Reviews: Quantum Blouse, Checked Crops, Drape & Twist Tee, Liquid Acres Skirt, Noon & Night Dress

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I got quite a few emails after yesterday's August catalogue preview post. Most of you that wrote me were wondering how I'd combine these pieces into outfits. So after work yesterday -- with the help of the fabulous personal shopping teams at the NYC Anthropologies -- I put together a few outfits for reviews. Though the catalogue styling is more Mad Men then, say, Gossip Girl, you'll find that in real life there are many versatile pieces that look young and both modern and classic. Which is to say, I'm falling in love with Anthropologie's fall collection.

Quantum Blouse ($88) by Maeve, TTS
style # 21239975, neutral motif (015) or red motif (069)
paired with
Checked Crops ($118) by Cartonnier, TTS
style # 21257126, turquoise (046)

Let's call this outfit fall classic. We're mixing patterns here -- a bigger polka dot on top with the glenplaid of the crops below. It works because of the consistent grey-brown color story between the pieces. I'd wear this look to work.

The top is Maeve's Quantum Blouse ($88), a connected dots pattern with one teeny tiny ruffle upon one shoulder. Cute on the rack, I was very excited to put it on. The silk is light and slightly shiny and I love the color options for this top. The red motif looks slightly orange in real life, which makes it a good pair for yellows or browns. Lots of options for outfits.

Once the top was on though my excitement quickly drained from "yay!" to "meh." The top is cut very straight. My usual size 6 fit up top but not so much at my hips. And the 8 looked like I was wearing a top three sizes too big. It would be an easy fix for a tailor to add side vents to the 6 to allow room for my hips. I can't help wishing for a little more shape. Aside from straight cut the front cowl didn't sit nicely over my bust. There was an odd whirlpool effect happening in my midsection. I like the outfit enough to take a chance on this top on sale. Wishlisted until then.

I love me a good plaid crop, and when I saw the Checked Crops ($118) online I was intrigued. Usually crops are a no-no for me -- I have thick calves and almost every pair of crops squeezes too tightly around my lower leg. Anthropologie somehow manufactured a pair of pants that is "slim fit" yet still loosens around my ankles. In plaid. That alone deserves 5 stars! They're also an excellent and hard to find length: they hit just above my ankles. Which puts the inseam around 29", meaning petites may be able to wear these as normal pants.

The pants are polyester (yikes!) but feel like wool without the itch. At the risk of sounding hypocritical I think the material choice works. I still prefer organic materials whenever possible. But in this case I think wool would have made the pants more high maintenance then they need to be.

My usual size 10 fit perfectly but I'm so used to low-rise pants these days that I felt like trying a 12 to hipster the pants. Sizing up by one meant the pants sat lower on me which I liked. The waist slid down without leaving the crotch too low. So you have options with these pants. Stick with your true size if you prefer to wear pants at the waist; consider sizing up if you want more length or a lower rise. I have a close-up shot of the pants below.

I had to stop myself from buying these immediately. I adore them. I convinced myself that they're only going to sit in my closet right now. Come September these are mine for sure. (If not before, ahem.) Fantastic design, Anthropologie!

Wrap Around Blouse ($98) by Portrait of a Girl, size up
style # 20283594, green motif (038) or blue motif (049)
paired with
Foundational Pencil Skirt ($98) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
style # 21208046, moss (031) or pink (066) 

I have to admit the catalogue styling for the Wrap Around Blouse ($98) left me scratching my head. In real life, I decided to create a tonal outfit in the same color family. Expect to see that a lot this fall -- a darker shade of one color on the bottom paired with a lighter tone of the same color on top. High fashion is doing this mostly with solids, especially brown, but in real life it's just as chic to choose one pattern and one solid. Plus it's a lot easier to pull off if you have curves.

The top has an adorable side tie. Anthropologie really knows how to get me! The tie is fashioned into a large bow which conceals three snaps for easy head-over-pulling to put the shirt on and take it off. Nice touch, Anthro. It's made of silk which makes the thin stripes nice and sharp.

