Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Double the Fun (Side-by-Side Fitting Room Reviews)

Have we used this title for a side-by-side post before? There are only so many plays on "doubles" and "twice" and "twos" etc, so I suppose eventually we'll have to give up on trying to be cute and clever, and begin titling these posts something along the lines of, "An Integer to the Second Power" or "Just Because We Wanted To." Anyway, I was in Orange County last weekend, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get together and do some side-by-side reviews for you.

This is the Caidal Top ($68) and when I saw it, I totally thought, "Kathryn top." This is the sort of top that Kelly (of Nordstrom fame) always pulls for Kathryn, because she just looks so amazing in them. I always feel a little engulfed in these silhouettes (oh, for that extra 5-7 inches of height!) so tend to avoid them. So, I'm wearing the XS here, and it's got dolman sleeves, a billowy middle, and a fitted hemline - really gorgeous color. I'm not sure what else to say. Haha, it's a pass for me - I hope Kathryn can tell you more about whether this is an exceptional dolman sleeve top or not, because I don't really know. They're all kinda the same to me. (Big and tent-like - on me, though not on Kathryn.)

Hello, Kathryn here! Carol's right - this is a very "Kathryn" top. I guess this is the kind of top that either works for you or doesn't. For me, I feel it works well with my long-ish torso. The plum color is divine, and I think it'd be lovely with layered necklaces. I'm not sure I $68-love it though, so I'm passing on it for now. I certainly wouldn't say "no" to if, if it showed up on my doorstep though!

Here's the Avant-Tweed Skirt ($118), which I have on in the size 2. I was really prepared to love it - I was pretty excited to see the tweed, with its shimmery texture and great silvery-gray-stone colors. It would have been such a fun alternative to the neutral skirt. Once I had it on, though, I was a little underwhelmed. There was something about the cut that was off for me - it wasn't quite A-line or pencil...just...hm. Also, the pleats on the front of the skirt, while adding interest, also adds the illusion of volume. It's not as bad as the Haute Skirt, which we reviewed here, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. It's a pass for me.

Kathryn here. I agree with Carol - this pleated-front silhouette is not my favorite. I have on a size 6, and while the texture is pretty, the fit is awful. Total pass.

Close up of fabric and pleating detail.

This is the Matriarch Skirt ($88) by We Love Vera, which I'm wearing in a regular size 2 (there's a petite version of this one available as well). So, I know there's been all kinds of love for this skirt in the blogosphere. But to be honest, I've been sort of "meh," about it. Yes, it's a nice color. Yes, there's a cute, quirky print (the little women look like those wooden Japanese dolls - I forget what they're called), but I dunno...I feel no excitement when I see this skirt or when I put it on. It's just okay for me. (Should I be ducking the rotten tomatoes now?) It's a pull-on skirt, cotton, and machine washable - usually all things I'm a proponent of. So, if you like this skirt and its print, I say go for it. For me though, it'll be a pass.

I have on the skirt in a size 6, and...well, I don't hate it. Like Carol though, I wasn't swooning when I had it on. And for some reason, the print kind of makes me think of hundreds of black cats staring at me. Weird. Actually I think it has a little bit of a "The Birds" vibe to it...which means this skirt scares me a little bit. Eep. Pass.

Here is the Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88), which I'm wearing in a size 2. The proportions of this top were all wrong on me - the blousy, unstructured shape of it just made me look like I was wearing a garbage bag. I think this has a good deal to do with the fact that I'm short and short-waisted - as you can see in the photos, it actually looks quite decent on Kathryn. The buttons on the cowlneck are actually functional, and you can style the neck at least a couple different ways, depending on how its buttoned or unbuttoned, even - which I thought was fun. But otherwise, this top just doesn't work for me, so it's yet another pass.

I think I may be wearing a size 2 in this photo, because we couldn't locate a size 4. It's blousy enough for me to make it work. I liked this top a lot - I think I could make it work with several skirts in my wardrobe. I would strongly consider it when it goes on sale.

There's interesting pleating in the back that gives the top this interesting shape (or poof, if we're calling it like it is), which allows for the back to have a fitted look.

On the hanger, the Soma Cube Dress (now on sale for $140) doesn't look like much. In fact, when Kathryn suggested trying it on, I was somewhat dubious, though willing. I'm glad she suggested it, because I ended up really liking it! It was actually rather pretty on, and being Anna Sui, the construction and quality were very nice too. There's a zipper up the back and an attached sash made of the same fabric as the skirt that ties in the back - though I suppose you could tie it in the front too? This is the rare ensemble dress that works on me - being short-waisted, ensemble dresses often bunch badly (see the Stylist's Eye Dress review below), creating an overly blousy effect. This wasn't a problem with this dress, so if you're petite and short-waisted, and have had the same issue, you don't need to worry as much about this dress. It's a fairly modest and conservative silhouette, so to me it's a great "church dress," if you know what I mean. Because of the Anna Sui price, I'd have to wait for a second cut before I could get it, but who knows? Maybe it'll make it?

