Reviews: Sugared Ruby Sheath, Astilbe Swing Dress, Risen Sun Sweater Dress, Third Street Tunic, Lasercut Basalt Sheath, Ophira Dot Dress

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Every year Anthropologie has one crazy yet appealing sweater dress.
This year it's the Risen Sun Sweater Dress ($148), reviewed in this set.

Continuing to make my way through a bunch of Anthropologie dresses I've tried on recently, here are six more that appealed to me online. How'd they do in real life? The results are mixed.

Quick tangent: liking the new product pages Anthropologie! Especially love that you can now click to zoom the product thumbnails -- yay! HATING the way the #yourAnthropologie photos autoscroll -- there's just a peek of it visible when I first hit the product page and it's super distracting.






Sugared Ruby Sheath ($298) by Geisha Designs, size up if curvy
Style No. 4130347472182; red (060)
★★★☆

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'm giving the Sugared Ruby Sheath ($298) 4 stars because it's beautiful and seriously well-made, but I have to admit it was a disappointment to me. The kind of disappointment that I still desperately want to make work somehow because I am stubborn beyond all belief. I ordered the dress during the recent 20% off dresses promo and could not wait to receive it. Checked the mail everyday!

When the dress finally did arrive, my first thought upon opening the package was "ohhh, pretty!" The frock really is a sight to behold. The red looks amazing standing off of the white underlayer and nude mesh. It's a little shorter in real life than it looks online -- I found it hit me above the knee rather than across or below as the Anthro shots show. The length is great, very balanced on a taller figure like mine. More like this please Anthropologie!! It's made from nylon with a poly lining.

Once I put the dress on there is a lot to love. I love the way the embroidery is done to carefully frame the butt (see the middle shot above, rawrrrr) and I like the placement of the embroidery on the front of the dress and the bottom fan too. It's mostly symmetrical at the side seams which is great. Here's what is not so great: the mesh layer, which touches your skin nearly everywhere, is SO itchy! And I'm super itch-tolerant so that's saying something. I felt really uncomfortable the moment I got the dress on. It's especially pronounced across the chest and underarms for me, two very sensitive areas that easily break out in rashes. Ugh, not fun.

I am in my usual size 6 here but it's too tight across my hips, causing the sheath to pull. However, the top of the 6 was quite loose over my shoulders and caused the middle to pucker up, seen best in the far right shot above. This dress wants to sit wide across your shoulders and it didn't quite line up with my conformation. So there'd be some tailoring needed with the 8.

I found myself torn. I returned the dress for now because a 6 wasn't the right size anyway. I'm very tempted to re-order the 8 but the mesh discomfort and need for tailoring gives me pause. This is such a distinctive dress, it's not the kind of thing I can wear to work once a week in different outfits and get away with it -- I'd have to wait awhile between wearings. And while I love the red I'm not sure it's the best color on me.

I'd love to hear your feedback community. For now, the 8 is sitting in my cart, waiting for another promo to mosey along.


Astilbe Swing Dress (now $250) by Zimmerman, size down
Style No. 4130241187675; blue motif (049)
★★☆☆

With the extra 25% off sale promo Anthropologie is running right now, the Astilbe Swing Dress (now $250) cha-chings in at a more digestible $187.46 before taxes and shipping fees. Not bad for a dress that started at $475! This dress has been on my wishlist since I first noticed it on Anthro's site late last Spring, and I waited sorta patiently while other retailers marked it down by 33% (under its retail name the Hydra Cupcake Dress), knowing that eventually Anthropologie would mark it down by 50%.

Finally on sale, I placed an order for the dress during a recent free shipping promo. Hooray for free shipping overlapping with sale! I decided to stick my usual medium based on guidance that the dress was "true to size" from other retailers. Ho ho ho, were those other retailers ever wrong. Like, drunk wrong.

Here I am in the medium of this tiered cotton-silk dress with pretty eyelet trim and two little birds on the end of each necktie. My boyfriend, who quite enjoyed the fashion show when I had the Sugared Ruby Sheath on, said plainly, "Baby, I love you. I hate this dress. Send it back." Doesn't get much clearer than that, does it? Even as I tried to explain that this dress would serve a purpose in Costa Rica and Hawaii (the places I plan to wear it), I had to admit that the medium isn't doing a thing for me. It's huge beyond belief. The neckline is totally adjustable along the string ties in front, which makes it fun and versatile but also somewhat fussy. The armholes are huge and the dress hits a couple of inches above my knees.

I returned the dress. The medium was not workable. But when the extra 25% off sale promo hit on Monday, I reordered the dress in a small. Ssssh. This will be our little secret.

(I'll update the review once the small arrives. I'm sure it will still be huge, hopefully more proportional though.)


