Reviews: Kinetic Garden Top, Antilles Tank, Rewound Picot Cardigan , Turn the Kaleidoscope Tank, Patched Pointelle Tunic, Cygnus Tank

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kinetic Garden Top ($88) by Tiny, TTS
style #20294088, neutral motif (015)

I've seen a few variations on this same idea at Anthropologie this spring -- a strip of shiny sequins down the middle of a shirt. The Kinetic Garden Top ($88) mixes an abstract floral print into the mix. I can't get over how much shorter these tops are in real life. 23" long, as the website claims? I am dubious. On the plus side this top has lots of cute details, from little ruffles escaping from the shoulder to the piping around the raised hem. The sequins on the top I tried were well-affixed.

I snapped up a medium and headed to the fitting room. This top would look cute over a pair of shorts mixed with the right cardigan. It looks a bit tired paired with my jeans. The medium fit fine but was shorter than I'd hoped. If you need some new casual tops this is a good option. For me? A pass.

Antilles Tank ($68) by Lili's Closet, size down
style #20595245, yellow (072) or turquoise (046)

One caveat before I dig in: my opinion of the Antilles Tank ($68) totally changed after the Soho Fashion Show. I'd been all set to write this top after trying it on, for reasons I'll elaborate on in a moment. It just goes to show that seeing these pieces styled on real people goes a long way towards helping me buy items.

My issues with this tank are this: it's very, very oversized and it's polyester. I suppose some will cheer the latter as it makes the top machine washable. The top feels like silk. But it's not. The oversized nature of this top is the main issue. You can tuck it into a skirt to define a shape but I wish it had some tailoring instead. I like the straps quite a bit and the bow is a lovely detail that can be worn to either the front of the back.

The photos above are me in a small, and if I buy this top I plan on buying the x-small. I imagine that many will be sized out of this top on the petite end of the spectrum. The yellow wasn't as golden as I expected it to be in real life; it's a shade lighter than the product shot. It's still quite pretty. If I can figure out enough ways to wear this top I plan to pick it up on sale. For now, wishlisted!

Rewound Picot Cardigan ($88) by Guinevere, size down
style #20301057, moss (031) or white (010)

Guinevere comes through with the Rewound Picot Cardigan ($88), a delightfully open knit layer that will be perfect for warmer days. It comes in a pea soup-like moss shade or an intensely white hue, both of which pair well with this year's trendy colors. The cotton used is light without fuzzies and the quality seems to be great. I love the different stitchwork on this cardigan and especially enjoyed the view from the back.

I decided to try on the moss version. I grabbed a medium, my usual size. It felt big. I would size down to a small to purchase this cardigan. The sleeves are slightly oversized and hang at a weird angle. That's my only quibble -- I think this is a fantastic piece! I've wishlisted the white version and plan to pick it up at full price.

Turn the Kaleidoscope Tank ($58) by Deletta, TTS
style #20501805, blue motif (049)

Oh, Anthropologie, no one wants to look lopsided. I adore the pattern of the Turn the Kaleidoscope Tank ($58) but I am not loving this odd offset square pleat. It kind of looks like I got the top caught against something and need to untwist it. I applaud trying to do something above the basic knit top. Unfortunately it didn't work on me.

The top is made from soft modal that you'll want to keep out of the washing machine. (Hand-washing is OK.) The geometric pattern is a beautiful sight to behold. It might have fooled me a bit -- I grabbed a small to try on but should have chosen my usual medium instead. I got that nice comfy feeling with the top on but can't get past the pleat. Back to the rack.

Patched Pointelle Tunic ($78) by Knitted & Knotted, size down
style #20112561, neutral motif (015)

Some serious model trickery is clearly at work with the Patched Pointelle Tunic ($78). Does this look anything like the top on me above? It does after major fashion surgery perhaps! I was truly excited to try on what I thought would be a long, lean, streamlined knit tunic. Instead I felt like I'd just thrown a blanket over my head. I'm honestly confounded and can't figure out what went wrong here. The design itself -- neutral pieces of patchwork over a long silhouette -- is perfect yet the execution is horrid.Very poor choice of materials to see a new top behaving like this.

I tried on a small and I was swimming. Additionally this top looked like it had been stretched out of shape and then put back on the hanger. I thought I'd just landed a bad egg so I requested a new small to try on. Same issue -- wonky fit and stretched effect. I'm very sad to see this happen to such a pretty top. Pass for sure.

