Reviews: Ruffled and Ribboned Pullover, Valentina Sweater, Zahara Top, Moto Sweater Jacket, Arslan Sweater Coat, Casado Cardigan

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Does this look familiar? The Moto Sweater Jacket ($148), shown here

Anthropologie is trying many new design ideas this year with its sweaters as well as resuscitating some previously successful designs. I'm happy to see this intriguing mix of old and new! I recently tried on about 18 sweaters during a round of visits to the NYC Anthropologie hive of stores. Inside, the first round of Anthropologie sweater and sweatercoat reviews.




Ruffled and Ribboned Pullover ($88) by Clu + Willoughby, TTS
Style #: 28214443; grey (004)
★★★☆

Note: For sizing reference I am 34-29-38, size 6/M in tops and sweaters with a 34D cup. I am 5'8".

If a sweater is made of thin heathered material, is it truly a sweater? Such is the philosophical quandary I find myself in after trying on and being delighted by the Ruffled and Ribboned Pullover ($88). This is just the kind of frippy sweater that Anthropologie fans love and non-Anthropologie people look upon with some confusion. It's a sweater! With a ruffle at the bottom! And a big-ass bow in the back! Who needs all that? I do, it turns out.

On those perfect fall days when it's around 60 degrees and you want a simple light layer to throw on, turn to this sweater. It's made from polyester, nylon and rayon but guess what? In this case I'm OK with that. The sweater is very soft and I see myself wearing this on days when wool would be too much. So a little manmade material here is fine. The sweater is hand-washable though it's so delicate the very idea makes me nervous. Has anyone in the community had success putting this through the delicate cycle?

The sweater runs a little large through the sleeves and body but I still felt best in my usual size medium. I like the way the wide scoopneck drifts towards my shoulders and the length felt better in a medium than a small. It's loose through the body but this sweater is rather boxy anyway. You'll need to layer something underneath this for sure -- that tank you see peeking through is my own that I just happened to be wearing on this day.

I think this would be adorable over a dress or as a casual layering piece throughout fall and perhaps during this oven-like days of heat in the office. Probably not an investment at full price for me because it's somewhat shapeless. Wishlisted for reconsideration come sale time.

Since people have been asking frequently recently, I'm wearing the AG Legging Jean in 20 Years Spree (available here and here) and Steve Madden's Troopa boots.


Valentina Sweater ($88) by Clu + Willoughby, TTS
Style #: 29496312; nude (013)
★★★☆

Similar, but not quite the same as the sweater I just talked about, here is its sister the Valentina Sweater ($88). Same brand yes and same shape but this Valentina has a lacy chiffon layer instead of a more opaque one. The result is even more feminine. Happily, the lace panel in back is double-layered with something solid so there's no sheerness in back. The front however is just as sheer as its grey cousin.

In terms of fit I could just cut and paste what I said above. Boxy, kinda shapeless, loose through the sleeves and body. And again I still felt best in my usual size medium mostly for length and scoopneck purposes. I'm left wishing for some cinch or shape at the waist which would take this sweater from cute to wowza for me. When you have a killer waist it's a shame to hide it beneath boxy and shapelss.

If you need to choose one of the two options I'd vote for this one. There's also the similar Silvestra Pullover ($98) which I didn't get to try on. Yet. I'll see if I can hunt it down. For now, this Valentina is wishlisted!


Zahara Top ($88) by Postmark, TTS
Style #: 29631074; light grey (006)
★★★☆

Hey now, pretty collared top! Meet the lovely Zahara Top ($88), which is a basic grey cotton sweatshirt elevated to awesome by a cute beaded collar. I'm a total sucker for these embellished collars! It makes the jewelry decision for you. Pity the poor Rockefeller Center Anthropologie that was carrying a stack of these; I chased her down to grab my size! I'm surprised Anthropologie classifies this as a top and not a sweatshirt on their website. I couldn't find it at first -- I ended up hunting it down via a search.

I've noticed that a few of the product reviews online say this product runs small. I agree it's somewhat shrunken but I felt great in my usual size medium. It was even a little loose through the chest for me, an unusual occurrence. The sleeves do run tight and they are bracelet length while the sweatshirt itself sits higher up on the hips than I'd anticipated. Still, it skimmed my body nicely and the neckline was fantastically perfect.

Edited to add: On Facebook a community member reported that she's seen many of these tops missing rhinestones in store. Since the tops I saw were freshly unpacked I didn't notice this, but it's certainly valuable information to pass along. Thanks Simone!

