Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reviews: Paprika Brocade Dress, Dashed Gilt Brocade Dress, Conifer Herd Dress, Birdsong Script Dress, Lulu Dress, Tap Dance Dress, Draped Tieback Dress

Dresses take reviews center stage once again. This set features the Dashed Gilt Brocade Dress ($158), 
shown here with the Downy Rancher ($58), Plush Stole ($48), Brass-Heeled Knee Boots ($298) 
and navy Opaque Tights ($15). 

NOTE: In case you missed the news this morning, anthro card holders are being given advance access to a 25% off full-priced dresses promotion! Get the details in this post.

The mood has turned towards festive and if you've got a holiday party to attend this year Anthropologie wants to dress you. It's not an issue of finding a pretty dress at Anthropologie this fall; it's an issue of choosing just one.



Once the holidays are over though will you be able to wear the dress you choose through the winter? Or will it become an artifact, stowed neatly in a dress bag and tucked away in the back of your closet until a year or two down the road when you can recycle it for another year's festivities? I have a few dresses like this -- so memorable at the party I wore them to that they're cursed to never be worn again, or at least not for a few years.

So in looking at some of the dresses in this set my question was not only would they work for my holiday parties. It was also, will they work beyond the parties?

Paprika Brocade Dress ($158) by Leifnotes, TTS
STYLE # 25957226; red motif (079)
★★★☆☆

Note: If you're wondering my sizing measurements/height/etc, they're detailed on this page.

Brocade is all the rage this year, and I'm quite pleased as I have a LOFT brocade dress from several years ago that I've been holding on to for just this return. If I were looking for another brocade frock the Paprika Brocade Dress ($158) would be an excellent option. The red of the dress shows up more in this dim photos from Anthropologie's Upper East Side (NYC) fitting rooms, but it is in fact a blue-based dress with sparkly red floral filigree on top. There's also an upside down pleat at the bustline and two inverted pleats on the hips for shaping. A defined waistline further helps with shape. Inside the dress sits a good amount of boning on each side to help with support. The fabric is slightly stiff like you'd expect from brocade and when you sit there's an un-tamable pouf that appears.

Unsure of exactly which size to grab, you see me in a 8 above. That's one size up from my usual size 6 and as the hunched shoulders in the side view may telegraph, the bust was loose and I should have stuck with a 6. A stretchy panel in the back helps make my regular size possible. So this dress is true to size. I like the gentle a-line of the the skirt and I love that this dress hits me at the knees. There are side pockets to my delight! I appreciate the boning which helps keep the bust where it should be.

For whatever reason, nearly every strapless dress from Anthropologie causes a ridiculous amount of poufiness at the waist for me. I look 3 months along in the side view...or maybe it's post-Thanksgiving gluttony? Whatever the reason it's very annoying and a further turn-off from a shape that's already difficult for me.

In terms of wearability I think this dress would be very wearable throughout November and December, perhaps with a sweater over it for work or a pretty cardigan. But come January when the post-Holiday blues settle in this dress might feel past its expiration date for the season. So if you like this dress I would recommend investing now when you'll get the most wears for the year.

A pretty design, a poufy midsection. Pass for me.


Dashed Gilt Brocade Dress ($158) by Girls From Savoy, size up
STYLE # 26033969; gold (070)
★★★★☆

I swear, given the opportunity and capital I would happily start a clothing line for busty ladies. My whining gets louder and louder with each super-cute strapless dress Anthropologie unveils, the latest of which is Girls From Savoy's Dashed Gilt Brocade Dress ($158). It's true that Anthropologie has always been known for it's frock sans straps collection, so my whining is muted into a harumph in-store. Still, I can't help but be a little frowny-face when I'm only going through the motions of trying this dress on. Break out the world's smallest violin, wouldya?

This mostly cotton dress has its own golden brocade sheen thanks to a generous amount of metallic thread. I love the diagonal streaks of black which lend this dress a feel that's appropriate for turkey, festivals of lights, and the new year. It's very versatile and I'd argue you could even wear this dress to a summer party or maybe a wedding. With a long cardi over it this frock is ready for work. Lots of options make this a better option in my mind than the equally beautiful but less versatile Paprika Brocade Dress ($158) you just read about.