Cygnus Tank ($88) by A Common Thread, TTS
style #20436861, brown (020)

I almost wore the Cygnus Tank ($88) in the Soho Fashion Show last week, and while I ended up in a top I loved equally I spent some time oohing and aahing over this sparkly creation. A pretty mix of beads, sequins and stitchwork combine to create birds (swans, according to the online product description) worthy of pure delight. The top is almost a racerback so a regular bra will be a challenge. I inspected the embroidery closely and found no quality flaws on the tank I tried on, from either the right side out or the inside out.

My usual size medium fit well though I felt a little muddy between my brown top and green pants. Something more vibrant will work much better with this top! The fitting room attendant noted that everyone at the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie was in love with top. I can understand why. It looks beautiful and fits comfortably. Wishlisted!!

Coming up this weekend I will have more reviews, including a bunch of skirts. If you have a specific item you'd like to see reviewed let me know in the comments and I will try my best!

Eye Candy: Anthropologie April 2011 Catalogue

In this outfit: Forgotten Avenues Tee ($68) 
with Brushed Trouser Shorts ($78) and Scalloped Stones Hoops ($32).

Anthropologie has unveiled some preview photos from its April 2011 catalogue, and there's plenty of eye candy within. Looks like there's a mix of spring-to-summer wear with bathing suits sprinkled in. I love the pinup styling the blonde model is sporting though I'm sadly still feeling underwhelmed by the clothing. What items are making it to your wishlist?

One pretty I do love is the Mompos Dress ($228), which has an adorable bow belt and a crinoline tier under the skirt. I can't wait to try it on! I have tried a few of these items already and will start running reviews soon. Speaking of which, after you check out the photos below and let us know what you think in the comments head on over to my tops reviews post from earlier this morning.

In this outfit: Draped Surplus Jacket ($78) 
over Isabel Dress ($128, review coming this weekend). 
With Arced Ebony Heels ($378).

In this outfit:
Mompos Dress ($228) -- yes that pretty little bow belt is part of the dress! 
With Windabout Heels ($368).

In this outfit: Wave-Washed Dress ($188) with Beaded Waves Sandals ($198) 
and Mercurial Tassel Earrings ($218).

In this outfit: Parading Hues Dress ($138) with Ripple Rings Cuff ($198).

In this outfit: Alfresco Tunic ($98) with Roll-Up Slouchy Shorts ($58) 
and Slim Shine Belt ($28).

In this outfit: Alstroemeria Tee ($78).

In this outfit: Fine Line Pullover ($88) with Bowed Batik Shorts ($88)
and Mellifluous Cinch Sandals ($118).
Note: I'm not sure if this is an old shot or a new one -- 
either way it was too appealing to leave out! 

In this outfit: Lace Tracings Tee ($68) with San Pedro Pencil Skirt ($148) 
and High Gloss Belt ($28).

Reviews: Epoch Blouse, Bespoke Yoke Tee, Crochet Caricature Blouse, Victorian Treasure Tank, Undersea Exploration Tee, Superfluous Bellows Hoodie, Light On Petals Cami

Epoch Blouse ($118) by Anna Sui, runs short
  style #20245858, neutral motif (015)

Anna Sui is one of my favorite designers. I rarely have anything negative to say about the brand's designs. Unfortunately I didn't like the Epoch Blouse ($118) very much. The design itself is wonderful -- a ditsy floral with beautiful ruffles populate a regal-shaped button-down. There's amazing tailoring around the waist that should have left me feeling like a Victorian queen on the royal equivalent of casual Friday. This cotton top has already sold through one run on Anthro's site!

This top looked pretty terrible on me. I started off by discovering that this top is cut narrow through the bust, which is no big surprise given the amount of seaming and tailoring. So I went up to a 10 for the best fit. But even that 10 was so oddly short on me. I checked to make sure I hadn't picked up a petite version (I hadn't; this top does not come in petite) and then was forced to wonder if I'd experienced a growth spurt somewhere on the way to the fitting room. As far as I know I'm still 5'8" so my conclusion is that this top runs very short. Which meant the waist hit me far too high, which meant I looked simultaneously wide and stumpy. Neither is on my list of attributes I strive for and so this top was a pass. Back to the rack.

