What a "Knock-Around Dress" Is and Why You Need One

Take a moment and think about it: Every family has their own language. Maybe it’s something you’re conscious of, or maybe one day you call a sunny-side up egg the “egg with the dip-it-in toast” and realize no one outside your home knows what you’re talking about. Trust: This phenomenon can come with all levels of embarrassment attached.

At this point in adulthood, I’m pretty familiar with what phrases make sense around my immediate family and my immediate family only, but there’s one that I don’t mind spreading around a bit more: the “knock-around dress.”

You can thank my mother for this term. In my experience, it’s a dress that serves any purpose other than actually making a huge effort. She uses it when she buys a dress strictly for the purpose of running errands and looking put-together or feeling comfortable enough to wear it around the house but won’t mind going out for a casual dinner in it either. “Knock-around” suggests you don’t have to be precious about things, but it has style, too. Simply put, easy summer dresses are “knock-around dresses.”

As the concept is so appealing—something unfussy that fits the bill for any and all plans—I’ve rounded up some of the best examples below. After all, summer is the official season of the “knock-around dress"… or perhaps that’s just another thing that applies to my family only.

Simple construction, bold color.

Available in sizes 00 to 14.

An LBD for any time of day.

Available in sizes XS to 4X.

Try a non-snug wrap style.

Available in sizes 0 to 3.

Mix prints while you're at it.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

Just the smallest cut-out makes a huge difference.

Available in sizes 2 to 8.

The most summery color of them all.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

For the stripes fan.

Available in sizes 10 to 18.

Bring on the lovely tiered layers.

Available in sizes Xs to L.

We appreciate something with swing.

Available in sizes 0 to 18.

Spot the tassel.

Available in sizes S to L.

For the record, "knock-around" does not mean boring.

Available in sizes 12 to 24.

A floral print is a natural choice.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

We love this style for a casual evening out, too.

Available in sizes XS to L.

Like your favorite tank top, but not quite.

Available in sizes XXXS to XXL.

Now go on and explore other no-brainer summer essentials, such as sandals you can walk everywhere in