Anthropologie Archival Collection reviews: Sightseer Pencil Skirt, Duck Cord Skirt, Vine Skirt, Ruffle Skirt, Daisy Dress, Tropics Dress, Regatta Dress, Embroidered Sweater Coat

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Oh you're so cute Anthropologie.

Anthropologie fans have asked for a good long time and the retailer has finally delivered -- to celebrate its 20th anniversary Anthro is re-releasing some of its favorite designs in a special Archival Collection. (Get the full details here.) This collection features 20 designer favorites slightly rethought and updated to a 2013 silhouette. They are available online and in the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie in NYC. While I didn't get a chance to try on the No. 2 Pencil Skirt ($118) shown above, I did try on several of the pieces in this special collection.

A busy workweek didn't leave me any time to run up to Rockefeller when the collection was first unveiled. But this week I had the opportunity to work on a fantastic visual design project with one of the midtown department stores for my day job, so during my brief lunch break I scooted over to Anthropologie to try on everything Archival that I could. Unfortunately several items had already sold out or were only available in select sizes. Below is everything I had the opportunity to try on. I will make a few return trips to see about trying on the rest of the items. Community members have kindly been leaving their thoughts in various posts; I encourage you to once again leave your fit notes here if you don't mind so our experiences are all in one place!

I hope that this collection does really well for Anthropologie because I don't want these 20 pieces to be a one-off thing. It's my hope that every piece sells out; not just to convince Anthropologie that reissues are what its customers want but to send the clear message that thoughtful details, masterful fit and fun prints are what its customers want! I want to see the Archival Collection continue with future releases of other items we didn't have a chance to buy the first time around. Some of my hopes are at the bottom of this post and I'd love to hear yours!

One thing to note: every piece in the Archival Collection has been updated from the original version. The fit may be different, details may be different, the brand may be different. I already see people on eBay trying to pass off these reissues as originals and vice versa. Don't be fooled!

Sightseer Pencil Skirt ($118) by Elevenses, TTS
Originally the Postcard Skirt from 2004
Style #: 27919372; blue motif (049)

Of all the pieces in the Archival Collection I was most excited for the Sightseer Pencil Skirt ($118) and it did not disappoint. This skirt was originally a pocketless a-line that was freer at the knee than this updated version. Both are by Elevenses. Unfortunately I can't find any photos of the original skirt. I am slightly disappointed that they went pencil over a-line since a good knee-length a-line skirt is impossible to find these days. The hunt continues.

The 2013 version has front slant pockets, the same beautiful print in a slightly better placement and a scallop trim along the bottom hem that ends at the back vent. The vent in the back is a good 2" high but because the skirt hits across the knee it doesn't come up too high. There is a side zip and a hook-and-eye closure above that. The waist tapers in slightly from the hips and while the skirt does the same at the knee it's generous enough that your legs can still stride freely. Most pleasing is that in a test walk around the fitting room pods the skirt did not slide up on me. It stayed in place.

I knew I was going to buy this skirt unless something was terribly wrong with it. And truly it lived up to my expectations. To my delight it's really lovely on. My usual size 8 fit perfectly. It hugs through the waist, hips and bottom with give in the knees. The cotton-spandex material has just a touch of give without making me feel like it will stretch a full size by the end of the day. This is a fantastic work skirt and really an every season skirt. I will wear this now with a silk blouse and in the winter my navy Diamond Pointelle Pullover will look great with it.

What I'm most excited about it how much detail was paid to the print placement. Slant pockets are dangerous for a curvy gal but they blend right into the print on this skirt. There's only one seam on this skirt and it's in the back. The print doesn't line up but on the skirt I tried you could barely tell unless you stared. And really, if someone is staring at me in this skirt I may not mind too much.

Here's the full-length view:

I am 5'8" and the skirt hit right across my knees. Should the original version ever hit eBay in my size I'd still splurge on it, but for now this is a satisfactory replacement. Very nicely done Anthropologie. Purchased.

Duck Cord Skirt ($118) by Odille, TTS
Originally the Decoy Dot Skirt from 2004
Style #: 28026938; neutral motif (015)

I can't say that I remember the Duck Cord Skirt ($118) but it's certainly very Anthropologie, isn't it? Birds are a constant theme at Anthro and I can remember some of my favorite skirts like the Wool Finch Skirt having a similar feel. This 2013 version has a side-slung belt at the waist, box pleats and the softest fine wale corduroy you'll touch this year. It's a little heavy for NYC summers but I could see it being a staple in cooler climates.