Bespoke Yoke Tee ($78) by Tiny, size up for curves
style #20293874, white (010)

I love how Tiny finds new and interesting ways to construct neutral tops. The Bespoke Yoke Tee ($78) is made up of combinations and white and ivory yet still manages to be interesting by mixing materials. There's lace and crochet and piping and it reeled me in for a shot in the fitting room. The top is notably sheer, especially when one is wearing  black bra underneath. (Apologies.) Though there's a vintage feel to this top it's not as obvious as some of the other styles in Anthropologie's spring repertoire. In fact it recalls vintage while being modern in its execution. This is what I hope for when Anthro interprets trends!

Tiny's fit is normally very consistent, so I was surprised by how tight my usual size medium was. The bottom hem seemed to like my butt a lot -- it kept hugging it no matter how many times I tugged it up. I'm...flattered...maybe...? Believe it or not I love the lace detailing around the shoulders. Unlike plain sheerness, which I do not understand, the lace strikes me as a feminine touch that helps this top feel delicate and ladylike without me worrying about it actually falling apart. Stars off for sheerness and fit, but I do plan to pick this top up on sale. Wishlisted!!

Crochet Caricature Blouse ($138) by The Addison Story, size up for curves
style #20180196, ivory (011)

Like the window of a beachside resort cabana, the Crochet Caricature Blouse ($138) is not totally opaque. In fact the open-medallion strips seem perfectly placed to show off areas I'd rather keep hidden outside the bedroom. Still, it's made from silk and the shape is fun so I liked this top in spite of myself. I would have given this another star if only the top came with a removable layering tank.

I tried on my usual size medium which fit loosely everywhere except across my hips, where the top was tight instead. I would size up to a large to buy. I imagine this top will end up hitting at the edge of my shoulders so to wear this for day I'd need to layer something underneath anyway. I like the ivory tone but would love to see this top in a bright color -- pink perhaps? Something to think about. Wishlisted to wait for sale.

Victorian Treasure Tank ($198) by Ranna Gill, TTS
style #20518098, green (030)

Hey, there's my waist! I'd started to wonder if it had migrated north towards my bust, or south to combine with my hips in some kind of odd mutation. Ranna Gill knows right where it is and helps me show it off! The beautiful Victorian Treasure Tank ($198) has exquisite detailing that is sure to flatter anyone. The thin, offset pleats of the top half combined with the thicker, vertical pleats below the waist make my midsection look nice and tiny. Meanwhile, jewels encrusted around the neckline draw the eye upward to show off the collarbone. I love the back off this top too -- the pleats crisscross and the neckline has a chain to keep it from slipping down. Nice design touch!

Fitwise, my usual size medium was perfect. From the front, side or back I liked the view. I know this top is expensive but it seems worth full price to me. I love the design; I love the details; I love the fit. If those three elements don't justify full price, what does? I suppose the cost per wear deserves a mention too. I'm well on my way to lowering it -- I snapped this top up right away.

Undersea Exploration Tee ($68) by We Love Vera, TTS
style #20232880, green (030)

I guessed that the pattern on the Undersea Exploration Tee ($68) was meant to evoke leaves, but I was wrong. The name reveals that coral was the inspiration for this decidedly spring-hued top, which is long and comfy although also kind of shapeless. The material is rather thin here. It's not sheer but I do wonder about how this top will hold up in the wash. The hem is supposed to be asymmetric but I guess as a result of the fit across my hips that detail was lost.

I'd size up to buy this top though realistically I'm not going to purchase it. The large pattern felt overwhelming on me which is too bad because I like all the colors used. I tried throwing a blazer on over this top to see if I liked it any better. I did not. The reviews for this top seem to be good online so I think this is a case of the top not being cut for me. Back to the rack.

Superfluous Bellows Hoodie ($68) by Pure & Good, inconsistent sizing
style #20237970, sand (016)

The Superfluous Bellows Hoodie ($68) is a review by request. I hadn't given much thought to this pleated and ruched hoodie from Pure & Good, though I instantly loved the feel of it. It's very soft and a nice feminine twist on the usual college staple. "The dancer's top layer," my friend the dancer commented. She's not wrong in my opinion.

I found myself sizing up to a large and even that seemed to be a bit tight on me. Oddly, a week later a medium fit me just fine. So either I was carrying a bunch of water weight/bloat (which happens) or the sizing varies on the production run I tried. That was the bad. The good is that the length was great, I liked the poly mixed in to keep hoodie light (when do I ever say that?) and I think it's overall pretty irresistible. I'm probably going to wait for sale but this hoodie is wishlisted!

