Reviews: Embroidered Bellflower Dress, Bow-Back Shift, Two-Tone Halter Dress, South Shore Dress, Utility Shirtdress

Hmm, the model wonders…is there such a thing as owning too many dresses?
I hope not, especially when there are dresses as pretty as 
the Embroidered Bellflower Dress ($228) to join my closet!

March is dress month at Anthropologie and I’m here to give my thoughts on as many as I can try on! In case you missed them last week I tried on several dresses in this post; another dress reviews set is coming hopefully this afternoon but if not then very soon. We’ll also review tops and bottoms soon.

Embroidered Bellflower Dress ($228) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
Style No. 4130335965711; blue motif (049, on me) or black & white (018)
★★★★☆

Note: For reference I am currently sitting at 34-29-39, size 6/M in tops & sweaters, 6 in dresses and 29/30 or 8 in pants and skirts, 32DD. I am 5’8″.


The Embroidered Bellflower Dress ($228), though by Moulinette Soeurs, reminds me of a Floreat classic. This dress starts with a sturdy, body-hugging cotton base and adds beautiful embroidery in a flattering deployment down the sides. It is the ideal fit-and-flare shape but with a slightly tapered skirt. I feel like a flower in this dress, and I mean that in a very good way! The floral pattern runs down both the front and back in symmetrical glory.

The outer shell fabric is thick in a way I love; it sucks in the body and smooths me without making me feel constricted. There is a touch of spandex though I felt little give and there is an acetate lining below the beauty. The deep v-neck of the dress is lovely, though I was a little boobalicious thanks to the bra I had on this day. I’m not a big fan of the way the v-neck has a soft u-shape at the bottom. It’s a weird detail to me. The navy color is just a delight and this dress hits me below the fingertips and a half-inch or so above the knee. The back zip is a definite two-person job! It runs all the way up the back and for all my flexibility and contortion skills I couldn’t get it zipped all the way alone. This dress does seem prone to wrinkling.

I’m in my usual 6 here which felt great on. Easy to slip into, perhaps not easy to zip because my arms don’t bend that way but otherwise the definition of instant outfit! I’m eyeing either these heels or these flats to pair with the dress.

A winner in my book! This one’s in my cart right now.

Bow-Back Shift ($148) by Maeve, size up if curvy
Style No. 4130346825714; red (060, on me) or peach (067)
★★★☆☆

Shift dresses at Anthropologie are always a tricky proposition for me; sometimes I get lucky with the fit as a curvy gal and often I do not. I was hoping that the Bow-Back Shift ($148) would be one of the former; that somehow this lovely-looking frock would look lovely on me.

Let’s start with the good. First of all, the red color of this dress is a delight. With no orange undertone it looks lovely against my pale skin and it’s bright without being obnoxious. The bow detail in the back is super cute and I love both the sleeve length and the overall length of this dress, which is a mini without being one of those minis that I constantly, involuntarily feel the need to keep pulling down. It’s comfortable and elegant.

The dress is a stretch cotton and has a beautiful panel in the back under the bow that allows for a great fit around my butt. Yours too! It hits about in line with my fingertips and has a high bateau neckline.

Sounds great right? Well…not completely. For one thing, this dress is unlined. How in this day and age Anthropologie thinks it’s OK to make a body-hugging dress without a lining, I’ll never know. As a result my bra shape is showing through clearly. This one needs a slip or streamlined bra and undies underneath.

While I’m usually a dress size 6, in shifts and sheaths I am nearly always a 10. Unfortunately this popular dress was already sold out in a 10 at the Chelsea Market (NYC) Anthro, so here’s me squeezing into a 6. Squeezing on the bottom anyway. The top portion of the dress was very loose; so loose it was nearly sliding off my shoulders. And as you can see in the middle shot above, being busty means that the neckline is standing off of my neck completely. I think that is solvable with a more minimizing bra, but I’m not sure about the back issue.

Oh, the review on Anthro’s product page says that the bow hides your bra strap. In theory that is correct. In reality, as this photo of me from the back shows, maybe not so much depending on your bra. You can also see how the shoulders are sliding off of me, the same issue one of the women in Anthro’s gallery on its product page has.

The solution for me would be to purchase a 10 and have it tailored to fit. If you plan on buying this dress, beware the shoulders…they are loose! I like this dress but can’t say I love it. Wish I did though! Wishlisting, waiting for sale.

