Reviews: Cloudrose Dress, Dropped Dots Dress, Ribbon Grass Dress, Smudged Sketches Dress, Otta Dress, Crushed Rose Mini-Dress

Cloudrose Dress ($158) by Deletta, TTS

style # 24041113, multi (095)
★★★★☆

Each spring Deletta comes out with some adorable dresses and 2012 looks to be no different. Their first effort is the lovely Cloudrose Dress ($158), a slightly stretchy rayon jersey frock that has a deep v-neck, ruched belly and straight skirt. This dress falls below the knee and though the neckline is plunging it suitably covers what needs to be covered. The pattern looks like flowers to me, but clouds work as well! It’s a pretty dress that isn’t overly cute. With rayon jersey I worry about pilling but the material seems cohesive here. Fading might be an issue but pilling seems unlikely. Oh how I long for the days of cotton jersey.
I tried on my usual size medium. I was surprised by how constricting the ruched area is! It hugged my midsection tightly while the rest of the dress is comfortably loose. So for people that have a straighter shape like the model (or inanimate objects like the dress form) this can create the illusion of curves in a very flattering way. For those of us who are already curvy however this can present an issue. While I’m thrilled by how tiny my waist looks it makes my chest look almost cartoonish in comparison. And due to my curves the ruching scrunched together some, making me me look short-torsoed. I also tried on a large (not shown) to see if that would help, but the large was hanging off me loosely at the shoulders and chest but still very close in the midsection. So while this dress is just lovely it’s likely a pass for me. Recommended for others though!
Dropped Dots Dress ($158) by Lili’s Closet, TTS
style # 23823982, navy (041)
★☆☆☆☆

There is a movement in fashion right now towards midcentury shapes. The idea behind them is longer proportions and a closer fit which is supposed to breed sexiness through what is showcased but not shown, if you get my drift. So we’re seeing a lot of demure necklines and longer skirts with close-to-the-body fits that look like they could have walked right off the set of Pan Am or Mad Men or Catch Me if You Can, etc. The problem with these shapes is that they require custom tailoring to really look right. So when you mass produce a dress like that you can end up with something comically unflattering.

Which leads me to the Dropped Dots Dress ($158). I totally get the idea of this dress. Cutesy print in a classic shape meant to be secretary chic. But there are major execution issues here. First, the skirt’s proportions are completely off. It’s much too big — it poufs out from the dress like an open cupcake wrapper. Even on the model shot from the catalogue the skirt looks huge.

I’m not sure my fitting room photos accurately convey how silly this dress looked on me. When I walked out of my room the SA (who I know well) couldn’t stifle her giggles, nor could I. Waist? Teeny-tiny. Bosom? Cartoonishly big in comparison. Tush? Looking like I inspired a pop song. So if your body is on-proportion with what this dress needs I’m sure you’ll look amazing. But if, like me, it’s not quite right, the results are future blackmail in the making. Pass.

Ribbon Grass Dress ($188) by Sariah Carson, TTS
style # 24247090, red motif (069)
★★★☆☆

If I were getting ready for Carnival or Mardi Gras the Ribbon Grass Dress ($188) would be tops on my wishlist. This festive frock is brilliant red with pops of navy flowers. Really vivid and fun to look at. A flouncy skirt lies below a simple tank-style top. So far, so good. The silk dress is lined with polyester, keeping everything light.

I grabbed my usual size 6 to try on. This dress has buttons in the back over the zipper — you’ll see this on multiple dresses at Anthropologie this spring. It’s pretty but makes getting into the dress a real pain. I tried only unbuttoning a couple of the buttons and letting the zip down fully…didn’t work on me. I ended up by some miracle of miracles contorting myself into the dress with everything fully done up. I would say this is a two-person dress to put on. Once in the dress is pretty! Very comfortable, slightly loose on top. You may be able to size down but I found the 6 was perfect for me. I wish the skirt was an inch or two longer but otherwise this dress is pleasant. Hard to get in and out of, but nice. Wishlisted!

Smudged Sketches Dress ($248) by Leifsdottir
style #23830110, black motif (009)
★★★★★
Update 2/11/2012: This item was reviewed before it was available online — the pararaph below has been left intact, the product information is updated above.
 
This Leifsdottir dress hasn’t made the website yet. I assume that like the palazzos in the same print, this dress will be called Manipur. So let’s call it the Manipur Dress ($248) for now. The top portion of this dress is a loose, flowy v-neck. The sleeves have center slits. A drop waist style has a thick band above a short, flared skirt. I love the tonal mix of black, white and greys.

I tried on a 6 first, which you see on me above. My issue was that the drop waist couldn’t go as low as I wanted — it was a squeeze around the hips. So I sized up to an 8 which allowed the drop waist to sit where I wanted it. I just love this dress! It’s very sleek but with beautiful movement. I have a couple of events coming up in February and a trip to Paris in March. I decided this dress would fit the bill for all of that, making it worth a full-price purchase to me.

Otta Dress ($168) by Maeve, size down
style # 24066433, yellow (079)
★★★☆☆

While the catalogue shot nearly dissuaded me, I decided the Otta Dress ($168) was too pretty to just pass it by. Some retro styling abounds with different sized squares and rectangles in a yellow and black combination. I can’t help but picture this with a brown tweed professor jacket over it. And maybe a nice long necklace. The dress is made from silk with a cotton lining in the skirt. On the side, button after button conceals a zipper. Once again this makes the dress prettier but a pain to get in and out of.

I started with my usual size 6 which was too big on top, so I sized down to a 4 for these shots. The top portion is still pretty big though the skirt looks a lot better. This dress has a thick waist that sits slightly below the natural spot. The skirt has sharp pleats that break up the pattern nicely. A lazy v-neck finishes the design. I like how the dress felt on but I’m not sure how flattering it actually is. Close, but no cigar. I don’t think I’d pay full price for this. Wishlisted for further consideration come sale time.

Crushed Rose Mini-Dress ($228) by Leifsdottir
style # 23644644, blue motif (049)
★★★☆☆

Is it a robe or a dress? Or both? The Crushed Rose Mini-Dress ($228) is probably the nicest beach cover-up I’ve ever seen. The question is how it fares as a dress. The silk is exquisite and the pattern is pretty. I like the looser, billowy sleeves and the pretty beads at the end of the waist drawstring.

My usual size 6 fit fine but is super short. I’m not surprised to see that this dress sold out at the smallest sizes. On me, it’s a challenge. The v-neck plunges very low, revealing decolletage and making this dress less versatile. The sleeves also hit at an odd point — I’d like them to either be another inch shorter or an inch or two longer. The dress is certainly comfortable but not necessarily workable. Pretty, but a pass for me. Back to the rack.

If you’d like to see some more thoughts, I reviewed several more dresses yesterday afternoon.

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