Light On Petals Cami ($58) by Lili's Closet, size down
style #20393997, multi (095) or white (010)

I first tried on the Light On Petals Cami ($58) late in February, and decided to leave it behind. Silly me! The multi version that you see on me above has been selling quickly online and reportedly it's going fast in stores too. So come mid-March I sought it out again, this time to buy. This cute top also comes in a solid white version. The top has a double ruffle layer and fits very loosely! There's a racerback and spaghetti straps, and though technically a loungewear item this piece is begging to be worn outside the home.

The shots above are a small which was still rather big on me. I found the x-small to be too short in front so I settled on oversized rather than under-long. Normally I'm against super flowy, I think the pattern in this case has my inner flower child pushing me to like it. The potential is great with this top and I'm happy with how it looks. Afraid of missing out, I decided to buy it at full price.

For the decorator: a new home design concept from Anthropologie (& a bonus fun tool for your kitchen)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As first reported by Decor8,  Anthropologie has launched an elegant new design concept tool tailored towards interior design. Anthro's home products feature strong points of view with bold patterns, unusual textures and materials and visually distinctive curiosities. For the non-professional it can be a challenge figuring out how all these pieces could ever work together. And that's exactly where the For the Decorator Tool comes in.

Of course there are other websites (and programs like CAD) to help you plan out a room or home. But none of those are presented in Anthro's unique language or style. Their lovable touches of whimsy and quirk is on full display as soon as you click into the glossary and holds from section to section. Helpful visuals in the layout tips mix patterns effortlessly while for the experts there are samples, chips and swatches for most of the home elements.

While Anthropologie's home items tend to run clearly in the luxury pricing bracket, the design ideas mentioned here can work at any budget level. If nothing else, glancing at the beautiful rooms on display makes me want to start a special savings fund for one of the We Love Vera rugs or the USA-made chairs with the vibrantly hued upholstery. I'm very impressed with the tool and it makes me yearn for these definitive touches to return to the apparel side of Anthro's business.

My other hope is that Anthropologie will begin translating this online advice into their stores. The Chelsea Market store in NYC, for example, is one of the few Anthros in the country to carry wallpaper in-store. It would be wonderful to see some of their At Home staff from their Philly office travel to the stores for inspiration and discussion. We shall see what the future holds! Have you tried the For the Decorator Tool yet?

Thanks to Lauren from the Dernier Cri for the heads up about this tool!

The For the Decorator Tool isn't the only fun toy in Anthropologie's home arsenal at the moment. Thanks to their Facebook page I found about this addictive tabletop design tool. Part tabletop planner and part MC Escher stereogram, you can pick every element from your background scheme (to match your kitchen decor) to the dinnerware, flatware, stemware, glassware, whateverware!

I have to admit I'm addicted to researching pretty dinnerware patterns, and while I can sadly only fit one set of plates and such in my apartment I hope to one day own a casual set, a for guests set, and a special occasion set. While I can't purchase anything quite yet I can while away the hours making pretty, symmetrical (and slightly psychedelic) pieces of dining art in the tool. If you haven't played around with the designer yet I highly recommend it for both the diner and the artist inside.

Have you visited the At Home side of Anthropologie's site recently?

Event: Meet today's choicest perfumers

Beginning Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie will be hosting a series of perfume workshops featuring many of Anthro's most alluring scents. Each night the artisans behind these scents will talk the art of perfumery and samples will be on-hand for scent experimentation.

I went to an event with Le Labo late last year at the Chelsea Market Anthropologie and it was so much fun! I'm sad I won't be able to make any of these events. Anthropologie is personally reaching out to New York area-based EA community members through this post. If you're interested in attending, RSVP with the event(s) you'd like to attend to Be sure to specify which events you'd like to attend. Space is limited!

If any community members do attend and are able to snap some photos please let me know! I can't wait to hear all about these fun mini-events!

A reminder too that if you'd like to attend EA's NYC Day out on April 9th, RSVP's are due by tomorrow! More details in this post.

Playing the Sale Guessing Game

Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome to EA's weekly Sale Guessing Game! After a small clothing markdown this week I'm excited to see what's in store for us tomorrow morning. Will it be home? Will it be clothing? Or will it be a break from markdowns altogether? If you hear anything from your local store we very much appreciate your report in the comments.

This post is no guarantee that any of these items will actually be on sale come tomorrow. What are you hoping to see? What do you think will/won't go on sale? If you see an item on sale today please let us know so I can update the list. If you're looking for reviews of any of these items, use the "Search the Archives" box in the sidebar.

