Boden, Boden, Boden

by Erin on October 18, 2007

Boden Colourblock Dress

I really like the Boden catalog, despite not ever really wearing anything from it (except for one floral coat that has got to be my favorite jacket ever and which goes with everything).

This dress looks so comfy that I almost forgive it for not having any pockets. And for having angora in it, which always makes me itch. And for being $118, because I know the blue and browny-pink versions (click on the image to visit the catalog page and see them) will probably go for less in the sale.

I can't remember the last knit dress I had and wore — I think I had a very severe early-90s JCrew black knit wedge dress that made me look like as if I were the head girl in a Dickensian boarding school dressing up as the headmistress. (What can I say? It was a favorite look at the time.) All I needed was a lorgnette and a set of chatelaine-type keys (and a fondness for gin) and it would have been perfect. I think I even wore it with a wonderful pair of kiltie brogues that I wish I still owned. I wore them into slivers of leather, I did.

I'm not sure what I did with that dress — it might have been sent away in the great postnatal clothes purge (otherwise known as "If I Can't Breastfeed In It, It Is Dead To Me" diaspora) of the year 2000; then again, it might be in a plastic storage tub in the attic. You never know.

I think if I had this dress I would want to wear it with bright tights (yellow? pink? red?) but that I would always end up taking one last look at myself in the mirror and going back upstairs to change into black ones. I'm also not sure what coat I'd wear with it — knit dresses tend to get so bunchy under coats, and you never can be absolutely sure, even with a good slip, that static cling hasn't decided to start wrapping the dress higher and higher up your legs.

I also like the Colourblock Wool Dress, although it doesn't have any pockets, either. (It's a conspiracy to make us buy more handbags, I tell you.)

Now I have a yen to hear all sorts of knit dress stories. Leave 'em in the comments?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 18, 2007 at 9:18 am

I cannot wear knit dresses. Can’t. Just can’t. I am way too bothered by my tummy pouf to wear knit dresses. I wear knit skirts with oversize sweaters all the time because the sweater provides some camouflage. But knit dresses? Never.I cannot explain to you why I am perfectly comfortable belly dancing in a two-piece costume with my belly fat out there for all the world to see–but I cannot bring myself to wear a knit dress. Some things are just mysteries.–Lydia


Emily October 18, 2007 at 9:20 am

The year was 1987 and I had a wool sweater dress in Mondrian-style blocks – black, fuschia, red and emerald green, I remember, with gi-normous shoulder pads. The back was plain black and it was cut straight down the body, with no shaping, and it stopped just above my knees. I wore it with black tights and my “witch” shoes – which were black slip-ons with silver zippers up the front. I felt powerful in that dress – like a woman, not a girl (I had been a Laura Ashley teenager up until that point). I could take charge in that dress, give orders in that dress, organize the world in that dress. I loved it. I wore it to my first job interview (and to the next 7).And it, too, disappeared in one of my clothing purges. There is no way that I would fit into it anymore but I would love to see it again.


Fuggles October 18, 2007 at 9:43 am

I tried on that very Boden knit dress, but it didn’t seem to fit me that well. There is another knit dress (Knitted rib dress) in their catalogue, a plain ribbed one, flaring slightly under the bust, which I did try, and I loved it. I bought it a couple of months ago, and have worn it so much, I wanted another one (or two) in a different colour,but they have already sold out! I got the black one originally. It can look either dressy or casual, depending on what you wear with it. It doesn’t ride up, or cling, infact it is perfect, and very forgiving. I’ve taken to wearing mine with either long boots, or with some bright red Mary Janes! For those of you in the UK, there are actually 2 Boden shops now. The one near Hanger Lane is close to my Company’s London office, so I always try to make the trip to London when it is late night shopping, and then go to Boden. It really helps to try things on. I thought I’d like the dress Erin had pictured, but it was a little ‘flat’.As for what to wear with it – I’ve had the Boden ‘drapey’ cardigan over the top, which looks lovely, but has the tendency to ‘pill’.Highly recommended!


