I have a Zimmerman beach cover-up that I wear all year round. It’s a beautiful, durable, printed cotton dress that is just as good over a bikini at the beach as it is with a slip, tights, and boots worn at the office. It’s a double-duty dress, and I have a closet full of them.
When you love a dress—the cut, the color, the fit—you want to wear it everywhere. I am a firm believer you shouldn’t have to compromise where to wear it as long as the fabric is practical and somewhat seasonless—think denim, broadcloth cotton, and twills. The gold standard of the double-duty dress is that it is effortless enough to flow seamlessly from one event to another, regardless of time and place. Length is also key. I happen to think the best double-duty dresses are mid-length as they are the most practical for all scenarios.
Accessories are key to the success of these wear-everywhere dresses. They can instantly take you from day to night without having to change. Take my most recent purchase as an example: a crisp white cotton Dôen slip dress. By day I wear it with a K. Jacques sandal and my trusty Ulla Johnson woven brown belt—casual and practical. By night, I pair it with a minimalist strappy sandal by The Row and my favorite CVC stone pendant necklace, and suddenly I’m channeling my best Kate Moss. I find it much easier to swap accessories than I do the dress for every possible occasion that suits my body and mood.
Here, an edit of the best double-duty dresses to wear this spring, but also year-round.
Consider these dresses of the perennial variety—as in, they can be worn year-round. But to make them feel extra springy for the warm season ahead, we’d recommend pairing them with lace-up sandals or braided leather slides. Shop some of our favorite shoe suggestions here.