Girls From Savoy is cut very small through the bust, so even with the stretchy back panel I felt much better in an 8 than my typical 6. There's no boning in this dress and though the website claims there are side pockets on this dress I remember none. I am saddened by the straplessness which severely hampers the dress's wearability for me. The dress grazed the top of my kneecaps and once again from the side there was visible pouf. Not quite as bad as some other strapless dresses I've tried.

Girls From Savoy dresses come with their own quirk though -- I find that the skirt lining is sized a little too small around my curvy thighs, making the front depress between my legs right around the crotch. It's a design oddity that could easily be fixed by ensuring the lining is proportionally the same as the dress but so far after two seasons of complaining about this no changes from Girls From Savoy's design team yet. It can also be fixed via a tailor as I did for my Sincerely Paris Halter Dress -- the tailor released the threads that attach the lining to the skirt, ripped the lining seam and inserted a small extra strip of fabric. You can't see the mismatch since it's under the dress and it no longer depresses. I hope, however, that in time I no longer have to do this.

Beautiful, versatile, would be better with straps. Wishlisted! Waiting for sale.


Conifer Herd Dress ($148) by Postmark, TTS
STYLE # 25271842; cream (012)
★★★★☆

Deer! On toile! Could it get any more New England-y up in here? The Conifer Herd Dress ($148) is perfect for that hunt club holiday party you plan on attending. Despite once again being strapless I like this dress quite a bit. The rich purple sash is the perfect pop of color, really well-done by Anthropologie. The sweetheart neckline is a real challenge though.

This dress has side boning and a very long skirt that ends just below the knees. What's nice is that the long skirt exaggerates how tall you are, making petites seem statuesque and us talls seem skyscraper-like. My chest felt a little smushed in a size 6, but sizing up to an 8 left me in a dress that was falling off. So stick to your true size and plan on partially inhibited breathing if you're busty like me.

I delight in this dress partially because it's wintery but doesn't scream holiday. It would be very easy to pair this dress with a blazer and wear it to work (especially if you work somewhere that celebrates the personal quirk), or just throw a chunky sweater over it and head to brunch. That utility makes it worth 4 stars to me.

As always, the adorable nature of strapless dresses tempt me. Wishlisted, but likely a pass for me.


Birdsong Script Dress ($188) by Sariah, TTS
STYLE # 25804287; black motif (009)
★★★☆☆

It's always fun to see a different shape, and when it has a beautiful splash of color like Birdsong Script Dress ($188) it's easy to win me over. This dress has a very youthful shape to it with its purposely short bodice and proportionally large skirt. I feel like an idiot mentioning this but the back belt band seems to sit away from the dress and for whatever reason I had a very hard time getting this dress on. Like a kid I was ready to page mom for help. Eventually I figured it out. This dress is sturdy, structured and has a side zip for entry/exit. It's all poly that feels like treated cotton. The black skirt is a real dust magnet -- the dress I tried on had bunnies all down the back. Buyer beware, especially if you have a tricolor dog like I do.

In terms of sizing I tried an 8 because there was no 6 in-store. But it was very large. I recommend sticking with your true size. Because of my issues with the belt the back of the skirt was sitting much higher than it should have. The bodice also seemed larger in the 8 than it should have been. If you are shaped like a pear this could be an ideal dress.

This dress strikes me as a bit casual for holiday parties but I think it's a great work option. I'm digging it. Wishlisted!


Lulu Dress ($188) by Alexandra Grecco, size down
A Made in Kind design
STYLE # 25424433; green (030)
★★★☆☆

I love the icy green color of Alexandra Grecco's Lulu Dress ($188). It's a simple yet elegant silk dress with a trio of diamond panels in the back and a v-tie that's similar to what J. Mendel unveiled for its Fall/Winter 2012 line. The silk grazes your body without clinging to it and the dress overall is the perfect knee-length. It's pullover style, so be sure to do your makeup only after it's on.

