Reviews: Striated Lace Dress, Sequined Jacquard Dress, Leizu Silk Dress, Shyle Sweater Shift, Patchwork Variations Sweater Dress, Agnessa Dress, Calla Asymmetric Dress

Anthropologie’s getting ready to party, with dresses like the Sequined Jacquard Dress ($288), 
shown here with the Glinted Tea Rose Necklace ($58), Twisted Strands Necklace ($42) 
and Jeweled Buds Strand ($32).  

I typically think of summer as the season of Anthropologie dresses but they’re working to challenge that notion. Right now stores are being flooded with plenty of new arrivals — many of which are dresses. Joining my dress reviews set from last week I’ve got thoughts on several more dresses after the jump.

Striated Lace Dress ($228) by Maeve, TTS
Style #: 25424979; blue motif (049)
★★★★☆

Note: If you’re wondering my sizing measurements/height/etc, they’re detailed on this page.

A little of the old Anthro shines through in Maeve’s beautiful Striated Lace Dress ($228), a lace-topped mesh done in subdued fall hues. It’s very interesting the way this dress speaks to me while Yoana Baraschi’s beautiful frocks don’t. I’m not sure if that’s due to the colors, the openness of the mesh on the Baraschi pieces or maybe it’s just a matter of taste. Whatever the reason this Maeve dress delights me!

It’s a simple fit-and-flare shape with a defined gold waist, although this band sits above the natural waist even on the model. The dress is fully lined. That lining however stops above the lowest gold rung of the skirt. A side zip helps you slip in or out of this dress, and the top tank portion is lined with tiny scallops. It’s very cute.

I tried on my usual size 6. The reason this dress gets 4 stars instead of 5 is that the bodice has a strange fit below the bust — it kept crinkling and bending in inhuman ways. I wish the bodice was longer; though the gold band isn’t quite at empire height it would look much better sitting at my natural waist. It’s very tempting to size up to an 8 and see if I could take in the sides and straps for a better fit. I’m concerned that Anthropologie is designing more and more pieces for small busts. I know that we come in many shapes and sizes but part of my love for Anthro was its curve-friendliness. That seems less and less these days. Maeve has always been a bust-fit issue for me so I’m inclined to handwave this. But if the powers that be are reading, don’t forget about larger busts.

This dress is sitting in my cart and is likely coming home with me soon!

Sequined Jacquard Dress ($228) by Wren, TTS
Style #: 25990839; red motif (069)
★★★★☆

I love just about anything sparkly. Is it really surprising then that I love Wren’s Sequined Jacquard Dress ($228)? Intelligently designed and fully lined, it’s a sequin-topped beauty that made me wish it was Thanksgiving now. Upon seeing these photos my guy remarked that the sparkly bodice kind of looks like body armor. The bottom and the back are decidedly more modern with a digitized print that has plenty of luminescent sheen. Because the top is lined there’s no itch from the sewn-on sequins.

The dress forgoes numero sizes in favor of alphas. I chose a medium, my usual fit. It’s fine, though as with the Striated Lace Dress above I was left wishing for a longer bodice. That’s not a sizing issue — it’s a design choice issue. Elsewhere the fit was fine, nipping in at the waist and comfortable everywhere.

I so adore a nice flouncy skirt. This dress definitely delivers on that:

I think it would be a wonderful dress to dance in. I’ve no event to wear this to so it’s a pass for now. But should something come up I’d grab this dress in a heartbeat (and wear a different bra for some extra lift).

Leizu Silk Dress ($328) by Rachel Comey, TTS
Style #: 25534462; navy (041)
★★★☆☆

You know those summer lanterns that are mostly ovals, with accordion pleats widest in the center? You know, like this. I felt like one in the Leizu Silk Dress ($328). Because no matter how much I fussed, or contorted, or held the top part of this dress down, it ballooned away from my body like a wheezy accordion.  I would love to know how they got it to sit flat and properly pleated for the model shot. Apparently no matter what your chest size this dress has issues up top.

Though neither my review shot nor the product shots make it clear, this dress has a large center keyhole. You can see it clearly in this recent Eye Candy post; scroll down about halfway to see the dress. It’s such a shame about the top balloon-iness because this is such a stunning dress. All silk in an incredible navy. Just a bit shiny but not wrapping-paper like. Pleated skirt that’s so flattering. If this dress were on super sale I’d buy it and turn it into a maxi skirt.

