Review: The Versatile Shirt Dress I’m Living In This Spring

skye shirt dress review

It’s Fashion Revolution Week, which means that consumers of fashion all over the world are asking #WhoMadeMyClothes and demanding more transparency from big brands that historically have disclosed very little. I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of brands that make it a point to be transparent with their customer base, and today, I’m happy to share one of those great brands with you.

SKYE is a small, woman-owned fashion company based in San Fransisco that creates quality clothing for the modern minimalist. Their garments are all made ethically by a group of about 25 artisans in a family-owned factory in Guangzhou, China. The folks at SKYE shared so much with me about how they center ethics in their business model, from worker compensation and safety to materials sourcing and waste management. I’ll get into more of the meat of that at the end of the post.

First, I want to talk about the dress.

The SKYE team sent me their Shirt Dress to try out, and they asked me to be as honest as possible about fit, quality, etc. In their own words,

“We are a young and small brand, and we’re always looking for real constructive feedback from our customers and partners. There is still a lot for us to learn and improve on, and as such we’re always making small adjustments to do better for our customers, our workers and the environment.”

skye shirt dress

THE TEA

I’d been looking for a classic white shirt dress since before SKYE ever reached out to me, and while there were a few on my shortlist (Everlane and VETTA, I’m looking at you), I could not pass up the opportunity to try out this unique piece.

The Shirt Dress with Tie Belt is made from 60% Tencel and 40% cotton and comes in sizes XS-L. I’m wearing the S, although I probably should have ordered the XS in hindsight. SKYE makes its clothing in small, limited batches, so I’m hoping they are able to expand their sizing as they grow.

This dress comes in at $165, which for me would be a real investment piece. It’s pricey, absolutely, but fair considering the beautiful design elements, the high quality materials used, and the cost of ethical labor.

The detail that really takes this from basic shirt dress to unique fashion piece is the cool asymmetrical front pocket. It’s one of those details that’s so subtle, but once you notice it, it completely makes the piece.

skye shirt dress
My bluetooth remote is visible in 80% of these photos. #learning.

FIT

As I mentioned above, I have this dress in size S, and it is very roomy. The length (it has a subtle high-low hem) and the drop shoulders give it an oversized look anyway, but I think that with the waist cinched tight it looks very drapey and cool. The sleeves are really long for me so I always, always roll them up (I roll up my sleeves on most shirts anyway, but on this piece it feels almost compulsory).

Not exactly relevant to the “fit” category, but I feel like it’s important to mention that this piece is pretty opaque. I wear skin-colored undergarments with it, but I definitely don’t need a slip or anything (does anyone still wear slips? Who are you? Tell me more.).

DURABILITY

Confession: I put this in the dryer. I know, I KNOW that is a cardinal sin of sustainable fashion blogging, but guys, sometimes I just need to put things in the dryer, okay? I’m happy to report that even when I washed this baby on hot and tumble dried it with a bunch of other clothes, it still came out looking perfect. It may have shrunk a fraction of a size, but honestly it’s sort of hard to tell after I’ve steamed it flat. Which reminds me: you’re gonna need to steam this. It wrinkles HARD.

STYLING/VERSATILITY

Oh beautiful shirt dress, how do I wear thee? Let me count the ways.

To the office. To a conference. To a summer party. To the grocery store. With the belt it came with. With a black leather belt. With no belt at all. As a tunic. As a duster. As a “fashion lab coat” as one of my coworkers remarked.

The point is, I wear this dress a LOT, and in so many different ways. I try really hard not to bring something into my closet unless I know it’s going to get a lot of wear, and even though I knew this piece would be versatile, I underestimated the number of different ways I could style it. You guys know there’s nothing I love more than a thing that can also be worn as a different thing.

The tl;dr is: I love this dress, I wear it all the time, and it makes me feel chic as hell.

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What Makes SKYE Special

It’s no secret that a lot of ethical fashion looks… the same. I remember recently when a designer I like sent an email featuring an Instagrammer wearing one of their tops, and then that Instagrammer came forward to let everyone know that actually, the top she was wearing was from a completely different company. And tbh, I could have named at least three other brands that made a top indistinguishable from that one.

SKYE, though, is really in its own aesthetic category when it comes to ethical fashion. I don’t see other clothes like these on my insta feed. The shirt dress is probably the most “tame” of all the garments that they make, but their collections are full of asymmetrical, architectural shapes, and special details in the color, texture, and construction of the clothes. Give their latest collection a scroll, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

The other thing that makes SKYE special is their ethics. Employees at their factory make a living wage, receive health benefits, and get a generous amount of paid time off (in fact, when I was first emailing with SKYE, the whole factory was off on a two-week paid vacation for Chinese New Year). One worker sews one garment from beginning to end, which is a much more satisfying way to work than the assembly line model, and also cuts down on workplace injuries from repetitive movements.

In terms of environmental responsibility, SKYE uses natural, biodegradable materials like cotton, linen, Tencel, and wool in many of its garments, and in others, the materials used are recycled when they can be. SKYE works with a small number of dye houses that use chemicals, water, and energy in efficient and responsible ways.

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I’ve enjoyed my SKYE shirt dress so much, and I know that I will for years to come. If you’re in the market for elevated minimalist pieces that really stand out from the crowd, SKYE is an excellent place to start. First time shoppers can save 20% with code goblinshark20 🙂

Any questions? Please let me know in the comments!

Also wearing in this post:

 

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Versatile Shirt Dress I’m Living In This Spring

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