Home items that are tempting me.
Atelier Chesterfield, Bottle Green
Bright Morning Teacups
Copper Clad Nightstand
Corrigan Chair, Linen
Emeline Chair
From The Deep Dinnerware
Love Letters Sheet Set
Louisa Settee
Perpetual Blooms Towels
Spiny Lobster Rug
Stippled Tapestry Rug
Vernal Cusp Rug
Zarzis Towels

About due for a shuffle to sale.
Arid Hues Sweater ($78)
Blurred Petals Pullover ($118)
Cherry Drops Corset ($88)
Creased Swirls Corset Top ($88)
Decade-By-Decade Skirt ($128)
Delicate Drafts Cardigan ($98)
Flora Exemplar Cardigan ($128)
Freckled Blouse ($98)
Gull Wing Dress ($168)
Memory of Feathers Dress ($158)
Mittaghorn At Midnight Blouse ($98)
Pom Flower Shift ($158)
Pond Reflections Dress ($168)
River Fish Dress ($298)
Sing Sweetly Party Dress ($148)
Sun Shades Dress ($158)
Take Action Dress ($168)

Second wave colors are disrupting my sale dance.
Hermitage Top ($98)
Light As Air Pullover ($78) 
Look About Blouse ($98)
Maryam Tank ($58)
Silken Stitches Dress ($168) 

Doing the sale dance for these.
Trammel Cardigan ($98)

Dear Anthropologie, my budget requires that the following go on sale.
Painted Morning Skirt ($88)

**IMPORTANT NOTE** At the moment, the  'subscribe' feature is not working consistently in the comments. It's  only working for people with IntenseDebate accounts, and only sometimes.  We are working on it!!

The Trade Market: Looking to Buy

Welcome to the Trade Market! This is Effortless Anthropologie's weekly buy posting. You are welcome to create classified-style listings in the comments or link to an outside auction service. Please note that resellers are not permitted. Please note this post is for buying only -- there is a separate selling/trade post below.

All transactions listed within are conducted independently of this blog and as such I have zero involvement. If you have a positive experience you're welcome to leave a comment stating such. If you have a negative experience please send me feedback directly via email to snapsparkchik (at) Please make sure to read The Trade Market Guidelines before posting. You can also view past Trade Market posts by clicking on the "trade market" button in the sidebar. Cheers to a wonderful community!

**IMPORTANT NOTE** At the moment, the 'subscribe' feature is not working consistently in the comments. It's only working for people with IntenseDebate accounts, and only sometimes. We are working on it!!

Guide to commenting with IntenseDebate.
How to add photos to your IntenseDebate comment.

The Trade Market: Looking to Sell/Trade

Welcome to the Trade Market! This is Effortless Anthropologie's weekly buy/sell/trade posting. You are welcome to create classified-style listings in the comments or link to an outside auction service. Please note that resellers are not permitted. Please note this post is for selling/trading -- there is a separate buying post above.

All transactions listed within are conducted independently of this blog and as such I have zero involvement. If you have a positive experience you're welcome to leave a comment stating such. If you have a negative experience please send me feedback directly via email to snapsparkchik (at) Please make sure to read The Trade Market Guidelines before posting. You can also view past Trade Market posts by clicking on the "trade market" button in the sidebar. Cheers to a wonderful community!

**IMPORTANT NOTE** At the moment, the 'subscribe' feature is not working consistently in the comments. It's only working for people with IntenseDebate accounts, and only sometimes. We are working on it!!

Guide to commenting with IntenseDebate.
How to add photos to your IntenseDebate comment.

The weekend in-store community post

Friday, March 25, 2011

Note: New posts run below this one.

I have noticed a lot of community members sharing in-store deals and spots in the comments of various posts. Inspired by the weekly Seek & Find posts started by the lovely Alexis over at J.Crew Aficionada, I think now is a good time to start a similar weekly post here.

This post is for community members to trade information. You can ask for help in finding an item, report back on what you saw in-store at your local Anthro, ask general questions, make a request, or just stop by to say hello. I love how helpful this community can be! Please note that items for sale belong in the Trade Market, as do 'looking to find' requests for past season items. Comments that erroneously get posted in this thread will be deleted.

Some FAQs....
- What does "sub" mean?It means that people are subscribing to the comment thread. You can do this by either clicking the small RSS icon at the top right of the comments section or by selecting either subscribe to "all new comments" or "replies" in the comment box in the comment form.
- Someone in the comments said they wanted to buy an item from me, but it's been x hours and I haven't heard squat. What should I do?I give people 24 hours for the benefit of the doubt. After that move on to the next person that contacted you.
- Someone said they returned an item at the store 20 minutes ago but I just called the store and it's gone. What gives?!?
A store associate might have taken a fancy to it or a customer might have grabbed it. Maybe it's just at the bottom of a big ol'pile. Unfortunately, you're out of luck.

