Sometimes simple really is the best. Maeve's Caldera Dress ($128) reviewed.
Part one of two dress review sets today begins with knee-length frocks that range from too hot to too cold to just right. The Goldilocks of this set? Read on to find out...
Pindot Ruffle Dress ($168) by Sachin + Babi, TTS
Style #: 28004273; navy (041), green (030) or red (060)
There are a lot of polka dots in Anthropologie stores right now. It's one pattern I never really get sick of and have I mentioned lately how much I love ruffles? 2008, aka the Year of the Ruffle, was one for the ages. Since then they've kind of fallen out of favor so it's nice to see Anthropologie slowly reintroducing them, even if it is more ruffles...maybe? than RUFFLES. My foray began with Sachin + Babi's Pindot Ruffle Dress ($168), a cute summer dress that is faux wrap and ruffle delight.
The tag proudly proclaims this item is also available in petites. That's awesome Anthropologie and you deserve kudos for widening the array. Now how about showing us talls some love? I'm 5'8" and this dress was a little short on me, hitting a couple of inches above my knees right in that spot where my quads declare their inability to tighten from jello into muscle. This presents more of a challenge to the truly statuesque in the community. Up top there's a very deep v-neck that made this dress less day and more boudoir on me. I really like the neckline and the way the ruffles spill diagonally down the skirt into a double-ruffled hem. Ruffles! This dress cries out for a belt and in my case an extra snap to keep the neckline closed.
I found my usual size 6 to fit loosely up top but just enough room around my hips, such that this dress is true to size. It's made from a light polyester with lining which I don't object to simply because it makes this dress machine washable. I've been going through Woolite like no other these past couple of weeks thanks to a humid heat wave sweeping across NYC. Don't even ask about my dry cleaning bill. I prefer how this dress looks on the model to my own body -- as I've discussed in the past, whatever works on that particular fit model almost never works on me and vice versa.
One last request to the Anthropologie powers that be: I looove the necklace shown with the navy version of this dress but can't seem to find it online. Please bring back the upsell boxes! This dress itself is a likely pass for me.
Confetti Flora Dress ($198) by Sachin + Babi, TTS
Style #: 28455905; neutral motif (015)
The Confetti Flora Dress ($198) is getting rave reviews online to which I say, really? I suppose I can see it -- this dress is a mini mod that falls straight from neckline to hemline and if you have the right body type for the dress I'm sure it's lovely. The issue of course being that since it falls so straight it will fall from the part of you which protrudes the most. In my case that's the bustline. As a result this dress looks like a tuxedo-bibbed nightgown on me and $200 is an awful lot to pay for a nightgown.
A few oddities about this dress. First, the underlayer is significantly tighter than the outer shell. So while my usual size 6 looks pretty loose there was no chance a 4 would fit. Another thing is that there are pleats down the center of both the front and back. If you're wider that the hips this can cause the trapeze shape to look more like a tent. Like the Pindot dress above this frock runs short. It may not be obvious from the photos but this dress lands a good few inches above my knees, threatening me and possibly the public should I choose to sit down.
Sachin + Babi is a brand I love but these two dresses didn't work on me. Ah well. Another pass.
Petal Stamp Dress (now $80 + an extra 20% off), size down
Style #: 27309962; purple motif (059)
Can a dress be both a sack and clingy? If it's the Petal Stamp Dress (now $80 + an extra 20% off for a limited time), the answer is yes! Anthropologie's backdoor attempt at maternity wear continues with this dress which is tentlike to put it mildly. I was drawn to the regal purple color and the delicate pattern. Fit pleats in front allow this dress extra room to expand and a simple tie-neck in back make this a good summer option, but it's so loose that you're bound to look wide from the front and possibly the side.
I tried on a small here. That's one size down from my usual medium and you can see it's still huge. If you are pregnant and love you some Anthro, this would be a great dress to consider. The silk material feels lovely and the dress is fully lined. The only issue? It's really clingy from intense static buildup. I'd bring a dryer sheet with me to assist with repelling the static throughout the day.
Perhaps the right belt would bring this dress into shape. I'm not in love with it enough to try. Back to the rack it went.
Stitched Soliloquy Dress ($198) by Fleur Wood, TTS
Style #: 27982370; neutral motif (015)
Lil, aka Fleur Wood from time to time in Anthroland, chruns out a gorgeous dress in the Stitched Soliloquy Dress ($198). I don't even know where to begin with all the loveliness. Tutu skirt that's not too voluminous? Check. Beautiful bodice design, including tiny eyelets in garland layout? Check. Fit and flare shape that's flattering to oh so many? Check.
