Dai is the next big women's performance workwear brand you should know - here's what its clothes look and feel like
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- Dai is a new women's workwear brand founded by a former finance executive who wanted smart, comfortable, and high-quality closet staples without the traditional luxury price tag.
- Like the technical workwear brands we already love (ADAY, Athleta, MPG Sport, and MM.LaFleur), Dai combines sleek, stylish silhouettes with properties of activewear - stretchy, breathable, wrinkle-resistant, and machine-washable.
- Its pieces aren't exactly cheap (prices range from $175-$475) but that's because they're made from eco-certified materials with top-quality materials and precise construction, and in limited quantities.
- We tried some of its top sellers, including tops, trousers, and blazers, and were very impressed with the feel of the fabric and versatility of the pieces.
When you put on a dress or suit from new women's workwear startup Dai, you feel like a thousand bucks. If you were shopping at a luxury European brand, that's also about how much you'd have to pay for your shiny new outfit.Founded by former JP Morgan executive Joanna Dai, Dai is making sleek women's workwear that you'd expect to cost much more, especially for how well-constructed and comfortable it is. It's one of a growing number of direct-to-consumer brands in the last few years that is finally putting an end to the laborious search for more affordable, high-quality workwear.
Coming from eight years in the finance world, Dai developed a smart and polished style that was further nurtured through living in New York and London. The comfort and casual ease at the heart of growing up in California, however, was a glaring component missing from her workwear shopping experience.
She thought about the qualities of the pieces she loved most in her wardrobe - timeless, beautiful fit, and well-made - and brought them to the designs at Dai. To be clear, they are still investment pieces, ranging from $175 pants to $475 blazers, but every one of your hard-earned dollars is going towards a purpose, including eco-certified raw materials, luxe, technical fabrics, and precise, elegant tailoring.
Dai tells Business Insider, "Finding the right suppliers to partner with was pivotal for the product and the brand, and we were uncompromising in our approach, so we tested ten different factories just within our first year."
Usually reserved for athleticwear, they feature properties of stretchiness, wrinkle resistance, and breathability. These all convert cleverly into other parts of life. Even if we're not increasingly active throughout the day, we at least want to be comfortable, whether we're sitting down all day or constantly bouncing between calendar events.
Dai's dresses, pants, blouses, and blazers are stretchy, soft, and breathable. They're also wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and machine-washable, but they don't look like the running top or yoga pants it sounds like we're describing. Its pieces, made by pattern cutters with more than 30 years of experience, are structured and cut precisely, with clear attention paid to fit and detail.
You can shop these beautiful pieces of workwear on Dai's site, where eye-catching colors like red, plum, and forest green share the stage with versatile neutrals like black, gray, and white. Its simple styles will be wearable and relevant all year round, but you won't tire of wearing them since they're easily mixed and matched and can be accessorized in many different ways.
If the founder could only choose one outfit from the collection, she told Business Insider:
"I'd pick the original full suit look, which comprises of the Trail Blazer, Power Move Pants and Now and Forever Blouse. Not only is it incredibly comfortable, it's a power suit that establishes a sense of effortless confidence, as if it were (very comfortable) armor.
Worn separately, I think each standalone piece is incredibly adaptable and powerful. The Trail Blazer, inspired by the classic Le Smoking jacket in terms of its clean cut and longer tuxedo length, can also be worn over jeans for a polished day look, or with a dress and heels for an evening event. The blouse is a timeless classic, and the trousers are your feels-like-yoga, tailored go-to for everything."
The pieces she mentions are a good place to start while shopping at Dai (the Power Move Trousers sold out no less than five times in just over a year). Some other styles that caught our eye are the Power Line Skirt, with its front side vent and invisible pockets, and the Squared Away Dress, a modern geometric take on the classic black dress.
The UK-based brand does follow the UK sizing chart, so add four to your usual size to get your Dai size. For the best fit, we recommend measuring yourself and following the size chart on its site, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had a chance to try out a few workwear pieces from Dai. You can find our thoughts on styles from this up-and-coming women's workwear brand below.
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