Gear & Goods Review: Horny Toad Dress

Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photo courtesy of Horny Toad

Horny Toad's Oolong dress
Horny Toad's Oolong dress

I’ve never been a girly girl, nor have I ever been handy with the iron (“Here, I’ll do that for you” was Francisco’s patient but assertive plea when he first saw me attempting to fulfill this domestic duty.), so I rarely look “put together” when I travel. (Unless Francisco helps me, I don’t look “put together” too often at home, either). My clothes usually match, but they’re typically wrinkled, indisputable evidence of my last-minute packing style.

Earlier this year, I began receiving frequent invitations to give presentations and facilitate workshops to audiences of business people around the world. In his typically gentle, diplomatic style Francisco observed, “I think you should invest in some new clothes. Some dress clothes.”

I agreed, but here’s something else I’m not good at: clothes shopping.

I went to The Gap, chose a few pieces of versatile clothing I thought would look suitable for a variety of situations and climates, pulled a simple black dress off a rack, balled it all up into a wad, and plunked payment down on the counter.

The black dress has been fantastic; it doesn’t wrinkle, it goes well with flats or heels, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. But I needed something else in my repertoire.

Fortunately, the PR folks for Horny Toad (unfortunate name, I agree) got in touch with me before I had to go shopping again, asking whether I wanted to travel test some of their dresses. Yes, I did, but as I looked at the styles from the digital look book, I was fairly sure these dresses would look terrible on me. I had back surgery to correct severe scoliosis when I was a teenager and, for the most part, I just don’t look good in dresses. Still, I figured I’d try them out. If they didn’t work, I’d just send them back.

The first Horny Toad dress, the Oolong, showed up and was put to the test right away- an 8-hour flight to Amsterdam from New York. I’d be getting off the flight and going straight to a three and a half hour walking tour and then on to dinner, so I wanted to wear something comfortable; the dress looked like it might work.

And it did. The long-sleeve dress is as comfortable as a well-loved t-shirt and yoga pants, but looks a lot better than that pairing. It’s close fitting through the torso and then flares out below the waist, thankfully avoiding emphasis of all the places I’d rather not show off as a hippy, 34 year old mom who was once told (by a tactless neighbor of my Cuban in-laws) that I had thighs like ham hocks.

The dress, which is black, is another dress up, dress down deal; I wore mine with a brown suede jacket, a scarf, and a pair of Toms. I then crushed it up in my usual frenzied fashion before racing to Schipol Airport for an onward flight to Zurich, and was pleased to discover that no one can tell just what a terrible packer I am because the dress doesn’t have a single wrinkle.

Francisco tells me another Horny Toad dress has arrived in the mail since I’ve been away. I can’t wait to get home and test it out.
Materials: Jersey knit, made of Tencel®, organic cotton, and spandex
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Colors: Black, Brick, Graystone, Licorice
Available through: Horny Toad’s website

Have a favorite piece of clothing that you’d recommend to frequent travelers? Tell us about it in the comments.