This "online exclusive" is available in a few of the NYC stores and I was delighted by the chance to try it on in Soho. The stitchwork on the bodice is lovely! There are side pockets and a side zip to help get in and out of this piece. The dress is short-waisted. I am too so this wasn't a huge deal for me but it could end up looking funny on those with a longer torso.
I felt very comfortable in my usual size 6. The dress is lightweight cotton and fully lined. It feels airy and breezy on, perfect for those hazy summer days. I had a slight fit issue at the neckline, where a little too much material made the dress stand up off my collarbones. But it's so minor on this dress that it's more a note than even a quibble.
This dress is lovely and has that classic Anthropologie feel I love. Wishlisted!
You might notice a little puppy face in these photos -- that's my faithful fitting room assistant Cinnamon the Shiba Inu, who couldn't help but plop herself down at my feet to make sure I could hear her opinions clearly.
Fleur Eyelet Dress ($178) by San & Soni, size up
Style #: 28016244; white (010)
Oh man! I was really excited when I saw the Fleur Eyelet Dress ($178). The mix of delicate and sturdy materials. The modern, city shape. This dress is just my style! And yet the fit was disappointingly wonky on me.
I'm getting ahead of myself. This dress is cotton eyelet that's fully lined with an exposed back zipper in cute bias trim. A shift in shape, it hits two inches above the knee on me and has cut-ins at the shoulders. It's the kind of dress that would feel equally at home under a leather jacket or a dainty cardigan.
I initially tried on my usual medium for these photos. Though it was loose up at the neckline the fit around my hips was very close. So I went up to a large, hoping it would fit better. Alas it was a no-go too; the hip area wasn't roomy enough even one size up. That caused the tummy area to pooch out in ways that remind me of a few of my huge Hawaii dinner post-mortems. Boo! So while I think this dress is adorable it doesn't seem very curve-friendly. I'd been having better luck with Anthropologie's shifts lately so it's a real bummer.
I think this dress is super cool but tricky in fit. Not a winner for me but I wish you better luck!
Caldera Dress ($128) by Maeve, size down
Style #: 28441343; blue (040), black motif (009) or red (060)
Who's been killing it lately? Maeve's been killing it lately! The in-house Anthropologie I once avoided like the plague due to fit issues seems to have discovered the keys to flattering a curvy shape. The first winner I tried was the Caldera Dress ($128), which comes in three intensely different patterns. I like the blue polka dots best, which sit on a darker blue base than what Anthro's website would have you believe.
Sometimes simple really is best and this dress is a versatile star. This polka-dot blue version is a 4-season dress easily. Wear it alone for now with sandals for day or pumps for work. In the winter throw a cardigan over it and you're set. In fall wear it under a trench and perhaps in spring too. Done!
There a couple of cons. The dress is made from an unholy mix of polyester, nylon, spandex and puppies. OK maybe not that last one but you get my drift -- my facial cringe grew deeper as I read each material. That gives me pause about the long-term durability of this dress. Still, if it lasts than it's well worth full price. The fit and flare shape is accented by a cute scoop neckline and a knee length. If you're silk of polka dots this dress also comes in zig-zags (black motif) and a leopard-like feline print (red). I'd get the most mileage out of dots. I found a small fit me better than me my usual medium.
I would take 100 versions of this dress in different patterns. My closet would be full of gorgeous, flattering dresses! I didn't wait on this dress, it came home at full price.
Ruffled Della Dress ($148) by Maeve, size up
Style #: 28578029; green (030) or black (001)
The other Maeve dress I really liked is the Ruffled Della Dress ($148). We end this reviews set as we began: with ruffles! The ruffles on this dress are tiny while the waistline is big. The bustline is meant to be looser than how it sits on me. Other than that this dress is pretty much perfection.
This is a dress that would have benefited from being silk instead of polyester. The material doesn't breathe at all. It is fully lined with tiny cap sleeves and a skirt that spills to the knee. A deep v-neck reveals a hint of the bust without showing too much. That big waistline lends an extra dose of femininity to the shape. Fit seams abound.
Sizingwise this dress was tough. I'm in my usual 6 for these photos and I think it's a little tight. I hope an 8 would give more room at the bust and help the waist sit lower. I think for comfort reasons most people will want to size up. The black version of this dress is the quintessential little black dress, Anthropologie edition.
This dress is another one I'd love to add to my closet, probably in black over this dark green. For now it's wishlisted!
I spotted this lovely new version of the Elsa Peplum Dress ($148) online today and will be hunting it down for an upcoming reviews set. This afternoon I'll have more dress reviews, featuring some maxis and more dressy dresses. What do you think of the frocks in this set?