Sundress season is almost upon us! With the weather warming up, and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds more and more often, a lot of people (myself included) are getting their spring and summer outfits ready —especially sundresses. I don’t have a lot of them, and I’m working on growing my collection, so for anyone in a similar situation, I’ve got you! While I love the style of dresses from brands like Reformation, & other stories and ASTR, the prices are completely out of my budget, so here are a couple places I tend to look to find more affordable dresses. A lot of these retailers are also currently having sales or will be soon, so keep an eye out for a good deal!
Disclaimer: These are recommendations for places you can get sundresses fairly cheaply, which, unfortunately, means fast fashion. As much as we would all love to avoid it, it’s just not realistic for me or many other college students to be able to afford clothes that aren’t from fast fashion companies. With that said, please shop responsibly and take care of any clothes that you buy. The longer they last, the less we contribute to fashion waste! If you’re only looking to buy second hand, scroll to the bottom for some recommendations!
Second, much less serious disclaimer: All of the example dresses I linked are ones that I think are cute, but all of these places have lots of other options in lots of different styles! I wish you all luck in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
- American eagle / aerie
Aerie and American Eagle have tons of cute summer dresses, especially mini-dresses, and a good amount of them are under $40. If you’re looking for more midi- or maxi-length dresses, Aerie/American Eagle unfortunately don’t have very many, and the ones they do have are a little more expensive than the mini-dresses. Some dresses are online-only, but there’s a good selection offered in-store too. If you’re looking to shop in person, there’s an Aerie in South Side Works, which is a little under a mile away from campus. Some of my favorites I spotted on the website are this, this and this!
H&M, for better or for worse, is a great place to go for cheap clothes. Although the quality might not be the best, I can personally attest to the fact that H&M clothes can last for years if you maintain them. The retailer also has a pretty great dress selection, with lots of different options at different lengths, and particularly midi and maxi. Unfortunately, the nearest in-person H&M to campus is at the Ross Park Mall, which is kind of far away, but definitely doable if you want to be able to try things on. Some of my favorites from the website are this, this and this. H&M also has a second hand section of their website now, in collaboration with thredUP, which is fantastic. If you’re interested in buying from there (they have some cute dresses, I checked) head to this link!
- Nordstrom Rack
Nordstrom Rack is a good place to find dresses from more expensive brands on-sale or at reduced prices. My high school graduation dress was from a Nordstrom rack, actually. The nearest storefront is, again, at the Ross Park Mall. A lot of their dresses are a little bit more formal, but there are definitely some good options.
- Old Navy
Old Navy is a classic ‘cheap summer dress’ spot for me, and for some of my friends and family as well. You sometimes have to look a little harder to find dresses that might be your style, but almost all of their dresses are super comfortable. Old Navy is also great for more simple or professional sundresses. The nearest Old Navy to campus is in Waterfront, so a little bit of a longer bus ride, but not quite as far as the Ross Park Mall. Here are a couple options!
ASOS, unfortunately, doesn’t have any in person stores, but they do have tons and tons of options. It can make finding exactly what you’re looking for a bit difficult, but it also means there’s a good chance of it being there somewhere. ASOS also has options for all different price points, models with diverse body types and a lot of dresses with bolder colors and patterns. A cursory search found these cute dresses, but that’s barely scraping the barrel of all that ASOS has to offer.
For anyone looking to only buy dresses second hand, I’ve got you too! Pittsburgh has tons of thrift stores, both small and chain (see: Goodwill), including Pitt’s very own Thriftsburgh! You can also find cute dresses on secondhand apps and websites like depop, Poshmark, thredUP or even ebay; and, like I mentioned earlier, H&M’s secondhand section. Lastly, another Pitt club, Studio 412 (of which both lovely HC Pitt writer Lauren Deaton and I are a part of), is having a thrift swap on April 14th that’s sure to have some cute pieces. If you’re interested, head to the quad in front of the University Store that Saturday any time from 2-5 pm!