We chatted about sustainably gorgeous spring skirts last week, so this week it's all about the amazingly affordable and sustainable spring dresses that you will love for years and years and years. Exactly how its supposed to be! If you are a long time follower, you know that I do EVERYTHING in my skirts and dresses. Play in the mud, go on long rainy walks, climb trees, and dance barefoot in the river.
Now, when I say “affordable”, I do not mean 20 bucks for a dress. If you are looking for a sustainable dress in that price range, I highly recommend looking for pre-loved options (full blog post on this here!). “Affordable” to me means a great price-to-wear ratio, a dress that has a lot of function and can be worn hundreds of times, and also a dress that can be sold back to the second hand community if it no longer fits your body or your personality down the road.
I have not had the pleasure of wearing all of these pieces (that would be very unsustainable!), but I do completely trust all the brands on the list. It has taken me well over 4 years to compile a list of “trusted” fashion brands and you can find these brands listed in our SKL Directory. If you ever want to recommend a brand to me, feel free to comment anywhere on the blog or shoot me an e-mail!
Without further blabbing, here are my top 20+ picks for sustainable spring dresses (that you can wear well through summer)!
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton / Fair Trade Certified Factory
Pact is on a mission to be “Earth's Favorite Clothing Company”. They choose to use organic cotton because it is sustainable for the health of the soil, ecosystems, and the farmers/consumers. As a result, their products have been Certified Organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Pact is dedicated to protecting the environment, providing employment opportunities to the local workforce in India, and also providing their workers the opportunity to empower and uplift their communities.
You will love this fan-favourite Fit & Flare Strappy Midi Dress that has it all – from the POCKETS (!!!) to a built-in bra which is made from organic cotton and elastane to mould to your shape.
Just a little bit in love with this one! A super simple pullover dress with a built-in shelf bra + amazing hidden pockets. This, to me, is the perfect dress for summer. This dress has been selling out fast, but they may do a restock soon
Another gorgeous staple dress, made from 100% organic cotton and hemp. Super flowy fit with those side pockets again! This one comes in grey, blue, pink, and orange (shown) and I could just see myself living in this all summer long.
GOTS Organic Certified / Ships in UK, Europe, USA, Canada Australia and New Zealand
This brand offers products that are made to the highest ethical and environmental standards. Think classy, original and economical fashion that treats people and the earth with the utmost value of respect. Artisanal skills such as hand embroidery, hand weaving, hand knitting and hand block printing can be found throughout the site. Their ethics and goal to produce sustainable and environmentally friendly clothing have been the key behind every award and certification they received: Soil Association Certification – 2006; 1st World Fair Trade Organisation’s Fair Trade product mark – 2013; and Corporate Social Responsibility Award – 2017.
A long sleeveless dress with a full-tiered skirt that is perfectly crafted from soft handwoven 100% organic cotton will make you stand out during the summer holidays. This Lea Striped Dress in Yellow is ideal with a pair of beach sandals and a straw beach bag!
I'm not usually the biggest fan of pink, but this pink jersey dress is gorgeous. Made with GOTS and Fairtrade certified organic cotton. Super flattering, light weight, and comes in 3 delicious colors.
Slow Fashion / BIPOC Woman-owned / Size-Inclusive / Made in U.S.A.
We have featured Two Days Off before on SKL, and the features will never stop coming. This brand is one for all other brands to look up to. The creator, Gina, is a full-time climate researcher and has dedicated “two days off” of her day job to build this phenomenal fashion brand. Two Days Off fights back against overproduction and fast fashion by creating low-waste and made-to-order pieces.
This gorgeous masterpiece of a dress, that goes up to a 4XL in size (yes!), is made by the ever-fabulous Two Days Off. This dress is a pre-order only and will be available mid-June in a collaboration with Emi Ito of Little Koto's Closet. Learn more about the inspiration behind each piece in this limited collection here.
Patagonia has always been my go-to brand for shorts, tops, thermals, and sweaters. Why not go to them for a dress? I never really thought about it until I wrote this blog post and I am super impressed. These dresses are made for all of it: camping / traveling / cycling / daily tasks, etc. I love the idea of moisture wicking material and HeiQ® for odor control – which means we can wear these even longer before washing!
If you are ever looking for a true adventure-friendly dress, Patagonia is the place to go. I just love this travel dress that is made up of 91% recycled plastic and 9% spandex plain weave with a durable water repellent finish. I might be adding this to my capsule wardrobe – stay tuned!
According to the Patagonia review section, this dress is a fan FAVORITE. Honestly, I've never read such great reviews for a dress before. The fabric on this dress is so durable and “travel friendly” that you can wear it all day long, hang it up on a chair, and wear it all day again with no issue (in the hot summer heat, mind you). This jersey dress is extremely soft, stretchy, and wicks sweat! It also has HeiQ® Fresh durable odor control—in case there’s no time or inclination for laundering. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton / Ethically manufactured
Synergy Organic Clothing aims to give consumers sustainable high-quality clothing without using any harmful chemicals. They love to use GOTS-certified organic cotton to ensure the highest quality cotton plus fair trade working conditions. I love the minimalistic look of each other their slow and sustainable collections – true gems in any capsule wardrobe.
I really adore this slip dress from Synergy. It is made of 100% woven lyocell chambray and can be machine washed without any issues. Synergy is one of the only brands on this list that does not have pockets sewed into the dress (you know how much I love pockets), but I still adore this dress anyway. This slip can be worn alone, with a cardigan, a waist belt, etc. So many options and a wonderful addition to any capsule wardrobe.
