Eye on Style: The Dress Code
Nantucket Style

Eye on Style: The Dress Code

Where There’s Always Something New

by Suzanne Daub

You can see it in the bright colors and attractive patterns. You can see it in the fun, eclectic styles. And you can feel it in the warm welcome as you enter the shop. The Keys have come to Nantucket!

The Dress Code at 9 Centre Street is a shop can appeal to women of all ages, styles, and body types with merchandise that is ever-changing. Owner Suzanne Gleason calls her clothing “wearable art” that emphasizes comfort and style. And she carries a wide variety of styles that she is confident customers “probably cannot find elsewhere.”

When Gleason opened her main boutique, Zero Dress Code, in Islamorada a decade ago after years in the fashion world, she envisioned a shop that embodied the casual (“no dress code required”) feel of the Florida Keys. In 2017, she opened a second boutique in Ocean Reef Club, and it was there that a customer who summered on Nantucket first started lobbying her to open a shop here. 

“She never gave up…and she found me this location!” Suzanne explained. “She called me on Mother’s Day and told me… I’m so grateful for her help. I’d always dreamed of having a shop on Nantucket.” A long-time visitor to our island since the early 1990s, Gleason especially loved September on Nantucket for its quiet natural beauty and relaxed way of life. There are so many similarities between Nantucket and the Keys, Gleason commented, and “a vast array of people who visit both.” 

Pre-Covid, she’d travel twice a year to Italy to find new sources for her stunning styles, many from family-owned makers who’d been in the fashion business for generations in Europe. In her quest for unique brands, she’s forged connections with makers in Australia, France, and Spain, in addition to Italy. And she found some brands in Hawaii that use beautiful lightweight fabrics ideal for summer. Because she works with small artisinal makers, Gleason usually carries just one size run of each style, and “when it’s gone, it’s gone—but there’s always something new!” 

When Suzanne says The Dress Code on Nantucket has “everything from tshirts to gowns,” she is not exaggerating. There are blouses, skirts, pants, sportswear, dresses, sweaters, and jackets for every occasion, and, to accompany, handcrafted jewelry, sandals, handbags, scarves, and the most amazing hats. “I like items with a story,” she explains as she shows a large display of intricately beaded jewelry from female artisans in Brazil. She truly can dress a woman from head to toe! 

Many of the styles in The Dress Code are created with great detail using gorgeous fabrics and lots of texture. “I work with one artist who sends me a box of clothing—all hand-done—many one-size-fits-all and each one-of-a-kind…I never know what she’s going to send,” but every piece is a beautiful work of art. She carries the work of another artist, a painter, who “translates her paintings onto Italian silk” to make flattering, flowing apparel. She has UPF 50 clothing that is wrinkle-resistent and perfect for travel. Her regulation golf and tennis skorts are lightweight, colorful, and fun. Even the demin in The Dress Code is different: “you can buy standard denim online these days,” she said with a shrug. And anyone familiar with Nantucket prices will be pleasantly surprised: everything sold in The Dress Code is affordable. 

Gleason plans to be open this year in her Nantucket location into October, and to reopen for the holiday season. Don’t wait to stop by the shop at 9 Centre to discover those new pieces to complete your wardrobe—remember: “when it’s gone, it’s gone.” 

“I pinch myself every day: I’m living a dream that came to fruition!” said Suzanne with a smile. 

The Dress Code is open daily at 9 Centre Street • ZeroDressCode.com

Articles by Date from 2012