Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Update (Fitting Room Reviews and an Announcement)

Happy Presidents' Day weekend, everyone! Hoping you all had a great Saturday. Mine was so-so. It rained on and off all day and was cold and gusty when not wet, cold, and gusty, so not the best holiday weekend weather. On top of that, Rowan's been running a fever since yesterday afternoon, when he was sent home from school sick (he was totally fine in the morning! No sign of illness at all. This virus has some seriously stealth capabilities) and well, suffice it to say, I've been wearing various iterations of my pjs all day long.

Yep, it's been one of those Saturdays.

I do have some fun news to share with you though. Today, I launched a new blog, Material GoodThis is a solo-project for me and while I'll still be posting here on a fairly regular basis, I'll be writing for Material Good as well. Why two blogs? Well, In Pursuit of Pretty Things is a project I started with Kathryn, about...well, our pursuit of pretty things. This past year has been a huge learning curve for us in terms of figuring out how to blog, and in a few of my posts, I experimented with writing about issues that were only tangentially or completely unrelated to style or what would normally be in a style blog (i.e. motherhood, philanthropic causes, social consciousness, etc.). I'd really like to do more of that sort of writing, so I thought I should start a new blog in order to prevent readers of either blog from being confused by the disparate topics (because whether we want to admit it or not, it might be a little distracting when one post is all about the fabulous shoes we're seeing this spring and the very next post is discussing the role of social media technologies in the Middle East protests). For those of you who may be interested, I'll be using Material Good to write more consistently about all of my other loves - family, women's issues, education, equity, socially conscious companies and organizations, technology, media, and well, whatever else crosses my mind or yours (I hope you'll lend me your ideas for this other blog, through comments and emails). If you check it out - and I hope you will - you'll notice that it's still a work in progress. It's sort of bare bones right now, with only one post up so far. Let me know what you think though - I'd appreciate your feedback on it.

And now, onto the business at hand! Last weekend found me "going for a walk with the kids at the mall, so that you can have some time to yourself, honey," (what I told my husband, before scampering off to get my Anthro fix). Here are a few dresses I tried on:

Mystery Edme & Esyllte Dress ($158, aka, "The Apron Dress."  Style #20472254)

Kathryn reviewed this dress in another post, so my comments basically align with hers. I'm wearing this dress in a size 0. It had a side zip with a cute striped tie-belt, and pockets. The contrasting white tape shoulder straps were just a hair too long on me (I had to wriggle and pull the dress into place carefully, in order to keep them from bunching and sliding out of place, if you know what I mean. Even so, you can see evidence of this problem in the photo, above right), but I am a shorter, and short-waisted woman, so taller or longer-waisted women shouldn't have this problem. It's a cute dress, with my favorite, fitted-bodice, nipped-in waist, and full-skirt silhouette, but the print and colors didn't really grab me, so it'll be a pass for me.

Detail shot of the print on the skirt.

Blooming Goldenrod Dress ($138)

I was excited to see the Blooming Goldenrod Dress in stores, as I'd noticed it online and instantly gravitated towards its colors and the prints. I tried on my normal size 0. I love the rich golden yellow of the top half of the dress, and really liked the dotted/floral pattern on the skirt. Also, the dress is machine washable (!!!) so I was doubly happy to be able to try it on. However, once on, this dress was all kinds of wrong. First, the waist was really snug. Uncomfortably so. I was able to get it on, and close the side zip, but the waist pinched, if you know what I mean. Then, the bust was too big and the shoulder straps too long, so the neckline gaped unattractively (see top right photo and below). The skirt fit me comfortably at the hips, but ran longer than I liked, hitting below my knee. For a shorter woman, that can be pretty stumpifying.  So, overall, while I loved the look of the dress, I found the execution severely wanting. *sad face* Another pass for me.

Close-up of the loose shoulder straps and gaping neckline.

Tessara Dress ($168)

This dress caught my eye with its intricate, mosaic-like print, so I tried it on in a size 0. As you can see, it fit me fairly well, so I'd say that it runs true to size. The only issue I had with fit was that the bust was a little roomy on me, but this isn't too big a surprise, as I'm smaller chested than most women. It's made of silk, is dry-clean only, and has a side zip, as well as pockets. For interest, it has a smocked lower back and a triangular cut-out that closes with a small button and what seemed like an even smaller loop (see photo below). I had to fumble with it a while, before I got it fastened. Overall, it was a nice dress, but again, nothing that made my heart go pitter-pat, so it'll be another pass for me. Not necessarily a bad thing, considering my current shopping restraint (in lieu of my former shopping ban - thanks for the new name, GinaBean!) status.

