Reviews: Quilted Tema Dress, Aleida Dress, Galina Print Dress, Mona Dress, Meridian Midi Dress, Fanned Vignette Shift

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spoiler alert: The Fanned Vignette Shift ($188) is the winner of this 
Anthropologie dress reviews set.

Note: Anthropologie's SALE IS ON SALE this weekend! Details here.

My hunt for a new winter work dress continues at Anthropologie. This time around, 7 reviews of 6 dresses and one possible winner.

Quilted Tema Dress ($158) by Tabitha, TTS in solid, size up in pattern
grey motif (008, above), green (030, below), rust (061)

Note: My sizing is currently floating -- I started a new muscle-toning exercise regimen in June! For reference I am currently sitting at 34-29-38, size 6/M in sweaters, 6 in dresses and 29 in pants, 34D. I am 5'8".

I can't figure out why two colors of the same dress would fit me differently but that is just what happened with the Quilted Tema Dress ($158). When I saw the beautiful metallic floral version you see on me above, I thought it was a different dress than the green version I'm wearing below. And they fit like two different dresses. We'll get to that.

The grey motif version I'm wearing above is cotton-poly-viscose with a split neck that comes down to just above the top of my chest. There's a defined waist, side pockets, a flat bow detail on each shoulder, and a side zip that kept digging into my side as I closed the dress! (OUCH.) This dress looks like it would be slightly stiff and structured but it's really rather floppy. It came down to just above my knees making it tantalizingly work-appropriate.

But when I got the dress on, my ahhhs quickly turned to boos. I think part of the problem is that the store sensor was bunching up the skirt lining, and it was also placed right on the hip, which was uncomfortable to say the least. Moreover...I don't know...I expected to feel much more attractive when I put on the dress. Instead I felt lumpy. And constricted in the skirt. I'm in a 6 usual size. I also tried on an 8 which felt fine too. I would recommend sizing up in this grey metallic version if you're curvy like me.

I also tried on the plain green version...

Quilted Tema Dress ($158) by Tabitha, TTS in solid, size up in pattern
grey motif (008, top), green (030, above), rust (061)

I don't know...I'm still not wowed! As an hourglass this dress should feel and look amazeballs on me. And it doesn't. Not even close. Something weird is happening at my shoulders look like I'm wearing bow shoulder pads. It's not flattering. I'm in my normal 6 here which felt large. But I would not go down.

Nor would I buy this...back to the rack it went. Boo. I was really looking forward to this one!

Aleida Dress ($148) by Tabitha, size down
Style #: 4130015121010; black & white (018)

Now here's the Tabitha I know and love! This is Aleida Dress ($148), a fit-and-flare beauty with a cute polka-dot bodice that has an asymmetric seam and a simple bias skirt. The skirt hits me just above the knee. The fabric is lightweight which makes it easy to throw a cardigan or sweater over and the poly-rayon-spandex material won't stick to tights underneath either. There's a side zip I didn't even need to use. The shoulder design cuts in just a bit and the bodice is about an inch shorter than my ideal length.

I found my usual size 6 to be huge. I'd go down to a 4 for sure to buy. So for those keeping track, that's three Tabitha dresses and three different sizes I'd need. Annoying! The armholes are a little large for my taste, clearly showing my black bra from the side view. I am so over these too-short bodices. When you have a large chest it's so friggin important for the waist to hit at the waist to balance out my body. Why is this so hard?!?

And yet...I still like this dress quite a bit. Not a full-price buy but I'd totally buy this on sale. For now, wishlisted.

Galina Print Dress ($158) by Weston Wear, TTS
Style #: 4130075281213; red motif (069)

Are you laughing at how silly the Galina Print Dress ($158)? Good because I'm laughing right along with you. This is another dress that should be perfection on me...and it is so not. Why? Materials. Polyester, spandex, rayon. Zero structure. So the dress tapers in beautifully for my tiny waist, and then explodes outwards way too much over my hourglass hips. And the top portion, which has a beautiful print and gorgeous lace top, is stretching in unflattering ways over my D cups. Blech. Looking at these photos pains me. My body is being betrayed by cheap materials here. And it gets even worse with the next dress!