Here's one sweatshirt I'd invest in at full price. How often can you say that? For now, wishlisted!


Moto Sweater Jacket ($148) by Sparrow, TTS
Style #: 29253291; black motif (009)
★★★☆

Look familiar? The Moto Sweater Jacket ($148) is the Snoa Motocardi (reviewed here) from last year redone for this year. The sweater jacket was made by a different brand last year but the shape, cut and asymmetric zip are all the same. Trying this piece on was like saying hello to an old friend.

Like last year's version this is a mix of cotton, acrylic and wool that looks great open or zipped closed with a portrait collar. The body of the jacket is cropped, hitting just below the natural waist, with long roomy sleeves. When zipped closed you clearly see the black pocket outline and the black around the zipper. There are a couple of updates for this year, most visibly the thick black hem which rises up further in back. The pattern goes from a snowflake-like medallion we had last year to this year's interlocked chevron.

Sizingwise, I think this jacket fits the same as last year's. The medium was pretty roomy on me just as my Snoa is now. I'd probably go down to a small because I want this coat to accent my waist as much as possible. I think most people will find the jacket true to size.

I wore my Snoa constantly last winter, in OOTDs similar to this:


And I can't wait to wear it again! If you have a small of the Snoa you're looking to sell please let me know. I'll probably pass on the Moto Sweater Jacket only because I already own this similar one from last year. If you missed out, I highly recommend this new version!


Arslan Sweater Coat ($198) by  Gro Abrahamsson, TTS
Style #: 29020864; cocoa (022) or moss (031)
★★

Are you an hourglass or pear shape? If so, the Arslan Sweater Coat ($198) will be perfection on you as I found it for myself. I've long loved the various Gro Abrahamsson jackets. Every year had been close but no cigar for me. First the jacket was unaffordable to me. Then when I did have the budget for it the jacket was too short. Then the length was right but the color was challenging. Finally this year everything has converged. It's available in two roxy-pleasing colors and length is perfect on my 5'8" frame.

This year's version is made from boiled wool with acrylic mixed in. It's not the softest coat you'll ever touch but the material is not the kind that I find itchy. I'd probably wear mostly long sleeves under this anyway. The collar is like a scarf (I have it unfastened in the review shots above). With a D cup I worried that the pleats might be a problem but they look great. This jacket hugs every curve in a flattering way. EXACTLY what I expect from every Anthropologie piece!

A medium fit perfectly. I felt terrific in this coat; the sleeves are perhaps a little loose but nothing to really complain about. I don't even mind the large pockets that are placed in a spot that can be troublesome for curves. This jacket is not coldest winter day warm but it is certainly something I'd wear down into the low 40s. As you walk the jacket keeps the heat in and this makes it warmer than it may initially feel.

I'm kicking myself for not picking this up right away. I'll be headed back to the store very soon to pick this lovely coat up. Yay!

In this review I'm wearing the AG Stilt Jeans in 7 Years Dwight (c/o AG Jeans) and old Vince Camuto boots.


Casado Cardigan ($88) by Saturday/Sunday, TTS
Style #: 29319423; grey (004), taupe (023) or green (030)
★★

I'd expect to find the Casado Cardigan ($88) at Eileen Fisher rather than Anthropologie, but that's no knock on its perfection. Perhaps the Soho team drifted north on West Broadway to the Eileen Fisher store and was inspired to create an Anthropologie-ized version? I loooooooooove these long, ruffly wrapped open cardigans. I live in them après-ski. It's wonderful to see a sub-$100 version in a super soft cotton-poly mix. I knew there was no way it would be cashmere at this price point but it sure feels like it at first touch. Super duper soft.

Everything about this cardigan is awesome. It comes down to about mid-butt in the back and in the front the ruffles cascade to the knee. A slight cowl creates a scarf of sorts around the neck and this cardigan can easily be belted. It's very warm. I can already see myself cozying up to the fire with my guy, two glasses of wine, and wrapping up in this cardi for some early evening fun. I tried on my usual size medium which felt very good.

My only concern about this cardigan is its longevity. Will it hold up to repeated washings? It feels somewhat fragile, as though it might separate or develop holes. There's no way to assess that without owning it though and so I handily volunteer myself to purchase this cardigan for, ahem, scientific reasons.

Have you tried on any of these sweaters? Do you own any of them? Which ones do you like or not like? How would you style these items?