This Rib Knit Foundation Dress is a perfect capsule wardrobe addition for any spring/summer closet. This is a great dress to have on hand at all times to dress up and down as you need. Made with 95% organic cotton and 5% spandex rib knit. Love this sustainable spring dress!
Made from 100% Linen / Ethically and sustainably produced in Lithuania / Ships Worldwide
This clothing brand commits to producing breathtaking collections. Delicately thought-out and beautifully crafted. They aim to showcase the beauty of Wild Meadows in the creation of their sustainable linen pieces. These dresses can be worn on any occasion (I love to wear them on long walks and bike rides). Linen is one of the most sustainable and durable fabrics in the world – and I can never recommend it enough.
This emerald green linen wrap dress is such a wonderful addition to my spring and summer closet. The linen is thicker than most, so it's not see-through, but it is super breathable and comfortable to wear on hot summer days. I love to wear this when we have picnics or go on long walks through the mountains – it's dreamy!
I am so unbelivably smitten over this blue linen sleeveless dress by Sondeflor. In all my days of fashion, I have yet to see something so well crafted and delicately designed. I own two of their dresses, so I know the quality of these – it is unlike any other brand I have ever purchased from. Top quality all around and they can even custom make it to your exact measurements.
An eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable clothing brand is what defines Kindom. All of KINdom's materials are natural, recycled, indigenous materials that use fair trade practices and compliant facilities. Even their packaging materials are vegetable-based bioplastics. How could you not love that? P.s. The owner, Claire, is just about the sweetest and most loving person in the world.
I personally love their dresses for daily wear and dressing up. This dress, the Kaile Cosmic Universe Convertible Dress, is a 3-way dress that can be zippered off into three different lengths (they also have a skirt that does this too!). Made with 100% reclaimed fabric. I LOVE this dress!
This dress also comes in this gorgeous floral print, the Kaile Tropical Floral Convertible Dress! Same idea, can be worn as a long, medium, or short dress and made out of fully reclaimed fabrics.
We featured this amazing shop on our sustainable skirts for spring article, and are thrilled to have them again in the dress feature! This is one of the only sustainable and ethical bohémian shops in the U.S., and they carry all sustainable Australian Boho brands. The owner is a friend of ours and we just adore her!
There are a lot of great dresses to choose from on the site and it was so hard to pick one to feature. I chose this turquoise color dress by Tanah Folk because I think it would look great on all different types of skin tones and also body types. These dresses are very flowy and you can either tie the midsection with a belt or scarf – or just leave it free-flowing the way I like. The addition of a cardigan, wrap, or sweater turns this into a fabulous staple piece for spring and summer. P.s. I ordered the top shown here and cannot wait to wear it with all of my spring and summer dresses!!
This is one of the first sustainable brands that I EVER consciously purchased from and they will always have a very special place in my heart. The linen is extremely soft, durable, and made to last for years. I love these two dresses above so much and I think you will too. The one on the left is a super simple wrap dress that can also be used as a duster (love dresses with more than one option!) and the second is the gorgeous Olivia dress that just screams “take me to a picnic!”.
This is a very cool brand with a very cool business model and social media strategy. Not to mention, it is one of the MOST size-inclusive brands on our list (unless you count the custom made Etsy pieces!) that range to a size 6XL. You usually only see size-inclusive brands reaching a 4XL and as for everyone else – XXL is the biggest you will see. We MUST support size-inclusive brands in order to push for the fashion industry to make fashion for all bodies. I don't care if you are a size 0 – please ensure the brands you support are those who support all of our fellow humans.
This dress is quite the popular one amongst the sustainable circles. This is called the “undress” and it has built-in shorts and pockets – so you can do ANYTHING with this. Work out, run errands, go for a bike ride…whatever your heart desires. This dress sells out QUICK, just so you know!
This brand is one of the most gorgeous sustainable brands I have ever laid eyes on. Whoever designed the clothing is an artist like no other. It was so hard to just choose two dresses to feature! Boden's entire mission is to create clothes that will last for as long as possible, without the need for “special treatment” like dry cleaning. You can machine wash all of their pieces and, bonus, they love pockets in dresses just as much as I do!
This beautiful dress is called the Andrea Frill Maxi Dress and comes in sizes 6-22. It is made of 100% cotton sateen from Boden's “Better Cotton Initiatve”. This dress is totally safe to be machine washed and also has hidden pockets!
The next beauty is called the Rosalind Tiered Midi Dress which features an off-the-shoulder neckline with hidden pockets and the sweetest cut. Made of 100% cotton sateen and machine-wash safe – this dress will be a favorite for years. Ah. I am just in love!
Funny thing about these lounge dresses? I had no idea I needed them in my life until the owner of Luks Linen reached out to me to do a few photoshoots with them. LET ME TELL YOU. I live in these lounge dresses. I wake up in them, I jump out of the shower and slip them on, I wear them out in town, to garden parties, I lounge about all day in them, and then I pop them into the wash and hang dry and repeat. SO easy!
Traditionally hand loomed by master weavers in unbleached, pre-washed ecru cotton. The dresses have a gentle rumpled look to them that is just darling. Pinstripes on the sleeves with buttons to lengthen or shorten as you wish. Side pockets that are so deep and perfect for all of your treasures.
And that's a wrap! I'm sure I'll be doing another sustainable summer dress round up in the next month because there are just so many amazing dresses and sustainable brands to feature – but these are the ones that were fresh in my mind and what I have been either wearing or crushing hard on. Sure hope you enjoyed it!