Reviews: Nostalgic Asterisks Dress, Botanical Crossway Dress, City Touring Dress, Miss Swiss Corset Dress, Around The Maypole Dress, Ipanema Dress

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An enviable silhouette.

After a snooze-worthy January that still has me bitter, Anthropologie is starting to release its spring dresses to stores. I'm happy to report that the newest options are sure to please and I think there will be something for everyone. I recently tried on 11 dresses. Part I is below, Part II is here.

Nostalgic Asterisks Dress ($158) by Girls From Savoy, TTS
style #20411377, red motif (069)

A beautiful vibrant print makes the Nostalgic Asterisks Dress ($158) a stunning standout. I love the wide middle waistband and the fullness of the skirt. The cotton material is thin enough for warm weather without being see-through. The print on the dress is true 1960s midcentury modern that tickles me. I really adore it! There's white piping around the bodice with very thin spaghetti straps. I prefer them to having a strapless frock but they're not going to give you much in the way of support. Apologies for the visible bra -- I hadn't brought a strapless along.

I could not locate a 6 the first time I tried this dress, so the photos above are a 4. It was not big enough in the bust but fit well everywhere else. On another quick visit to Anthro I tried on a 6 and found it much better, though still not as much bust coverage as I'd like. I am a 34D for reference. The side zip was wholly unnecessary for me -- I was able to put this dress on pullover style with no issues. I found the straps a little long but otherwise fine.

I was all set to give this dress 4 stars, until my friend relayed a tale to me: she was trying the dress on and when she went to take it off, the bodice ripped cleanly out from the waistband. My friend promised she hadn't gone She-Hulk on the dress. This was in between me trying on the 4 and a 6 so when I went back to the store I took a look at the guts of this dress. Sure enough, the stitching between the bodice and waistband is crap! Loose, misaligned, you name it. In fact the 6 I tried on already had a small tear just from try-ons that wasn't yet visible from the outside. I don't know what the quality issue is but it's not the first time this has happened with Girls From Savoy. (Remember the ripped zips on the Rhomboid Rush Dress?) So while this dress looks beautiful on I'd caution you to 1 - inspect the dress closely before buying and 2 - consider taking it to a tailor to reinforce the stitching.

Because of the quality issue I knocked off a star. Come on Anthropologie. I know you can do better!

Botanical Crossway Dress ($188) by Moulinette Souers, TTS
style #20473542 (petite/regular), purple motif (059)

My fondness for maxi dresses is well-known. I hope to retire to Hawaii someday and when I'm not horseback riding through the Waipi'o Valley on the Big Island I plan to wear maxi dresses. It's never too early to plan, right? Being tall maxi dresses sometimes don't fall to the right length on me but the Botanical Crossway Dress ($188) was perfect. I love that the straps are thick enough to accommodate a bra. This thin cotton dress is lined in the skirt portion and has a pretty floral print that seems ready for any season. If only I could wear maxis to work.

The fit has been all over the place for me in Moulinette Souers lately, but my usual size 6 worked fine here. When I tried this dress on it was about 35 degrees outside yet I instantly felt warm and cheery in this dress. It's comfortable and flowy without overdoing it. This has to be one of my top 10 Anthro dresses ever. I just wish I had an occasion to wear it to! Wishlisted while I scope out beach vacations.

City Touring Dress ($138) by Moulinette Souers, TTS
style #20095550, sky (045)

If you missed out on the Behind the Clouds Dress from a couple of years back, this dress may fill your heart. Moulinette Souers' City Touring Dress ($138) has the same swiss dot makeup, a similar tuxedo front and a similar overall shape. Is it any wonder I loved this dress? It's only available in this navy-lite color right now but I can bet you it's going to come out in additional shades once the weather warms up. The dress is made from polyester, which I'd normally whine about but it's the right choice here.

Since I've had to size up in MS recently I reached for an 8, but it turned out to be too loose. Another true to size dress -- will wonders never cease?? I was pleased that the waist hit in exactly the right spot on me too. I don't want Anthro to abandon prints by any means but they really knocked this pretty solid dress out of the park. It's simple yet elegant with just the right mix of accents. I have just one quibble -- the open rectangle stitches in the bodice are big enough that your bra may be visible. Why line the skirt but not the top of this dress? Seems like an odd design decision to me. Wishlisted!

Miss Swiss Corset Dress ($168) by Zehavale, size up
style #19674928, navy (041) 

Zehavale's Miss Swiss Corset Dress ($168) is almost too sweet. It has a tiered hem with lace peeking out the bottom, a mix of diagonal and vertical confectionery stripes, and a sweetheart neckline. My teeth hurt. But if flirty and feminine is your game this could be the perfect dress for you, so I decided to put aside my initial reaction and give it a whirl.

This brand is cut very small in the bust. So my usual 6 didn't work, and even an 8 was constricting my lungs. So it was up again to a 10 which worked well, with just a bit of extra material around the sides. I felt adequately covered in this dress and have to admit the skirt is really fun. The material seems a bit thin to me, though it's not sheer. I would worry about the longevity of this dress. It's cute but not really my style. Back to the rack.

Around The Maypole Dress ($158) by Girls From Savoy, TTS
style #20077541, navy (041)

Hooray -- a strapless frock with a high bustline! Girls From Savoy won me over with its Around The Maypole Dress ($158), a fun creation that's ready for fun warm-weather days outside. The dress I tried on was fresh out of the box and kind of wrinkled as a result but I didn't mind. (They were steaming the rest -- yes!) This cotton dress hit just below my knee and had a good amount of stretch to it.

I reached for my usual size 6 which worked perfectly. If I was less busty I could have gone down a 4 with no problem. I bounded around the fitting room pod a bit with this dress on and loved the way the skirt moved. I do fear it will fly up as I trot down the subway stairs or if a stiff breeze blows by. A slip underneath will keep things demure. This dress feels supportive without being uncomfortable and I feel it will be universally flattering. One star down because I noticed that the embossed flower print doesn't line up at the seams. Wasn't an issue on the dress I tried but you can see it on the product shot dress at the bustline. Boo that. Since warm weather hasn't arrived I'm going to play the sale waiting game with this one. Wishlisted!

Ipanema Dress ($328) by Maria Bonita, size up
style #20367264, neutral (014)

Like the Windowpane Dress of fall 2009, the Ipanema Dress ($328) has a low back with a bow accent. Which means a bra is out of the question here. So take my review with a grain of salt as clearly my body is not the type this dress was designed for. It's a shift that can't quite fit my curves. The defined waist is a nice touch and it's belt-ready. I love the strap design in the back and I think the bow is cute without being over-the-top. The length was also good. The dress hit at the top of my knees. But the fit was such an issue for me as the photos clearly show.

I'm surprised Anthropologie used this name so soon after last spring's Ipanema Dress. The print here looks more like falling petals or leaves though the palette is more spring than fall. I knew a 6 wouldn't work on me so I tried on an 8. It was still pretty tight around my hips but the top portion was very loose. I'd probably buy a 10 and tailor it, except that I didn't like this dress much. The style is pretty. It doesn't work on me though. I'm sure many in the community will be able to rock this dress properly. For me, back to the rack.