Not a lot on the blog this week because I was staffing an important meeting at work over the last couple of days. In terms of getting dressed, big meetings and conferences are always fun opportunities for me. I know a lot of people hate getting dressed up in business formal attire for a meeting, but personally, I love a good dress code. I see it more like a challenge – how do I stay within this dress code while still maintaining my own sense of personal style? Fun, right? (No? Just me?)
The answer lately has been this Solika dress. Solika, a small, woman-owned brand based in Los Angeles, gifted me this dress back in November, and while I haven’t photographed it much since then, I’ve actually worn it for a ton of important occasions – Thanksgiving, my office holiday party, a nice date, several important meetings. It’s a great dress, and I always reach for it when I need to look really nice for something.
There’s a lot to like about it. The gorgeous merlot color is festive and timeless, and it still suits me even after dying my hair. All of Solika’s dresses have modest hem and neck lines and cover the knees and elbows, so I never have to worry that I’m going to look inappropriate for a professional meeting or a family function. The other dress that I wear a lot for meetings (an old Loft dress) is short and really only works for the office if I wear it with tights. I normally don’t wear tights with this Solika dress, actually, but given the polar vortex this week, I didn’t really have a choice.
The one thing about this dress that may not be everyone’s cup of tea is the fact that it’s a poly-viscose blend. Viscose is a semi-synthetic fabric made from cellulose, but it undergoes intensive chemical processing that is not known to be great for the environment or human health.
That said, I think there is a place in the world for synthetic clothing (unpopular opinion, I know). The reason I so often choose this dress for meetings is because I can literally bunch it up in my travel bag for 10 hours, and there won’t be a single wrinkle in it when I pull it out later. When you travel a lot for work, you can save yourself a lot of space and time by packing wrinkle resistant clothing. I try to buy more natural fabrics than not these days, but sometimes a synthetic dress really is the best thing to get the job done. If you’re going to buy one, I would recommend going with a company like Solika that produces its garments in a family-owned factory that the brand owners themselves visit frequently.
The dress I’m wearing in this photo is called the Milka, and while it is unfortunately sold out in this colorway, it is still available in black in sizes XS-XXL for $76 (originally $128!). In fact, Solika’s entire winter collection is on ridiculously good sale right now, and there are still a few similar styles left in this merlot color.
On a tangentially related note, I’m going to be traveling for work a lot this coming spring and I’ve been thinking about picking up the Kotn Mock Neck Dress as a sort of all-purpose conference dress. It’s a steal at $55, but I’m also not sure I want to spend money on new clothes right now when I have so many other financial obligations. I’ve looked at this dress so often over the last few months that pretty much all my google ads are for Kotn, and I also see that they’ve recently restocked my size in the color “deep sea.” Are these signs that I should go ahead and buy the dress, or just signs that I am extremely susceptible to good marketing? The world may never know.
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5 thoughts on “What I Wore | My Favorite Dress by Solika”
I’ve been thinking about the synthetics discussion a lot this week because a few people have expressed their annoyance that Everlane put nylon in their new cotton cardigans. This is interesting to me because TONS of “sustainable” brands put spandex in their cotton clothing “for longevity,” and I think nylon serves the same function. I’m not sure which side of the argument I should fall on, because I do tend to get more wear out of my items with a bit of synthetic in them, though I still prefer majority natural fibers for breathability.
That Kotn dress in deep sea looks great! Definitely more my style than the Solika one. It’d make a nice addition to your wardrobe from what I’ve seen here.
I’m on the same side of the synthetic debate as you’re because I’m slave to convenience and a fan of longevity. I too travel for work and polyester and nylon are in all my dresses, most of which I’ve had for over three years of my professional life. Who knows I’ll change my mind later, but for now it is what it is.
I’m only just starting to get into ethical/sustainable fashion, the whole synthetic fibre debate is still too far down the road for me to realistically take any stance on it. For the moment as far as I’m concerned whether I buy clothing with a transparent supply chain all the way from my house to India or just across my island then that’s ethical. If I purchase items made from sustainable organic cotton or recycled polyester or the Charity (thrift) shop then my conscience is clear. Also I say buy the Kotn dress it looks lovely and a really flexible addition to any wardobe. Finally, I haven’t commented before but your hair is gorgeous. After you posting the older pictures the other day it was so funny seeing the brown. Platinum for the win!
I’m not actually sure most people who occasionally have more formal workwear needs could realistically stick to a “natural fibers only” stance. My closest to “pure” natural fibers dress for work is 94% wool and 6% spandex (for that necessary “stretchy” property to allow it to fit right, most likely, though I’m no textile expert and am speculating) and the lining is still acetate. And even when I browse suits and work dresses that are far above my usual price point, the linings are usually made of synthetic fabric. I think if one was very insistent on it and had at least some budget constraints, the only approach might be to buy high-end vintage designer items secondhand, screening them carefully to find ones that fit right and are as close to natural fibers only as possible.
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There is most definitely something to be said for a workhorse dress like this. I have to dress corporately for my job too and on days when I’m feeling uninspired sartorially dresses like this are my go to!