Reviews: Palma Dress, Ruffled Ainsley Dress, Ruffled Oska Dress, Grand Slam Dress, Watercolored Gems Shift

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Palma Dress ($188) by Sariah Carson, size up
style # 24244683, blue motif (049)

The more time I spend in Anthropologie right now the more I find to like. Despite catalogue styling that has the community scratching its collective heads it's clear to me that Anthro is slowly recapturing its old, more confident self in the designs. From week to week as new spring pieces arrive in-store I'm ever the more delighted.

A couple of weeks ago I tried on the Ribbon Grass Dress ($188, reviewed here). I tried to like it but couldn't quite get on board with the vibrant red and ruffly skirt. The dress on me above is also by Sariah Carson. It's the Palma Dress ($188) and it improves upon its predecessor. While both dresses have the same nipped waistline and buttons up the back this new version dumps the ruffled skirt in favor of a simple, straight bottom. It takes the dress from being a nice resort piece to being work-appropriate. Holy crap, Anthro's making work-appropriate dresses again! I realize this dress might be a stretch in conservative offices but for me all it takes is a cardigan or blazer over it and I'm ready for the office. It's great to see this at Anthropologie.

The dress is pure silk with a slippery poly lining. In the dressing room I noticed that the lining was so slippery it kept drawing the dress up my tights, causing some bunching at the midsection. Something to be aware of if you decide to purchase this dress. Due to the width of my thighs and hips I had to size up from my usual 6 to an 8 though I didn't mind. I love how the dress hits right above the knees and how it has thick tank-style straps on the top half. My favorite element is the blouse-iness of the top part. If the top were more body-skimming it would make my chest look out of proportion. But the looseness keeps everything in balance nicely. This dress is so flattering!

I found that I was able to slip on the 8 without undoing the back buttons -- I just pulled it over head and gently down over my chest. With some wiggling I was able to get it on and off. It's been awhile since I've hit my available spending budget for the month. In January I did it and February looks to be more of the same. I couldn't resist bringing this dress home at full price. It will get an OOTD post on my tumblr soon but until then here's an instagram photo from my twitter feed:

Me in the Palma Dress ($188) with a LOFT cardigan over it.
You could belt this dress easily if you so choose.

Ruffled Ainsley Dress ($128) by Moulinette Soeurs, size up
style # 24291593, black (001)

I like clothing with architectural elements. Some kind of shape or structure pleases me, so it's nice to see a piece like the Ruffled Ainsley Dress ($128) with its sculptural ruffles. You can either tie the ruffles towards waist to really draw the eye in or leave them placed at the hips. Groan, the hips. The last place I want to widen. I can see how this frock could be voluptuous on a curvy gal or the way it could create curves on someone with a more boyish shape. I tend to avoid looking too curvacious during the day, so this would strictly be a night dress for me.

The website claims this dress is silk but I seem to remember it being a rayon-poly mix. One thing I noticed is that the material pulls and stretches considerably when you put the dress on. When I grabbed a 6 to try on I'd noticed a couple of dresses on the rack already had tears and popped seams down the back. As I gently pulled the dress on I realized why -- one tug at my thighs and I heard that deadly ripping noise. I stopped immediately and changed tactics, pulling the dress over my head instead. But I fear for the long-term durability of this piece. It can't take even a slight pull over the body? Not a great sign.

Fitwise I found a 6 to be tight over the bust so I would go up to an 8 to buy. Moulinette Soeurs dresses are often tight over the thighs and butt but this dress has give in just the right spot. A long vent in the back has an extra layer of dress underneath -- a nice touch to help make this dress more day-appropriate. I like the idea of this dress but the execution falls a little short for me. Back to the rack.

Ruffled Oska Dress ($168) by Girls From Savoy, size up
style # 24252801, bright red (063) or navy (041)

Sometimes ruffles are just what a dress needs! The Ruffled Oska Dress ($168) balances a high neckline with soft tiers below and brings it all together at a defined waistband. I loved how this dress looked on the hanger but feared the shape would never work on me. I hunted for the navy in the store, hoping the darker color would help, but could only find the red to try on.

