This. This right here is my everything. Let me tell you a story about my 4+ years of grad school... I have gained 30 lbs since I started, and I have given up on doing anything about it until after I graduate. Which, because my degree program is so bloody awful, has gone from a 2 year plan to a 4 year plan, going on 5 years. So, here's the deal: I have given up on structured garments without stretch. Being under-employed and in triple figure debt because of grad school, I really can't go around replacing my clothing every time my body decides another 5 lbs around my waist seems like a great idea. So, that's where the Gemma dress comes in... It's a classic, BR always stocks some version of it, and even though it ain't the cheapest knit dress out there, it is made with good quality materials, which means my return on investment is pretty decent.
My extensive knowledge of fiber and textiles means clothing manufacturers have a high bar to clear with me. I will not tolerate fabric that pills. This does not necessarily mean that I avoid cheap labels, because I have items from Forever 21 that have lasted me years with nary a pill, and items from Anthropologie that have pilled horrendously after the first wearing. In general, Banana Republic has a pretty good track record with its textiles, but because they are pricey, I am judicious about my purchases, sticking to basic pieces.
The Gemma can be dressed up or down, but it always looks classic. Total score.