Recommended reading:
Gigi's tips for a successful swap
Ways to find hidden inventory on Anthro's site
How do I find reviews for x item?
Ways to find style numbers on Anthro's site for sold-out items (it's right below the Lilac Ombre Heels photo)

Guide to commenting with IntenseDebate.
How to add photos to your IntenseDebate comment.

**IMPORTANT NOTE** At the moment,  the 'subscribe' feature is not working consistently in the comments. It's only working for people with IntenseDebate accounts, and only sometimes.

Eye Candy: Anthropologie's Soho Spring Fashion Show

Every Anthropologie event should be like the one I attended on Wednesday night! I attended the Spring Fashion show on Wednesday night at the Soho Anthropologie here in NYC. This is part of the in-store fashion shows Anthro has been doing each season at select stores around the country. And Wednesday night was pretty much perfect.

I'm always tickled when these invitations land in my inbox! I was impressed with how the event had been redesigned since the holiday show. This time around the models were not only Anthropologie employees, there were customers modeling too. I think that's a terrific hook. All of the customer-models effectively got a personal shopping appointment while Jeff Banks, the head personal shopper for the NYC stores (and our Styled with Anthro head consultant) picked out the right look for each model. And then each model told their friends, who came to the event and made their own personal shopping appointment. I was excited to invite Keenan from the Styled with Anthro series to be one of the models. (Usha was sadly not available.)

And oh yeah, I got to be one of those customer-models. Squee!

Jeff did an incredible job picking out looks for each model. Backstage many of the customers came to the same conclusion I did -- I wasn't really into this season's pieces, but seeing how they can work together in an outfit helped open my eyes to the possibilities! I'm still not in love with Anthro's Spring line (sadly) but now at least I'm starting to see more pieces that will work in my wardrobe.

The event started with hors d'oeuvres and a fantastic DJ setting the mood. The fashion show itself took place right on the floor, where a bunch of racks had been moved to create a runway. The audience sat on either side in simple white chairs. After the show Christina from Anthropologie's home office spoke about the focus of the line this year (long skirts and an emphasis on tops) and all the models mingled with the crowd before eagerly deciding what to buy for the night. It was low-key, it was fun, and I had a great time. I got to meet several community members which is always a thrill! The Soho store did a fabulous job hosting and running the event. Have you attended any Anthropologie in-store events or fashion shows?

Of course I took a bunch of photos. A huge thanks as well to Harriet, Soho's personal shopper, who snapped some shots of the runway show with my camera while I was waiting to walk. Select shots are below and you can see the full set here. Coming up later today I'll unveil a Polyvore collection with many of the show's looks. A few of the pieces we wore aren't online yet but I will continue updating as they appear. I owe a lot of the great photos to Tara of Little Girl Big Closet, whose wonderful photo tutorial series helped me immensely. Thank you Tara!!

How do you get invited to these events? It's easy -- if you chat with your local personal shopper, they can get you on the list. I've spoken about how great the personal shoppers are before but I'll say it again: they're fantastic! There's no charge to set up an appointment and they don't work on commission. So they're only focused on making sure you're happy. You'd be surprised at the items you end up liking even if you never would have picked it yourself. It's fun to do with friends too!

Setting up the runway.

The models chat backstage.

Jeff preps one of the model's looks.

My favorite look of the night: The Antilles Tank ($68) worn backwards 
with the Ackee Pencil Skirt ($138), the Mellifluous Cinch Sandals ($118) 
and the Sumerian Belt ($58). The model reports the sandals were TTS and comfy!

In this outfit: the Free Skate Blouse ($248) with the J Brand Gigi Crops ($158), 
the Daily Brights Satchel ($188) and a scarf I don't see online.
Not shown: the shoes, which were the Floral Fandango Heels ($188).

On the left model: Gathered Hemlock Dress ($148) 
with the Marble-Carved Peep Toes ($178) and the Shaggy Bouquet Clutch ($198).
On the center model: Budding Dahlia Dress ($248) 
with Burnished Mesh Belt ($32) worn backwards and Usekh Necklace ($48). 
Shoes are the Embroidered Frequencies Platforms ($588). 
On the right model: Crisp Chambray Blazer ($88) over Light On Petals Cami ($58) 
and Rugged Roll-Up Shorts ($298). With Dearie Me Wedges ($150),  
Lavender Era Bag ($78) and Nuances Necklace ($48).