This dress runs very large, particularly in the top half. I'm in a 4 for these shots which is just silly. I'm no 4! The top portion is still generously big on me here but a 2 would be too tight around the hips. It's safe to say that size 0s are sized out here and 2s may also be out of luck. The back and armholes drop very low making a bra a difficult proposition. I would love to see an in-house version of this with a friendlier design to those of us who require a bra.

Pretty, but challenging to wear. Runs very big so be sure to size down at least one size. For me, back to the rack.


Tap Dance Dress ($228) by Alexandra Grecco, TTS
Made in Kind design
STYLE #  25427212; multi (095)
★★★☆☆

The Tap Dance Dress ($228) is irresistibly cute. I love the little bow front and center on the bodice portion. The sheer bodice portion. For crying out loud Anthropologie! Sure, I like showing a little peek of bra now and then but we are not exhibitionists. You'll want a slip underneath this dress for sure. The skirt portion is velvetlike poly and the top is rayon. This dress has side pockets and a back zip (which Anthropologie mistakenly claims is a side zip). It's a little shorter, hitting a couple of inches above the knee.

I found my usual size 6 a pleasant fit. The bottom of the bodice hits just above my waist, decent placement compared to where some Anthro dresses hit me. The skirt is pleasantly flared with soft abundant pleats. Here's the thing: is this dress really a $228 dress? If so, what makes it different from the $60 k/o you could get at H&M or Zara? This dress is adorable and I love the name but what makes it special? I feel like you could find this dress anywhere. I am sorry to be so harsh, it's not like I'm a talented clothing designer myself, but as a consumer this perplexes me. I don't understand where the price point is justified.

Simple, fun, but overpriced. Pass.


Draped Tieback Dress ($158) by Lil, TTS
STYLE # 26115485; kelly (033), pink (066) or black (001)
★★★★☆

Ladies, I need some help. I loved the Draped Tieback Dress ($158) when I tried it on. It came right home with me. But did I have my Anthro Goggles on? Read on and then please help me decide whether to keep this pretty green dress or not!

Lil's classically shaped silk dress has wide shoulders, a pretty v-neck and a sash that can be tied either front-or-backwards-facing. (I preferred to the front.) I love the easy swooshy feel of the fabirc and the lightness of it all. This kelly green is just stunning in real life! I found the pink equally vibrant, though challenging against my red-based skin. The dress hits right above my knees.

A medium was perfect! The dress is easy to slip into thanks to a wide head hole. It's fully lined and skims the body without oversharing. I was so in love with the way this dress moves! I thought it looked great when I had it on but now I'm not so sure. Does this dress work for my body type? Or does the chest portion look strange on my bust? What do you think?

I've done tons of dress reviews lately! Looking for more? Check out these sets:
Reviews: Scoopback Maxi Dress, Heian Sheath, Coquette Matelasse Dress, Agnes Dot Chemise, Sasonger Tulle Dress, Partridge Peck Chemise
Reviews: Goldleaf Cocktail Dress, Flocked Sable Dress, Paillette Flutter Mini Dress, Caridad Ruffled Dress, Silverfield Sweetheart Dress, Kallos Buds Silk Dress
Made in Kind Reviews: Arrondissement Collage Shift, Lora Maxi Dress, Georgina Sweetheart Dress, Tabitha Dress, Tabitha Mini Skirt, Buckled Felt Skirt
Reviews: Striated Lace Dress, Sequined Jacquard Dress, Leizu Silk Dress, Shyle Sweater Shift, Patchwork Variations Sweater Dress, Agnessa Dress, Calla Asymmetric Dress
Reviews: Tiered Pointelle Sweater Dress, Open-Air Theater Dress, Lace & Chambray Shirtdress, Lasercut Sheath, Ombre Chameli Dress, Avian Myth Shift, Tulipa Embroidered Skirt
Reviews: Colorblock Lace Mini Dress, Honeycomb Lace Dress, Oxidized Medallions Dress, Illustrated Silk Tunic, Twisted Crepe Mini Dress, Embroidered Tulip Dress, Intarsia Dotted Sweater Dress, Pleated Ponte Dress, Tactile Newsboy