Checking Out is a new shopping column straight from the cart of Simone Oliver, Refinery29’s global EIC. She wears many hats (all of them stylish), and she’s always got an inspiring, wish-worthy list on deck. Watch this space for monthly market musings from Simone (and sometimes, a special guest). These aren’t just editor’s picks — they’re THEE editor’s picks.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stopped someone on the street to compliment their dress and received the following joyful response: “Thank you! It has pockets!” The elation in their face; the pride in their voice! It’s almost as if the dress-wearer in question was waiting to share only that fact.
Utility factor aside, I really like relaxing my arms in pockets. Having a place to keep my hands allows me to stand feeling relaxed and confident, without an ounce of standoffishness. If I’m ever on the fence about a dress purchase, the presence of pockets is usually the nudge that pushes me to purchase. When online shopping, I love it when a dress’s description includes whether it has a home for my hands or not. (When a brand keeps me guessing on a frock’s pocket status, I curse it in my mind. What keeps me up at night? Wishing more retailers included pockets as an option in their navigation or search filters.)
For most roomy dress shapes, I’ve almost come to expect pockets; for slimmer silhouettes, pockets are a delightful surprise, especially when the piece is made well. (No one wants that weird hip bunching that some pockets create, especially if they are washable fabrics and are fresh out of the dryer.) Even luxury brands like Sea New York, Ulla Johnson and Miguelina have shown a unique knack for taking smart day dresses that scream “fancy” and giving them pockets.
Ahead, I’ve pulled together a range of versatile, casual warm-weather dresses of different shapes, lengths and patterns; each one offering you a place to store your phone and lip balm. (The Ganni and Levi’s collaboration frock I’m wearing here is sold out at the moment, but enterprising souls can track down secondhand versions on eBay.) If you’re out and about wearing one and someone shows you love on the street — be sure to tell them it has pockets.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Open Edit Print Shift Dress
A ho-hum summer mini this is not. Click out to Nordy’s hallowed homepage and you’ll see that this printed (and pocketed) shift boasts an almond-shaped cutout that reveals a smidge of the lower back, making this frock both fun and fully SFW (Safe for Family Weddings).
Open Edit Print Shift Dress, $, available at Nordstrom
Farm Rio Summer Tapestry Square Neck Mini Dress
It’s summer all year long at Farm Rio, the print-happy Brazilian brand that brings a touch of tropical joie de vivre to all of its offerings. In addition to pockets, this verdant mini dress has voluminous sleeves and a flattering smocked bodice for plenty of proportional play.
Shop Farm Rio
Farm Rio Summer Tapestry Square Neck Mini Dress, $, available at Farm Rio
We The Free Hannah Denim Mini Dress
If you follow the link to Free People’s dot-com you’ll see a surprising sight — this knee-skimming denim dress styled fully open over a cropped top and black jeans. As if the presence of pockets didn’t make the lightly distressed cotton tunic versatile enough, you also have the option of wearing it as a floaty layer. This one’s popular with the frock flock, too: “I saw a girl walking past me with this jean dress and thought it was so cute,” wrote one intrepid reviewer, “so I Googled ‘jean dress with ruffle sleeves’ and found it and I’m so glad I did!”
Shop Free People
We The Free Hannah Denim Mini Dress, $, available at Free People
Madewell Embroidered Puff-Sleeve Babydoll Dress in Indigo Plaid
“Many compliments,” wrote a reviewer, employing the universal shorthand that we all use to measure the success of a dress. Replete with homespun details like embroidery and a generous wash of indigo dye, this plaid cotton shift has summer written all over it — and of course, pockets sewn right into it.
Madewell Embroidered Puff-Sleeve Babydoll Dress in Indigo Plaid, $, available at Madewell
Everlane Corduroy Mini Dress
This truly transitional tunic boasts a hemline (short) and back (dipped) worthy of the breeziest spring outing, but the soft corduroy fabrication makes it fall-friendly, too. However, it’s really the pockets that make it a dress for all seasons.
Everlane The Corduroy Mini Dress, $, available at Everlane
Kate Spade Julia Stripe Bungalow Dress
Full disclosure: this candy-colored frock is rapidly approaching sold-out status — most likely owing to its picture-perfect picnic-ready silhouette. Reviewers find the breezy cotton poplin piece to be very oversized — but those that seek a tent-like silhouette “love the fit,” in the words of reviewer Susan.
Shop Kate Spade
Kate Spade Julia Stripe Bungalow Dress, $, available at Kate Spade
Uniqlo Button Down Camisole Flare Dress
With a grassy green hue and a slinky rayon fabrication, this ’90s-inspired dress feels like a brag-to-all-your-friends thrift-store find. Would the vintage version of this dress have had pockets, though?
Uniqlo Button Down Camisole Flare Dress, $, available at Uniqlo
COS A-line Denim Dress
Georgia O’Keeffe has entered the chat. This long, all-over denim dress gives the illusion of the chic-est Canadian tuxedo, and we know that the New Mexico-based artist (and patron saint of high desert style) would approve of this functional frock — and its pockets.
COS A-line Denim Dress, $, available at COS
Good Good Good Lilian’s Frill Dress
A splash of saturated color brings this Victorian-inspired cottagecore frock into buy-it-now territory. The merino wool dress offers the prim details recalling a very buttoned-up era, but an elastic waistband means you can skip the corset. And the pockets? According to the brand, they’re “deep.”
Shop The Folklore
Good Good Good Lilian’s Frill Dress, $, available at The Folklore
Cynthia Rowley Cold Shoulder Rhinestone Dresss
What this poplin frock lacks in shoulder coverage, it makes up for in storage capacity, thanks to two side seam pockets located just below the obi-like belt. Bet you never thought you’d see rhinestones shoulder-spangls and a place to keep your keys co-existing in a single frock, did you?
Shop Cynthia Rowley
Cynthia Rowley Cold Shoulder Rhinestone Dress, $, available at Cynthia Rowley
Remain Birger Christensen Bonnie Shirt Dress
This organic cotton canvas shirtdress riffs on the proportions of a traditional button-down, even adding prominent patch pockets on the front.
Shop The Frankie Shop
Remain Birger Christensen Bonnie Shirt Dress, $, available at The Frankie Shop
Rebecca Minkoff Tori Dress
Another daring dress that offers patch pockets on the front (for keeping valuables really close to your chest), this ultra-light cotton poplin leopard-print midi is part top, part minidress, and all summer fun.
Shop Rebecca Minkoff
Rebecca Minkoff Tori Dress, $, available at Rebecca Minkoff
AllSaints Arielle Areias Dress
Part of the British brand’s “Conscious” assortment, this gauzy zebra-print frock has a cool keyhole back and high side slits, making it a perfect beach-to-street summer staple.
AllSaints Arielle Areias Dress, $, available at AllSaints
AMUR Gio Cutout Dress
The brand’s name is an acronym for “A Mindful Use Of Resources”, and its organic cotton frock is embroidered with a restrained leafy pattern and fabric the color of the sky — a reminder of AMUR’s belief that “nature is the ultimate luxury.”
AMUR Gio Cutout Dress, $, available at Amur
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