I was perusing the Banana Republic site during a recent sale and ended up ordering two dresses in silhouettes that I don’t normally gravitate toward: one is more on the figure-hugging side, the other an interesting take on the fit-and-flare. Reviews after the jump.
This dress comes in regular and petite sizing. I was really tempted to order the dress in black or this v-neck version in light grey, but because I was feeling adventurous (haha), I ultimately decided on the dark grey. I ordered the XXSP.
Approximate measurements of size Petite XXS: overall length (neckline to bottom hem) 31.5″, across shoulders 12.5″, under arms (armpit to armpit) 14.5″, waist 10.5″. Material: 75% polyester, 18% viscose, 6% spandex.
The dress is made with a stretchy, medium-thick jersey fabric and is lined, thereby reducing my concerns about the garment being too see-through. I do wonder how the fabric will hold up, as other jersey garments I own tend to pill a bit over time. It seems to be of decent quality, but I will try to be more careful with cleaning. The sleeves are long, but just right (sleeve length is a frequent problem for me, which is one reason why I usually push my sleeves back or opt for quarter-length or sleeveless designs). The hem hits about 2-3 inches above the knee.
There is asymmetrical ruching throughout the dress, which is very forgiving and conceals areas of my body that I’m self-conscious about, namely my belly and thighs. The added benefit of the ruching is that you could travel in this dress comfortably while still looking presentable after stepping off a long plane ride (which is the main reason I ordered this dress). However, note that you’ll still want to wear some seamless undergarments to avoid VPL– unfortunately that is one thing this dress will not forgive. Here is the dress with a blazer over it, which is probably how I’ll wear it for my short work trip this week:
The Upshot: Figure-hugging dresses aren’t usually my thing, but I do like this dress and how comfy it felt. The dress is clingy, but not scandalously so; I think the long-sleeves and jewel neckline help to keep the dress on the demure side. Overall, I like that I could wear this casually with sneakers or in more professional settings without feeling overly self-conscious about my body being “on display.”
This dress comes in regular and petite sizing. As noted in this post, the concept of fabric insets being used to visually narrow the figure has recently piqued my curiosity. I haven’t been a fan of fit-and-flare dresses lately, mainly because I tend to associate the silhouette with little girls and I’m trying not to look like that in the office right now. However, in addition to the inset design, I also liked that this dress fit into my wardrobe’s currently neutral color palette (which, to me, helps to offset the overly feminine vibe of the silhouette). I ordered the 00P.
Approximate measurements of size Petite 00: overall length (neckline to bottom hem) 31.5″, across shoulders 13.5″, under arms (armpit to armpit) 14.5″, waist 12″. Material: 56% cotton, 44% polyester; 100% polyester lining.
There are black fabric insets on the sides and on the inner part of the sleeves, as well as the bottom hem. Note that there is no stretch to this fabric. Personally, the dress fit me comfortably in the bodice and across the shoulders, but average reviews on the BR website indicate that the dress runs small overall. If you order online, you may want to try your normal size and one size up. The dress is lined only in the skirt and it has an exposed zipper in the back. In the front, the v-neckline is acceptable, not too deep or revealing when you bend over. The hem hits at about 3 inches above my knee, which is probably as short as I would go for office attire. I liked how this looked and felt with a blazer, black tights, and black heels for the winter.
The Upshot: If you’re like me and you’re not a girly-girl, this version of the fit-and-flare might appeal to you as an alternative to wearing a sheath dress or slacks to the office. The graphic black and white design is flattering in my opinion and balances out the “softness” of the fit-and-flare cut. I think it’s worth a try.