Reviews: Ruched Glyph Dress, Grass Court Dress, Striped Stripes Dress, Tropica Jacquard Mini-Dress, Crepe Myrtle Shirtdress, Sweet Enticement Dress, Hand-Crocheted Mini-Dress, Brushed Terra Dress

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Looking for today's SALE POST? It's right here!

It's been awhile since Anthropologie's dresses have really tempted me. The latest releases include some appealing frocks but two key categories are still missing for me: date night and work. I see party frocks and some more whimsical frocks (yay!) and a lot of questionable maxi or mini-frocks but not a lot that fall into that classic with a twist area. Hopefully Anthro has some sexier options and some professional options just waiting in the wings for a release.

A recent day off led me to all 4 NYC Anthros and I tried on nearly 40 items. The product reviews will be spread over the next several days. On a related note, if I have to hear that friggin She and Him song one more time I swear I might go on a murderous rampage! No offense to Zooey Deschanel but Anthropologie please for love of everything holy kill that song from the overly twee rotation. It makes me want to leave the store.

Ruched Glyph Dress ($138) by Bordeaux, TTS
style # 23908650, slate (044)

While brands like Bailey 44 continue to use ever-cheaper materials in their products, it's nice that you can still count on brands like Bordeaux. The Ruched Glyph Dress ($138) is jersey made from modal and spandex, and while the latter's still a bit painful to accept at least you know this dress won't stretch from here to the moon after a day's wear. This dress is basically the Starred Entry Tee given the full-length treatment. I was immediately tempted and that fascination only grew as I read the rave reviews on the product page. This dress which hadn't been on my radar before but suddenly landed smack in the bulls-eye. Luckily Rockefeller Center (NYC) still had this dress stocked. The quality on this dress is good -- soft jersey material, good stitchwork and reinforced hems and seams. Nicely done, Anthro and Bordeaux.

Initially I grabbed a size small -- it was all that was left on the rack. That's what you see on me above. The top portion is voluminous but in an eye-pleasing way. The solid grey color camouflages lumps and bumps nicely. It does manage to define the waist a bit before suffocating itself to your legs. While the loose and draped top portion fit fine it was no surprise that the small was too tight over my legs. Though I tried on a medium (not shown) to compare, it was clear that though this dress is lovely the shape is not going to work on me. The medium was nearly too big on top and not much help on the bottom. One option would be to release the skirt from body-hugging into a straighter or looser shape. On sale I wouldn't mind taking a size medium to a tailor but at full-price it's a no-go for me. Lovely dress, not right on my body. Wishlisted for sale! (And tailoring!)

Grass Court Dress ($168) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
style # 24049405, green (030)

Moulinette Soeurs nearly serves up an ace with its Grass Court Dress ($168). This green-based frock has tiny crossed tennis rackets all over with a gently pleated skirt. The 41" long dress fell below my knees, landing on the upper half of my calf. (I'm 5'8".) It looks like your standard tank dress on the website but in real life the racerback causes the front straps to tail in slightly. The result for the busty among us like me can be an amplified chest and shoulder appearance. Not exactly the look I aspire to.

I find the full-skirt M.S. dresses to run true to size. This was no exception -- I took my usual 6. I love the soft cotton material and the woven rope belt. The envelope pleat in the front is a bit odd, sitting unevenly on my possibly uneven frame? I'm not really sure what was going on. It's also a bit heavy overall...I wonder if it would breathe on those hot summer days. Hard to imagine those from here in January. It's a lovely dress that seems suited to a pleasant park picnic. I'm undecided whether this fits in my closet or not but I'm encouraged by its very existence at Anthropologie! Wishlisted.

Striped Stripes Dress ($198) by Plenty by Tracy Reese, TTS
style # 24065229, orange (089)
This dress has an oddly appropriate name -- there are indeed stripes inside stripes on the Striped Stripes Dress ($198). There are also tuxedo pleats along the bodice, big round shiny black buttons down the front and a ringed belt-sash. It's a lot of look! It all works, yet it also reminds me of a tropical cafe awning. I was thrilled to see this otherwise strapless dress on display with the straps attached; much easier than me fumbling around with the dress in the fitting room. I know the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie does this a lot and it's a move I really appreciate. The dress does have light boning in the bodice that will not be of any help to most of us. It lacks support. The silk material is nice, though a bit sheer on the lighter-colored stripes. It's not lined either.

Encouraged by the anti-straplessness, I grabbed a size 6 and headed to the fitting room. The dress fit easily though the zipper was a real pain. It zipped up about halfway and then kept getting stuck. Annoying! I ended up turning it around backwards on my body, zipping it closed and then contorting it back to the right  direction. Once all that was done the belt was pulled and tied and I was in! The festive colors are pretty to look at (though I noticed the pattern is different in the online shot than it was in real life). Would have loved to have this dress a few years ago when I went to Mexico. Not so sure it would work for everyday in NYC though. This dress is lovely but most likely a pass for me.

