The thing about affordable dresses (or jumpers) is often they just don’t wear/fit/drape well, and those that do are harder to find. But, everyone in the office asked for an “affordable spring dress roundup” so I went shopping with my friend Suzanne and tried on close to 65 dresses in search of some affordable ones that don’t just look good in a photo but are actually wearable, flattering, and comfortable. That’s the whole point of a dress, right? That it’s easier to wear than a whole outfit?
First up, this little house on the prairie number is SO CUTE regardless of your butter churning skills. Now remember, due to my secret boobs, this one is harder for me to wear (because it’s backless) but my friend who helped style me shoved some pretty intense pasties in my hands and told me to slap them on.
I’m not sure if there is a bra you can wear with it that will look cool and mostly I wish they would just design these with a big wide strap on the back to hide any bra. So if you have larger ladies and want more support, you’ll need to figure out a bra situation, or just skip this one. I wore pasties but they don’t have very much support.
Oh, but can we talk about this? There are a lot of nipples in East LA. It’s like everyone in their 20s in our hipster neighborhood is opting out of the boulder holder situation. Is this a national trend?
I borrowed both the shoes (old from Madewell) and bag (new by Claire V…SO CUTE) from my friend. Funny thing about circle bags…when you put them down, they roll over and spill. It’s hilarious. It’s like women across the world are all being punked by geometry and cleaning up their purse innards at every restaurant they sit down at. Of course, the solution is simply…a clasp or zipper, but this one didn’t have one.
That was my first strappy sandal in possibly my whole life, but I love it (probably because they are nude which I think is more flattering). Plus, those straps perfectly expose my bunion which was dying for some social media attention.
Dress (similar) | Mules (similar)
Now, this one is so easy to wear and drapes WONDERFULLY. It’s the perfect vacation dress because it doesn’t wrinkle. I didn’t test it in luggage, but it’s made out of material (probably rayon, ha) that seems to resist any sort of wrinkling, which is a dream for me.
You really can just throw this one on, is a pretty color (so it will look good in all your vacation photos) and can be dressed up or down and hides all bra/underwear lines. (UPDATE: Unfortunately we couldn’t find this dress online, but this one has a very similar shape and feel. That said, check your local H&M because if you can find this dress, it is so worth it).
I will likely wear those mules until I die. Sometimes I get bored of them, but they truly make your leg look so long and they are so comfortable but I think a sandal would have looked better with that dress, I suppose.
Now for the plot twist none of us saw coming:
PURPLE. GINGHAM. RUFFLE. JUMPSUIT.
Jumpsuit | Boots | Hat (similar)
“POLO match” is coming to mind, but somehow in a good way. We tried it with SO many shoes and it looked silly with anything with a heel. It just looked try-hard, so once we paired it with those distressed shoes (from The Great) we all loved it. It’s strangely flattering I suppose due to the proportions of the sleeves making your other parts look smaller. I rarely show an arm, but again I think because of the ruffle on the sleeve I felt more comfortable.
But if you want to avoid any kind of fuss, this dress (below) is SO EASY to wear and weighs in at $27.99 and the color is amazing.
Dress | Sandals | Hat (similar)
It’s that perfect terra-cotta tone that is ruling summer fashion (and home) right now. It drapes so well, clings to nothing (in a good way) and is forgiving (thick enough to hide underwear lines, bra lines, etc). We paired it with those bright sandals to add a little pop of color and flair, but I do think this dress could easily be worn with slides or flip flops for a really casual, easy look.
Next up, we have an office favorite:
I’m definitely taking this one up to the mountains for spring break because it’s so easy to throw on (it also comes in a really fun bright red). It has a really great structure—the way it A-lines out is really cute (hard to tell in photos). It’s sleeveless, so I paired it with a black denim jacket but I’m actually a fan of it without the jacket, too. Right now, I’m still transitioning into summer mode, so there are a lot of booties on my feet with those dresses. Baby steps.
Shirt Dress | Boots | Socks
Lastly, we are pretty “pro-shirt dress” over here, especially for work. I just think they are VERY easy to wear and layer over which give me an excuse to wear a blazer. Because I am a very professional business woman, after all.
