Reviews: Embroidered Emilia Dress, Lemon Lace Shift, Alicante Dress, Bateau Silk Dress, Petale Sweater Shift

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A photo posted by Anthro Garden City Center (@anthro_gardencitycenter) on
A fun styling idea for the Petale Sweater Shift ($158), which gets reviewed in this post.
The dress is shown here with the Fayette Trench ($168) and Jeannette Necklace ($68).

It's time for another round of dress reviews! What will I think of Anthropologie's latest spring frocks? Find out inside...

Embroidered Emilia Dress ($228) by HD in Paris, TTS
Style No. 4130597096730; black motif (009)

Note: For reference I am currently sitting at 34-29-39, size 6/M in tops & sweaters, 6 in dresses and 29/30 or 8 in pants and skirts, 32DD. I am 5'8".

I'm going to divide this review into two parts, the fit review and the political review. Let's start with the fit review! The Embroidered Emilia Dress ($228) is absolutely the kind of dress I want to see at Anthropologie: embroidered, beautiful and (one hopes) impeccably fit. I was delighted to find it in-store to try on.

The polyester mesh outer layer is a lot stiffer in real life than I was expected. In the model video on Anthro's product page, the model must be putting a lot of oomph into her twirl, because the skirt of the dress I tried barely wanted to move! Otherwise the translation from website to real life seemed accurate, from color to shape to length. The dress hits across my knees and the waist lands at just about my natural waist (it's a little higher than the actual spot). There is a back zip that goes all the way up to the neck and the polyester lining is a stretchy body-hugging piece. It feels nice on.

I'm in my usual 6 here which fit great, though the stiffness of the skirt leaves the shape a little less flattering than my desire. I love the defined waist of this fit-and-flare and while I'd prefer a v-neck to this high neckline, the openness of the mesh at the top of the design and the light green embellishment do help to make the dress seem less heavy. Overall, it's pretty delightful!

And now, the political part. I noticed in the sole online review currently posted that this dress is a knockoff of an Erin Fetherston dress that retails for $400. I was unaware until I read the review, but the evidence is pretty damning. This was shocking to me for multiple reasons: 1 - Anthropologie carries Erin Fetherston regularly, so why knock off this dress?; 2 - Anthropologie has sued other stores for knocking its designs off, so...?; 3 - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I know this is the era of knockoffs. From luxury to bargain basement you might see three or four interpretations of the same garment. Often it seems like every retailer has at least one item that multiple other stores have, such as the 70s style denim button-front skirt that is omnipresent this season. (The reason: trend reports that come out after runway shows.) But this dress is so close to the original that it strikes me as both odd and in poor taste. I know that if I showed up to one of my fashion clients' events in this dress, I would get lots of side-eye and dirty looks.

I rely on Anthro to do better than this. I do like this dress a lot, but I am unlikely to buy it out of principle.

Update: In the comments a few people have mentioned that this dress was originally listed as being by Erin Fetherston, and is actually now being sold under the Maeve in-house Anthro label (not HD in Paris as the website says). So, it is totally possible that Anthro paid for the rights to reproduce this dress in their own factory, which would make my rant null and void. :)

Lemon Lace Shift ($168) by Weston, TTS
Style No. 4130075281937; yellow (072)

Weston is one of my favorite brands because their items are Made in the USA and that is very much worth cheering about! So I always root for liking their items. I wish I could give the Lemon Lace Shift ($168), and I do like much of it, but sadly as these pictures show this dress didn't work on me.

Why is it that shift dresses at Anthropologie never seem to have much release around the thighs? Isn't that the whole point of a shift, to have that A-shape? This issue started back in 2012 and the frown on my face has not disappointed since. This isn't so much a shift as it is a looser sheath. Huge difference to this hourglass figured girl! "Slim shift silhouette," says Anthropologie's product details with a smirk. "That's not a shift," my head retorts.

This dress is cotton, lovely lovely cotton, with a poly lining. It's not preshrunk cotton so beware washing this dress. Wash on gentle in cold water and line dry. (Anthro recommends dry cleaning this one.) The design is just as pretty in person as it is online and I love the bright yellow of the medallions! It hit me just above the knee and has a back zip.

One thing this dress has is pockets. Normally I am all about pockets but in this case they threw the fit totally off for me. The pockets run right over my widest part, my thighs, and the dress pulls as a result. If I cut out the pockets this medium I'm trying would be fine, but with them it looks weird. The top part was also a little loose on me.