Fitwise I tried on a 6. This was a good fit over my hips and thighs. The top is really hard to judge since it didn’t want to sit. I like how the waist actually sat at my natural waist. I like the pretty gathered neckline. Too bad the top doesn’t fit at all.

Wondering why the fit issues persist. Back to the rack.

Shyle Sweater Shift ($138) by Sparrow, size down
Style #: 25891920; dark yellow (071)
★★★☆☆

I love earth tones as much as the next gal, but Anthropologie’s obsession with mustard is bordering on criminal. How lovely would the Shyle Sweater Shift ($138) be in red? Or blue? Or even grey? (I’m sure that last color would get complaints too, alas.) At least this mustard has flecks of honey in it for a slightly brighter tone. Every time Sparrow releases a sweater dress I yearn for them to redo the Converging Roads Sweater Dress from 2009 with smaller shoulders.

This shift dress has a good fit. It’s got side dip pockets and a simple shape. It’s mod in sweater fabric! The dress hit a little above my knees, probably about 1.5″ above. I tried on a medium but the top portion was very loose, so I’d purchase this in a small. This dress didn’t itch at all.

Hoping this dress gets released in more colors. Pass for now.

Patchwork Variations Sweater Dress ($168) by Sleeping on Snow, size down
Style #: 25599838; green motif (038)
★★★★☆

When I was in high school I owned a pair of patchwork jeans and thought they were the coolest thing ever. These days I tend to reject the patchwork look but the Patchwork Variations Sweater Dress ($168) has reeled me in. What’s really cool about this dress is unlike many of Anthropologie’s patterned pieces where each item has a slightly different placement, this dress looks random but every one has the same pattern layout. So every one has that nice half-line at the waist. And that combination of diagonals over the hips and torso. I love it!

This sweater is thick and unlined but not itchy. It looks short online but the dress I tried made it all the way to my knees — hooray! There was some extra room in the medium I tried so I’d size down to a small to buy. I think this would look great with a waist-defining topper over it. Or a long winter coat. I’ve got plans.

A winter winner. Wishlisted!!

Agnessa Dress ($198) by Leifsdottir, size up
Style #: 25175969; black motif (009)
★★★☆☆

From the looks of it, this asymmetric waistband is a recurring idea in Leifsdottir’s fall collection. We saw it first on the Colorblock Lace Mini Dress (now $60, review) and now it’s back on the Agnessa Dress ($198). I don’t mind this element — it’s very slimming over the hips. But I can see how it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The Agnessa is a deceptive shift that looks loose on the hanger but is very form-fitting. I really love the colors in the skirt, while a more subdued top makes me wish the patterns were flipped.

My usual size 6 was a laugh — I couldn’t get it over my head. I went up and then up again to a 10 before I could shimmy into this frock. It’s pretty short, hitting a couple of inches above the knee. But the top is not revealing (aside from your lovely collarbones) so it balances out. I have no idea how to walk in this dress though; the skirt was so tight on me.

A lovely silk frock that’s not for me. Back to the rack.

Calla Asymmetric Dress ($178) by Lil, TTS
Style #: 25494790; green motif
☆☆☆☆☆

I’m not sure that I’ve ever given out a zero-star review before, but the Calla Asymmetric Dress ($178) totally deserves it. This dress is irredeemable — I am astonished that it has so many positive reviews on Anthropologie’s site. What are other people seeing that I’m not?

The first issue with this dress is that it’s super thin material and unlined. If you move at all in this dress the knit separates, revealing skin or undergarments beneath. Solvable with a slip certainly but at this price point I expect a little better.

The second issue is the pattern, which is different than the catalogue shot but not any more flattering. It twists and contorts, especially at the waist. (Even the model has a look like, Am I really wearing this? Really?)

And the third issue is the overall shape. It cuts right across the calves, the neckline looks like the dress got caught in something and the waist seems to be ruched horizontally to purposely create folds. I am mystified. Oh, and to boot, this dress is a rayon-poly-spandex mix.

No. No. And just for good measure, no. A medium was the “best” size on me, if by best we mean determine to be used in the future as blackmail. I have never tried on something this unflattering in my life and normally I love Lil.

This dress gets a big ol’ F from me.

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