Ashley, who is Chelsea Market's Personal Shopper;
yours truly, and Jeff Banks.

See the full set of photos here.

From J. Brand to Alexander Wang, Shopbop is back with another giveaway!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh how Shopbop loves our community! If you haven't won one of their $100 giftcard giveaways yet I've got another chance for you. What would I use the gift card for? I've got a few items I love that $100 would help with...

Shopbop has a fantastic selection of J Brand Jeans. I'm in the market for some new white denim and I think either the 22" Martini ($168) or the 17" Bootcut ($168) would be perfect.

Then again, maybe I'm safer off in the sale section. One of my favorite designers right now is Alexander Wang, and I like to hit Shopbop's Alexander Wang sale page every so often just to see what's dropped into my price range. Right now I'm loving the Constance Platform Booties in both felt (now $324) and leather (now $335). If only they were my size!

In my daydreams I'm attending fabulous parties all the time, so I need plenty of pretty dresses like Herve Leger's Starburst Dress ($1500). This stunning dress has the mix of black and white in chiaroscuro that I simply love. You're invited to come along -- you'll just need to pick out a different dress. Shopbop has plenty to choose from on their Designer Sale Page. For some style inspiration you can also check out their blog or lookbooks.

Ready for the chance to have a Shopbop e-gift certificate to call your own? Note that this contest is open to international entries!

Here's how to enter:
In the comments on this post or via email to the EA contest inbox let me know a Shopbop item you're loving right now. Want an extra entry? Become a follower of Shopbop's Twitter feed. (Let me know in your comment if become their follower!) You must follow Effortless Anthropologie to enter. To become a follower click the "FOLLOW" button in the Kindred Spirits section of the sidebar.

The not-so fine print: You are entering to win one (1) $100 Shopbop e-gift card. This contest is not sponsored by, endorsed by or affiliated with Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. Shopbop is sponsoring this contest but is not responsible for administration or choosing the winner. This contest is void where prohibited. This prize is not transferable. This prize may not be exchanged for cash. Once contacted, the winner has 72 hours to claim the prize. International entrants welcome!

The contest will close on Monday April 4, 2011, at 5 PM ET. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Good luck to all!

Reviews: Perennial Blooms Shift, Land Of Springs Dress, Soft Borders Shift, Quiet Blush Dress, Kingston Road Dress, Tippi Dress

Perennial Blooms Shift ($248) by Anna Sui, size up for curves
style #20404034, yellow (079)

To call the Perennial Blooms Shift ($248) a shift is deceptive -- on the hanger sure it looks straight, but once you try the dress on you discover that it's got some subtle tailoring to it. In truth this dress is very difficult to wear and is only going to flatter a select few. Why? It's cut loose up top which is great for larger chests, and there's an odd curvature to the midsection of the fabric. So if you're straight, boy-shaped or a pear, this dress is going to give you fits. Petites might have issues with where the curvy seams of the fabric hit -- if it's proportionally too high or too low the dress will look and feel odd. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

This dress didn't look perfect on me but I think it was tailored for an hourglass shape similar to mine. I think the funniest part of this dress is how it made my butt look rounder...curvier...something! I'm usually a 4 or a 6 in Anna Sui, but in this case I had to size up to a 10 to slide the dress over my thighs. This left the top portion loose, though not as loose as I expected. The sturdy linen material feels like a hardcover book. It's thick, which makes me wonder how comfortable the dress would be in the summer. I adore the pattern though. A mixed-size print that is executed very well. Still, I'm not as excited about this dress as I want to be. I gave this dress 4 stars because I like how it looked on me, but be warned that this dress is an odd duck. Wishlisted!

Land of Springs Dress ($118) by Weston Wear, TTS
style #20665717, blue motif (049) or red motif (069)

I see great potential in Weston Wear's Land of Springs Dress ($118), just not on me. I imagine the paparazzi snapping photos of one of the MTV reality chicks from out west in this dress. She'd look easy, breezy and tan with this dress loosely flowing too and fro. Introduce my curves to the mix however and the result isn't as flattering. Perhaps this has something to do with the thin horizontal stripes which emphasize my hips and thighs. Or maybe it's the stretchy rayon/spandex mix that works OK in tops but isn't really helpful in dress form.

