I’ve been looking for a black dress that is versatile enough to wear to work or to a dinner party, but doesn’t fall into LBD shift territory (not that I dislike shifts… I just don’t need more than one black shift dress hanging in my closet). As a fan of the whole feminine menswear thing, this tuxedo wrap dress in Italian wool crepe has been on my radar for a while– so when a sale popped up a while ago (
FYI, at the moment it’s $159.99 plus 30% off with the code HOLIDAYTIME 40% off with code STYLE2015), I decided to place an order just in time for office parties and holiday celebrations.
Here are a few photos out of the box:
Approximate measurements of size Petite 00: overall length (neckline to bottom hem) 33″, across shoulders 13.5″, under arms (armpit to armpit) 15.5″, waist 13.5″. Material: 100% wool, 100% polyester lining, 63% cotton/37% viscose trim.
The dress is fully lined and the wool crepe is comfortably lightweight. From the feel of the fabric (i.e., gripping it in my fist for a few seconds and releasing it), I don’t think it will wrinkle easily– to me, this is an important quality if I’m going to wear this all day in the office and possibly head out for drinks afterwards. The tuxedo details are interesting, but subtle. There is a chest pocket on the left-hand side that comes sewn shut, but can be cut open to fit a pocket square. The flap pockets at the waist are also sewn shut, but I cut them open and they’re actually pretty deep– large enough to fit my cell phone in one of them. In the third photo above, you’ll see that the lapel trim has more of a twill weave to it (I’m guessing that it is cotton/viscose fabric, not wool). The weave is not very noticeable IRL unless you look at it close up, but I think that this is a nice example of the type of detail that gives the dress a unique finish without being ostentatious. As noted in its name, the dress is a wrap style and closes up with the help of two regular buttons on the interior, two small interior snap buttons, and a larger fabric-covered button at the waist. Here is what it looks like on me (for reference, I’m 4’11):
Overall, the dress felt comfortable moving around. The hem hits the top of my knees and is an appropriate length for the office. While the torso/waist area is on the looser side on me, it’s not loose enough that I feel it needs to be tailored down. From reading the reviews on the J. Crew website, I was worried that the neckline might be too low, but this area seemed fine to me. At any rate, I’d probably still wear a black camisole underneath just to be safe.
The Upshot: I think this is a cool dress and I am a sucker for classic menswear details. The dress itself is not super-trendy or groundbreaking in appearance, but the quality is nice for the price-point and it does break up the monotony of shift styles in my closet. I see it as a piece that I will wear beyond one season and one setting (provided I don’t gain any more winter padding!).