So those are all the ones I actually tried on, bought and can vouch for their fit (and drape-ability, which is key for me). But we wanted to give you a big roundup of all our other favorites out there for spring, in a wide range of sizes, including maternity. Quick note that since we started saving these last week, so many sold out and we had to find new options, so, basically, everyone must have spring dresses on the mind and are scooping everything up, so if you see something you like, I wouldn’t linger too long, because most of these will probably sell out FAST.
1. Tie Front Midi Dress | 2. Dress With Drawstring | 3. Long Sleeve Embroidered Mini Sundress | 4. Embroidered Eyelet Waist-Defining Tie-Belt Dress | 5. Polka Dot Maxi Dress | 6. Creped Dress | 7. Wrap Dress | 8. Maternity Midi Tea Dress With Buttons | 9. Contrast Stripe High-Low Dress | 10. Buttoned Printed Dress | 11. Long Poplin Dress | 12. Waist-Defined Striped Shirt Dress | 13. Layered Flutter Sleeve Tea Dress | 14. Cotton Collarless Belted Shirtdress | 15. Jacquard Long Sleeve Embroidered Mini Sundress | 16. Hero Floral Kimono Sleeve Wrap Dress | 17. Floral Print Long Sleeve Deep V-Neck Wrap Dress | 18. Waist-Defined Wrap-Front Midi | 19. Maternity Polka Dot Knit Wrap Dress | 20. Printed Long Sleeve Wrap Dress | 21. Print Dress | 22. Ruffled Sleeve Dress | 23. Calf-Length Dress | 24. Embroidered Dress | 25. Floral Print Dress | 26. High-Neck Ruffle-Trim Swing Dress | 27. Striped Short Sleeve V-Neck Dress
1. Women’s Asymmetrical Button Front Denim Dress | 2. The Japanese GoWeave Tank Wrap Dress | 3. Midi Jumper Dress | 4. V-neck Dress | 5. Stripe Sundress | 6. Pleated Dress | 7. The Japanese GoWeave Cami Slip Dress | 8. Corduroy Pinafore Dress | 9. Frock Around Y-Neck Romper | 10. Belt Linen Dress | 11. Petite Stripe Button Mini Slip Dress | 12. Mustard Button Mini Slip Dress | 13. The Linen Sleeveless Shirtdress | 14. V-Neck Maxi Shift Dress | 15. Women’s Sleeveless V-Neck Striped Button Front Midi Dress | 16. Linen Blend Midi Dress | 17. Pleated Dress | 18. Stripe Textured Dress
ALSO, ONE WEEK TIL SPRING BREAK WITH MY KIDDOS!!!!
***Photography by Veronica Crawford for EHD
Whoa! I was looking forward to this post and it did not disappoint!
You look gorgeous, Emily. I don’t know why you’ve been keeping those perfect arms under wraps. Your hair also looking perfect.
I’m buying that rust/salmon dress outfit, entirely! Thank you! I’m trying a few others as well.
I really love your fashion posts. I’ve already styled my home (with your blog!) and can’t justify too much redoing….I can style my body more frequently. ☺️
Wow. That just made my day. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. xx
I totally agree with S. on bringing out your arms: beautiful. I am wow-ed by the terra cotta color on Emily, perfect with your skin tone and hair. I am going to go try on that dress ASAP. The black and white striped dress is very cute and timeless too. I would like to see some of the Everlane dresses on Emily too. I have a few pieces from them and the quality is very good. Nice round up!
I already bought that blue H&M dress and somehow, I’m so proud now. 😉
I bought it too but it’s too big!! I’m so sad
Same! Bought it, very proud to see it here, wish I could exchange for a smaller size but now it’s gone so I’m keeping it.
Exactly my situation. I took it to the tailor and had the v-neck closed up a bit….which helps it feel less enormous some how.
Linking to wrong mules
I know we’re sorry 🙁 Those are actually Rachel Comey Mars Mules from a year or two ago and they are sold out everything in the nude leather. We found them in suede here (https://www.garmentory.com/sale/rachel-comey/women-mules/348698-rachel-comey-mars-mule-ash) and in black here (https://rstyle.me/+JvGiQDNS8ypaKBeCYrPG5g).
Hilarious! I bought the blue dress from H&M a few weeks ago and through “this is very Emily Henderson” ?
HA. it is 🙂
Ugh I bought that blue flowy h&m dress but it’s too big and now it’s sold out 🙁 can’t believe how quickly it was gone!