So...I don't hate this dress, but I don't love it either. And as we know...for $288, we'd better love it. It's the kind of dress that I wouldn't mind borrowing from a friend but don't love enough to buy for myself, if that makes sense.The silhouette is flattering enough though, and I think it'd be fun to style. And actually, it is kind of a cool dress...maybe I..."$50-love-it"..? Maybe. I'm just not in love with it enough though, so...pass for now.

Close-up of ruffled bodice and patterned skirt. The sleeves are unlined, so fairly sheer.

Here's the Forthright Shift ($138) and I'm wearing a size 2. This dress is very "gamine" and adorable and if I were still a slip of a girl in my early 20's, I'd be all over it. I love the bow on the shoulder and the gathered-ribbon embellishment on the neckline, and I even love the gray underskirt that you can see through the slit on the right side of the dress (note - the slit does not appear on both sides of the dress). I can think of at least a dozen other dresses, though, that are more flattering on my body (you know, the kind that give you a shape?) so, I'm going to pass on this. Still, it's super cute, and if you love rocking the "gamine" look, you should definitely consider this one. On my 5'2" frame, the skirt hit at the top of my knee, so taller ladies, keep that in mind.

Kathryn: Yeah, uh...no. I'm not a "gamine" type, so...pass.

So, the photo above left? One of the reasons I absolutely love Kathryn. ^_^ I know, I know, you all want a bestie like mine. There's another totally awesome snap that you'll see later this week - which had me laughing out loud as I took it. Anyway, we wanted you to see how on the right side of the dress, there's this slit that shows off the gray underskirt/shift. I kind of liked this detail, but can imagine that if you get caught in the wind, it could look funny. The dress I was wearing, above right, had a torn neckline - Kathryn's didn't have this problem, so I think a previous customer might have yanked too hard on this, or something.

Here's the Stylist's Eye Dress ($168), which Kathryn already reviewed here. Still, we thought it bore a repeat to do a side-by-side, so that you can compare fits. I found this dress to be surprisingly comfy and flattering - I didn't actually think it'd be my cup of tea, because despite all the beautiful details, it does look a little bit too foamy-frothy for me. Somehow, though, I found myself won over once I had it on. There's something about the neckline that sort of tones down all the overabundant ruffliness, and I just love the skirt - the fabric and colors and sheen are so great! There's a side zip on this dress, no pockets, and it's dry-clean only. Oh, and if you take a look at the product page, you'll see that the top is very blousy on me (see photo above right) in a way that it isn't on the dress form. However, women of smaller stature, rejoice! There's a petite version of this dress! So, while this isn't a must-buy for me, I'd definitely wishlist it for sale.

Super roomy top - this is the obligatory shot of all bloggers reviewing this particular dress, it seems. ^_-

Hope those were helpful - we've got a bunch more to come. Thanks for reading!


  1. You ladies are the cutest! I love these side-by-side reviews. My favorite is the last dress...the colors are just so pretty!

  2. Great reviews! The Matriarch skirt is super cute, but I'll have to wait and see if it ever goes on sale. It's too bad that the Stylist's Eye Dress is so roomy -- looks super cute!


  3. Well, I won't throw anything at you because I can't get past the print on the Matriarch Skirt -I LOVE the fit on both of you, but that particular print just isn't for me...

    I always love the side by side reviews :)

  4. This post was so much fun! I Love the side-by-side comparison...

  5. I love the reviews! Carol: the Soma Cube Dress is just gorgeous on you, and Kathryn: that Caidal Top it just fab on you! I'm crossing my fingers for you that it goes on sale!

  6. Another fabulous round of the side by side fitting room reviews. Sad that there wasn't one fabulous, willing to pay full price item in the bunch. Everything looked cute on, but I know how you just need 'that feeling' when you put something on.

  7. This post was awesome! I love seeing the same outfit modeled by the two of you. More please! =D

  8. I love that you guys are smiling so cutely in all the photos. I hate it when before/after pictures confuse the issue with bad posture and unhappy faces. And I also totally think in the same way, of "it's cute, but not $68 cute."

  9. Thanks for posting the review...I love looking at how the fit can change depending on who's wearing it. LOL. You two look so cute! =)

  10. You guys are so cute! Love the reviews.

  11. This tall and petite comparison is great. You guys are proportionately about the same, despite the height difference (a lot of people don't seem to "get" that a size 0 or 2 on someone short is about the same as a 4 or 6 on someone taller!!)