I tried on my usual size medium. Sure...whatever. It fits fine, it just doesn't look good. On the plus side this dress does hit across my knees, top lace portion will hide a black bra just fine and the defined waist is a great touch. Still, I don't look at these photos at think "pretty." Far from it.

This is why I'm buying less and less at Anthropologie. I'm thrilled the store is doing so well right now in terms of profit...I can't help but think part of that is being achieved though by using poorer and poorer materials. At some point that's going to bite them in the ass, right? Then again, it doesn't seem like customers are willing to pay more for the good stuff right who wins?

Meridian Midi Dress ($148) by Maeve, TTS
Style #: 4130336411717; brown motif (029)

I was excited by the first product review for the Meridian Midi Dress ($148) which claims this dress hides lumps and bumps. Only in real life I found the opposite to be true, and if you look at the first product shot on Anthro's site you can see even the model's hips are being framed out like a box. In fact, I found this dress to hug every little curve of my body. Curve-hugging is good but there needs to be some give around the hips and tummy for me. That's the life of an hourglass girl. Luckily, some spanx would whip this dress right into work shape.

The dress is poly-rayon-spandex...does everything have spandex now?!? It really is 1993 all over again isn't it? On the positive side this dress is work-length for sure, and though the back straps x in a cross-back bra will make this an easy, flattering work option. I love the waist band and the side slit is alright...although high. You wouldn't be able to walk comfortably if it were any shorter. On me, I found that when I walked around the dress bunched up around my crotch a bit. Lovely! I'm in a medium here, my usual size. The top was loose but the skirt was just right, so I'd recommend sticking with your usual size.

This is a great dress if you sit at work all day. Or stand still. Otherwise, there might be issues. For me, this is most likely a pass...but I might be tempted at 2nd sale cut.

Mona Dress ($258) by Beguile by Byron Lars, size up
Style #: 4130231803330; black (001)

Things are starting to look up again! This is the beautiful Mona Dress ($258), a dress that hugs every curve in a good way. Made from a thick-knit poly-cotton-nylon mix that is lined with a nude underlayer, this black pencil dress hugs yet forgives. There is a mix of button and hook-and-eyes down the front placket. It takes a patient mind to open this dress enough to get in and out. (The skirt can slide up for bathroom breaks.) There are lots of beautiful design details, from three daisies on each side of the skirt to the mixes of embroidery used along different panels of the dress. This dress is very fragile. Beware catching it on jewelry, nails, subway seats.

I tried on my usual size 6, but as I've found with Byron Lars pieces I need to go up to an 8 to buy. The 6 felt fine in the bodice but wasn't quite roomy enough over my hips. Easy to fix with a size up! What I love is that this dress is workable -- pushing it in conservative offices for sure, but fine for my current art-and-fashion-based company. I really like the Mela Beaded Belt ($50) Anthropologie paired the dress with online. I'd probably do the same.

OK, this one's pricey but lovable. In my cart as a winter work option!

Fanned Vignette Shift ($188) by Ranna Gill, TTS
Style #: 4130342385505; green motif (038)

Here is the rare dress that's prettier in person than it looks online. To me the Fanned Vignette Shift ($188) is the clear winner in this reviews set. It's flattering, the colors and prints mix well together, it's gorgeous and it looks great on! From the online shots I thought the side panels were a kind of muddy olive green or brown; in real life however it's much closer to a beautiful hunter green. The fan prints flatter wonderfully, the back and sleeve floral print is so, so nice and the dress fits like a dream!

Cons? It's polyester not silk; the back is more open than I'd like, and the dress could stand be an inch or two longer. And it's dry clean only. Minor quibbled in this case though! Do note that a bra band will clearly show in back. Cami underneath for work, or a low-back bra.

I'm in my usual size 6 here which fit perfectly. Ahh, I love this dress! I plan to pick it up soon.

Have you tried on any of the dresses in this reviews set? What did you think of them? What items should I look for to try on next?