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Is It Time For “Family-Friendly” (LOL) Cute Spring Dresses?

They are called “PG-rated” dresses – easy to wear, easy to parent in (i.e. family-friendly), modest (if you are into that), and still cute (and great for church if that’s your thing, especially for my LDS readers:)) Less Tinder date, perhaps office-appropriate but mostly just nice for us to throw on to feel good and comfortable. Now these are different than summer dresses that are likely thinner, strapless, shorter, etc – but for spring dresses we want them to be more transition-y, not super thin fabric, and with a sleeve and some length. I tried a few and then we rounded up a bunch. Also perhaps good for Easter????

The Soren Long-Sleeve Shirt Dress | Heels

This one is a long sleeve shirt dress and that pattern is very forgiving and easy to wear. Would be cute with sneakers or flip-flops, too. The fabric is a bit thicker than cotton (think closer to a thin canvas?) which felt nicely structured.

The Somerset Maxi Dress | Sandals

Now this one is certainly more fun, in such great colors, and has a great pattern with the puff sleeves. Plus I love what that waist cinch is doing:)

Headband | Sunglasses | Dress | Purse | Bracelet (similarish) | Sandals

Still a new favorite for how affordable it is and how well it drapes (that gathering is only in the front, not the back which means it brings you in but doesn’t cling). Slam dunk. Also, headbands are back (which is GREAT since apparently I only highlight my hair twice a year now and I’m DESEPARATE – happening this Saturday. Yay!).

Rory Maxi Shirtdress | Flannel | Loafers

This one is from Frank & Eileen and is so great. It is on the pricey side but the quality is awesome, the drape is good, I love the distressed hem, and since it’s a shirtdress it’s the ultimate throw-on-and-go outfit. But when I want to add a little shape and pattern, I like to wrap one of my flannels around my waist.

Now here are 14 more dresses that I think are great for the “family-friendly” spring dress category:)

Mad Love Denim Midi Dress

It’s no surprise that I love this dress. It’s denim, has big sleeves, and some cool details. I also like the buttons in the front because you have options on how much skin you want to show. Plus it can easily go from day to night. I think boots like the ones she has on look great but you could easily throw on some heeled boots to dress it up.

Aurelia Crepe Maxi Dress

A great pattern, is so flowy, and has pockets. What more could you ask for an easy, cute dress?

Chambray Mabel Maxi Dress

This dress has “easy spring” written all over it. The tiers give it a little more interest than your average shirtdress, the sleeves are great (and it’s nice that they are slightly cropped), and I love a collar. The website also shows the model with a cute belt around her waist if that’s a look you’d prefer!

Amaryllis Floral Louisa Midi Dress

If you are looking for a floral spring dress I really like this one. The red is so fun and again, you know I love a puff sleeve. Plus that almost Victorian-esque collar is so good! This would be great for any party like a baby shower.

Crinkle Gauze Lace Midi Dress

For under $100, I think this one is great and olive green is a great neutral. All of the lacey details really make it special. How cute are the scalloped hems?

Tan and Green Striped Chessie Dress

This dress is so cool. It’s “springy” but modern. The color combo is chic and I really love the alternating fabrics with the one cuff and pocket. Plus it comes with a belt so you can show off your waist or not. Both options are great. I think this is a cool office look too:)

Off-White Flora Tapestry Lenzing™ Ecovero™ Euroflax™ Maxi Dress

While this dress/pattern definitely feels super resort-wear to me, I think it’s real pretty. Caitlin on our team wears Farm Rio (this brand) all year round and she always looks awesome. So if you love a more detailed pattern then I heavily support this one. Plus those sleeves and scalloped trim are beautiful.

Puff Sleeve Belted Midi Dress

Oh, hey Target! That’s right, this romantic dress is under $50 and also comes in a bright pink if that’s more your speed. This feels more “special occasion-y” to me but could easily be worn as an everyday look with the right shoes and accessories.

Pleated Skirt Fit And Flare Dress

Eloquii is a new to me brand that is very size-inclusive and has a really great inventory, BTW. This print is so fun and I love the pleating a lot. Chic and cool.

Open-Neck Smock Long Dress

While this dress shape isn’t my favorite on my apple-shaped bod, I think it’s so cute! Those blues feel really fresh, the way the stripes are played with is fun, and the sleeves are pretty.

Frances Dress 3

I have this dress and I love how casual and easy it is to wear. Now, it is thinly lined so it wouldn’t actually be great if you wanted a good amount of warmth. Otherwise 10/10!

Smocked-Waist Midi Dress

This one from Madewell is so simple but looks so pretty at the same time. The cinching at the waist is nice and wide which is great, and the cap sleeve is really cute. Plus you know, pockets:)

Button-Front Utility Shirtdress

I like this one from Madewell, too. It’s a romantic, utility-style dress. Right up my alley:) All those pockets look really cool and since this is a satin fabric, you don’t have to worry about any bulkiness.

Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

For my final pick, I really like this affordable ($53) puff sleeve foral number. With a pattern like this, you don’t need much else to look put together which is always a bonus:)

Hope this helps anyone who has been looking for cute, easy, (but more modest) spring dresses. xx

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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24 days ago

As a freshly PP mom to baby #3 desperately ready for some “real clothes”, I appreciate how many of these are nursing friendly! Shout out to my perfect dress trifecta of belted waist+buttons+structured fabric. I loved a round up that wasn’t “mini” and that I could wear a normal bra with!

24 days ago

Thank you for this! It is refreshing to have some serious style without serious skin. As a middle-aged mom, I still desire looking nice, but I tend towards clothes that age me another 20 years- which kills my merciless sisters. So I truly thank you for these suggestions.

24 days ago

Where is the silver tote from in the first photo?

24 days ago
Reply to  Klara

Madewell – the Magazine Tote Bag in Metallic Leather

Courtney Fj
24 days ago

Great post! Thank you!

24 days ago

1000% OK if this doesn’t get published, but I was very surprised to see you describe yourself as “apple shaped.” All labels aside, you are absolutely stunning, and more importantly, it sounds like you really enjoy moving your body, being outdoors, eating well, and it shows! I’m honestly surprised to see how often you talk critically about your body, and I hope that you can find a comfortable place in your own skin. I know we all can have our own hang ups about ourselves, but as a reader I think it would be refreshing to read a fashion post that does not include negative-talk. Thanks for the clothing recs!

24 days ago
Reply to  Holly

I agree the negative body talk has been disheartening to read….but “apple-shaped” isn’t negative talk! It just means you have a fuller bust, broader shoulders and narrower hips. No different than saying “as a blonde, I don’t like this color on me.”

24 days ago
Reply to  Angela

Angela, that’s a great point, and I definitely didn’t mean to suggest apple shaped was negative at all, and I agree with you completely. I was more referring to an increase (to my eye) in critical body talk in general, but I appreciate your clarification. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and everyone should dress in what makes them feel good!

24 days ago
Reply to  Holly

I’m curious what’s negative about using the term “apple-shaped”? There are many shapes of bodies, and that’s one of them. Sure, American and diet culture absolutely values specific body types (e.g. hourglass), but that doesn’t mean any other body type is bad (clearly apple-shaped bodies can be stunning!) or that labeling your own body type is negative. I personally find those types of descriptors helpful if you’re trying to figure out how something will look on your body shape.

24 days ago

Can you do a post about the blue swinging door you had installed in the family room? I’d love to learn more about doing that.

24 days ago

Can you tell us where the very last dress is from? Thanks!

24 days ago
Reply to  kb

If you click on the title “Puff Sleeve Midi Dress” it will take you to the dress – it’s at GAP. I had the same question until I just tried that!

23 days ago
Reply to  IreneL

perfect – thank you! 🙂

24 days ago

The Somerset dress in any length or color is a super winner. Any age too.

24 days ago

I liked it when you showed the same shorts (I think it was) on all of your team members. It helps to see how things work on different bodies. But even more, I would like to see the fashion posts in general include other team members. I appreciate the fashion posts, but my style is vastly different from Emily’s so I would be thrilled to read about dresses in a variety of styles that do not just align with Emily’s tastes.

23 days ago
Reply to  Rebecca

This is a great idea! Not every team member is going to align with every reader but at least one or two fashion posts every few months would be doable. I always skip Emily’s recommendations because while they’re really good, they would look hideous on me. I’m tall, flat chested and have very broad shoulders. Imagine all these patterned, puff sleeved dresses?? And I love my body, I just know what looks good on me.

22 days ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I agree with this completely! I am not at all shaped like Emily, so not a single one of these choices would look good on me. I would love to see the same clothing items on other staff members or at least options for other body shapes.

22 days ago
Reply to  JinFL

Same! I wish more brands would cater to the broad-shouldered among us! I can’t wait for this whole puffy sleeve craze to go away!!

23 days ago

Happy to see dresses with sleeves.

Joyce Garrity
22 days ago

Love the idea of more staff fashion.. and I’m guessing if free clothes may come w posting Emily is stocked an d spreading the wealth is always good!( and maybe I’d get to see less blue which doesn’t work on me! )

20 days ago

I bought the Kelsi Dagger sandals, they looked great, but they are definitely not for walking – very stiff – had to send them back.

Sarah F
19 days ago

I appreciate the modest but cute dress recommendations! They can be harder to find.

18 days ago

I ordered the Gap puffed sleeve midi dress in the blue print (last dress in this post). I have a late April work-related luncheon/awards ceremony (off site) and plan to wear it with navy sling backs. I appreciate this timely post!