This post is in collaboration with Lev Apparel.
And, we’re sharing the Lev! (Get it? 😉 ) To save 10% off your Lev Apparel order, use code WHOLEHEARTED10. Valid through Friday, October 25.
Hello, I am here to briefly interrupt your standard fall outfit posts.
I had the funniest conversation with a friend of mine earlier. I was asking her if I should hold on to a particular piece of clothing, and she said, “I have never seen you wear purple since I’ve known you. Everyone knows the only non-neutral color you wear is pink.”
It made me laugh so much, because even people who don’t live in my closet the way I do know this about me. I love pink. Before Matt and I moved into our house, I negotiated with him for weeks for our half-bathroom to be painted pink. My blog logo is pink (-ish. I guess it’s technically sort of a tan-pink. Anyway). I wanted pink bedding, but that was vetoed. You get the idea.
For me, pink is a neutral, and I happily wear it in every season. So, when I had the chance to meet Lev Apparel founder Krystle Marks and learn about her new collection, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful shade of pink in the Nolen Dress and Emelina Tee.
I’m so excited to share the Nolen Dress with you today, and especially excited to share something my readers in warmer climates, who typically have to endure seeing sweaters from me from October through May, can enjoy!
About Lev Apparel
Krystle began her fashion career as a stylist, and she quickly saw that there was a gap in the market that wasn’t offering women the opportunity to be educated on how to best celebrate their body shape through clothing. That isn’t to say we all shouldn’t wear whatever we want, but, for those of us who want to learn more about proportions and dress for them, the information isn’t always easily accessible or can be confusing. Plus, most mainstream designers design clothing for a slim hourglass shape, which only 8% of women actually are.
When you read more about the Nolen Dress, you’ll see that Lev clearly states in the description, “This dress is universally flattering for all; however, it was intended to highlight apple, hourglass, and pear shapes.” Lev agrees that all bodies are awesome bodies, and their website also offers a lot of information on how to identify your body shape.
This really resonated with me, because my body has changed a lot over the last couple of years as a result of a medication that I take for depression (and also, you know, just getting older!) I am an apple shape, because despite being “traditionally” petite, I now carry my weight in my waist. This change in body shape has been really new to me, and, at times, a bit of a tough adjustment. And, if I’m being honest, I’ve often felt really bad about not being in that 8% of women.
The information Lev shares has helped me better understand how I can dress to feel my personal best, as well as rethink my internal narrative about what I’m “supposed” to look like.
No blog post about a brand founded on celebrating women’s bodies would be complete without talking more about size inclusivity. Lev currently offers their clothing in sizes 0-16.
Krystle says, “It has been a part of the Lev mission from the beginning to offer inclusive sizing and we are excited to report we are working toward it in our three-year plan. The design process for inclusive sizes is a separate design process. We don’t believe it would serve our customers to take one of our current designs and just extend the sizes. We want our inclusive sizing to be developed and given the time and attention to detail it deserves. The unfortunate issue we have personally run into in doing this right away is the cost – the design process is lengthy and expensive. We believe it is worth it, but we couldn’t do everything right away.”
She continues, “It is our hope that our heart as a brand shines through. We are a small, female-owned startup that wants to empower women worldwide. We are grateful for the support we have received, cheering us on so we can fulfill our dreams and mission and grow our business.”
To speak more about their mission of empowerment, Lev Apparel ethically produces their collection in New Delhi, at a women-owned and operated factory. Their brand runs on the following values: body celebration, ending human trafficking (which is strongly linked to poverty) and women empowering women.
When you shop with Lev, your purchase contributes hope, dignity and financial change for the women who make our clothes.
I feel like I am always saying this in my collaboration posts, but it is really inspiring to have the opportunity to get to know the founders of the ethical fashion brands I work with. When I spoke with Krystle for the first time, her kindness and authentic desire to have a positive impact on the world was so moving, and I knew Lev was a great partner for my blog and the sort of brand I want to share with you all.
Nolen Dress Review
When I received this dress in the mail and held it up in front of me, my first thought was…it looks too small.
Wait, hear me out.
This is what happens when you dress to hide your body, which I do often.
A few weeks later, I texted the photos from this post to the same friend mentioned above as I was writing, and her response? “You have boobs!” And, there we go. It happens every few weeks – a sentence I never thought I would write in a post for a brand partner. But, it made me laugh so much (as this friend, clearly, often does) and I realized that it’s okay to be like, hello, I am a 29 year old woman, and this is how I look.
Because the thing of it is, the dress actually wasn’t too small when I put it on. It fits comfortably in the areas where I would want it to be loose, and more snug in the areas where…you know. I have good stuff going on. And, there we go. Sorry Lev, now this post has two sentences I never thought I would write in a professional collaboration. But it’s the truth. And you know what – wearing this dress, and acknowledging that my body is pretty cool no matter what anyone else says (and no matter how I feel some days), feels totally badass.
Beyond how I personally feel in this dress, let’s talk a little more about the details. The Nolen Dress is made of 100% organic cotton and nylon power mesh. It is incredibly comfortable and soft, without being super-stretchy and clingy like most t-shirt dresses tend to be.
After noticing that most t-shirt dresses are cut for body shapes with few curves, Lev wanted to create a dress that works on shapes that aren’t naturally straight. The v-neck gives the eye a center line to follow and the knot accentuates the waist. I also love the full-coverage sleeve. The Nolen Dress retails for $88.
T-shirt dresses are such an easy wardrobe staple because you can dress them up or down, and this dress, with the tie, is much more easily dressed up than most! I also love that I can throw it in the washing machine and don’t have to steam it – so many of my clothes require ironing or steaming. My wardrobe is great, don’t get me wrong – but I never bother to steam clothing at night, and I am not a morning person. So you can imagine how happy I am whenever I am steaming an outfit at 6:30 am.
It was fairly warm the day I wore this, but I also think this dress would look great with some white or grey knit tights and a jacket on cooler days.
What color or pattern serves as an unofficial neutral in your wardrobe? I know pink is a popular choice, as is rust, olive green…or sometimes leopard print. 🙂
Don’t forget, you can feel the Lev with code WHOLEHEARTED10 though Friday, October 25.
To learn more about Lev, give them a follow on Instagram!
P.S. A warm thank you to Sandra, who has been shooting all my photos lately.