I’ve struggled a lot with this review, because I feel incredibly positive about Wallis Evera but many of my reasons are intangible. Sure, Wallis Evera dresses are eco-friendly, durable, work-appropriate, ethically made, and beautiful. Sure, they have pockets. But what I really liked about Wallis Evera’s dresses, what outweighed the dry-clean-only and slightly-itchy-on-me, is that they feel natural on me instead of like I’m playing dress-up.
I initially just wanted to buy the Claire in Navy, since I am a ridiculous sucker for structured necklines, but I was unsure about sizing so I contacted Wallis Evera’s owner, Monique. She was kind enough to let me try on three dresses. The Claire in Navy, unfortunately, was sold out in the size that ended up fitting me (12), but the Claire in black fit me surprisingly well.
Hemp and tencel are both fibers without much natural stretch, so the fit needs to be really precise. The Claire fit me perfectly both in the hips and in the bust, which usually is not a thing dresses do. And it was a little relaxed in the waist, just enough so that you’re not constricted whether you sit down or stand up.
The pockets in the Claire are phenomenal. I can fit my whole hands into them, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never worn a professionally-appropriate dress with pockets like that. (The pockets aren’t lined, if that matters to you.)
And, surprisingly, it even looks good if you layer things on top of it:
Basically, it worked with my posture, my body, my movement, my personality, and my preexisting wardrobe. If I ever have to give presentations to a tough crowd, this is the dress I’d pick. You know me, though: I almost always have caveats.
Firstly: Monique suggests dry-cleaning Wallis Evera’s dresses, which I dislike doing. She says, ” If you need to spot clean, you may do so by hand with a mild detergent, hang to dry and iron on the reverse side.”
Secondly, all of Wallis Evera’s dresses that I’ve tried are lined everywhere but the sleeves, which works well for the Dagny (I’ll go into that below), but the hemp/tencel blend of the Claire felt a little itchy to me on the shoulders. I decided to overlook that because a. I used to make necklaces out of hemp, and I have a lot of experience with hemp softening and getting less itchy/scratchy with wear. and b. I was honestly kind of overwhelmed with how much at home I felt in the dress. Usually, when I’m wearing something more formal, I feel like I’m playing dress-up. Not this time.
Take my commentary about itchiness with a grain of salt, though. I have extraordinarily sensitive skin.
The third dress Monique sent me was the Dagny in Navy/Light Blue. It was a surprise favorite, but it was the wrong size. Serendipitously, one of the retailers she works with had a single dress left in the right size, so she shipped it off to me.
Unfortunately for me, the Dagny fits differently than the Claire does. I can get it on, and it looks fine, but it’s a tighter fit in the hips, which was uncomfortable for me and made it hard for me to sit down. (This difference might make the Dagny work better on you than the Claire. Definitely try on multiple dresses if you have the opportunity.) However, I decided to break one of my personal rules and buy it anyway because I liked how it looked that much.
It’s versatile in a very different way than the Claire is. The Claire’s a basic, if uniquely structured, black dress that you can wear with any sort of topper. The Dagny looks really weird with a topper. However, the lines of its colorblocking somehow went with every piece of jewelry I own.
So it’s easy to switch up the look of both dresses to keep yourself from getting bored. The Dagny’s pockets aren’t quite as ample as the Claire’s pockets, and they’re in a different place, but they’re still large pockets for a sheath dress.
The top part of the dress was made of an organic cotton/hemp canvas that I found comfortable and not at all itchy, unlike the hemp/tencel blend, so the fact that the shoulders weren’t lined didn’t matter. Additionally, the light blue was apparently custom-dyed for Wallis Evera! However, both of the Dagny dresses I got had slight discolorations on the cotton/hemp portion. I chalk that up just to either bad luck on my part or a supply challenge for a company that’s just starting out. Either way, super great dress, and Monique spontaneously offered me a discount on the discolored dresses, so not really bad luck on my part anyway!
Edit 9:42 PM: Realized I forgot to mention one other thing about the Dagny! The color blocking wraps all the way around, and the back is just as cool-looking as the front. I forgot to take a picture, but here’s the one from Wallis Evera’s website:
The Other Reasons Wallis Evera’s Super Cool
Both dresses were sturdily constructed, lovely, and felt extremely durable. Which makes sense, since Wallis Evera is the only company I’ve ever even heard of that uses hemp blends for dress clothing. Hemp is a really neat material in a few ways: it’s anti-bacterial, it’s incredibly sustainable, and it’s the strongest natural fiber used in textiles. (I verified this by doing far too much research into how you measure how strong textile fibers are. According to what I’ve looked up, it’s almost as strong as nylon, and somewhere between 2 and 6 times stronger than cotton.)
Their hemp blends also mostly contain other sustainable materials, like tencel and organic cotton. They also offer a few dresses, skirts, and jackets blended with peace/ahimsa silk, which is silk made from cocoons after silkworms have emerged.
Wallis Evera is not only one of a very small number of sustainable companies that make beautiful clothing for more formal workplaces, they actually have stuff for plus-sized women. Sizes run up to 18.
Wallis Evera has a very generous shipping policy– free shipping and return shipping on anything to Canada or the U.S– and the owner, Monique, really wants to encourage people to try her dresses on. In my anecdotal experience, she won’t mind if you return most of what you try on.
Wallis Evera’s clothing is designed and sewn in Canada, so again, you can make sure people are working under reasonable conditions and getting paid ethical wages.
And as a bonus, Wallis Evera’s website contains some of the only fashion copy that I actually enjoyed reading and agreed with.
Where To Get It
Wallis Evera’s clothing is available on the Wallis Evera website. You get 10% off your first order if you sign up for their mailing list. If you don’t feel like doing that and want to try them anyway, I’ve got a 15% off coupon for the first reader who contacts me.