Risen Sun Sweater Dress ($148) by Holding Horses, size down
Style No. 4130089866311; ivory (011)
★★☆☆

Every time I moved the Risen Sun Sweater Dress ($148) looked beautiful. Whispy, ethereal, flowy and fun. The issue is that when you're standing still this dress just looks like I put on a hammock. I love hammocks! I do not want to wear one.

This sweater dress is cotton and nylon. It's fairly soft, not in any way uncomfortable to wear. On Anthro's site the catalogue shot looks amazing and then there's the model shot, where even Superwoman of nearly no hips look huge around the midsection. And when you put this dress on a curvy gal like me? Look out -- HIPS. HIPS EVERYWHERE. HIPS for you and you and you too. Haha. True, with the right jacket (tiring of the moto jacket idea but here's the perfect application for it) or sweater over it this dress might just work. But you'll only look as thin as your widest part. Also worth noting? The side slit comes up to your high thigh. So when you move at all, you expose a ton of side leg. A TON.

I'm already down from my usual size medium to a small for these fitting room shots. Perhaps an x-small would be best? Or perhaps that would just emphasize my hips more. I don't think I've ever been secretive about championing clothing that celebrates a curvy female gal's form. This piece seems more targeted towards a straighter, lithe shape. OK Anthropologie, but don't get carried away in this direction. There are already too many secretly self-loathing designers who want to pretend like generous busts and hips don't exist. I'm not eager to have Anthro join these ranks.

This dress is a pass for me. I like it from afar, but not on my body.


Third Street Tunic ($188) by Bailey 44, size up
Style No. 4130211620821; black motif (009)
★★☆☆

Hey! It's a tunic that's actually long enough to be a dress. This is Bailey 44's Third Street Tunic ($188), which does pretty well as far as vegan leather goes. I like the triangles of slightly different leather tones around the skirt portion. Although the tunic has a drop waist of sorts it's mostly flattering thanks to a very simple black three-quarter sleeved top portion. It's made from rayon, spandex, and polyurethane. Still longing for that cotton jersey Bailey 44 used to use!

I'm in a medium here which was just a skosh tight across my hips. For ease of movement I'd size up to a large to buy. The dress hit about an inch above my knees...totally dress-length. How nice! And with tights and such in the winter even more so. The neckline is a simple scoop that I wish came lower. The sleeves are fine I suppose, you could layer a full-sleeve collared blouse under this for a more work-ready outfit.

There isn't a ton to say about this dress, but it's a decent option. I worry that the top part will stretch out over time because the vegan leather is somewhat heavy. For that reason, I've wishlisted this dress to wait for sale.


Lasercut Basalt Sheath ($198) by Maeve, TTS
Style No. 4130293947855; black (001)
★★★☆

If you like the look of the beautiful Byron Lars designs for Anthropologie but the price is out of reach, Maeve totally nailed the spirit with its Lasercut Basalt Sheath ($198). I hadn't even noticed this dress online but Anthropologie showcased it in the Chelsea Market NYC) store window for a bit and I was swooning! I'm not sure these photos do it justice either -- the dress is stunning in person.

A black lasercut overlayer sits over an ivory (nearly white) poly lining. The floral pattern is slimming and flattering, accentuating curves in all the right ways. The scoop neckline allows the collarbones to breathe just a bit, and the length is almost perfect. It hits about 1.5 inches above the knee, with a generous slit in back. The back zipper is exposed which sucks but at least it's a color close to the dress itself. The short sleeves fit my arms comfortably and are the same lasercut as the dress, without the lining.

I am in a 6 here which felt great on. Comfortable, a little stretchy, and I didn't fear that the skirt would slide up. All in all this is a fantastic dress. It's at the top of my wishlist!


Ophira Dot Dress ($148) by Maeve, size down
Style No. 4130339186244; blue motif (049)
★★★☆

Rock on Maeve! The Ophira Dot Dress ($148) is a simple faux-wrap dress with cute golden polka dots splashed across a navy blue palette. (I haven't quite figured out the low-light settings on the iPhone 6 yet, so these photos are a little off-color. The color on Anthro's site is true.) Universally flattering and sweetly appealing, this is the kind of dress you can throw on for work, brunch, a date, whatever.

There's a gold exposed zipper in the back (ugh) and while the front v-neck plunges, it does so gracefully and without revealing too much. The frock is cotton, machine-washable and hit me about an inch above the knee. It was so comfortable and soft on! In the small -- one size down for me -- I didn't even have to unzipper the zip to put the dress on over my head. Long-term does this mean the dress will stretch out? Can't answer this now sadly, but I have fears.

Overall this is a wonderful, multipurpose frock that I have nothing but praise for. Maeve's Brushed Lace Dress ($158) is the same dress in a flower overlay instead of polka dots. Fits the same. Wishlisted!


Have you tried on any of these dresses? Coming up next...skirts! What items would you like me to review next?