My usual size medium slipped on easily. The top portion of this dress is very fun! The shoulder knots and drop neck (with a layer underneath, thank goodness) are casual and cool. I like the draped looseness of the top section. It's not overdone. I pondered adding a belt to the mix but the truth is it wouldn't help the stretching across my thighs. I don't think this dress is meant for me. Points for being made in the USA, but not enough to win me over. Back to the rack.

Soft Borders Shift ($298) by What Goes Around Comes Around, TTS
style #20410288, pink (066)

I wonder how Anthropologie collaborations are born. What Goes Around Comes Around just so happens to have a store two doors north of the Soho Anthropologie here in NYC. Does that mean that one day the Anthro team strolled to their right, met the label designers and a partnership was born? Perhaps the deal was sealed over drinks at Cipriani or pizza at Ben's. (Or a sandwich at Rheon, RIP. Sniff!) Many of you probably know the brand through Rachel Zoe. But for those who don't WGACA is one-part amazing vintage collection (mostly 70s, mostly $$$$) and one part in-house design/modern trend label. I was afraid to go into their store for a long time because of the imposing black metal stairs and intimidating signwork but truth be told the store is very fun and cute inside!

The in-house label releases really cool designs. Very 20-something trendy pieces with impeccable fabric choices. I don't know if Anthropologie has carried this line before but I'm excited to see it now. I'm not surprised that the first piece is a 70s-inspired peasant frock but I do hope to see some of WGACA's more modern, colorblocked pieces eventually. The Soft Borders Shift ($298) is an ethereal piece of Fleetwood Mac heaven rendered in silk and paisley. Anthro's website would have you believe this dress is pink...I'm going with brown, maybe peach at my most generous.

A medium fit well. I like the slightly puffy sleeves and the loose elegance of this dress. It sorely needs a belt on me but otherwise looked and felt great. Wide pleated smocking in the back helps with shape while the front placket keeps the dress from being too 1-dimensional. This dress is not my style at all but it is beautiful. Is it worth full price? I think so. Back to the rack for me, but highly recommended!

Quiet Blush Dress ($168) by Moulinette Souers, TTS
style #20367496, pink (066)

Nope. There's my one-word review. My guess is that Moulinette Soeurs' Quiet Blush Dress ($168) was supposed to be this year's Drifting By Dress -- a dreamy, super-feminine dress that cooed to Anthro fans everywhere. The ideas here are right. Pleated skirts are on-trend; the midcentury shape recalls housewives of yore. It even has the same oddly sheer shoulders as its predecessor. Yet this dress falls far short on execution for me. Rayon/polyester? No thanks. And that's just the beginning.

The pleats are wide -- too wide in my opinion. They look messy and make the top portion look heavier. The big pockets aren't helping. It's nice that this dress has a clearly defined waist (the sash was missing on my dress) but wow does this dress make me look wide. That is not the look I'm going for. Pass, pass, pass. I tried on a medium for reference.

Kingston Road Dress ($228) by Eva Franco, TTS
style #20690236, yellow (079)

This is the prettiest beach towel I've ever worn! I had a towel with these exact stripes as a kid; I wish I had a photo to share. It lent a deep sense of nostalgia to the Kingston Road Dress ($228). I love the model shot of this dress but knew immediately I was in trouble as the v-neck is quite low cut. The material is nubby cotton as Anthropologie puts it that feels light and airy.

My usual size 6 fit perfectly, even over my jeans in the dressing room. The sash is pleasantly like the one the product shows and can be tied either forwards or backwards. Again my only issue is the low cut v in the front. For me this means a layering cami is necessary which reduces this dress's utility. It would make a great bathing suit cover-up, but a very expensive one. Wishlisted for reconsideration at sale time.

Tippi Dress ($268) by Anna Sui, TTS
style #20050183, blue motif (049)

As this set began, so too shall it close. Anna Sui's second appearance in this reviews set comes via the Tippi Dress ($268), a whimsical frock that I am in love with! The pretty blue-green base hosts a landscape of spooky houses and a flock of birds that feel slightly Hitchcockian with a Suessical twist. The dress's shape is endlessly fun too -- I left the drawstring waist quite loose so the dress could just fall, but you can also draw it in to define your waist.

My usual size 6 fit easily over my jeans. The slight ruffle along the neckline is a nice touch and the skirt moves wonderfully as you walk. The lightest silk is used to make this dress and it feels chill on. I am in love! Throw a blazer over this one and I'm wearing it to work. Wishlisted for now.