Not gonna lie, Svaha dresses are a solid half of my wardrobe at this point. I’ve been a huge fan ever since they launched their original Kickstarter. How could I not be, when their mission statement is basically the same as mine? Svaha has a variety of styles of dress covering a wide range of subject areas. This review is for the line of dresses as a whole. At some point in the future I might write individual reviews for specific dresses, or other items of clothing by Svaha. Note that while I have not tried every single one of their dresses, I have tried a large number (and at least one in every style); the picture above is just the subset of my Svaha dresses that aren’t currently in the wash.
Overall, I heartily recommend these dresses to everyone! Be ready to explain what’s on them (especially if it’s code) because everyone will ask!
I’ve had the original five dresses from the Kickstarter for almost three years now, and I can attest that they are just as sturdy as advertised. I haven’t had any of them show any signs of structural degradation. And that’s despite me wearing them a lot, including while biking! A couple of the darker ones have faded a bit, but I suspect that’s because I haven’t been as conscientious about my laundry routine as I should be.
All of Svaha’s dresses are made from 100% organic cotton and are ethically produced. They are also machine washable. In my experience, they also seem to run pretty true to size and I generally like the way the hang on my body.
Only one minor one, and it isn’t even so much a con as just a thing to be aware of. These dresses don’t have a ton of internal structure. As a result, the pockets can’t be as supportive as you might be used to pants pockets being. I find that they’re great for my keys, driver’s license, and a credit card. Putting my phone in starts to look a little weird and feel a little cumbersome when I walk. Carrying my whole wallet pulls the entire dress off balance. So make sure you have reasonable expectations with regard to the pockets. This also varies somewhat by dress. The gear train dress, for instance, has smaller but stronger pockets. My favorite pockets are probably the ones on the coral cross-section hourglass dress.
I’d say these dresses are on the casual side – I wear them in the same situations where I’d wear jeans and a nice top. Of course, since they’re dresses, you can get away with wearing them in slightly more formal contexts, especially if you add a nice cardigan or shrug and shoes. This also makes them very convenient for situations where you aren’t sure how formally you should dress (e.g. most science conferences); the thematic appropriateness gives you some nice wiggle room.
I find that wearing a belt around the narrowest part of my waist improves the way a lot of Svaha dresses look on me, probably because it gives them more structure. This probably depends on a lot on body shape, though, so your mileage may vary.
My top three favorites are:
(it was so hard to choose just three!)
- Periodic table dress – I really like the way this one hangs (I think it’s because the skirt is a slightly heavier fabric). I usually wear it with a cardigan.
- Petri dish wrap dress – This is probably my favorite cut of all of the Svaha dresses. I hope they make more like it. It’s nice to have some dresses where the theme is a little more subtle (this one mostly just looks like polka dots from a distance).
* Disclaimer: The above links are affiliate links – if you buy a product through them, I will get a small commission. I only use affiliate links in situations where they are available for products that I already love and would be recommending anyway.