Reviews: Gathered Hemlock Dress, Fountain Of Youth Dress, Magellan Dress, Alfresco Tunic, Counting Angles Dress, Sangatte Slip Dress

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gathered Hemlock Dress by Weston Wear ($138), TTS
style #20898730, orange (089, reviewed) or two other colors

The Soft-Structured Dress ($80, review here), style #20180055 gets a spring cousin in the Gathered Hemlock Dress ($138). Both dresses are made by Weston Wear, a brand which is thankfully consistent in fit. The sleeves on this version are slightly shorter and a new smocking detail has been added to the back. This dress will require special care to keep the pattern from bleeding or fading. Plan on handwashing when it comes time to clean it.

My usual size medium was tight across my thighs, but otherwise fit well. With a pair of body-slimming tights I'd be all set. The print on this dress is quite loud but the colors are good choices that will mix with spring cardigans and blazers well. I don't usually reach for items that are this form-fitting. The execution is very good on this dress, so much so that I felt great in it. It's by no means the quintessential Anthropologie dress and I'm not sure it's quite my style but I liked it enough to wishlist it for now.

Fountain of Youth Dress by Maeve ($128), TTS
style #20529483, kelly (033) or navy (041)

I had several community requests to give Maeve's Fountain of Youth Dress ($128) a try. I was only too happy to oblige. A classic shape and a nice long skirt make this dress perfectly work appropriate while the beautiful shade of green showcases the similar hazel hue of my eyes. This cotton frock has some excellent details, my favorite of which is a hook-and-eye closure between the two bust buttons. A thoughtful detail to prevent gaps around the bust? Now there's the Anthropologie I know and love!

My usual size 6 fit nicely. Pockets lend this dress a down-to-earth vibe while the collar has a midcentury feel to it. I felt instantly comfortable in this dress. It hit me right at the knee and the skirt is comfortably loose without being too voluminous. Of course I do have one quibble - the sash! It's very long which is great for wrapping it back to front, but it's not the thick full sash I expected based on the product and model shot. This is a constant complaint with Anthropologie right now. Please don't cheap out on the sashes! Otherwise this dress is perfect and wishlisted!

Here's a closeup of the hook-and-eye closure on the Fountain of Youth Dress ($128). Very nice touch by the design team. This photo is not true to color -- it's been enhanced to brighten the closure.

Magellan Dress by Maeve ($158), size up
style #20620977, navy (041)

I've noticed the Anthropologies in NYC have started displaying their strapless dresses with the removable straps in place. I think this is a great idea -- I might have passed on the Magellan Dress ($158) otherwise. For while I love me a strapless dress, they're not very practical for my lifestyle. In this case the straps are nice, thick options that are maybe a bit too long but otherwise very helpful.

Beyond the straps I love, LOVE the print on the bodice of this dress. Really it all goes well for me until we get to the skirt portion where messy diamonds or rhombuses or whatever are oddly incongruous with the delightful top portion. I feel like the white balance is off here.

I sized up to an 8 (photos above) because the bodice of this dress is very tight. I'd wear a strapless bra with this dress should I purchase it. The side zip on both the 6 and the 8 I tried both got stuck at the waist and needed a few aggressive tugs to get both up and down. I would run the zipper through wax paper to help the teeth along at home. The fit was great in the 8, body-hugging but not too tight in the top while the skirt flowed gently away from my body. I wish the top portion had a different skirt or vice versa. Waiting until sale for further deliberation.

Alfresco Tunic by Left of Center ($98), size down
style #20741450, white (010)

I originally thought Left of Center's Alfresco Tunic ($98) was a dress and I tried it on as such. It's close -- even on my 5'8" frame this top could pass for a dress with the right skirt or bloomers underneath. (Clearly I've been looking at too many Free People catalogues.) Regrettably it is completely sheer. So you'd need a slip underneath, and bloomers or a skirt. There are functional pod pockets and a collar on only one side of the v-neck. I like it! The pattern over the bibbed v is like delicate latticework. Cotton and machine-washable, this piece was love at first sight.

The shots above are a medium which was quite large on me. A small fit much better (not pictured). The v-neck is quite deep so even if this tunic were not sheer I'd want to layer something beneath it. Call me crazy but I feel like with a belt and the right underlayers this would make a fine summer work outfit. I almost bought it on the spot but decided to wait until white is in-season. One star off for the sheerness but otherwise this top/dress/whatever is wonderful and wishlisted!

Counting Angles Dress from Plenty by Tracy Reese ($168), TTS
style #20367728, navy (041)

I guess this is a 4-star kind of day! Next up is Tracy Reese's pretty Counting Angles Dress ($168), which is like two dresses in one. Someone got the message that low-cut dresses should come with a layering slip. In this case the layering slip is so nice that I think you could wear it by itself! (Photographic evidence/delusion below.)

The top layer has a safari feel and gently batwing-style arm openings. Made from linen that feels soft and not all scratchy, I felt instantly comfortable in this dress. It was a bit difficult to put on but once all the pieces were in place -- magic!

My true size medium fit well, maybe a little large. I wasn't as comfortable in a small though so this dress seems true to size to me. The softer material helps make this dress right for either day or spring nights. Plus with the slip layer working as its own dress this is like two dresses for the price of one. Seriously tempted at full price.

Here's the layering slip. With a cardigan and thick belt seems like this would work on the weekends, no? Another dress for the wishlist!

Sangatte Slip Dress from Moulinette Soeurs ($138), size up
style #20702676, navy (041)

Lord have mercy, this Moulinette Soeurs dress fits! I cringe when I see this brand on dresses now that their fit is less curve-friendly. In this case however I needn't have worried. The print on this silk frock is serpentine-like with pretty hues of blue from light to navy. It's a little ahead of the weather in NYC but has me daydreaming of summer already.

An 8 (photos above) worked well in this dress. If I were less busty a 6 would have been fine. Something odd was happening with the waist -- a paunch kept forming in the front around my tummy. I do have a tummy but not as much as the dress would have you believe! I tried a 10 for kicks but it was too big on me so this seems to be either a result of my shape or the dress. I love the design but I'm not sure I love the dress. Waiting for sale to reconsider.