Thursday, June 4, 2009

J.Crew: Metallic-Linen Tie-Front Tank Dress Review

This is J.Crew's Metallic-Linen Tie-Front Tank Dress (item #11801), which originally retailed for $168, and is currently on sale for $119.99.  It appears to be available in this one color, light pewter.  It is the only one listed online, and I believe it was the only color I saw in-store.  J.Crew describes the dress as such:
Lightweight linen with a luminous metallic sheen. Detailed with an inset waistband and a self-tie bow front and center (we love how it accentuates the waistline). Sleeveless silhouette. Fitted bodice, gathered skirt. Scoopneck at front and back. Side-seam pockets. Side zip. Fully lined. Falls above knee; 22" from natural waist. Import. Machine wash. Available in select stores.
I tried this dress on in a size 4 in the light pewter color.  I was not really interested in this dress, but I was already on an (ugly) metallic garment streak, so I figured I'd keep it going.  As for the fit, I think the dress fits fairly true-to-size, but trends towards running a bit big.  I am a pretty solid 4 in dresses, and you can see in the picture below that there is a wee bit of gaping at the sides of the bust.  This could be a function of the armholes (maybe they are too long or wide), but I remember the dress being a tad on the roomy size.

As for the fabric, it is a surprisingly lighter-weight linen.  Just looking at the dress, I would have expected it to be on the midweight side, but it is extremely light.  The dress shine on the dress is a bit more prominent than it appears in pictures.  I wouldn't say that the dress necessarily looks shiny, but it definitely has more sheen than the pictures would make you think.  I didn't care much for the metallic element - personally, I thought it made the dress verge too close to the "trash bag" look, as opposed to a subtle hint of shine, which I think is what they were going for.

The lining of the dress was nice and soft, and the outer fabric was...I would say kind of weird.  It was smooth, but at the same time, it was a little textured because of the metallic threads (I hope that makes sense).  I think the length was nice.  As with most regular dresses, this one came to my knees, whereas on the model it's above the knee.

The tie, as with J.Crew's other tie-front dresses this season, is not really functional.  If you tried to re-tie the tie in order to tighten the dress in the middle, it would look pretty funny, because the front of the dress would bunch up on you.  I don't particularly care for the bow on this dress (and I own two different tie-front dresses from J.Crew), because I think it is too much when coupled with the metallic element.

One plus with this dress is that it is machine washable.  That's probably because the J.Crew designers knew you'd be too embarrassed to take this to the dry cleaners.  So really, they were just looking out for everyone here.

I never intended to buy this dress, and I can say that after trying it on, I was even more convinced.  I think this dress is kind of ugly, and I can't even fathom where you would wear it.  I don't think the elements work together at all, and I think the allover metallic look is too much, and no offense, comes too close to the edge of trashy for my comfort.  Not surprisingly (to me, at least), this dress is already on sale, but surprisingly (to me, at least), there are very few left in stock.  This is a dress I would have thought would linger in the sale section.

What do you think?  Do you like this dress?  Where would you wear it?


Anonymous June 4, 2009 at 5:41 PM  

I kind of like this dress. Why do you think it's "trashy"? B/C of the metallic? The shape is similar to the tie-front dress, minus the sleeves.

TUMC June 4, 2009 at 7:29 PM  

:-( Wait, is it bad to admit I like this dress? Maybe because my style is generally pretty conservative/classic (read: basic black, straight lines), it reads differently on me. I wouldn't be surprised if it runs a bit large, because I'm between two sizes and fit the smaller one better in this dress. I also found some amount of variation between different dresses of the same size in this style.

Emily June 4, 2009 at 9:41 PM  

I didn't think the dress look bad on you but the wrinkles drive me nuts!

goldenmeans June 4, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

oh actually I think this dress looks supercute on you! you've made me want it now :)

Anonymous June 4, 2009 at 10:44 PM  

"That's probably because the J.Crew designers knew you'd be too embarrassed to take this to the dry cleaners. So really, they were just looking out for everyone here."

The tone of your review is quite acerbic. I must say it's a real turn-off.

JTS June 5, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

@Anon 5:41 - I said "trashy" because I don't think the shine is done well when you see it in real life, but that is just my opinion! They actually made this dress in a jersey fabric, and I really like that one.

@TUMC - No, definitely not, and I'm sorry if I was too harsh in my review! My style is also very conservative, so I think that contributed to why I wasn't crazy about this dress. I think it is so annoying when there is variation between sizes like that - I wish they would try to be a bit more consistent. :( And I'm glad this dress worked for you!!

@Emily - Thank you! Yes, that is a good point - very wrinkly, and I cannot stand wrinkles either! Ironing is probably my least favorite chore, haha!

@goldenmeans - Thank you so much! It is on sale right now in a whole bunch of sizes!! Are you going to check it out?

@Anon 10:44 - I'm sorry if that offended you; I meant it as a joke. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I try not to be too negative during reviews, but I think I'm allowed to be sarcastic once in a while :)

KatyO. June 5, 2009 at 12:25 AM  

Hmmmm... I'm just not feeling this dress, although I think it flatters you, actually. Well, the cut of the dress at least, if not the color and material.

The bow is way to cutesy for me, but I could see how many would like this. :)

HeidiG June 5, 2009 at 1:20 PM  

I tried this on yesterday and liked it, but not enough to get it. I thought the sheen was subtle enough - maybe for a beach wedding?

But I think the wrinkles and the sheen work at cross-puposes and just make the fabric confusing. The sheen tries to dress it up and the wrinkly linen tries to dress it down, and it just creates turbulence.

I would love this cut in another fabric or solid color. Khaki linen - where are you? (still wishing the Playa dress came in regular khaki linen, too)

Cate June 5, 2009 at 2:53 PM  

i actually like it on you! I think the melody dress is cuter, but this one is cute too!

Paper Bag Princess June 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM  

I don't think I dislike the dress as much as you do, but I definitely see some hot mess potential! (: For me, its the wrinkles.

JTS June 10, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

@KatyO - Thank you! I am not a fan of the material at all! The bow is okay for me, but I prefer it on a more understated dress (like the cotton one, which I do have).

@HeidiG - Oooh, that would be a good place to wear it! I agree that the sheen and the wrinkles sort of fight with each other.

@Cate - Thank you! :)

@PBP - Hehe, I would love to see your JCrew Math on this one!

ashley June 11, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

i do like the tie front detail. it looks like it wrinkles too easily.

Anonymous June 11, 2009 at 10:57 PM  

I got this dress today and initially had concerns about the fabric as well. It is light as a feather and comfortable. The slight iridescence mixed with linen actually creates a texturally interesting look. I think with the right (but minimal) jewelry and flat sandals it will be something to wear to an art opening or for a casual evening out on a nice beach vacation. Even a night out in the city when it is really hot and humid, this can be a casual chic option.

JTS June 13, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

@Ashley - I like the idea of the tie-front (love it in the knit dress), but I didn't care for it on this dress. And it definitely wrinkles easily!!

@Anonymous - I'm glad this dress worked out for you! :) I agree about the jewelry being minimal, and with flat sandals, that sounds like a cute outfit!