Detail shot of the back of the dress.

Counting Angles Dress ($168)

Here's a new Plenty by Tracy Reese offering. I tried this on in the XS, curious to see how the cut would play out on me, as dolman-ish sleeves are hit-or-miss on my petite frame. The top of the dress has an interesting wrap-style that made the whole thing feel somewhat kimono-like. To be honest, I didn't expect to like it, but I did. The fabric is a knit linen, so is soft and flowy (hand wash) and there's a tie belt at the waist. The pattern is a little on the busy side, but I didn't feel totally swallowed up by it, the way I thought I might. If I was working with a bigger clothing budget, this dress would probably find a place onto my spring/summer clothing roster. As it is, it's wishlisted for further consideration at sale time. 

Botanical Crossway Dress ($188)

I'm always a little dubious when I spot long dresses - being 5'2" means I nearly always pass them over. But for some reason, the Botanical Crossway Dress caught me with its colors and print and that fun cross detail over the shoulders and bodice, so I decided to give it a try. And wow, I'm kind of glad I did! I'm wearing the regular size 0 (it is offered in petite sizes, though the 0P and 2P sizes are already sold out online). I really liked this dress, and while it was more than less floor-skimming on me, and I sorta thought it gave me a more pear-like shape (which is never a good thing on any woman), I couldn't help liking it! What does that mean? I'm not sure. All I know is that I will be stalking this dress 'til sale time, and hoping that it goes on sale in April, in time for my birthday discount. It has a side zip, is cotton with a cotton lining, was super comfy, and is machine washable (yay!). Fingers officially crossed for good timing for sale and good stock left in my size.

"Moooom!" squealed Kate, as she crashed into my legs to hug the long skirt of the dress. "Moooom!" squealed Rowan, as he repeated Kate's maneuver. Yep, I think that means it's Kate and Rowan-approved.

So, what, if any, spring arrivals have caught your eye?


  1. Best wishes to you on your new blogging venture!

  2. The Blooming Goldenrod looks great with your skin & hair color. It seems like the fit issues would be resolved by ordering a petite size 2? Is that available?
    I joined your new blog, and loved the first article. I have been thinking about that very topic a lot recently.

  3. Your kids. Just.. *SQUEE* So adorable!

    I kind of liked that wild print dress in black and white, but in linen and it has to be handwashed? No thanks.

  4. I like the neckline on the Tessara dress because it's unlike other things in my closet.
    The maxi dress is really pretty, too. I guess I will go along and agree with the little ones and give it two hugs! :)

  5. Congrats on ur new blog, I'm sure it will b gr8 as In Pursuit Of Pretty Things, o n I love all these dresses on ya, I think Anthro decided 2 kill me this spring, tons of gorgeous dresses popped online in past couple of days!!! =)

  6. Could your children be any cuter?!? Thanks for all the pics! I actually LOVED the Tessera dress. I tried it on yesterday (plus many more dresses) and it was one of my favorites of the bunch. But $168 for it is WAY too much.

  7. I love the look of the Botanical Crossway Dress on you! I am the same height so I worry about Maxi dresses being too long on me as well!

  8. I really like that tracy reese dress on you. Thats definitely on my wish list.

  9. The counting angles dress looks great on you, and it's perfect for work. I love that the sleeves slights fall over the shoulders... i'm not a fan of wearing sleeveless dresses to work! :)

    <3, natasha
    twenty-something blog
    Enter the COSMOPOLITAN subscription giveaway!

  10. WOw, you look amazing in that last maxi dress...totally cute! Lots of great finds!!!

  11. Tracy Reese and Moulinette Soeurs are KILLING ME lately. The print and fit of their pieces have been so lovely. I think it's wonderful you're continuing another're an awesome writer and your voice is so strong. Best of luck to you.

  12. How cute are the last set of pictures where your little ones are hugging you!
    Thanks for these reviews. There are so many things on my wishlist right now, that i'm going to have to think long and hard about. I really like the tessara and blooming goldenrod dress on you.
    Good on you for starting another blog. I had a read of it, and it is written very intellectually. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  13. So many goodies you tried on Carol! I really like the Tessara Dress, the back is really cute. I tried on the Counting Angles dress the other day and I didn't like it. It looks WAY better on you. And I agree with Kate and Rowan, you look amazing in the Botanical Crossway dress. I really want to try on the Ipanema Dress but it's not at the store near my house. I'll have to check the other Anthro location in town. The open back is a little intimidating and probably won't work with small bust, but I love the look of it.

  14. Love the counting angles dress on you- would look so chic with a belt!