It did run a bit big, which is weird because usually their stuff runs so small and I size up by 1 or 2 sizes. Sorry guys!
H&M (and And Other Stories) recently changed their sizing! It’s on their website, if you look hard enough. I used to need to size up by 1 or 2 sizes, and now everything is comparable to Madewell or JCrew sizing. So now I have the coveted blue dress in one size too big, but I think I’m going to live with it….
The link to the mules are definitely not the same ones pictured with the blue H&M dress. Loves the ones in the photo, where can we get those?! Fun post, makes we want to go dress (and mule) shopping!
Those are from a few years ago (the Rachel Comey Mars Mule) and they are sold out everywhere. We tried to find a similar cut with the Madewell ones we linked to. Sorry about that!
I am always hot (temperature-wise, not looks unfortunately) so loose sundresses are necessary for my summer survival. Thanks for finding so many cute ones!
How about an “affordable dress that I can breastfeed in and also bend over and not show my who ha to the world” round up? This is also a good one.
Have you every tried Roolee (https://roolee.com/collections/mom)?! They have a mom line that has side zippers that seem nice and aren’t too bad price wise.
Yes to more affordable fashion round ups!!! I loved the post!!! You look great in every outfit and the dresses actually look high end on you. If I may suggest a theme for a next roundup could it be an ethical fashion one? Although ethical is definitely not always affordable :/
Yes! We’re actually working on something for later this month as long as we can get it together in time!
The last three paragraphs under the first white dress … I DIED. Seriously, comedic genius writing – and so true. My bunion says hi to your bunion! 😉
Why can’t I ever find dresses like the blue print one? I used to wear dresses similar to this ALL the time. Now, I can only find them as over-priced vintage. Why can’t they make them new? I’d buy like a dozen of them.
Oh, and I have not so secret boobs, so I can’t wear something that’s gathered above the boob line and hangs loose from there. It will ALWAYS look like a maternity smock.
I also have secret boobs, ha!
Braless is a thing….a nice tmi trend along with camel toe pants.
So I’m wondering what’s your budget for clothes per season? What’s normal? I feel like i get something new like 2 times a year. Love all you post about!
Completely unrelated comment here…
About 6-8 weeks ago in instagram stories Emily demonstrated a wipe on leg tanning lotion that apparently was sold out. (Immediate color -not a spray on color that builds up)
Any idea on the name of that product? I got on some waiting list somewhere but I can’t remember the name of the product to even check on it!
Thanks so much!
I took a picture of it. It was Body Per-fekt in Matte Tan!
For the blue floral patterned dress that you can’t find online, can you at least let us know the brand you are actually wearing?? I hate *similar* links and just wanna at least know what the actual item is! Thanks!!
I’m LOVING all of these fashion posts!! Not only do I completely love your style but you are my SHOE SOULMATE!!
Hi! Could someone that purchased the blue floral H&M dress post the article # (starts with a PN or ON & is on the care instructions tag), so I could see if my local stores might have it? Thanks!
Did anyone respond to you privately?! I want it too!!!
This was an awesome post! Very inspirational……I already ordered 4 dresses! I love seeing how others style dresses and Emily is just the cutest! I have been on the fence about ordering the Chelsea boots from Nisolo; any feedback on comfort is greatly appreciated! Keep up the great blogging, I have loved the past few posts 🙂
I saw your cute video on insta and ran to H&M on my lunch break and SCORE, they had the blue dress! I normally wear an 8 and bought a size 2 which was an added bonus-ha! It was not nearly as flattering on me, however. I have wider hips and it made me look larger; as much as I want to love those loose fitting dresses I need a nipped in waist. However, topped it with a white jean jacket and bam-problem solved! It was too cute and cheap to pass up even if it wasn’t perfect on me.
Exposed nips are not the norm here in East Texas. The town I live in is referred to the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”, so there ya go. I know the look you are talking about though; I blame Kendall Jenner.
my favorite part of this entire post is that you said your bunion was dying for social media attention…I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for being real and awesome!
Great ! thanks for sharing it !
I like your posts
Hi Emily, you look so fab!! You and Suzzane are such a winning team!! Love all your fashion content. Any chance Suzanne has a fashion blog or Insta ootd to follow?