Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fast Fashion's Tznua Dresses

So I got some flak for my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post. Apparently many of you don't like to spend $600 or $800 on dresses. I'm truly shocked to learn this. With day school tuition so inexpensive, I figured we all had tons of extra money laying around for expensive clothes and trips to Israel. But I digress.

Out of respect for pretty much everyone and due to some super sleuthing by one of my coworkers, I bring you two dresses from fast fashion chains that are relatively affordable, even at their regular prices. And, even better, they are from the chains' fall fashion lines, so you should be able to find your size, assuming the store produced it.

First off is the $59.95 dress from H&M in aubergine. The top has a really interesting criss-cross drape that adds elegance to this solid dress. It's made of a combination of CUPRO and elastane. CUPRO appears to be a silk substitute that is made out of cotton linter, is similar to Tencel, and is machine washable. And as you've probably figured out by now, I love everything to be machine washable, mainly because I only remember to get my dry cleaning done once per year and I don't like spending $15 to get a dress cleaned. I think this dress would look great dressed up and worn to a wedding with heels and shiny jewelry. Dressed down with a belt, flats, and chunky jewelry, it could be worn shopping, out with friends, or to work. Unfortunately,  H&M doesn't offer online shopping yet, so you'll have to find this at your local H&M store. I know how hard it is to force oneself to go to the mall.

UPDATE 8/8: This dress hasn't yet arrived in H&M's warehouse, so no store has received this dress. This dress likely won't be available for purchase for another 2 - 3 weeks. If you are interested in knowing if it will be available in a store near you, call H&M's customer service at (855) 466-7467 after 8/22 and refer to item # 678880. This dress is in the "Modern Day Classic Wear" collection and could be available in most H&M locations.

UPDATE 8/29: I've been trying weekly to get information about this dress from H&M's customer service phone number and I got a different explanation every week I called. Two days ago, I asked the woman I spoke to at customer service if there was anyone else I could talk to, and she referred me to H&M's US Support Center (which is basically their headquarters for their US operation). I called, and the woman couldn't help me much over the phone because all of H&M's buyers are located in Sweden, but she contacted them and got back to me this morning. Here is what she told me:

"The dress is from our Trend label and the order number is 35216. It has been in our stores for about a week. Our US warehouse has only received a little less than 900 pieces and it will not receive any more shipments.

Our suggestion is to contact your local store that carried the ladies trend line to see if they have any in stock. We hope this information has been helpful."

In the DC region, I believe the "Trend" store is the one on F St NW in DC, close to Metro Center. I'll call them today and update this post with their response. If you are not located in the DC area, I suggest calling H&M's Customer Service line at (855) 466-7467 to find out which store(s) in your area carry the "Trend" line, then calling that (those) store(s) directly.

This second dress, the Long Dress with Leaves, is more appropriate to wear to weddings. Most likely, if you're a mother of the bride or a bridesmaid. it's long-sleeve, high neck, long skirt, and perhaps a slight bit matronly. It's from Mango, so I'll assume that the matronly bit is in style. That being said, it's a machine washable special occasion dress that you're really  not supposed to dry clean. And, did I mention that it's only $169.99? I'm not sure many people have found less expensive bridesmaid gowns than that, even at gemachs. And, it's at least half the cost of getting a dress made (and will likely fit better, too). I wouldn't wear too much with it because the leaves are a bit sparkly already. But, there are always chunky rings and pretty earrings that would look really nice with this dress. You can purchase it online, and it's possible a few stores will sell it, but I would definitely call the store you want to buy it from before going out of your way to get there. Hopefully, they'll sell it at some of their many stores in Israel, too.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cute Maternity Dress for Fall

We all know it's hard to find a dress that's tznua off the rack. It's even harder to find a maternity dress that is tznua off the rack. But I found one!

Here is the Lantern Sleeve Dress by Maternal America at Amazon.com. It's really cute, flattering to many figures, and relatively inexpensive at about $50 for the dress in gray and $60 for the dress in black. This dress would be great for a fun evening out with friends, Shabbat, a casual wedding, or a pre-baby date night. And, since it comes with a belt and there are buttons on the turtleneck, very little accessorizing is necessary. Just throw the dress on and you'll be ready to go out!

Please note that the description of the dress says that it's dry clean only. The dress is a rayon/spandex blend. Based on the material, I believe that it could be hand washed or washed on a delicate cycle in the washing machine. The only issue with these washing methods is that the dress would likely dry wrinkled. If you have a good steamer, it should take care of the wrinkles. Otherwise, you'll probably have to spend the money on dry cleaning when you need to clean the dress.

Please also note that Maternal America often sizes their clothing slightly smaller than Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod do. If you're in between letter sizes, you may want to consider sizing up (i.e. if you're a 6 you may want to consider purchasing the medium instead of the small).