gray cat October 18, 2007 at 9:46 am

In high school (mid to late 80’s) I had a banana-yellow sleeveless knit sheath dress with a stand up collar and a big zipper down the front with a ring zipper pull. It was a bit retro 60’s and I loved it. Sometimes I wore the dress with a big belt, sometimes not. In cooler weather I’d wear a sweater over it. As for wearing knit dresses with a bit of a tummy–I have a bit of a tummy and find I can wear knit dresses in a drapey knit fabric such as rayon lycra if the dresses are fitted at the top and a-line in the skirt with perhaps a midriff band and/or ties at the waist. And some sort of control underwear, such as flexees, underneath!


bonnie-ann black October 18, 2007 at 9:52 am

like emily, i bought two knit sweater dresses when i first started working. they were long sleeved, loose turtle necks with a slightly unstructured line (which accommodated my very long waist) in a deep burgandy red and a forest green – i bought them at Plymouth’s. i wore them with a loose gold chain belt and scarves of complimentary colours. i loved them and thought they were very sophisticated and flattering even though my mother said they made me look like an ex-nun!i’d love to find something soft and flattering like that again.


kathyg October 18, 2007 at 10:29 am

Oh, dear..knit dresses are not for the zaftig. I’m 2 sizes bigger on top than on bottom (heredity speaks) and something that hugs the bosom would make me look like one of those bizarre women who have implants the size of icebox melons. One of my nieces is a sz 2…the Boden dress would look marvelous on her. (she didn’t inherit the boobage, lol)


Jill B October 18, 2007 at 10:48 am

I am currently being intimidated by 4 yards of knit fabric, and a pattern for a wrap dress, just waiting to be my next project. So far, the excuses are wining out, and soon it will be too cold to wear.It seemed like a good idea at the store, till I got home and started pondering HOW to sew knit fabrics.


rose October 18, 2007 at 11:03 am

Oh! I would love to get that dress in blue. Or even in black/gray. I will try to remember to look at the sale page, but will forget, and it’s all okay. But cute! Absolutely.


Nancy Bea Miller October 18, 2007 at 11:16 am

Like your first comment maker I simply cannot and will not wear knit dresses. Last time I did, I pretty darn svelte (young twenties, lots of exercise, no children yet etc.) and still got several kind inquiries about when the baby was due. Knit dresses always seem to cling to my belly (and thighs) while sagging out over my bust and waist: not an attractive look if you actually indent at the waist. Fine if you are trying to camouflage a big belly.This dress does have a structured waist, but why in such a light color? Again, if one is striving to present one’s hourglass shape to advantage, I think the idea would be to make the waist appear as small as possible. A light color surrounded by dark colors does exactly the opposite. It gives a tubular, childlike shape, rather than a womanly look. IMHO.


Olivia C. Williamson October 18, 2007 at 11:23 am

I’m wearing a knit dress right now! It’s a faux-wrap style from Nine West, with a print in coral, brown, and ivory. I’ve got a coral camisole under it (so that my cleavage is work-appropriate), and a brown linen/silk blend blazer. I generally wear clingy dresses and skirts with jackets – it looks much better when the clothing skims the line of my waist and stomach instead of undulating with it.


lattgirl October 18, 2007 at 11:24 am

That dress looks so severe, it’s almost Amish. Apologies to everyone else who seems to like it.


caroline October 18, 2007 at 12:10 pm

The only knit dress in my wardrobe: was an Ebay purchase that I was exceedingly nervous about due to my own hips and belly but fell too much in love with too resist. I’ve got a bit of hip to work off before I’ll feel comfortable wearing it again, but when I do wear it (with some camel colored peep-toes and some nude crochet/lace tights) I feel really really fabulous.


MadeByAmanda October 18, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Hah. The last knit dress I remember owning was a drop-waisted tee-shirt dress with a surfboarding turtle on the front, and I was probably 11. I think it was my mother’s attempt to get me to wear dresses (I was real tomboy) by appealing to my love of cartoon characters and turtles. And it worked, I liked that dress.