While Girls From Savoy dresses tend to run large I found the opposite to be true here. An 8 (shown on me above) worked far better than a 6 in the chest and around my thighs. Many of the product page reviews have found this dress true to size so take my sizing advice as you will. I was impressed by how well this dress fits! It is tailored impeccably to create a long, lean shape. The skirt has the perfect shape to skim my thighs without emphasizing them, and the top portion creates a column-like line on even a curvy body. Major kudos to whoever designed this dress! It's flattering on a wide variety of shapes. I would advise against wearing a blue bra underneath it like I was wearing when I tried the dress on.

If the navy had been available in-store I would have purchased it immediately. Instead it sits in my online shopping cart, waiting for my next order to be placed. 

Grand Slam Dress ($228) by Postmark, TTS
style # 24413320, orange (080)

Tennis fever seems to have swept Anthropologie's office. This particular tennis racket print can be seen on a few items. This time around the rackets are on the Grand Slam Dress ($228), a longer silk frock with a defined buttoned waist and a long pleated skirt. The orange color is captivating in real life and I like the tuxedo pleats down the front. Oddly, this dress isn't case you couldn't tell from the photos above.

I found this dress to fit true to size. The length is kind of awkward for me. It cuts across my calves at the widest part. The racerback shoulders also cut the top in the front, making me look broader. But the defined waist helps tie everything together and the overall look isn't too bad. But I've already invested in the (much less expensive) Racquet and Net Chemise ($78) so this cousin is unlikely to find a home in my closet. Back to the rack.

Watercolored Gems Shift ($168) by Tabitha, TTS
style # 24381253, blue motif (049)

Tabitha comes through with another masterpiece. The dress above is the Watercolored Gems Shift ($168), an alluring A-line with a slight boat neck and a structured midsection. I love all things blue and had immediate grabby hands upon spying this frock. One thing I didn't notice until I saw this dress in real life -- the back is a solid blue on top. I'm not sure what the thought was but I find it odd.

A 6 fit well. It hugged my body in all the right ways. The waist sits a skosh high. An inch or so lower would be perfect. I found the length nice; the dress hits just above the knee. The material is that same thicker cotton that many of Tabitha's dresses are made from. The pattern is pretty, the shape is flattering, the price is a bit high. So this dress is wishlisted for now!

Quick OOTD shot! See what I'm wearing under my coat in this post on my tumblr.

In this outfit:
J.Crew Downtown Field Jacket in black
Esprit scarf (old)
Gap Slant-Pocket Denim Skirt (also old, similar here and here)
Kate Spade bangles -- lots of 'em:
Kate Spade Double Bow Hinged Bangle
Kate Spade Heart of Gold Idiom Bangle
Kate Spade Smoke and Mirrors Idiom Bangle
Kate Spade In the Spotlight Idiom Bangle
Kate Spade An Ace Up Your Sleeve Idiom Bangle
Kate Spade Spade Hinge Bangle

Jason Wu for Target Blue Floral Flap Handbag: quick thoughts on this bag -- I love it! I was able to score it through a wonderful EA community member who's also a member of Fashionism with me. It's not quite big enough for my iPad but I can easily fit my wallet, makeup bag, iPhone, sunglasses and Metrocard inside. The strap is sturdy and the closure is good, though it takes some wiggling to get the closure to catch. I tend to avoid the Target collabs but I'm very happy with this bag.    

Coming up later today I'll have another dress reviews set. If you'd like to see more reviews, just click on the "Reviews" button in the nav bar.  

Recent dress review sets:
Reviews set 1:
- Cloudrose Dress
- Dropped Dots Dress
- Ribbon Grass Dress
- Smudged Sketches Dress
- Otta Dress
- Crushed Rose Mini-Dress

Reviews set 2:
- Tie-Neck Sweater Dress
- Spangled Moderne Shift
- Connect Forty Dress
- Even Flurry Dress
- Marian Flapper Chemise
- Pilar Maxi Dress
- Aubergine Sky Dress
- Straightaway Jacquard Mini Dress

Reviews set 3:
- 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

And the Bike Lane Dress, reviewed in this post.