hanger. This year, the Reformation Brynlee Knit Dress ($148) occupies this ~coveted~ spot in my wardrobe. I've worn it to a late-night comedy show, Sunday brunch, couch shopping, a brand launch party, and more. Why? Because it can be dressed up or down, and because it's knit, it feels like the dress equivalent of a pair of sweats.
The minute I saw this dress, I was sold. It's sexy yet practical. The V-neck is the perfect depth for me, and allows me to show cleavage without feeling like it's too much for daytime. Bonus: it has wide straps so I can comfortably wear a bra. The ruching through the middle accentuates my waistline, and the cutouts on the sides are just *chef's kiss.* The brand has taken a regular dress and made it so much more fun.
- Margaret Bishop, MPS, fashion, textiles, and business professor at the Parsons School of Design
I have the Brynlee in spearmint, a perfect pale green with neutral undertones that truly looks like mint ice cream. It's also available in cafe, a cool-toned brown, and bone, an off-white. It comes in sizes XS through XL (I take a large), and I love that the site shows the different colors on three different models: spearmint is shown in a large, cafe in extra small, and bone in medium. The downside is that the sizing is quite limited. Most Reformation items stop at size 12, but some go up to size 24. I wish this dress—and all Ref clothes—had a complete size range.
The dress is made of a blend of 45 percent Tencel lyocell, 45 percent organic cotton, and 10 percent spandex. Tencel is made from eucalyptus trees, is lightweight, and has an incredibly soft and silky texture.
"Tencel is a manufactured cellulosic filament fiber. So, it's not grown, it's made, but it uses plant material, wood pulp specifically as the raw material," says Margaret Bishop, an adjunct professor of textiles, apparel, and business at New York City's leading fashion universities. "Because it is cellulosic, it has many of the benefits of plant-based fiber, such as cotton or flax, the fiber used in linen fabrics. But because it's manufactured, it has the smoothness of manufactured fiber. So it kind of has the best of both worlds."
Cotton gives the Brynlee that traditional ribbed-sweater feeling while spandex gives it a nice stretch. This blend makes it the perfect summer sweater dress. It's light and breathable so you don't overheat, but has enough weight to hold its shape so you don't have to worry about wrinkles developing throughout the day.
I can't stop wearing this dress because it's so damn comfy. The fabric is soft and stretchy—I've kept it on from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and felt great the entire day. It's proof that you don't need to be uncomfortable to look good.
I often use shapewear to smooth me out and suck me in, but the cutouts on this dress are far too low for that. It forces me to wear the dress as is and embrace my stomach—and I don't feel like I'm suffocating by the end of the day (which I love). In lieu of shapewear, I make sure I'm wearing a low-cut, seamless pair of underwear that has a loose-ish fit—I don't want to wear anything tight that will cut me off in weird places or leave me with unnatural-looking indents on my silhouette.
Overall, the dress is fabulous. I get compliments every time I wear it, and it just makes me look (and feel!) good with very little effort. It's the loungewear equivalent of a dress, and I won't be taking it off until fall.
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