Tropica Jacquard Mini-Dress ($198) by Moulinette Soeurs, size up
style # 23463334, black motif (009)

Festive florals dance around the Tropica Jacquard Mini-Dress ($198), a holiday-esque shift that's probably on the way to a markdown. I'm not sure why Anthropologie calls this a mini dress -- it's easily to the knees. I'm happy the name is wrong and the length is right. I like the color combination of the print but I feel like the details are a bit overdone. Specifically the bow at the top, which I feel pushes the dress a bit too far. The tailoring is impeccable, with darts and folded seams designed to hug every curve in a flattering way. The skirt falls straight from the hips.

This being a shift I needed to size up. The 8 squished and skoshed over my hips but in truth a 10 would be much more comfortable. So that's two sizes up for me, one size up for those less hippy. The 8 was also smushing my bust something awful...another reason to size up. Pockets on the sides poufed out a bit. Else the dress seems like a winner. Well-made, beautiful pattern, good length. No occasion to wear it for though, so pass.  

Crepe Myrtle Shirtdress ($248) by Sarah Ball, TTS
style # 24068876, pink (066)

This tempting dress is the Crepe Myrtle Shirtdress ($248) and it's made from sticker shock I think. Made from a specially-designed print that combines two photographs into a sort of midcentury-evoking plaid, this shirtdress aims to please. It has a definite 50s feel with the polo collar and shirtdress placket. It's also very long, spilling easily below the knees. I'm pleased to report that this dress has a removable white chemise lining and that the waist of this dress actually hits at the waist. Without a belt though I noticed it made me look wider than I am.

My usual size 6 fit fine, but once again I was up against a dress that tailed in at the shoulders. The result was that my bust looked bigger and threw the overall proportions of the look off. The skirt was also very static-y and kept sticking to me in the dressing room. It made for some hilarious attempts for me to lay the skirt for these shots! The lightweight cotton will be a southern or western dream I'm sure. The buttons adorning the front are very pretty. I think the design of this dress is lovely and it has a sort of ageless appeal but the shape is not right for me. Back to the rack.

Sweet Enticement Dress ($118) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
style # 24178840, black (001)

Anthropologie dips into the archives with the Sweet Enticement Dress ($118), a pattern that is sometimes by Maeve and sometimes by Moulinette Soeurs but always about the same. I don't mean that as a knock -- this flattering frock is great to see each year. Such a classic design and easy-to-wear cut. This time around it's a tank dress with a tuxedo-pleated front and defined waist rendered in slick black cotton. There's something about this treated material that bothers me a bit; I don't like how it feels. But the overall look is a winner.

A 6 fit fine thanks to the flowing skirt portion of the dress. It zips up the side and has a keyhole at the back neckline. The back which, by the way, is a thick-laced panel with a half-lining like so: 

Very pretty...but maybe a work-killer for this dress. My bra band didn't show but the straps clearly do. I think I could get away with it at my office but I'm not sure I want to. It's a little different spin on this dress which I can't complain about but it does make you think twice. As a winter date dress this one's got potential even if I do own two or three of its cousins. Wishlisted for reconsideration at sale time.

Hand-Crocheted Mini-Dress ($288) by Knitted & Knotted, size down
style # 24051765, ivory (011)
Had your fill of crochet yet? If not Anthropologie's got several more options for you including the Hand-Crocheted Mini-Dress ($288). Once again a dress is called a mini even though it grazes the knees. Confused? I sure am! It's not lined which is pretty ridiculous at this price point. Luckily I was wearing a long tank top the day I tried the dress on. (Anthro suggests throwing it on over a colorful slip and then shows it over white in the model shot -- whatever.) The pattern of the dress is quite lovely and the short-sleeve length falls somewhere between twee and tween.

I grabbed my usual size medium, only to find myself absolutely swimming. The shoulders fell off their perch and the dress made me look like a 9-year-old in mom's clothing. So I'd size down at least once to a small and maybe even twice. This means the petite among us are likely sized out. While I've enjoyed the crochet tanks and even some of the tops this dress isn't really my style. Back to the rack it went.

Brushed Terra Dress ($148) by Deletta, TTS
style # 24242299, brown motif (029)

A thicker winter lace makes the Brushed Terra Dress ($148) warmer but it also kind of reminds me of grandma's upholstery. The brownish color isn't helping much. Online I thought this was a pretty light lilac and I was very disappointed to see the only color option in real life was a brackish mud. A concealed side zip and tee-shirt style are very nice. Also love the knee length of the dress. Still dislike the color though.

I found a medium to fit nicely. The dress has zero itch to it and it's easily beltable. It will pair well with cardigans too. In this otherwise grey weather though a nice shot of color really would have pumped this dress up. I can't say I'm too tempted to add another brown dress to my closet. Pass for me, though it's a lovely dress.