Windermere Prep graduate creates Dress Downs garment weights

Winter Garden native and Windermere Prep graduate Simone Magee is the mastermind behind the garment weight Dress Downs.

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  • | 2:09 p.m. December 1, 2017
Dress Downs are reusable garment weights that help give women peace of mind on a windy day.
Dress Downs are reusable garment weights that help give women peace of mind on a windy day.
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Tying jackets around waists. Physically holding flowing skirts down. Taping or sewing coins and washers into hem lines. They’re all tricks that women wearing skirts or dresses have learned when it comes to avoiding a Marilyn Monroe moment on a windy day.

But perhaps one of the most creative solutions on the market now is Dress Downs, the brainchild of 2009 Windermere Preparatory School graduate Simone Magee.



Upon graduating high school, the Winter Garden native first went to Stetson University for four years before finding herself at a crossroads: Stay in Florida long-term or take a chance and move. That’s when she landed on Chicago, aka The Windy City.

“Growing up in Florida, dresses are a staple,” Magee said. “That was my closet when I lived here. There were actually multiple incidences where in Chicago I was taking public transport and would be in dresses or skirts, and when the bus pulls up it kind of creates this wind gust. It was so frustrating, and I’d see other women tie jackets around their waist or hold the sides of their dresses. I was like, ‘What would work? What can I come up with?’ I sketched ideas and researched online.” 

Magee knew that the product she was envisioning had to be simple. It also would have to be reusable — no one wanted to take the time to sew coins or washers into every skirt or dress they owned.

“For me it was like, ‘What’s simple, convenient and reusable?” she said. “I played around with those ideas and landed on the shape and application. I sketched and left it for a year, and played with names.”

While working as an account executive, she got an inside look of what it would be like to take an idea from conception to full production.

“Having that insight was the final push I needed to take Dress Downs to an actual, physical product,” she said. “It was an inkling always in the back of my head and I played with it for years. I didn’t have that final push, because where do you start?”

And with that final push, Magee knew she had something going. She ultimately made the decision to quit her job and focus on her product — what would later become Dress Downs.



From then on her daily focus was on Dress Downs, including the design, logo, packaging, marketing and more.

“I had a hand in the tones, colors, adhesives and how much it would weigh,” she said. “Everything from the paper on the backing and the color — it was trial and error, but I always had this vision. I had to just put it all together. Even from the size of it — I remember measuring out inches and distance and playing with shapes and molds to see what was the best route. I would look at other products, too.”

Her father, a former engineer for NASA, even helped her with deciding the proper weights for Dress Downs after she went outside with a barometer and played with wind and weight.

“Playing with the weights it was like, ‘What’s going to be dense and feel the best?’” she said. “It was about distributing the weight properly. I knew I would have an adhesive backing and thought, ‘What’s going to be the most simple application for the manufacturer?’”

After starting to focus on her product full-time last November, Magee finally was able to have the product in hand by May 2017. She has a patent pending on Dress Downs, which were featured on the TODAY Show and also helped her win the Big Idea Awards in Chicago.

“Looking back from where I started a year ago to now, it’s crazy to see from when it was just a prototype to now selling online and things like that,” she said. “I actually just shipped an order to Australia, because it’s summer there. It wasn’t ever just a ‘me’ thing; it was more for women in general. It’s nice to hear from strangers who say, ‘This is awesome, I want to buy these!’”

Dress Downs come in a pack of four reusable, adhesive garment weights. The adhesive is designed to last for up to 20 uses. Eventually, Magee said, she would love for them to be available in stores everywhere and part of every woman’s wardrobe.

“From notebook to now, every day something happens that makes me more and more fired up (about it),” she said. “My family and friends have no idea how their positive words impact me — hearing those words on days I’m so frustrated is the catalyst that keeps it going. When you know people believe in you, it’s hard to just stop.”


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