Kristen October 18, 2007 at 3:42 pm

i had a scoop neck, long sleeve, knee length princess seam knit dress (is that too many adjectives all at once?) in high school. Dark pink. wore it with an artisan scarf bought localy and thought i was very elegant. :)I used to solve all of my knit-dress-with-tights problems by sewing my own lining into it from the waist down. A few hours of work and many days of worry-free, wearing pleasure. Slips never seem to work for me.


Mossback Meadow October 18, 2007 at 4:06 pm

The knit dress of my dreams was an outfit I wore to a high school homecoming dance, 1981. It was an aqua, crewneck, puff sleeved top with tiny embroidered flowers all over the front. The sweater skirt was the same aqua, without the embroidery. I wore cream colored tights and the most perfect brown leather wood heels with an ankle strap. I had my senior picture taken in this dress 2 years later – I thought I was a goddess.


enc October 18, 2007 at 5:01 pm

That’s a lovely dress, for someone other than me. In the early ‘890s, I had a knit wedge dress from [long-dead catalog] Tweeds. The dress was black, had a boat neck, 3/4 sleeves, and front (sort-of) besom pockets. It was brilliant. But I had a hard time dealing with the slip underneath, because since the hem was snug at the knees, and I always wanted to wear tights with it, things got iffy. The tights won the day, and I wore it with black flats, or my black nubuck split-toe oxfords. I don’t have any of that stuff now.Also, I also had (on loan from a friend) a calf-length knit dress, in grey, with 3/4 sleeves, and 8-inch side slits. Boatneck. Oh, did I love that dress. I didn’t wear any kind of slip underneath it, because it was a sheath. And I mean SHEATH. I wore it with tall black boots. Alas, I wore it so much, I felt guilty after awhile and gave it back to my friend. I wish I had it now.


kathi s October 18, 2007 at 11:42 pm

It was 1967 in Berkeley. The student demonstrations raged on, waves of rioters and cops swarmed back and forth over the campus, my window was broken by a brick and I had to hide in a closet with a secretary while a mob trashed the office, but one bright morning there was a lull and I was able to venture out to the shops on Bancroft Avenue. At Joseph Magnins, there it was: the very same color block dress in a soft green color with the perfect soft blue trim- not baby blue or aqua, but just the right color to set off the green. It was just long enough to cover my butt – as long as I did the mini-dress dip- and I bought it on the spot. I had just enough time to hustle back to Giannini Hall before the tear gas started again.


Anonymous October 19, 2007 at 6:02 am

I hear you on the pockets! I’ve been ending up hanging a small, decorative bag from my belt, in the manner of the middle ages, because so few of my breastfeeding clothes seem to have pockets.


QuiteLight October 19, 2007 at 10:32 am

My favourite & only knit dress is hanging in my closet right now; fuzzy grey wool, long sleeve, empire waist, very short skirt requiring tights. None of these things have ever looked good on me in any other dress but this one.I wore it with opaque-ish black ribed tights in university, and felt like the coolest, artsiest thing every, which was awesome because I am still somewhat fashion-impaired. Looked great with Docs.But I wore it out one night for a birthday party, and my wacky pals all decided to go bowling. I was halfway through the night when I realized that it was actually short enough on me that I was flashing my mostly male group of friends each time I swooped down to release the ball.I have been too scared of the shortness of skirt to wear it for years now, and I’m feeling it might be kind of age-unflattering-short (couple of inches below the butt, because I’m 5’10 & dresses are much shorter on me). I have rocking legs, but I don’t want to show them to the hip, you know? But I’m having a tough time parting with it. I love it so much! Any chance it will magically become several inches longer if I wish hard enough?


amelie October 19, 2007 at 10:37 am

i see that, and i think kathleen kelly. lovely, but it would probably never work on me.


