Privilege Blog

A Review Of Leota Dresses, Made In New York City, Perfect For The Working Woman


Ilana” dress in “Argyle” print c/o Leota || MaxMara wool and cashmere camel coat (similar) || Stuart Weitzman kitten heels (suede in multiple colors) || Georg Jensen Mobius strip bracelet from my maternal grandmother (yes the house makes more than household goods) || Birthstone necklace from Rachel Jackson || Bottega Veneta crossbody bag

A couple of months ago, as I stood in the checkout line at Whole Foods, vaguely annoyed for no good reason (it happens), I was cheered by a few passers-by. Across our Silicon Valley landscape of All Pants All The Time, suddenly, a flock of jersey dresses. Several young women so attired, moving with a purpose, through the sliding glass doors and past the peaches, in numbers that might indicate a trend.


“Huh,” I thought. And then paid for my groceries. Maybe I was making dal for dinner. I don’t remember.


Not too long thereafter I got an email from a company I’d never heard of, asking me to review their dresses on the blog. You guessed it, jersey!

Made by a small business called Leota, run by a woman. All products sewn in Brooklyn. I don’t often do reviews of gifted product, but, we’ve talked about women’s work wardrobes before here and this seemed relevant. Besides, my daughter in medical school loves to wear dresses under her white jacket, and she thought these were beautiful.

Above, I’m in Leota’s “Ilana” dress in “Argyle.” Below, my daughter’s also in the Ilana, but with a different print. These dresses work across all ages. The fabric isn’t quite as heavy as my Tory Burch, but it’s by no means flimsy, and it hangs really well.


Ilana dress in French Braid print c/o Leota Dresses || Apple watch c/o doting mother and stepfather || Topshop sandals (now available in crinkle gold for such a good price)

Leota helps you find a work “uniform” by allowing you to find colors, prints and silhouettes that you can stick with.

  • You can search by print. I wanted something that came in my usual blue/purple/pink palette. I tried a green dress first, yikes, no! Good to experiment, good to abandon the bad direction;).
  • Or by silhouette. Full-figure, maternity, cap sleeves, maxi, and so on. This seems a very easy way to grow a whole component of a simple work wardrobe.

Leota does need to revamp their website. Loads slowly, scrolls poorly, suboptimal photo display. But the dresses are lovely in person.


New prints arrive  regularly, which is both good and bad. Act fast, the design you like now may be gone tomorrow.

Finding a work uniform doesn’t solve everything, as we have seen recently but won’t discuss now. (Come find me on Twitter if you want to talk or just hear me try to sort this all out.) Women face challenges in the workplace, as we have also seen recently but still won’t discuss now. However, a good dress can help us get out the door. Navigate the commute. Reduce the list of intractable problems once when we arrive.

Sometimes we just have to get going. One foot in front of the next.


And sometimes we can give ourselves a moment to stop and imagine. Keep on dreaming my friends.


Even better, keep on doing. A salute to all the women who work, at home, in offices, in laboratories, on the roads, in the fields, growing our opportunities every day. To say nothing of the opportunities for our daughters. Surely on that we can agree.


Photos of me courtesy my tripod. Photos of my daughter, credit to Kellie Satterfield. Thanks Kellie!

Leota sent dresses to me and my daughter for this review. I also asked them to compensate the young medical student who took my daughter’s photos, and they very graciously agreed. Links to Leota will not generate commissions. Links to other retailers may.







44 Responses

    1. @Nelson Bartley, I’m long-waisted too. The Ilana didn’t hit my waist per se, but the cut makes that a non-issue. I found the staff at Leota very responsive, I can ask which dress they think works best for the long waist?

  1. You and your daughter both look smashing in these. Love the color of your pumps, and your daughter’s bright blue dress with her red hair!

    1. @Susan B, Thank you! This model of fashion, with a small number of shapes but a wide and changing variety of colorways, really supports wearing the perfect palette.

  2. I love the colors and style, but jersey can sometimes cling unattractively. Did you or your daughter have any issues with this?

    1. @Jenn Cross, I know what you mean. I tend to have cling issues with certain jersey fabrics where cotton is the predominant fiber. All of my Leota dresses are predominantly polyester, and it has a really slippery hand, so no cling issues

    2. @Jenn Cross, The dresses didn’t cling to me at all. I wasn’t wearing tights – I do not know if that would change things. In fact the lack of cling was part of why they hung so well!

