Reviews: Irina Blouse, Zoey Pullover, Constant Salutation Top, Openwork Tee, Sailor Knotted Top, Striped Intersection Top

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Irina Blouse ($158) by Lil, size up
style # 23168354, black (001)
★★★☆☆

Somewhere between the bordello and the Bayou lands Lil's Irina Blouse ($158), a temptress of silk with sheer lace panels x-ing across the front. The sleeves have a generous flutter that would make even the biggest flare jeans jealous. It's not lined and there's no layering cami included for reasons I can't explain. The front and back both start with pin-tucks up top before spilling into pleats below the sheer fans. Incredibly thin though somewhat sexy, this top has night out written all over it.

This top runs surprisingly top in the bust and like most Lil tops is kind of short, so instead of my usual 6 I found an 8 worked better. I have to wonder if many of Anthropologie's design team is pregnant or something, because so many of their tops feature loose midsections that feel like maternity wear to me. Am I alone in this? When I put this top on I felt like the bust portion is fine, and the sleeves are big but OK, but from the side it looks like I'm hiding either a food baby or the real thing. Do non-pregnant women want to dress this way? I'm honestly asking because maybe I'm just behind on some unknown belly-enlarging trend. Granted there are days when I want my midsection camouflaged but it's just unreal in Anthro's stores right now. Loose, drapey top after trapeze top after flowy tummy-expanding top. I don't really get it.

Seems like this shirt would work for parties or dates, though I didn't find it flattering enough on me to bring home. Back to the rack.


Zoey Pullover ($48) by Paper Crane, TTS
style # 24093437, white (010) or dark grey (005)
★★★★★

Much as I've had my fill of lace tees I can't escape my desire to constantly try them on. The Zoey Pullover ($48) has an appealing price point and the pattern reminds me of the Dotty Cluster Tights from last year. I can do without asymmetric hems though here the effect is elongating. Slight ruching on the sides encourages you to wear this bunched at the hips -- on me this looked kind of silly so I pulled it down instead. See the product shot for the slouchier look.

My usual size medium fit like a dream. I see myself wearing this top with a long flannel skirt, and a tank underneath. It doesn't look bad over jeans either, though I think it emphasizes my wider midsection. The lace is a nylon/cotton/spandex mix without much stretch to it. A deep scoop neckline shows off the collarbones nicely and lends a lounge-y, atheletic vibe to the top. There was no itch or scratch factor to me. I dithered on whether to buy this immediately or not, ultimately deciding it should be part of the birthday haul. Sitting in my online cart as we speak!

Constant Salutation Top ($78) by Weston Wear, TTS
style # 24146235, black motif (009)
★★★★★

Looking for a top that hugs every curve without showing all your lumps and bumps? Give Weston Wear's Constant Salutation Top ($78) a try. I spotted this top during a recent jaunt to Connecticut, with a dress form in the Westport store sporting it wonderfully. An SA told me the top was flying off the shelves and I could see why -- between an eye-catching pattern, a faux-wrap bustline and an adorable tulip bottom I wanted to purchase it immediately!

Unfortunately the only sizes left to try were an x-small and a small. So I tried on the small for the shots above. Yes it's clearly too tight on me but I'm confident my usual medium would work fine. I felt very va-va-voom in the top without feeling overexposed. I was impressed by how the pattern really tricks the eye into narrowing the torso and draws up towards the neckline. The rayon-spandex material is a bit disappointing to me. I would have liked cotton instead. But the stretch does do wonders! Another winner and another top for the upcoming birthday haul. In my cart.


Openwork Tee ($78) by Plenty by Tracy Reese, TTS
style # 23779390, red motif (069)
★★★☆☆

Sometimes Anthropologie changes a top's design slightly between product shot and actual production. I wonder if that's what happened with the Openwork Tee ($78), a promising top online that didn't translate in real life. I wanted the top's latticework shoulders to hang off slightly like they do on the dress form. Alas, they sucked in on me instead. I want the shirt to spill down just below my waist, slightly longer at the sides as the product shot does online. Instead, this top is slightly longer in the back and too short in the front. Bummer.

I ended up trying this shirt in a small, a medium and a large trying to find the right fit. None of them fit perfectly but the medium you see on me above was the closest to fine. The pattern of the shirt is just gorgeous! But I'm less impressed by the cheap-feeling poly content. It feels slippery and I worry the pattern will bleed right off the first time I try to wash the top. Note that this top is handwash only. I know some washers have a "handwash" setting but the ones in my building only know harsh spin and harsher spin. So it will be the sink or nothing!

Unimpressed by the print version of the top, I decided to give its solid cousin a whirl...


Sailor Knotted Top ($68) by Plenty by Tracy Reese, TTS
style # 24112864, black (001), pink (066) or grey (004)
★★★☆☆

...and I liked it slightly better. Strange how two tops produced from the same pattern can fit differently. I found the Sailor Knotted Top ($68) to be bigger and longer than its printed cousin. Why? I have no clue. But note how this top does actually drop off my shoulders and how it hits below the top of my jeans. I vastly prefer this to the Openwork Tee ($78) above. I am fine with waiting for sale though, so this solid version is waiting on my wishlist.


Striped Intersection Top ($98) by Bailey 44, TTS
style # 23785355, red motif (069) or grey motif (008)
★★★★☆

I think Anthropologie found a closeout on this pattern from Bailey 44 and decided to buy every possible permeation of it. Dresses and tops and skirts oh my! So far only the Scully Pencil Skirt ($118, reviewed here) has really captivated me. Anthropologie keeps trying though, releasing the Striped Intersection Top ($98) into an already heavily-striped world. The twist on this one is that the stripes are not tiered, instead they're braided like Challah or an apple pastry. Aside from sweet treats the pattern also reminds me of the circus.

Can't argue with the fit, which I found super-flattering. The top hugs your body but sucks everything in nicely thanks to a generous amount of spandex. The v-neck balances the heavy pattern below nicely and the length is perfect for making you long and lean. My usual size medium fit nicely, though I found the arm holes to be cut just a touch too long and this caused bunching over the bust. I didn't see the grey version in my store -- maybe it's quieter than this bold red. If you haven't succumbed to the stripes yet this might be the piece that captures you. For me though it's a pass.