Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fashionable Ponderings About Clements Ribeiro's Swan Collection

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Are you familiar with Clements Ribeiro? They've teamed up with Evans to launch Swan specially for plus sizes. 

I was curious about what they were going to bring to the table of plus sized design. I've noticed it's exceptionally challenging to find designer plus sized clothing that's flattering and priced affordably. Isn't this tulip "21" dress ($120/£70.00) lovely?

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There's elegance, sexiness, and femininity in that photo. All qualities I love to possess when dressing to go out with my husband or friends. I couldn't resist clicking through and taking a gander at the dress for myself. It was a mixture of curiosity and whim while I considered how seriously I felt about purchasing it.

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It's made of 100% viscose which can be manufactured to be shiny or plain. When I compared the available store version to the one in the ad version I noticed a distinct lack of shine. I'm not sure if it's just a difference in lighting or an actual difference in manufacturing. I also noticed the ad version seems much shorter than the sale version. Is it just me or does the ad version look black and the sale version more of a navy blue? In fact, the description on the retailer's website lists it as navy. Whether the differences outside of the coloring are due to styling or just the fit on a very tall leggy model, I've no idea. It's all left me with these thoughts:

~A. Is this dress really the same as the one that's pictured? 

~B. Am I willing to risk purchasing it without being unsure?

~C. If I purchase it and it's the same material but not the same fit, can I at least have it altered so that I might reach my closest approximation to what's advertised?

~D. Who's in charge of deciding the boundaries of what's plus sized and why have they chosen size 10 (US/UK 14) falls in that category? How many size 10 women consider themselves plus sized? 

~E. Why does the dress for sale on Evan's website look like a dress my grandmother would wear? Obviously the designers are acknowledging in the ad that plus sized women want to look young and sexy, and not like their grandmothers. 

Without a doubt, the Swan collection from Clements Ribeiro is drop-dead gorgeous. However, I'm not confident enough to purchase this online. I'd have to judge it in person before taking that plunge.

How about you? Are you willing to buy a dress and then have it altered? Are you willing to take a leap of faith and purchase a dress if you're not sure it will look the same as it did in an ad? 


  1. I'm not familiar with either, so I had to click on the links to look a bit more. There are definitely a lot of gorgeous pieces. I would like to get my mitts on the Bad Joan dress, but like this 21 one, I think they lack a bit of waist definition. Kinda shapeless, really, in my opinions. I would probably wear a belt to make it look like I had a waist with all their dresses.

  2. I like the Betty dress's shape a bit more than some of the others. I'd have to say what's shown in the ads really raised my expectations a lot higher than what I found at the online shop. Everything in the shop, as you pointed out, is a bit shapeless which is what made me think of my grandmother. I think I'd have to have the pieces tailored or else get sewing lessons and learn how to do it myself for it to look as good on me as it does in the ads.

  3. I cant say I am familiar with it either but I do think it is important to be available (fashion wise) for the girl who is not cookie cutter and cant fit into the traditional mold!

  4. Great post, Rach! For one, I don't think size 10 is plus-sized as you know. Also, the dress in the ad very well may be a sample, which means a possible change in style, fabric, length, etc. I'm sure they have secret styling techniques to rev it up too. Honestly, I wouldn't feel comfortable buying it if I wasn't 100% sure. Internet returns are especially annoying.