Pencils October 19, 2007 at 11:43 am

I like the look of knit dresses, but I’m afraid I’m too old, and too voluptuous for them. Anthropologie had a pointelle knit one last year that I loved, but looked awful on me. What I do love is Boden’s Sassy Jersey dress, which I’m going to order today. And I can’t recommend their Jersey Wrap dress enough. I have a black one from last year, and I love it. I get compliments in it all the time, and these days my husband just grabs me when I wear it, he doesn’t even bother with the “you look sexy” anymore. 😉 I’d buy another one, but I don’t like any of the prints they have right now. I’m hoping the “sassy” one is as sexy.


propriatress October 20, 2007 at 10:17 am

I la la love Knit Sweater Dresses in the fall and winter. I la la love to wear them with tights that match my boots or chosen shoes. Yes I always have to wear a slip and I do. I don’t worry about boobs and bums. Why? I want comfort ! I feel so Emma Peel in them even when they are decorated with little metal hearts and sequins!


Anna October 21, 2007 at 4:05 am

I think EVERYONE can wear a knit dress. Especially a wrap knit dress (I speak as someone who has five such items in her wardrobe, with another three cut out and waiting for assembly).Most people, when they think of knit dresses, tend to visualise the sort of baggy T shirt dress, which I agree can only be worn by the minority.


M. Annie October 21, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I was 20 years old in 1968 and took all knit chemise dresses on a study trip to Quebec. I was thin and petite then, and it was fabulous to wear dresses that could be wash and wear, no ironing, even though my mother insisted I take along my travel iron. All the knits were polyester textured double knit or what was called “peaches and cream” fabric. I would still wear knit dresses if I were still thin. Since I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, “knit dress” is synonymous with “girdle required”. Ain’t gonna happen. Love your site!!


anthrok8 October 21, 2007 at 3:45 pm

@quitelight: I’d put it over slim boot cut jeans or just say to heck with it and wear it with opaque tights. Because pretty dresses and pretty legs should be worn with pride.


Jen (MahaloFashion) October 21, 2007 at 8:46 pm

I love that dress, it looks so cozy!


Lucelu October 21, 2007 at 9:01 pm

Southern California, Mid 80’s I was 19-20 traveling around in an Esprit red knit tank dropwaist mini over tights and flat pointy toed boots with a black leather motorcycle jacket. I was badass. I always wore it when I needed a lift, it would be a “red dress night.” Thank God that dress couldn’t talk.A few years later, back to the East Coast, my boyfriend and I broke up and he resisted my efforts to fix it. I was given a red and black wide striped turtleneck, sleeveless tube dress with slits up both sides– longer than the mini and didn’t look like much on the hanger. I think it was a Liz Claiborne. It looked mahvelous dahling.I took that red dress out and it was magic.I don’t know what ever happened to both dresses and that makes me sad. I could no longer fit into either one of them, heck I was in my 20’s, before marriage, before kids–65 pounds ago.


Linda October 22, 2007 at 11:01 am

I fear knit dresses. We’re talking about sweater knit, right, not just jersey? I will wear THAT happily in the face of numerous figure flaws. I forgot about the coat problem, though.The last sweater-knit dress I remember is one my mother knit for me when I was a wee thing, like five or so. It was blue and had a pattern like bricks edged in white. I have pictures of myself being adorable in it.Jealous of those with access to Boden shops. I’m scared to order online because I have no idea how things will look on me. I loved on dress on the site, and an online friend with a totally different body type said she had it and loved it, and I started thinking that if it looked good on her it would not on me.(Hi, it’s Linda from the Dictionary Dream E-Mail.)


Bettsi October 24, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I had a red knit wool dress in the early nineties. Crew neck, back zip, empire waist, curvy shape. It was a very fine knit. It had two tiny pleats coming down from the bust dart for the perfect amount of ease. I felt like a million dollars in that dress. So incredibly elegant and I felt like I was the only woman that could properly wear it.


Anonymous October 28, 2007 at 12:47 am

Static cling tip I vaugely remember- if you get a baby clothes pin and pin it to the inside hem of the dress, you don’t get static cling. Since this seems to be a bit of an issue for you, I thought I’d pass that along.


Anonymous October 28, 2007 at 12:48 am

crap, not clothes pin, safety pin- sorry. It’s been a long day. :)Take an itty bitty saftey pin, pin it to the inside of the hem on your skirt, and the static cling problem is beaten without the need for fabric softner or dryer sheets. I can’t stand the scents in those things, so I learn to survive without them!


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