In 1962, mother of three Roslyn Jaffe launched the first Dressbarn store in Stamford, CT. During a time when women were just beginning to enter the workplace en masse, Jaffe created a business model that specifically catered to this new demographic of professionals. The store offered wear-to-work women's clothing with a stylistic flair. Within a year, the first store was so popular that Jaffe and her husband opened another location and created the Dressbarn chain. By 1983, Dressbarn had spread across the country, and the company began publicly trading.
Continued success into the 21st century led to a number of acquisitions, including popular labels like Catherines, Lane Bryant, Maurices, and Justice. In response to this massive brand diversification, the parent company changed its name to Ascena Retail Group in 2011. Dressbarn continues to be one of the company's most popular and profitable subsidiaries, however, and it stays true to the original mission Roslyn Jaffe began with more than 50 years ago. Today, there are more than 800 Dressbarn locations across the country in addition to a thriving e-commerce operation. These stores primarily cater to women in their mid-30s to mid-50s who are interested in casual fashion, special occasion apparel, and business attire.
Clothing from Dressbarn spans a wide array of categories. In tops, you can find options like blouses, camis, tanks, woven tops, scoopnecks, tunics, popovers, knits, and tees. Sweaters, cardigans, vests, blazers, leather jackets, and denim jackets all provide great layering possibilities, while trenches, peacoats, tweed jactets, and puffer coats protect against extreme elements. Unsurprisingly, dresses are among the most popular garments available from Dressbarn, and the brand features styles like A-line dresses, little black dresses, casual dresses, fit-and-flare dresses, maxi dresses, sweater dresses, occasion dresses, and gowns. Many of these are specifically divided into categories for work, a night out, casual daywear, and more.
In bottoms, Dressbarn has an assortment of leggings, trousers, palazzo pants, pull-on pants, and dress pants. The brand's Westport 1962 denim collection features top styles of jeans, including boyfriend, bootcut, skinny, and straight. Skirts are also available in several different cuts, such as pencil, mini, midi, maxi, and A-line. The brand's suiting collection will fit in at practically any workplace, and options vary from business casual to much more traditional and formal. Dressbarn's shoe selection features boots, booties, ballet flats, pumps, sandals, wedges, and more. Other accessories include shapewear, jewelry, hosiery, sunglasses, bags, hats, and scarves.
Dressbarn was one of the first companies offering women's work apparel that was actually founded and run by a woman. The chain ushered in an era of success that included acquisitions of many of the other top brands in similar niches. Today, Ascena Retail Group is one of the main conglomerates when it comes to women's apparel, and Dressbarn continues to be one of its crown jewels. Clothes blend simplicity with elegance so that they are appropriate for several different occasions. The brand's styles are also essentially timeless, so they are great choices to buy secondhand. We give Dressbarn 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1962
- Women's business attire and casual apparel
- Sold at:
- Dressbarn stores and online
- Types of items:
- Blouses, tanks, tees, camis, sweaters, cardigans, casual dresses, work dresses, occasion dresses, skirts, jeans, trousers, leggings, pull-on pants, suiting, jackets, shoes, boots, accessories
- Related brands:
- Catherines, Lane Bryant, Justice, Maurices, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey