Keeping My Cool in Laura Tanzer Dresses

When it comes to staying cool and comfortable, the last several summers have been somewhat miserable for me. When I was younger, I froze year round. Not anymore. Now I’m hot more often than cold. My inner thermostat detects 65°F/18°C and begins the meltdown process almost immediately. When I wear long pants and leather sneakers or brogues when it’s warm out, I turn into a squishy puddle of goo. And don’t even think about what nylon and polyester do to my body. It’s gross!

The Journey of a Thousand Dresses has been a real eye-opener in this regard. I simply don’t have nuclear meltdowns when I wear a dress. My whole body breathes a sigh of relief. And, when the evenings cool down, I simply add a light sweater or jacket. What a treat to enjoy summer without feeling the searing heat from inside out!

It’s Time to Dance

A couple of months back I wrote about meeting Laura Tanzer, the Tucson fashion designer who won Emerging Designer of the Year last year at Phoenix Fashion Week. Laura practices sustainability at every turn–from the fabrics she uses to the local people she hires to make the clothes to how she handles leftover scraps when they’re done.

It also means that a lot of her designs are made from fabrics that are not as hard on the environment, such as silk, Italian viscose, and linen. These materials are breathable and soft against my skin. And for those of us with cranky internal thermostats, there’s nothing better.

That’s something worth dancing about!


I purchased two dresses from Laura when I visited her atelier in Tucson in April–a red one and a striped one that is reversible. You might say I purchased three dresses for the price of two.

More reasons to keep dancing!
To check out what Laura’s been up to lately
and to visit her online shop, click here.

Both dresses are sheath dresses. They’re lightweight but not so much so they blow away in a breeze. I can wear them both without a slip or bloomers–which also means fewer hot-flash-inducing layers!

Laura Tanzer Designs - red shift dress

I featured the black shoes in a previous post here.
They’re sold out now but similar styles are available here.

Both dresses are easy to dress up or down for different occasions. I nearly always pair the red dress with the long pendant necklace seen above. On occasion I add a lightweight cardigan and, in early May I added tights. In fact, this dress got me through the toughest part of my dress challenge because it was so easy to layer and change for different situations.

Laura Tanzer red dress
I took this selfie in May when I first started the Journey of a Thousand Dresses.

I’ve had the necklace for years.
Find vintage pendant necklace styles here on Etsy.

The striped dress is even more flexible because it’s reversible. To create a similar but different look, I simply flip it inside-out.

Here’s the lighter side:

Here’s the darker side:

This is a great piece to travel with. It doesn’t wrinkle so I get double the mileage out of it without taking up too much space.

My obi belt goes way back, too.
Similar belt styles are available on Etsy.
The sandals are summer staples. They go with everything.
They’re Clarks and are available here on Amazon.

Keep Dancing and Wear Fun Dresses

I started out the month of May uncertain if I would be able to go a whole month wearing a dress every single day. It was a difficult challenge–surprisingly so. But I’ve discovered–and am still discovering–the marvel of dresses as everyday wear. Not only are they easy to style but they keep me cool during the hottest season of the year.

I’ve got two more posts on this Journey of a Thousand Dresses. Next week I’m off to spend time with my parents but I’ll be back August 7th doing a Fab Collab with the ladies of The following week I’ll finish off this dress series with some spunky styles I never EVER thought I’d wear!

Don’t worry, though. I’m not done with dresses. With autumn just around the corner, we’re just getting started.

Dancing Playlist

Harry Belafonte, among others, kept me grooving during the shooting of the photos for this post. If you need a little something to get you moving, hit the Play Button on the playlist below!

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  • A reversible dress is a genius idea! That’s what will make me check out this designers clothing. You gotta love that kind of out of the box thinking.
    It’s so cool that your dress challenge resulted in your finding a bonifide affinity for them!! I have always loved dresses for road trips and for their comfort in the heat of summer. Did you include any maxi dresses in your journey? When our newly engaged realtor wanted to bring a bunch of other realtors over for a quick preview I quickly slapped on a maxi!! Done & done!!
    I love you in all versions of the red dress Sherry. Leggings really are a great way to extend the wearability of a short dress. I think this a-line shape is flattering on lots of body types too!

    • Thank you, Jude! I just heard today that Laura Tanzer is having a big sale starting tomorrow! Up to 80% off!! Last I checked, the website isn’t showing what’s available but maybe tomorrow they’ll unveil the sale. If so, you may want to check it out here:

      As for maxi dresses, those are more difficult for me to find in my height. Just when I thought I found one that would work I realized I didn’t like how the colors looked on me so it’s back to the drawing board. I do like the idea of maxi dresses and skirts, though! So, I’m keeping my eyes open for them–both for summer and fall, because I would imagine a heavier-weight fabric might keep my legs warm when the chill sets in!


  • Aw…you look super cute in these shifts Sherry! I made a reversible girl’s dress once. It is pretty clever and I kinda wonder why I haven’t made one for myself…

    Can’t wait to see the spunky styles!

    • Hi Sue! Are reversible dresses hard to make? It seems like the seams would be the toughest part–making sure both sides are finished.

      The spunky styles are up now and ready for your perusal! 😃❤️

    • I hate ironing too! And obi belts are my favorite. They seem to completely change an outfit with relative ease. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Nancy!

  • That reversible dress is brilliant. Of course my mom has one that she made like that, and how perfect is it for travelling???
    I love these sheath dresses because you can layer them and make them incredibly versatile!!
    I’m just so surprised at how you’ve embraced this dress thing!! And to think you hated them?? Isn’t it great how we can evolve over time??
    ps…I still didn’t get this email, so I just signed up under our filogomo email!!

    • I think these dresses will follow me around the world if I travel that far. They are quite versatile. Even the one that isn’t reversible can be paired up in so many different ways.

      I’m sorry the email thing continues to be a problem. I sincerely don’t know why it’s not showing up in your inbox when you have signed up twice now! Grr… If I think of anything I’ll let you know!


  • That reversible dress is really fun. And I do love you in the red with your blond hair.

    Dresses are a favourite of mine. I’m glad you are learning to love them as well.


    • You’re one of the reasons I’m wearing dresses now, Suzanne! 🙂 Our conversation inspired this whole experiment and now I’ve discovered I actually love wearing them. Thank you for always being on this journey with me as a friend and cheerleader and inspiration!


  • I love the playlist – I’m listening to it as I type, at least snippets.
    Reversible dresses are the best but I rarely see them in stores. Finished seams always make me feel special. Your dancing shots highlight that particular joy very well.
    I like reading about your dress challenge. I don’t wear dresses around my home, partly because I sit on the floor and it’s difficult to maintain modesty for long without my legs falling asleep. But I’m glad you have discovered their particular joys as a result of your investigative determination. It sounds like a full summer for you. I hope you have a great visit with your parents.

    • Staying modest in a dress while sitting on the floor can be incredibly uncomfortable. When I sit on my couch I often sit crosslegged so I have to put a blanket over my knees so as not to flash my neighbors across the way. 🙂

      I’m glad you like the playlist! This kind of music always makes me wiggle and dance.