One of my FAVORITE trends to come out of 2022 was the active dress, and this girl is thrilled they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Active dresses just make sense for active lives, when you want a girlier take on athleisure without sacrificing comfort, style, or practicality. They’re a vibe. They’re fun, flirty and feminine while feeling great and providing support, and they’re an easy thing to throw on and go whether you’re running to preschool pickup or a tennis match – although I can confidently say I’ve never done the latter. 😉
Now, I can’t say I’ve never met an active dress I didn’t like, because actually…I’ve met a lot of really, really bad ones en route to finding my best of the best. And here we are – my top 3 active dresses that I give five stars, have in multiple colors, and personally stan (is that what the cool kids say now?).
From chatting with girlfriends (and you!), it’s clear we all have different key criteria when active dress shopping – which is totally fair and honestly makes sense since we’re all different people with different taste, prefererences, needs, bodies, the whole nine yards. But for me personally, I can say that two essentials were built-in shorts and bust padding. Now, for anyone who lives the romper/jumpsuit life, the struggle of peeing in public restrooms is real. IYKYK – it’s just a stripdown in the stall. But with how effortless it makes it to just live your best life without worrying about underlayers or flashing folks, it’s a worthy sacrifice (in my opinion!).
Re: built-in padding…I just cannot freebird it. For those of you graced with that ability (slash confidence?), be blessed. That is simply not my gifting in this life. I cannot deal with nipples in the breeze. I do not want to wear a bra, and I also do not want a nippley top, so built-in padding is the life for me. Granted, not all built-in padding is created equal. Removable boobs pads are a blessing AND a curse – Lord knows they are the bane of our existence come laundry day, and getting them to stay put in their God-given place is like mud wrestling a pig. Out of the many active dresses tested, quite a few were returned solely because the boob situation was not it. The padding was lumpy and awkward and weird, not flattering OR comfortable, and just not the vibe. But there is hope.
All that to say…my top three picks below each have built-in shorts AND good removable padding.
Let’s take it from the top.
Coming in hot at number one – after trying 7+ different active dresses from Amazon last spring, this one reigned supreme. The active dress so nice I bought it not twice, not thrice…but literally six times. Its fit AND feel are just top notch. It’s a smooth, sleek nylon/spandex blend. The built-in shorts have pockets in there, too, and the top has both removable boob pads AND adjustable racerback straps to find your perfect fit. The top also stays put nicely on your chest, which I require with any braless garment for hopefully obvious reasons. 😉
With over 2,000 five-star ratings, the people have spoken. Obviously, had to have in every color. 😉 And interestingly enough, it still fits me super pregnant – which speaks to its stretch! Granted, it’s pulling a bit across my chest in that last photo, but I’d say it’s pretty darn impressive still for being the same pre-pregnancy size stretching to fit my 30-week-pregnant body.
Re: sizing, it’s available in XXS-XXL (yay!), and I’m wearing Smalls in all of the above (and below, including while pregnant).
After hearing RAVE reviews about Abercrombies active dresses from everyone and their mother on Instagram, I gave two different styles a try. I wasn’t AS huge a fan of this wildly popular style SOLELY because it doesn’t have boob padding. So if you AREN’T a fan of any extra cups or padding, then the Traveler Mini active dress may in fact be the best option for you. But if you, like me, require nip coverage via removable padding – stick with this next recommendation.
THIS Abecrombie active dress is my jam. I like the thicker straps and more square neckline – really flattering on bustier chests (my #blessed pregnancy boobs are so happy about it). The fabric is also a thicker feel; it feels really high quality, almost like scuba material if that makes sense? I also dig the thigh slit for a subtle sexier detail. Sizing runs XXS-XXL (bless up), and I’m in a Small across the board here – although I will say, it’s NOT as flexible as the former when it comes to stretching over a baby bump. This 100% felt like squeezing sausage into a casing, but I made it happen just for picture perspective – ha! So it’s possible, just not recommended. 😉 If you’re looking for bump friendly, size up one. I sized up one in this romper in the same line and it’s PERFECT over the bump, so that should apply here, too.
BONUS: Currently 15% off! Treat yo’self!
3.) Pink Lily active dress (20% off code: ERICA20)
This final find was a fun surprise. I was absolutely not expecting to love it as much as I do – it’s truly lovelovelove. It’s SO. DANG. SOFT. Really, more of a buttery soft fabric than a snappy Spandex; it’s a polyester microfiber/spandex blend, so it’s the literal perfect mix of super soft AND stretchy. I’d say it’s actually the stretchiest option of the lot since it near effortlessly went over the bump! Reminds me of Lululemon Align material, but a bit softer? (Although similar in that this one may require an occasional lint roll since it’s not straight up spandex!).
Also has attached inner shorts, removable pads and all that jazz. The back is racerback but not adjustable straps, as an FYI. And only other potential downside is that I wish it came in more colors! Not like I need more active dresses in my closet, clearly. 😉 But to have more choice would be nice, especially since it’s a bestseller on their website…high time for more colors!
BONUS: You can get 20% off of this one with code ERICA20 at checkout! Yay!
Are you a fan of active dresses?
Tell me how you’re wearing them this season! Do you workout in them, too? Have you tried other brands/options with great luck? Tell me all the things!