Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Everlane Short Sleeve Silk Dress

Dress: Everlane Short Sleeve Silk Dress, black, size small
Shoes: Sam Edelman Sara, leopard, size 7.5

Buying the Everlane Short Sleeve Silk Dress ended up being more complicated than expected. I'm currently waiting for a replacement for the one I'm wearing above. Problems arose the first time I wore it: The fabric near the hem began pulling away from the seam that runs down the center of the dress in the front. I wasn't doing anything unusual, either. I wore it to dinner, and the damage occurred sometime between sitting down to eat and getting up after. You can see that the dress fits loose around the hips and thighs, so the fabric doesn't generally get strained in that area. I took an ultra close-up photo of the damage here. Everlane is generally known for good customer service regarding defective products, and my case proves no exception. They sent my replacement out before I even put the defective one in the mail, all free of charge. So all's well that ends well, though I confess to being a little nervous of whether the replacement will have similar quality issues.

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I'm also feeling some concern about how other silk products in my wardrobe might hold up over time. I've started seeing signs of wear and tear in some of my other silk items for the first time, now that I'm wearing them to work somewhat frequently. A gray Madewell silk tunic bought sometime in 2014 now has a few spots where the fabric is starting to wear thin, possibly because of the weight from the straps of my handbag (I carry either a Longchamp or the Everlane Petra Market, usually with a laptop inside). Both that tunic and the black Madewell dress from last June have some extremely faint but kind of large discolored spots that I assume came from being washed, the former by hand with some Laundress Stain Solution pre-soaking before using Laundress Delicates Wash, and the latter in the machine with my usual detergent. I've heard of people machine-washing silk with no issues, but with all this, I'll probably be sticking to hand-washing (without Stain Solution).

Now on to my actual thoughts about the Everlane dress! I like the casual design, and the unlined silk was enjoyable to wear in the hot and humid summertime climates I encountered while traveling. Being rather busty for my clothing size (I'm 36''-26''-37'' and 5'3''), anything this unstructured can make my chest (and the rest of me along with it) look larger than I like, but the flowy design and the way silk drapes means that this dress doesn't emphasize the chest too much or cause the rest of me to look bulkier. I would say that the fabric is nice and weighty enough (better than Madewell, equal to my recent Grana order) to make the design attractive, but it's not very thick. I still wouldn't have thought anything negative about the fabric quality were it not for the defects.

Although the unstructured and roomy tee dress shape is maybe a little too casual, in theory, for a white-collar NYC workplace, I could probably wear it there nonetheless, though only on days without formal meetings. My willingness to try it at work might or might not confirm that I'm indulging a growing preference for "dowdy" but comfortable clothing at work. The high-low hem is one possible sticking point for this dress's potential utility as office-wear. The highest part of the hem hits only a bit above the knee on me, but the high-low detailing emphasizes the "high" part, if you will, and makes it seem shorter than it is. The hem doesn't ride up in a problematic way when moving around, though, so it won't actually cause any risk of wardrobe malfunctions.

I really do like this dress. I intend to keep the replacement, assuming no repeat issues. Still, I can see the $98 price point being a little high for something that's mostly casual-wear, even if I can see myself wearing it to the office. I wouldn't have bought it so readily if I hadn't been under-budget for most of 2016 so far at the time of my initial order. Cuyana does a very similar design in what I assume is a much nicer silk (and made in the US), given the significantly higher price point.

Any suggestions or anecdotes you might have regarding how to launder silk without resorting to a dry cleaner would be greatly appreciated!

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