Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fun + Functional Dresses - Gear Review

I've long been in love with the clothing produced by a company with an oh, so cute name: Horny Toad. Actually, it was one piece of clothing that I purchased years ago that I fell in love with and that I carry all over the world -- their Tomboy Vest, which they no longer stock. (sob)

I found it one winter when I was cross country skiing at Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, California. I had sweaters and jackets with me, but the jackets were just too warm for all the activity I was doing, and the sweaters left me still a bit chilled. After spotting the vest in a sporting goods shop, it was love at first sight. It fit snugly and comfortably, the shaggy pile was soft and all I had to do was wear my merino wool Icebreaker hoody (which I also carry on all my trips), and top it with the vest and I was warm without becoming overheated once I hit the trails hard.

But, for me, the vest plays many roles when I travel. It also works as a pillow or a lumbar support on the plane.

Yet, despite my love affair with this vest, I somehow never explored the other products that Horny Toad manufactured, until this summer. That's when I found out they had some cute dresses and I decided to test out three of them.

First off, Horny Toad is a company that's in keeping with my world view and politics. They try to be as eco-friendly as possible, using sustainable fibers, and they also get involved with good social causes. (Among their "do good" activities, they partner with a company (which is involved with providing all sorts of opportunities to developmentally-impaired adults) that does their web order fulfillment, and they also donate clothing to homeless shelters.)

Second, the clothes are simple, fun and functional. Two of the three dresses I tried -- the SKA
dress


and the Double Helix dress -- combine organic cotton with other eco-friendly fibers allowing the dresses to dry relatively quickly when wet and to remain if not wrinkle free after I unpack them, at least the wrinkles didn't hang around long once I wore the dresses around town.




Both of them felt so comfortable that, despite the 100-degree weather here in New York City, I wore them most of the summer, washing them frequently, and wearing them day and night.

Since I wore them all the time, they were bound to become stained with ketchup, mustard and even curry sauce. All I did in each case -- and I was in restaurants so there was no chance to take the dress off and launder it -- was run into the ladies room, and quickly wash out the stain while I was still wearing the dress. And, then I went back to my meal or I raced around the city to my appointments. Both dresses dried quickly while I was walking about. And, no one even seemed to notice my little incident.

Both the SKA and Double Helix were perfect for informal summer afternoons where I would go to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to check out new ice cream shops. But they also worked well when I had to go into meetings in Midtown as well as when I was checking out new bars and restaurants at night. To go from day to night, all I did was add a scarf or a cardigan. In fact, my business banker at Chase admired these two dresses and said she wished she could dress so casually fashionable at work.

I did mention that I tried three dresses and the third is the Dizzie. And, while it is constructed solely of organic cotton -- which means it does wrinkle and doesn't dry all that quickly -- I still found myself bringing it on some of my trips because it just looked so great (it had an unusual plaid pattern) and wore well. Since I felt it has a country charm type of style, I took it with me when I did my rails-to-trails trip this summer in the Midwest and the south. I wore it during the day in Little Rock, Arkansas when the temperatures soared into the 100s and at night when we visited wine bars. Again, I received plenty of complements.

Another thing I loved about all three dresses is that it got me away from my all-blank color palette that I perpetually wear in Manhattan.

So, now I have more than a love affair with the Tomboy Vest. My love affair extends to Horny Toad.



30 comments:

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

I love to read that these cute dresses are made in an eco-friendly manner. I have to say, though, I wish some of these clothing companies would make summer dresses with a bit of sleeve. I'm not a tank wearer, so I always struggle to find just the right style!

JTravel said...

Hi Kris, I'm very glad they're ec-friendly, too. But I see what you're saying regarding sleeveless dresses. They're not everyone's style.

Living Large said...

These are too cute and I love that they're eco-friendly as well!

Sheryl said...

Very cute dresses indeed. I'llI bet they're super-easy to pack, too. And dresses take the guesswork out of putting outfits together.

NoPotCooking said...

They look great. I am not a big dress fan though, particularly sleeveless. I would love a post on shoes for travel!

JTravel said...

Hi Living Large, Yes, the company makes very cute clothes. That's what first attracted me to that winter vest I so love.

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, I leave on Monday for another trip and I've already packed one of the dresses in my bag.

JTravel said...

Hi NoPotCooking, I wasn't a dress fan either until I found fun and functional dresses -- and there aren't a lot of this type of dress.

jcreaturetravel said...

Hi again NoPotCooking, That's a great idea of a blog post on shoes to travel with. I have a few I definitely love.

Alisa Bowman said...

Those look so comfy and also sexy--two adj that don't often go together!

JTravel said...

Hi Alisa, You are so right.

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

I'm just so much more comfortable in pants, I haven't bought a dress in years. I bought a skirt before I went to France last September and have not worn it YET!
But if you're a dress-wearer, these are adorable and I love that they are eco-friendly.

JTravel said...

Hi Vera Marie, I love pants, too. And I always pack one or two comfortable pair when I travel.

Alexandra said...

Awesome dresses! It has become so hard to find summer dresses that I like, so thanks for the recommendation!

JTravel said...

Hi Alexandra, Glad you enjoyed my post. I'm happy to have found these fab dresses. I want to pick up a few more, now that they're having a summer sale.

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Awesome - I live in dresses and skirts and also tend to stain things quite often (that's what happens when you eat your way through life, yes?), so I love that these are easily washable.

JTravel said...

Hi Casey, they sound perfect for you. I used to live in pants. Now I live in comfortable dresses. All the better that they are easily washable.

Jane Boursaw said...

Love those dresses and also the name Horny Toad. Clicked through to their site and love it.

Susan Johnston said...

I like Horny Toad's laidback style and the versatility of these dresses, although I usually go for bolder colors myself. I practically live in jersey dresses during the summer!

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, yes, the company name is so cute and quirky.

JTravel said...

Hi Susan, I'm all for stylish but laidback. Some of their dresses do have bolder colors, including a cranberry, which I happen to be wearing right now.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

Dresses are so convenient for traveling. But I find I'd rather go for a skirt I can pair with different shirts versus a dress--these are cute tho.

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEastSquid, I bring a skirt or two on my trips, though I even have a dress that converts to a skirt. Very convenient.

sarah henry said...

Cute, comfy, and eco-conscious = all good. But what's with the name?

Donna Hull said...

What cute dresses that are great for travel. And I like the environmentally friendly aspect.

Steve said...

My wife will love these... Eco-friendly and hot... She'll love them for sure!

JTravel said...

Hi Donna, Glad you liked them. It's always great to find a company producing products that look good and that also are eco-friendly.

JTravel said...

Hi sarah, yeah, I don't know the origins of the name. Certainly odd. But a conversation starter, too.

JTravel said...

Hi Steve, Thanks for commenting. And hope your wife enjoys any of the dresses she decides to buy. I actually wear them winter and summer -- I just pair them with sweaters when it gets cold.

Celine said...

Feminine, yet comfortable and fun. Love these models.