One more note on this dress: for whatever reason, every red dress in the store had a tag whose color said: sky/ciel. As in blue. Why? I have no frickin clue. But if you order this dress online, this could be an issue?

Two-Tone Halter Dress ($178) by Maeve, TTS
Style No. 4130348695712; black & white (018)
★★★☆☆

The Two-Tone Halter Dress ($178) is another dress with exquisite back details and while I had issues with this one too, I applaud Anthropologie for making these more intricate designs! This is the kind of stuff I love them for.

From the front, this dress looks fairly standard. A black tea-length dress with white piping at the waist and halter top. Ahhh but from the back this one is so much more! There are two beautiful white strap details, and cute white buttons running about 2/3 of the way down the skirt.

This dress is cotton with a touch of spandex. The skirt, though flared, has a very subtle shape to it which is great for a slim, streamlined silhouette. It’s worth noting that the white piping around the waist is actually a belt that hooks-and-eyes in the back, and it’s quite narrow! For me and my tiny waist this was perfection, but the belt is not adjustable. So if you’re more of an apple shape or a straighter figure the belt might be tough.

I’m in my typical size 6 here and that worked well, from the front anyway. In the back, my short torso meant the white stripes were very loose, hanging off me in fact. You can see in the middle shot above how far off my body they are down the back.

I took a photo from the back as well; the straps are twisted not to be a jerk but rather so you can see just how loose they are on me. Back to the good, I like that the waistband hits me in exactly the right spot. Yay Anthro! I only wish those back straps were somehow adjustable.

Another lovely dress that would need tailoring, so this one’s wishlisted for now.

South Shore Dress ($138) by Moulinette Soeurs, TTS
Style No. 4130089930871; blue motif (049), tangerine (084, on me) or green motif (038, below)
★★★★☆

The South Shore Dress ($138) is one of Anthro’s recent releases that I’ve been most excited to try! I only wish this dress had made it to the store before my Mexico trip as I’m sure I would have worn it plenty around Cozumel! I made due with the Gathered Stripes Midi Dress ($158) and the Gravity Cross-Front Dress ($148), both of which will be reviewed in my next set.

This South Shore Dress is a pretty, comfy rayon-spandex knit with a cinched waistband and a softly pleated skirt. It’s the easy throw in a weekend bag, or throw-on, dress. The cap sleeves are alright, the overall length is great, and the waist is a little too long for me but I’ll take that over a short waist any day! There’s a gentle scoop neck that’s a bit higher than my preference — the low scoop of the back would feel so lovely in front! Sadly you can’t wear the dress backwards; I tried.

I tried on two colorways of the dress. Above I’m in the tangerine in my usual medium and below I’m in the green motif in a small. Although I felt little difference between the sizes, I think the medium looks a little better in these shots. I had my heart set on the green motif but now seeing these photos I feel like the floral tangerine (which read as red to me) is more flattering, especially over my bust.

The South Shore Dress ($138) by Moulinette Soeurs in the green motif.

This dress spills to my knees and moves lightly through the skirt with each stride. It’s lightweight and won’t wrinkle easily. So lovely! Another winner that’s in my cart right now.

Utility Shirtdress ($138) by Cloth & Stone, TTS
Style No. 4130259839303; blue (040, on me) or 3 other colors
★★★★☆

Although it’s shapeless, there are many reasons to love the Utility Shirtdress ($138) anyway. Firstly, this dress is so, so soft! It’s Lyocell with a special finish to make it feel like suede-y silk. Secondly, it has round pockets perfect for sticking my hands in. Thirdly, it has button tabs to assist in rolling up the sleeves. Shall I go on?

Normally I’m not a fan of big ol’ nothing shapes like this one, but these days as my work has me ever more hands on in the production phases of the products I design, something about this labcoat-cum-shirtdress appeal to me ever more. I can see easily throwing this dress on and being ready for an active day of work!

Another nice thing about this dress is that it’s longer than it looks in the catalogue, excuse me, journal shot online. It nearly passes the fingertip test on the sides and does in the front and back! It would also be so easy to throw this dress on over another dress, or a simple slip, belt it and create a more fitted shape.

Lots of possibilities for this simple yet awesome dress, which fit true to size in my usual medium. A little loose in the back as these Cloth & Stone dresses always are, yet otherwise wonderful. Of all the dresses I tried I felt this one would get the most use so it came home with me.

What Anthropologie dresses have come home with you recently? More reviews coming soon.

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