I have a feeling that this dress is not particularly curve-friendly. I like the look of it, but it's not a good fit on me. Back to the rack it went.

Alicante Dress ($268) by Moulinette Soeurs, size up if busty
Style No. 4130089543311; red motif (069)

In a season where Anthropologie is embracing bright, vivid colors beautifully, the Alicante Dress ($268) feels somewhat dull to me. Beige underlayer. Orange-red embroidery. Ho hum. I can't quite wrap my head around the thought behind the color choices here. I do love the idea of this's another Anthro standard I like. But there are several detail issues here.

Firstly, I hate the rhinestones on this dress. They are such a cheap-looking accent choice to me. I love the thought of putting some kind of shiny design piece along the waist (which by the way, is much much too high) and along the bust and neckline. But rhinestones? On black bases? Mmmkkk Anthro. No go.

Secondly, while I'm all for more length, what's the deal with all these tea-length dresses? This is another dress, like the Villanelle Lace Dress ($178) I reviewed yesterday, where I'd want a petite so this hits closer to the knee. I'm almost sure the online model is in a petite herself.

Thirdly, for eff's sake Anthro, please make your bodices longer!

This dress is embroidered tulle with a rayon poly lining. The lining is just a few inches shorter than the dress which makes for a pleasing sheerness of the bottom line of embroidery at the hemline. The embroidery design is lovely and creates a flattering silhouette, especially around the waistline. I sized up to an 8, which is typical for me in Moulinette Soeurs. This brand runs small through the bust. As mentioned above this dress is longer on me than I'd prefer.

I think the main problem is that I find myself comparing this dress to last year's Sugared Ruby Sheath, which I own and love. I wish this dress had the same beautiful cherry red to it!

A likely pass for me. Wouldn't this dress be beautiful in cobalt blue? Or gold? Or kelly green?

Bateau Silk Dress ($304) by Go Silk, TTS
Style No. 4130277590151; black (001)

I know it's hard to see the dress details in my photos but this is indeed the Bateau Silk Dress ($304) from Go Silk. I love this brand so much! This dress has several panels of subtle detail that catch the light differently and while Anthro calls it black accurately the dress also looks navy blue to me in some lights.

This dress is silk with thick black knit details on the neckline and bottom hemline. It has a split scoop hemline and a wide scoop neckline. The arm openings are huge! Part of my bra was visible under my arm. The dress comes to my knees in front and is a little longer in the back.

I'm in a small here because I've previously sized down in the brand, but my usual medium would have been better. I'd buy in a medium. I like how light this dress feels against the skin and the simple shape. I would wear this belted with the top slightly bloused over the belt, or with another dress or long cardigan over it, or with a long-sleeve shirt underneath. Lots of styling possibilities. Of course, a more fit-and-flare shape would delight me. I can't give such a box more than three stars.

This brand tends to make it to sale, so I'll likely wait to reconsider this one when it hits sale. For now, wishlisted!

Petale Sweater Shift ($158) by Troubador,  size down
Style No. 4130348450223; orange (089)

We've reached the end of this reviews post, and I've saved one of the nicer options for last. This is the Petale Sweater Shift ($158), which is a non-itchy acrylic sweater dress ideal for those chillier days of Spring. This dress has no zipper and is an above-the-knee cutie. (Not too much above the knee though, maybe an inch or so.)

I love the colors, which to me read as shades of pink with one yellow-orange stripe. The black stripes across the bust are an interesting choice. I'm glad Anthro did something there as I think it would be too much ivory without it. The entire back is black.

I'm in my usual medium here which was so big it was pooling in the back. I'd size down to a small. This is a great no-fuss piece, the kind of thing I like to have in my closet for the days when I: oversleep; can't decide what to wear or realize I have a client presentation or meeting with the big boss last-minute.

Wishlisted, waiting to see what Anthro Day brings this weekend!

I've reviewed a bunch of dresses recently! Here are some more if you have yet to whet your thirst:
Reviews: Ruffled Clipdot Dress, Aveline Lace Dress, Enid Sheath, Botanique Maxi Dress, Villanelle Lace Dress
Reviews: Embroidered Bellflower Dress, Bow-Back Shift, Two-Tone Halter Dress, South Shore Dress, Utility Shirtdress
Reviews: Amelia Dress, Wrapped Stripe Column Dress, Colorblock Shift Dress, Picotage Sheath, Arcata Patchwork Dress, Maia Crochet Tunic