Dress Report: Another shirtdress, another day.

By | April 30, 2008

When I first saw this dress on the Lane Bryant website, I thought it looked like a Victorian nightshirt. Maybe a hospital gown.

I ordered it anyway, because I had a coupon and I enjoy a challenge. I’m glad to report that I was pleasantly surprised by what I recieved. For the past couple of seasons, Lane Bryant’s dresses have been far more miss than hit with me. There’s an abundance of cheap-feeling synthetic knits and obnoxious patterns, both of which are fine in moderation, but it’s seemed to me like both of the above, together, in various combinations, was all they had to offer as of late. Thus, I ordered a hospital-gown-looking dress, simply out of gratitude that there was a dress on the site not made of polyester and not emblazoned with unimaginative and uninteresting florals. It’s cotton! With subtle stripes! I have to give it a try!

And with it, I did the following:


(For reference, the dress on me is a size 28.)

The dress is much more crisp and fresh looking in real life than it is in the unfortunate website representation; setting aside for the moment the extreme creepiness of LB’s head-chopped web images, I find bad pictures are an annoyingly common problem with Lane Bryant in particular (Torrid is a serial offender in this arena as well). Based on the nightshirt picture above, I had expected this would be the sort of dress that works fabulously when correctly styled, but looked drab on its own. I was wrong. The dress can totally stand by itself. It would be against my nature to wear it that way (MUST. LAYER.), but it’s nice to be reasonably assured that on a hot day I could shed a few dozen layers and still look good in the dress by itself.

And speaking of Torrid.

I gave this green cutout dress a shot because, well, it’s green, and I cannot resist green. Add to that the fact that it was on sale and I’m surprised Torrid didn’t just automatically bill me for it and ship it directly to my house as soon as it came into stock. The dress also looked lightweight and roomy and just plain pretty, all good attributes in a spring dress.

And I received it! And all was good in the land of green dresses. Except for one little, piddly, ever-so-inconsequential thing.

Reasons Why I Avoid Rayon, #7585834

(The Torrid dress above is a 4X.)

It’s made of rayon. I stopped buying woven rayon ANYTHING in the early 1990s, because if I did anything other than stand perfectly upright and motionless in a quiet room, within a matter of hours the damn garment would look like something designed by a Shar Pei (oh, I had such a collection of gorgeously soft and flowy rayon blouses by Esprit way back when, all of which required gratuitous ironing and still looked like rumpled rags by the end of the day, but I digress).

I hate wrinkles, but I hate ironing more. You can see my conundrum. I hadn’t actually realized just how bad the wrinkling was on this dress until editing the photographs. And when I did, I – this is so embarrassing – I actually attempted to photoshop the wrinkles out. I did. I admit it. I failed spectacularly, given that I am not in any way talented with photo retouching. But I tried. It’s a very, very wrinkle-prone dress, and I have to make my peace with that.

Aside from that, it’s not a bad garment, not by Torrid standards, which I generally identify as being overpriced and middling quality. Next time I wear it, I will either forego the sash or wear a different belt altogether, as the included tie belt wouldn’t stay put, and just shriveled itself into a wrinkled rayony rope anyway.

Next time: I am in search of cotton eyelet sundresses. Also, catalog whispering at its finest.

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