Bye Bye, Big Bad Wolf

by Amanda Bedgood

Photo by Dalton Lane

The phenom of Well Dressed Wolf

Sisters Shannon Caserta, left, and Sarah Lemoine, right, founded Well Dressed Wolf three years ago creating pieces for children that are inspired by vintage and European designs along with clothing from their childhoods. A new “dress of the month” club is set to launch with tentative plans for retail and home lines.
Photo by Dalton Lane

Sisters Sarah Lemoine and Shannon Caserta are making more than clothes. The duo is making magic with its beloved line Well Dressed Wolf — a fantastical children’s clothing brand that makes us believe in fairy tales once again. And one that’s making moms crazy to snag every last piece.

There are those rare brands that create a culture that outweighs a normal affection for the threads and designs. It’s hard to nail. Easy to spot. It’s what the sisters have done. They focus on girls’ clothing for ages 3 months to 8 years (but also have some boys’ pieces) and produce in small runs and limited editions that sell out quickly. Find them on Facebook (they have more than 90,000 followers) to pre-order every other Thursday beginning at 8 p.m. It’s where they announce and promote all pre-orders.

It’s a busy life for two sisters who share 11 children between them and launched a clothing line just three years ago. Read on for the inside scoop on how the imagination of two Louisiana girls sparked a thriving business.

Q: Tell us about the creation of the name Well Dressed Wolf?

Shannon: I remember developing our name and story like it was yesterday. We stayed up talking and toying with a million crazy ideas — each with a plot line that would reinforce the name. After a lot of brainstorming — and some very funny options — Sarah said, “What about a wolf? A good wolf?” And it all fell into place. Every children’s story with a wolf character was about a deceptive and bad wolf —Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (SC Wolf), Big Bad Wolf (BB Wolf). Why not change it around and create a wolf who was decent and kind and honest? He could be a wolf who loved fashion and kids —Well Dressed Wolf or WD Wolf.

In the weeks that followed, we spent hours upon hours going through WD Wolf’s life events — dreaming of his history and coming up with his story. It was such a fun time.

Q: What are the design inspirations for the line?

Sarah: The line is very inspired by our own Louisiana childhood on the outskirts of eclectic and enchanted New Orleans. We were raised wearing traditional smocked dresses with feather boas and Mardi Gras beads. There were five of us, so hand-me-downs were a fact of life. We learned to appreciate clothing that could stand the test of time — both aesthetically and functionally.

True story: My favorite homecoming dress was my mother’s own glittering prom gown, hemmed above the knee and worn with spray-painted silver shoes. Because fashion is ever-changing, there is something solid and wonderful about pieces that feel both old-fashioned and fresh at the same time. We strive for that classic look with a pinch of surprise — clothes that feel special but not too stuffy to be worn.

Shannon is drawn to neutrals all day every day, so we keep our color palette soft and sophisticated, using pops of color, pattern, embroidery and smocking to add that little something extra. We love quality fabrics and sweet simplicity that allow a child to really shine.

Q: Why do you think people have responded so strongly to Well Dressed Wolf?

Sarah: I honestly think a huge part was being in the right place at the right time — and really listening to the gentle urgings of our hearts. I think there is also something to be said for creating this business because we wanted to and not because we had to.

Well Dressed Wolf was born out of passion — not necessity — so we’ve been fortunate to design what we love, taking finances out of the equation. Mostly, though, I think people are drawn to the community that has formed around Well Dressed Wolf. That part of the business was totally unexpected and makes us so proud.

Q: What’s the vision for the future of Well Dressed Wolf?

Shannon: Right now, the vision for Well Dressed Wolf is to keep doing what we are doing and reach more and more people. This is such a passion for both of us — like our 12th child. We have made so many wonderful friends through this, it has brought so many people together — like a big Well Dressed Wolf family.

There is nothing more rewarding than reading letters about how these dresses have impacted people or commemorated a special event. Knowing that we are a small part of people’s most special memories of their children is such an unbelievable feeling. To know that these children will one day look at a photo of themselves wearing Well Dressed Wolf and be taken back to a moment of their childhood is such a blessing to us. It’s amazing to sit back and think about where we are right now — it is so far beyond what we could have ever dreamed or imagined three years ago.