I have been looking for a sheath dress in a great suiting material for a long time now, just so I can make up a three- or four- piece suit (jacket, skirt, dress, pants). The biggest issue, as my fellow super petites can relate, is fit. My fit issues are a bit unique in that I wear 00P on the bottom due to my narrow hips and wear a 0P on top. When buying a dress, it's anyone's guess as to whether I could fit a 0P or a 00P. I generally end up with a dress that somewhat fits on top, but is too big on the bottom, or it fits on the bottom but is too tight on top.
Most recently, I haven't had any luck with Banana Republic (too tight on top) or Theory (too long on top for my short torso), but I have yet to try J.Crew dresses. One of the sweaters I've been stalking for months finally went on sale and I needed to fill the free shipping quota, so I decided to try on the Emmaleigh dress for size. To ensure I wasn't going to keep it, I ordered it in Royal Violet, thinking it was a color that I wouldn't like.
Here are a few photos in 00P (the color is much less fluorescent than is shown below):
My initial reaction was that I was in love. I didn't expect to like it at all because of the bright color, but after putting it on, I thought it would be a fun addition to my work wardrobe. It was only after I took the blog photos that I saw that it wasn't as great as I had first thought.
Quality: I am a big fan of the J.Crew's Super 120s wool. It's smooth and soft, and drapes incredibly well, assuming that you can get the item to fit you. The dress seems well-made. I found no issues with the construction. The dress is also full lined.
Look: The overall look of the dress is really nice. It is a great sheath that is appropriate for work or any other slightly more formal occasion. It can be both dressed up with a jacket and heels or you can try and wear it more casually with a pair of flats. It does have pockets that are sewn shut. If you are thinking of opening them, I would give it a second thought before actually doing so. I love pockets, but they can also ruin the lines of a dress or skirt because they tend to open as a result of any movement and you no longer get that streamlined look.
Another detail that I loved is that in the inside the shoulder there are little hidden clasps to hold in bra straps:
Sizing: In the mirror, I thought it actually fit rather well. The bust could fit a bit smaller but the waist fit, and I thought that the hips did too...until I took these photos. Then I realized, after seeing the back view, my rear didn't look that great:
Overall length: 34"Shoulder to waist. 14"
Waist to hem: 20"
Armpit to armpit: 14.5 (unstretched)
Shoulder to shoulder (outside seam to outside seam): 10.5"
Verdict: As much as I like the color, and the somewhat *close* fit, doing the actual slimming seems like too much work for this type of dress. If you have a larger bust and slightly larger hips than I do, the Emmaleigh has the potential to look amazing on you. For me, sadly, return.
To try it for yourself, grab it here. The Royal Violet color is on sale for $149.99 down from $188, plus, if you have a J.Crew credit card, check your inbox. You can get 25% off your entire order and free shipping (anything on the website!) until September 11. I'm thinking long and hard about what to buy. I'm also expecting new stock to be uploaded on to the site during the first few days of September so I'm holding tight until then. Anything J.Crew that you love and think I should try??