“Active” dresses solve footwear issue and a whole lot more

Sam has written quite a bit about sport skirts and dresses, including her mixed feelings about her new cycling dress. She has mixed feelings because she said the dress was comfy and functional, but after wearing it the bike shorts suddenly started to feel skimpy and immodest. And that’s not how she (or I) want to feel about fitted, more “performance oriented” athletic clothing.

Well I’ve lately discovered something that the store I bought it from (okay: Costco) called an “active dress.” It’s a dress made of the same stretchy fabric as “everyday” (that is, not the highest price range) yoga pants and hoodies. It’s fitted up top with a built in sports bra with a racer back, and then it goes A-line down to the knee. There’s a removable pad in the bra so you can either keep it in or not (unlike Sam, I like having the padding and not because of nipple phobia). It came in four colours and at the start I bought a grey one and a blue one.  They looked comfy and the price was right ($19.99).

My thought, which turned out to be true, was that they would be perfect for walking to work on a hot day. And because of the sporty dress style, I could easily wear them with running shoes. My walk is about 50 minutes, so it matters that I have comfortable footwear. But I’m vain enough to think that running shoes or even my Keens don’t look great with most skirts and dresses.

The active dress has freed me of that altogether. They’re absolutely okay with shoes you wouldn’t normally wear with dresses, not just for walking to work but even about town sometimes. And they stay presentable even when you work up a sweat, which I mostly do when I walk in on a summer day (and most definitely when I walk home in the heat of the afternoon). I leave other, dressier clothes and shoes at work to change into when I get there, which I only do if I have a meeting or something. The active dress actually looks pretty good. People compliment me when I’m wearing them. But they’re a bit on the casual side for some work-related contexts.

Image description: Tracy, brown woman with short blond hair, stands smiling and striking a pose in front of a backdrop with the Rolling Stones tongue logo advertising the “Exhibitionism” exhibit at Navy Pier in Chicago. She is wearing her grey active dress, grey and orange Keens sandals, a short black cardigan and a grey ribbon choker around her neck.
Tracy on Canada Day, wearing her blue active dress and sunglasses, smiling, holding a multi-coloured “Canada 150” frame sign with a purple heart in the lower right corner that says “London” in it. Standing on the street with people and a reflective mirrored building in the background.

I have fallen so in love with the active dresses that I went back for the other two colours (purple-pink and a sort of turquoise colour). I have fallen so in love with them that when I was in Chicago last week I wore my active dress more than any other item of clothing. I have fallen so in love with them that I want to wear them every day.

Image description: Tracy’s four active dresses laid out on her bed from left to right in purple, turquoise, blue, and grey.

The thing about these dresses is that they’re “active” in an every day functional sense, not an actual workout sense. They’re not all that practical for the types of workouts I do. They’re too long to run in. Maybe you could cycle in them, but you’d have to wear shorts underneath. I can’t imagine weight training in them. And no way could you do yoga in them (again, too long). They haven’t made me feel as if my other workout gear, which tends to be fitted, is too revealing or skimpy.

Do you own any “active dresses” and if so, what do you wear them for and what do you like/dislike about them?

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