Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Dream of Dresses...(Fitting Room Reviews)

Hi everyone!  So, our time with the new blogger template (pretty pale green with cherry blossom silhouettes drifting into a less pale but still pretty green and eggplant accents) went the way of the dinosaur, when blogger vomited (quite literally, it felt - did any of you catch the ugly brown header?) all over our blog.  So back we are, to the old tried and true, and thanks to my DH for helping us restore us to the way we looked before.  And booo! to blogger's new template designer for being mean to us for no reason.  Hope others have better luck with it, though, because it was really fun for the day and a half it lasted. 


Anyway, I have a few more fitting reviews to share.  Oh, and I know how much you love them - and we're sorry we haven't been able to get together to do them for you in a while - but this coming weekend,  Kathryn and I will be getting together to do some side-by-sides.  Also, the week following that is the first week of pre-sale for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!!  Kathryn and I have an appointment with Kelly (whoo!) first thing on the morning of the 5th, so you know we'll be reporting back to you from that, with our picks. This sale is the highlight of our shopping year (and if you know us, that's saying quite a lot) - so much so that both Kathryn and I have earmarked several items of interest from the new pre-fall offerings from Anthro, but have agreed that we won't buy anything (except for the Rensselaer T-straps for me, and well, I already explained why I have to have those) until after we've shopped the Anniversary Sale.  For those of you who've never shopped the Anniversary Sale before, imagine what it would be like if Anthropologie sent you the July catalogue and said, "These things are going to be on sale now.  Not four months from now, but now for a period of 2 weeks.  Then, they're going back to regular price."  

Yeah.  Exactly.  That's what the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is!  Okay, enough rhapsodizing.  Here are some more Anthro dresses!

The Phosphorescent Dress ($138) was one of the more flattering strapless-sheath style dresses I've tried on at Anthropologie.  I'm wearing a size 2, and this dress is TTS.  Usually, I don't look very good in them at all, being short and short-waisted, but when I zipped this one up, I found myself genuinely pleased with how it looked on.  At least, that is, until I turned to look behind me.  If you take a look at that second photo (above right), you may notice that this dress is bunching a little underneath the sash.  I'm not sure why it's doing that, but it's really not cute.  I tried tugging and pulling the skirt down, but that didn't seem to help a whole lot.  While this aspect of the dress's cut is somewhat camouflaged by the busy print, it did bother me.  Also, the sash, being made of the same type of cotton poplin as the dress, had a tendency to fold and scrunch up, instead of laying flat and smooth as it does in the product shot on Anthro's website.  The dress has a smocked back, side-zip, pockets, and is machine washable.  It's also available in petite sizing.

This is Tracy Reese's Choreographed Dress ($278), and what a pleasant surprise!  I wasn't sure whether I'd like it or not, and from the product shots, I was totally prepared to be uninterested in it, but when I put it on, I was really delighted with this dress's fit.  I'm wearing a size 2, and found it very true to size.  The bodice is really a work of art - the twisting gathers in the chest and the ruching in the waist - I found it to be wonderfully figure flattering.  I also loved that it had adjustable straps - a must for petite, short-waisted women like me. I'm usually not so into bubble-hemmed skirts either, but this one was really well cut - it had volume, but not too much - the skirt seemed to hang really nicely and didn't get weirdly bunchy as bubble skirts sometimes can. And look at the inside of the dress:

Can you believe how beautifully finished it is, on the inside?  Look at how that mesh lining is seamed so carefully!  I really think us small-chested women could totally get away with not wearing a bra with this, and the construction of the cups and lining make me want to think that better-endowed women might be okay too, to some degree....  You could probably turn this dress inside out and wear it that way, if you wanted to, with a lining like that.  Anyway, I really adored this dress, but ouch, that sticker price!  I would totally wear this to Kate's birthday party, if it was anywhere in the range of a normal Anthro dress (under $200).  I think this dress could totally work in my office, with a cardigan thrown over it, and in the fall/winter, I could easily pair it with tights, for warmth. So, one can argue for its versatility...but yeah...that price... Still, I think I love it, so it's definitely on my wishlist for further consideration.

This is the Echoing Dress ($148).  I'm wearing an XS, and I can't say whether it's true to size or not, as it's such a strange garment, but my guess is that it runs a little big.  To begin, I literally felt like I was wearing a pillow case.  I'm not sure if the asymmetrical sleeves and the oddly-placed gathers are artsy or ugly...this dress is a pull-on style, and as you can see, hits me a couple inches above the knee, so will be even shorter on taller women.  Maybe it'd be more attractive on someone with a more womanly shape?  An hourglass figure, perhaps?  I don't know.  Definite pass for me, but if you have more luck with it, please send a photo, because I'd really be interested to see how it fits other body types.

This is Nathalie Lete's First Dance Dress ($168).  I was excited to see this in-store, because I've been intrigued by all the bits of marketing Anthro's been doing about their collaboration with this artist and I admit, I like the idea of wearing art.  Especially when it's so pretty!  In the fitting room, I did not like this dress on me at all, despite the gorgeous skirt.  There was something about the dark bodice making me look too small on top, compared to the fullness of the lighter skirt - it just seemed to set all my proportions off the wrong way, though in these photos, it doesn't seem quite so bad.  The dress is short-waisted, but not qiute, an awkward length on short-waisted me.  Perhaps on longer-waisted women, it might look more like an empire waist, than not.  I thought, in the fitting room, that maybe the dress might look better with a belt, so asked the fitting room attendant to bring me one - she brought me this dark gray one, as well as a cream colored one, and neither really go with the dress particularly well.  I think a rich brown - like the Looping Lanes or the Acquainted Bands might have served this dress better.  Anyway, you can get a sense of what it might look like, with the right colored belt.  The dress has a side zip, removable straps, and pockets. I'm wearing a size 2, and I'd say this dress is true to size.  I might consider this one on sale, but I don't love it enough for full-price.