This skirt has a back zip and very little stretch. My usual size 8 felt great. It does hug through the waist before releasing below the hips. The shape is very pleasing to the eye and the skirt's pleats swish open nicely as you walk. I love the idea of a cashmere turtleneck with this or perhaps a dolman-sleeve top. The pattern doesn't line up at any of the various seems but it adds to the charm. This is one quintessentially quirky skirt, and for once quirk is a great thing! The skirt crossed at my knees -- I'm 5'8".

Here's the full-body view:

The Rockefeller personal stylist I was working with declared this skirt to be her favorite. If your sense of fashion has room for fun I highly recommend this one!

Vine Skirt ($128) by Odille, TTS
Originally the Beanstalk Skirt from 2007
Style #: 27877513; green motif (038)

One skirt that has stayed mostly the same from the first time around is the Vine Skirt ($128), né the Beanstalk Skirt. It's 1/2 an inch shorter than its predecessor and the pockets are more on the side, but otherwise it's pretty much a carbon copy. Why mess with the original when it's such a classic? The print on this skirt is such a delight! A fun mix of greens, flowers and bugs spring from the iridescent bottom green hem.

RIP, Lithe. You are very much missed!

Let's get to the triptych view...

This skirt grazes my knees though I wouldn't have minded the extra inch. Like its ancestor the cotton piece has a side zip and a free a-line shape. It really wants to sit at your waist! The 8 was perfection on me; the waist nips in perfectly to prevent the skirt from sliding down onto my hips. I had a teacher who used to wear clothing like this and of course she was my favorite. If I were a teacher of youngins I'd wear this as much as possible.

Very cool skirt -- wishlisted!

Ruffle Skirt ($188) by Vanessa Virginia, TTS
Originally the Los Feliz Skirt from 2005
Style #: 27876788; wine (061)

The Los Feliz Skirt has been on my inspiration board forever so I'm beyond delighted to see it back as the Ruffle Skirt ($188)! I'm sure this skirt isn't for everyone but it's pure adoration from me. I would wear this on a European vacation strolling around the streets of somewhere like Barcelona or I'd wear it to work in the winter with a sleek sweater and a dare in my eye for any of my coworkers to comment. And how much fun would this be on a tango dancing night? Please. I'm already booking my next round of classes.

I'm a little surprised that this skirt didn't get more of a modern update. Take off the big ruffle, shorten it to above the knee and make it more of a pencil and you could have something really deconstructed and cool. Either way works for me I suppose! I love how the thick waist band keeps this skirt from being too floofy. I tried on my usual size 8 and it felt great on. The ruffles are a little heavy but not so much that they pull the skirt downward. The skirt is lined.

Here's the full body view:

I adore this skirt. I think it's the Archival piece most likely to hit sale so I'm biding my time for now. Wishlisted!

Daisy Dress ($228) by Odille
Originally the Daisy Dress from 2003
Style #: 27820265; black (001)

In 2003 the closest Anthropologie was about 70 miles away from me. I was living in Fort Collins, CO as a Colorado State University student, known to afternoon KCSU listeners far and wide as roxy and throwing the book at people as the ASCSU parliamentarian. (That was, of course, when I wasn't living the typical college student life. You know.) I'm not sure if the Cherry Creek Anthro was open yet. So it was Park Meadows or bust. Even though gas was way cheaper then I didn't make the trip very often so it's not too surprising that I have no recollection of the Daisy Dress ($228). This tie-neck halter dress is adorable, but is it $228 adorable? I'm not sure.

The dress is cotton, has a beautiful neckline and a full skirt with ditzy daisies all over it. It hit me right above the knee and the waist hits above the natural spot even on m short torso. Some of the daisies are part of the dress and others are embroidered on. There is a basket wave panel in the back of the bodice to accommodate various bust sizes.

I found my usual size 6 to be an excellent fit. I love that the tie-neck is a tie neck rather than a lame strapless band or a non-adjustable halter closure. The zipper ends at a button loop instead of a hook-and-eye which I found to be a pain to close. There's no boning for support but you can certainly wear a regular bra with this frock. Although lovely, I'm just not quite sure that this dress is a $230 piece. I have no idea what the original retailed for to compare.