I sized up to an 8 on SA recommendation and I'm glad I did. A 6 would not have fit over either my bust or hips. But the 8 was big in some spots -- specifically across the back. It left material bunching in odd spots on my midsection. Every time I pulled the top down to where it fell straight one movement found it sliding right back into bunches. Sigh. Anthro could have helped me avoid this problem by adding a small cinch in the back. Instead, the top will need to be tailored. It's another straight, shapeless top. Better than being too flowy I suppose. Wishlisted for sale time.

Of course it's worth noting that I wouldn't wear the top full-length in this look. How would I wear it?

Tucked in, maybe with a belt too.

The Foundational Pencil Skirt ($98) makes up for the letdown that was the Higgeldy-Piggeldy Skirt last fall. Made from textured linen, the moss is a fabulous neutral that will work with a multitude of fall hues (gold, navy, browns, black, etc.). The zipper is exposed but it blends in through color. I wasn't as upset about seeing the zip as I usually am. There's also a short back vent which keeps this skirt from riding up. Thank goodness! The skirt is also fully lined.

My usual skirt size 10 fit wonderfully. I'm also quite pleased with the length of the skirt, which found it falling just below my knees. One star off for an exposed zip but otherwise an easy winner. Wishlisted in both colors!

Drape & Twist Tee ($58) by Postmark, TTS
style # 20895173, blue motif (049) or 4 other options
paired with
Liquid Acres Skirt ($118) by Tabitha, TTS
style # 21339072, blue motif (049)

This is a second pattern mixing look with two bolder patterns. In this case the stripes act to ground the look while the bold skirt looks geometrically similar. The top is the Drape & Twist Tee ($58), which now has several striped versions that join the solid versions already available. I can't say this top tempted me before but in the context of this outfit I am now intrigued. The top is cotton with spandex, which leaves it body skimming with just a bit of give. 

I'm not sure if anyone else is having this issue, but I find myself between sizes in a lot of Anthropologie's tops these days. When that happens I usually buy the larger size though recently this has bitten me in the ass when the shirts stretch over a day's wear. My usual size medium in this top felt tight but I wonder if it would be OK after the first time I wear it. The shots above are the large, which looks fine but felt extra bulky around my chest. I do like this top but will wait for sale.

Tabitha's Liquid Acres Skirt ($118) has bold splotches of color and four lines of blue piping. I love how it's styled in the catalogue so this outfit presents a second styling option. The skirt is structured cotton with a concealed zipper and a back vent. Even with the vent though I found this skirt slid up on me as I walked around the fitting room area.

I liked the fit of my usual size 10. The skirt has a defined waistband and pockets in both front and back. It hits right at the top of my knees, a great length. This skirt has 3 season possibilities!

Here's a closeup of the skirt, which landed right on my ever-growing wishlist.

Noon & Night Dress ($158) by Ganni, TTS
style # 22608699, wine (061) or black (001)

A year ago, this dress would have been different. It would have been two or three inches shorter, or it would have had different thinner straps, or the material would not have been as significant. Luckily Anthropologie listened to its customers and the Noon & Night Dress ($158) is a victory for both designer and customer. The dress is listed as just under 34" long on the website, but I think it lands closer to 35". It's made from textured cotton and it's unlined. The skirt doesn't really move so if you're comfortable without a slip you don't need one here. If you prefer your dresses with sleeves, this dress is a cousin to the Embossed Basket Dress ($168).

My goodness this dress is wonderful, starting with the beautiful red wine color. I love the texture of this dress -- it's sturdy without being stiff. The shape of the bodice is fantastic and the overall dress creates a flattering silhouette. I would make a different bra choice with this dress in real life.

I tried on a medium which is my normal size. It fit great! I couldn't help twirling around a bit in the fitting room! I'd add a thin black or brown belt to finish this look, but keep it otherwise simple. This dress would easily transition from day to night. It's a winner in my book! Wishlisted, with plans to buy this dress soon.