Here's the Stemmed Sweet Briar Dress ($168).  This is another one of Nathalie Lete's dresses, and another dress that I hated on me in the fitting room, but doesn't look awful in the photos.  Weird, isn't it?  I'm wearing a size 2, and would say it's TTS.  It has a true empire waist, a side zip, pockets, and the halter neckline ties in the back.  There's a little embellishment of fabric, in a tiered, accordian fold, on one strap, which is both interesting and distracting.  I almost feel like it doesn't need to be there, but it wasn't a deal breaker.  Here's my problem with this dress - the surplice bodice has a tendency to gape a bit - in fact, when I was trying to take a side-view photo of this dress, I had to take multiple shots, each time positioning the dress carefully, in order to not flash everyone.  If I were to buy and wear this dress in real life, I might actually take it to a tailor and ask him/her to put a few well-placed stitches in the bodice to close the surplice opening.  Either that, or I'd make judicious use of safety pins or wardrobe tape.  The severity of my problem may have had a lot to do with my small chest size, but this doesn't necessarily mean that those who are better endowed won't have issues of a similar but different nature.  If you're trying this dress on, be sure to do a side-view check, while you're raising your arms forward, as though you were reaching for something in front of you.  I honestly didn't notice it, until I tried to take the photo.  The dress is very pretty, but a pass for me.


  1. that strapless blue dress is so darling!

  2. What a wonderful insightful post! I love the Choreographed Dress on you, although I agree I'm not too excited about the sticker price either. The First Dance Dress is extremely cute in the picture. I know you said you didn't like it person, so I clicked on the picture to see it better. I couldn't see why you would not like it; I also saw the stroller in the background which made me smile. You are a really super woman being able to have a full time job, two kids to feed, and a great blog that you run so wonderfully. Hats off to you, Carol.

  3. I love the Nordstrom sales! You're so lucky to be so close to one!

  4. The First Dance Dress is sooo pretty on you! ^_^

  5. The First Dance Dress is gorgeous on you! Surprisingly, I actually think that dark grey belt looks really nice with the blue. I might have to go try that belt to wear with my blue Vappu.

    - Ana

  6. Carol, I gasped when I saw you in the First Dance Dress! It's gorgeous on you! I also thought the Stemmed Sweetbriar looked beautiful on you. Both really accentuate your figure - I literally thought "wow!" when I saw the photos.


  7. I think you look so nice in the Stemmed Sweet Briar Dress. Although I could definitely see how flashing people could be a problem. >.O

  8. Call me crazy, but I love the Echoing Dress!!! I've been dying to try that one on and I don't think it looks bad on you at all! I'm so intrigued by it!
    You also look great in the First Dance Dress!

  9. I adore the Choreographed Dress on you - you look like a ballerina! Phoey on the price!

  10. I love the First Dance Dress and the Stemmed Sweet Briar Dress on you, but I totally understand the fit issues with Stemmed Sweet Briar Dress because I had them too. It's too bad because it's such a pretty color. Oh and can I just say I love your headbands! You're making me want to go out and buy a bunch and I don't do headbands!

  11. You are so good at doing reviews Carol! I always enjoy reading what you have to say about each piece. Out of this set I liked the First Dance Dress best. I thought it looked good on you, especially belted.
    I just blogged about some Anthro reviews too. I got to have a fun little shopping trip with my friend yesterday! :-)

  12. Ohhh I can't wait for your Anniversary Sale reviews. My birthday always coincides with this event so I love shopping Anniversary and pre-sale is great! I have an appointment on the 13th, but I'll be browsing before then-especially shoes for me and the family.

  13. The first is my fave. Beautiful!

  14. I love the Phosphorescent dress! It looks great on you. Hope it goes on sale soon. I actually bought a petite version of it but had to send it back because the cups were cut way too small (like doll proportions) even though the rest of the body was fine. I'm usually a 2 or 4 in dresses (like you Carol) but the 0 & 2 regular both fit me, with 4 reg being too big and 2P being too small up top.

    The Sweetbriar Dress - me too! The top gaped for me and I'm a 34C, slightly shorter & fatter than you. I just think it's the cut - nothing a little stitch couldn't cure, but for some reason I hated it.

    First Dance dress - wow. Too bad you didn't like this one!

  15. Hello!
    i love the Phosphorescent Dress on you :-). it would look fantastic with purple heels!
    on your next anthro visit, please please please try on the Mullany dress - i want to see it on you for size reference :-)

  16. You're so adorable! I love the first and last two dresses on you... but of course how something photographs and how it feels on can sometimes be very different... so I'll take your word for it!

  17. Hi, everyone! Thanks for all your super nice comments. I have to admit, I'm totally rethinking the First Dance dress, now that I've heard all your feedback. I may need to go back to the store and re-try it, to see if it's what I remember, or if it's actually something that should jump higher on my wishlist.

    @Kim, I'm sure you'd look much better in the Echoing Dress than I did - can't wait to see you try it on.

    @Jan - thanks! I really really really wish it wasn't so expensive. =(

    @Sara - you should totally try headbands! I love them for my "bad hair days."

    @JulieStyles - yay for the Anniversary Sale! =) Can't wait to see what you find!

    @Diana Draw - oooh, thanks for the heads up with the sizing of the Phosphorescent Dress. Hmm...yeah, the fit of that dress is just a little off, but it's so cute, isn't it? And, good to know that it's not just A/B-cup me that had issues with gaping on the Sweet Briar Dress.

    @Vintageglamm - I'll try on the Mullany dress as soon as I see it show up in any of my local stores (no luck with that yet).