I think this would be a lovely weekend dress! I'd probably wait for sale though.

Tropics Dress ($188) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
Originally the Painted Lotus Dress from 2009
Style #: 27870245; blue motif (049)

The Tropics Dress ($188) is probably the Archival Collection item that went through the biggest change from its original version. Originally a strapless dress with a thin waist sash, this dress has been upgraded to a tank-top style bodice with a beautiful, thick sash. All wise design changes in my book! The new shape is much more versatile and can be worn by so many more people. Thanks, Anthro!

The dress is silk with a cotton sash and a polyester lining. It has the perfect fit and flare shape! But there is some crinoline under the skirt and in the dressing room that caused the A-line skirt to be a little more A-line than I'd like. Since there aren't a gazillion layers of tulle that's an easy fix. Just take the dress home and steam it. The crinoline will settle right down.

In terms of sizing I found my usual size 6 to work wonderfully. Oh, I'm so in love! Had the budget allowed I would have taken this dress home too but I've already dropped quite a bit at Anthro this month and I need to concentrate on some other stores right now. Perhaps in August when my spending kitty refills.

Here's a look under the skirt:

Pink crinoline! Adorable. There's only a single layer here so it's fine. On the wishlist!

Striped Dress ($168) by Maeve, TTS
Originally the Regatta Dress from 2006
Style #: 27818707; red motif (069)

One of the things I love about Anthropologie is their creative product names. So the Striped Dress ($168) is kind of a letdown from that perspective. Striped Dress??!? Oh but it's so much more. I love the way the red and white candy stripes cross along the bodice. I'm not as in love with the sorta poofy skirt. It's not terrible, though. It might just need a cool iron.

This dress is strapless. It comes with one of those detachable strap pouches that is about as useful as dental floss after you've fallen down a well. There is no boning in the bodice but it does have one of those sticky panels along the top hem to help keep it in place. The material is mostly cotton with some spandex mixed in. That helps stretch a bit for different bust sizes but I would still recommend sticking with your usual size.

I'm in a 6 here. The top part looks great but the skirt's a little big. I do think a quick ironing would fix that right up! One thing that's really weird to me is that the new version has no pockets. I'm not sure why not -- the skirt is practically begging for them. Even without the pockets the dress is lovely. It's just that strapless is very, very hard to do when you're a natural 34D. The higher neckline is appreciated but I still need a bra. And strapless doesn't really cut it.

If you can rock the strapless look I say go for it! You certainly won't regret buying this beautiful, flattering frock.

Embroidered Sweater Coat ($218) by Odille, TTS
Originally the Graphic Flower Jacket from 2006
Style #: 27783398; black motif (009)

A sweater coat selling out in July? You know the Embroidered Sweater Coat ($218) must be good! I managed to find a lone small on one of the racks to try on at Rockefeller. This beautiful sweater coat is substantial with a gorgeous floral embroidery pattern. It's cotton, wool and rayon. No itch factor for me but I'm pretty itch-tolerant. The original version of this coat came down to mid-shin. The new version hits across the knee which will look great with a dress just peeking out from underneath.

The small felt fine open but would look too tight closed. My original medium would have been a winner. I love the buttons with their metallic detail around the edge and their shiny front. The sleeves are a bit long -- they come down over the wrist onto the hand. But there's good room through the shoulder and the sleeves are not too loose nor too tight. That's hard to do in sweater form.

I can't say anything bad about this coat! It's lovely and I want more like it! Will you take this one home?

I'm going to add links where I can and some more items, but here are some more Anthropologie items I'd love to see reissued:
Charlie & Robin's Follow the Leader Cardigan
Elevenses' Cape of Sapphires Coat
Floreat's Midnight Migration Sheath as a tank-top style dress
Lil's Tawny Garden Dress
Leifsdottir's Floe & Current Coat
McGinn's Night Owl Tee

There are soooo many more items I'd love to see but those are a few that pop to mind immediately.

Please add your own items you'd love to see reissued in the comments! Have you tried on any of these Archival Collection items or items not mentioned in this post? How did they fit for you?