  3. I have a handful of Leota dresses–one of those brands where, once I bought one, I immediately wanted another. A year in, my dresses have held up really nicely. Everything you said above, plus most of their dresses are machine washable! Also, the fabric is incredibly wrinkle resistant–I can wad them into the corner of a suitcase, and they come out looking perfect. All of it makes them perfect for my professional life with a toddler at home.

    I pick mine up at a significant discount on RueLaLa–I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $60 or $70.

  4. I can’t help but comment on how smashing you look in these dresses. I agree with Sue that your daughter is lovely and looks a lot like you. I’m retired now and living in the world of jeans and yoga pants, but these dresses would be great choices for someone who works.

  5. You and your daughter look so pretty. Perhaps a new dress will be the perfect pick-me-up I so desperately need.

    1. @Leslie K, If you wear it to work, yes. And I’m looking for ways to use my retirement to face where we are now. If that helps, even a little bit.

  6. I never think about a dress anymore except for a dressy occasion, but you both look great in them.

  7. They are really lovely, I love long sleeves.
    Nice Fabrics too. You have a beautiful Daughter.

  8. The dress looks beautiful on you! Your daughter is gorgeous! I’m a healthcare professional and it’s so nice to see a resurgance of dresses/skirts in workplace.

  9. I like these dresses a lot. I don’t need a lot of dresses, being retired and volunteering where they aren’t expected, but these are very versatile. I need a skirt length around 21 inches. I’m going to go research whether that’s an option, unless you want to tell me :)

    1. @Cathy I used their flowchart and came up with ONE dress for my height and shape. That dress said 40″ from shoulder to hem (which would do for me). FYI.

      PS – I love that your pictures are in front of Caltrain in the afternoon light. You both do look wonderful and professional.

    2. @Cathy, Interesting. You might just check the various shapes to see what might work for you – you probably know already what silhouettes they are? And thank you – I loved taking the photo with the train passing me in a whoosh. Felt like such an adventure.

  10. Hi Lisa, Lovely dresses in pretty colors. The skirt length is perfect for your legs – short enough to be attractive and long enough a avoid any Sharon Stone “Basic Instinct” moments. I think they could be paired with a fitted jacket and a little piece of jewelry for “dressy” work occasion or lunch at a nice restaurant. Both you and your daughters look fresh and beautiful in these colors.

    The look is reminiscent of DVF in the 1980s. Classy but liberating, if you know what I mean.

    Smiles from Carol

  11. You and your daughter are so beautiful-nice styling!
    I like dresses,they are lovely ( very early DvF in a good way indeed,my opinion too, Carol :-)).
    The lenght,the sleeves….perfect!
    I only don’t like the composition

    1. @dottoressa, Silk would be fantastic, that said, they’ve made real progress in the feel of polyester, and the price point is perfect for women at early stages of their career. In a perfect world, I’d love to see Leota do both, silk and polyester!

  12. Great dresses! Headed into winter here, so I am less likely to choose a dress for the next few months. Maybe I should rethink that – I have tights and boots.

    1. I think Lisa said these were made from polyester. That fiber is too cold for winter and too hot for summer but could work for spring or fall.

    2. @DocP, In cold weather winters, I think polyester can work, if I remember, simply because you wear a big old down coat or wool with lining or somesuch, and then inside it is ALWAYS overheated, and you keep a cardigan on your wall hook just in case. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  13. I have a quick question more about the particular style pictured and appropriateness for work. Also, I value your opinion here because of your work history in the tech industry. I work in another (engineering) male dominated field and would feel uncomfortable wearing something so low cut in the back for work. Am I being too conservative? I will also mention that I tend to be very careful that anything I wear under a jacket or blazer is also appropriate without it including typically avoiding sleeveless shirts. Just curious on your thoughts particular to that environment.

    Thank you for all you share here as your life and voice evolves. I always appreciate the thoughtfulness of your posts.

    1. @Jackie, Thank you for your kind words. I didn’t feel uncomfortable in the dress – and wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable in high-tech. So I have to cast my mind back to when I worked in Macungie PA for Air Products. Would I have felt uncomfortable there? I don’t think so but I can’t guarantee it. I had long hair, there was some camouflage. But also, I have always liked small gestures of rebellion, and that seemed like one I might have embraced. But I really think it’s going to depend and where and in what industry you work.

  14. Love these mother & daughter posts – and that first photo of you is FAB, Lisa. Hope all OK, post -election; the sense of upset and dread is worldwide, not that that is any consolation x

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