Reviews: Artist's Rendering Dress, Bright Bandana Dress, Cirque A-Line, Splashed Palette Dress, Collecting Dots Dress

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deceptive sash.

Artist's Rendering Dress ($188) by Odille, size up for curves
style #20976874, blue motif (049)

Someone needs to make it a rule that catalogue shots should reflect reality of product. Though I recognized the Artist's Rendering Dress ($188) in-store, I was immediately a little let down. In real life the dress is much less saturated than the model shot (sad). There is no sash (doubly sad). And the tallest tree landed right in my armpit in an example of unfortunate print placement (crying over here). The print does not match up at the seams but luckily the landscape motif is neutral enough that you don't really notice.

My usual size 6 zipped but was tight around the bust. And so I'd go with an 8 come buying time. I was able to walk around easily with minimal dress noise, which had been a concern given how stiff the dress looks online. Treated cotton makes the dress soft and not stiff at all. The neckline cut is well-suited for pairing the frock with a simple necklace and the length is perfect. I want almost every Anthro dress exactly this long! The pintuck pleats and visible skirt hem are intriguing details and executed wonderfully. The dress doesn't look unfinished -- it just adds to the effect of a canvas wrapped around your body.

I still liked this dress enough to give it 4 stars. The detail work struck me -- this dress really does look like a canvas. Once you touch it becomes obvious that it's not but it's easy to pretend that some artist individually painted each dress with care...except of course when trees land underarm. Though the painting itself is Americana landscape classic in the vein of Bob Ross the dress feels updated. That's been missing from Anthropologie lately and it's a welcome return.

One last note -- I wish this dress was reversible. It has the cutest plaid lining over delicate summery blue! Someone needs to look into this further. For now, this dress is wishlisted!!!

Bright Bandana Dress ($158) by Girls From Savoy, TTS
style #20748760, gold (070)

Yet another pretty dress whose straplessness leaves me grouchy. Even the dress form in the product shot seems to have visible tan lines where the straps should go. Girls From Savoy didn't bother including useless straps with the Bright Bandana Dress ($158), so I suppose at least their intentions are clear. Strapless or die.

Stretchy cotton makes this dress an easy fit. My usual 6 was almost too loose, and I fear that if this dress stretches as you wear it this is a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. A few nice things: the bodice is shaped well to cover chests of various sizes. I didn't feel exposed. The gently pleated skirt will be beautiful after a quick shot of steam. I don't care for the gaudy zipper in back, which was visible through its fabric overlay.

I always dig pockets though. A welcome addition. Were this dress even a halter or perhaps a thinly-strapped tank dress I could see 4 stars. Without, and with the stretchiness, 3 will have to do. Back to the rack.

Cirque A-Line ($148) by Porridge, size up
style #22613764, black & white (018)

Elephants are on parade and it makes me think of one of my favorite blogs, Elefantitas Alegres (which is not about elephants). Porridge's Cirque A-Line ($148) is a new pattern version of the Sing Sweetly Dress which in turn owes its shape to a line of tops descended from the popular Winged Victory Top of 2009. Got all that? Excellent. While I enjoyed the bathing beauty reminiscent deco pleating on the top originally I'm starting to tire of it. Among other things the bust has to be perfectly cut to cover, and on the dress I tried I found myself feeling like I'd pop out at any moment.

Like the Sing Sweetly Dress, I found an 8 the better fit. The gold sash is a great color choice though I wish it were a bit wider. Adorable as the polka dots and circus mammals are I'm not much into this dress. It would make a lovely one-wear dress for a party or event. It's so unique that after one wear I would either need to find a different circle to wear it around or move it along to its next owner. That's not a bad thing necessarily; it just makes the cost per wear high. This dress is not likely to come home with me.

Splashed Palette Dress ($188) by Moulinette Soeurs, size up
style #22570279, black motif (009)

The fit on Moulinette Soeurs is getting somewhat better, but it's still nowhere near as good as it used to be. The shiftlike fit of the Splashed Palette Dress ($188) made for a fight against my curves. I did have an easier time than with many of the 2010 dresses by the brand so that's a win. This dress looks like vivid cave art after water has rushed over it. There's both a natural and ethereal feel that I like. A thin black belt lends a professional vibe. Not that I'd wear this dress to work by itself. Maybe if I worked in the art world.

In these photos I'm in a 6. The shift cut meant it was tight around the hips and thighs and so I'd purchase in an 8. I appreciate the high bustline -- wearing a strapless bra will be no problem here. I don't like how the brightest part of the pattern falls right over my hips, my widest part. I wish the blues and reds were concentrated more around the waistline with darker trends below. A beautiful dress that's not for me. Back to the rack.

Collecting Dots Dress ($198) by The Addison Story, size down
style #21350657, red motif (069)

Mmhm. Something odd is happening with the Collecting Dots Dress ($198) and I don't know what it is. While the version on the model seems to have a shapely v neck with ruching at the shoulders the dress I tried on looks like two swaths of fabric laid like a tablecloth. I was swimming in this dress! That almost never happens.

The photos above are the size small. With a 34D chest I don't usually have that much extra room in the top part of the dress. Oddest was how the top triangle just sadly sat, deflated. I thought maybe it was just the dress I grabbed but another small had the same issue. Color me confused. This looks nothing like the dress on the model, and while I suppose it resembles the dress form shot I am bummed. Majorly. What a letdown.

One thing I can praise on this dress -- a small pair of snaps in the top prevents the deep v from flying open and leaving you exposed. This is detail work I can get behind! I just wish the dress fit better so I could enjoy this thoughtfulness. Instead it goes back to the rack.