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Review Revue: Lucie Lu | Manolo for the Big Girl

Review Revue: Lucie Lu

Oh man, is there anything worse than being asked to review an advertiser’s product? Well yes, but not that I’ve been asked to do recently. Okay, excluding whatever it was that homeless guy by the wig-and-office-supply emporium on Capitol Hill asked for last week. That cannot be hygienic.

If it’s a bad review you have to worry about losing advertising revenue and if it’s a good review it can look like pandering to the almighty dollar (Dear Almighty Dollar, You look really pretty today. No, I mean it. Do you want to do some hot yoga and talk about people we don’t like? Call me! Love, Miss Plumcake) and then you lose credibility with your readership. This is why I’ve been putting off doing a review on advertiser and all-around nice girl Lucie Lu’s line of plus-size clothing.

Now here’s the disclaimer: Lucie Lu’s clothing is designed for a person who is not even remotely me. The Lucie Lu girl is very young, values quirkiness over chic, comfort over sophistication and is generally more of a busty apple than a pear. So when you don’t see me fawning over every piece saying I’ll die if I don’t have it in my closet, it’s not because they’re bad, it’s just that they’re not what I wear.

But actually, that’s a good thing.

Frankly, it’s not that hard to find fab clothes when you’re tall, more-or-less hourglass-shaped and have a decent amount of disposable income to throw at the situation. It’s when you’re quite young, short, racked-out or apple-shaped and working on a limited budget that things get difficult and that’s where Lucie Lu comes in.

The piece Lucie sent me was the Lace Party Dress a flirty little 80’s-style number available in several colors.

The Fit:
I’d say the dress runs pretty true to size and the garment measurements are listed right there on the page –I love it when a site has that– although if you’re quite tall keep in mind that knee-length is a movable feast. The hem hit me at the very top of the knee and even higher in back. The bust was roomy enough and although the cut isn’t the most flattering on the massively-mammed, your gals won’t be suffocated. The waist was a little bit short, but the empire look is still very popular so even if you’ve got long stretches of torso like your pal Plummy, it doesn’t look weird.

The Construction:

I don’t think it’s possible for me to overstate how glad I am that all of Lucie Lu’s dresses are made in the USA.

I am a big proponent of buying American or at least from countries where workers have human rights laws in their favor. I know we can’t avoid buying some products from places that use sweatshop labor, but as decent human beings, I think we really ought to at least make a valiant effort to avoid feeding into the sweatshop/child labor cycle.

That being said, the construction could’ve been better.

It wasn’t BAD, but I was expecting a little more attention to detail.

The clothes are very competitively priced so obviously you’re not going to find couture detailing, but on my sample, there were several thread and unfinished bits hanging off, plus the lace that joined the sheer neckline to the bodice was sewn incorrectly and didn’t lie flat. And that was on a product they knew was going to be reviewed for publication. Still, it’s no worse than what you’d find on your basic entry-level fashion, and at least we know the people sewing these dresses won’t get chained to their cots and beaten for messing up an embellishment.

Comfort:
Incredibly comfortable. Normally when we think of tulle we think of the scratchy starched tulle, but the Swiss overlay is the softest mesh tulle imaginable. Everything is stretchy, wrinkle-proof and easy to wear and although there were some dangling bits of thread and serge overlock, I can’t imagine a more comfortable party dress.

Style:
Like 90% of the Lucie Lu line, this skews very young and borderline twee. At 32, I felt like mutton dressed as lamb dressed as Cyndi Lauper.

The one way I managed to style it into something sophisticated was by pairing it with black textured tights, a pair of snub nosed Pedro Garcia Mary Janes with some pretty serious hardware, a boiled shirt open and knotted at the waist (sleeves cuffed up and sufficiently zhushed) and a seven-strand bib of large milk glass pearls plus sparkly 50’s earrings.

If you were in your early 20s or younger, you most certainly could wear this 80’s style, just plain or with a shrug –they’ve got several available and I like them a lot– and look adorable beyond endurance, but it was a lot of effort and some considerable Advanced Fashion to style this into something resembling chic. Women past the first blush of youth might be better served to look at some of her other more grown-up offerings and leave this one to the youngsters.

Room for Improvement:
Aside from the construction issues I mentioned above, this dress is great for what it is at the price point it’s offered, as is the rest of Lucie Lu’s line. As for the rest of the line I’d personally like to see less t-shirt knit, fewer ruffles and more sleeves, but that’s something I tackled in our interview, so you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Conclusion:
Lucie Lu is a great place for whimsical sweet young things who value comfortable, quirky, ethically-produced garments but don’t have a lot of bank to drop on clothes, especially if you don’t have or would rather not emphasize a waist.

3 Responses to “Review Revue: Lucie Lu”

  1. Toastbat October 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    I have looked at, but never gone for, that particular dress, in large part because I was worried it might come off too sweet on me (a tall, racktacular size 30 who just turned 26), but I have to say, Lucie Lu is my favorite shop right now. I don’t love everything they offer, but they have a lot that suits me. I am more an apple (if one must be a fruit-body) in a hard-to-find size, and I live in dresses and though I do go with Kiyonna and Igigi sometimes, the price tag is a bit much most of the time (woo single motherhood). Plus, though the material on a lot of the items is tee-shirty, I appreciate that it’s SOFT. There’s only so much polyester a girl can take!

    Anyway, I’m actually wearing the green French bird dress right now–I wanted their dresses the last time they had screen prints (anchors, octopi, and birds I believe) but had no money at the time. I still look around the intertubes for someone’s cast-off 5x, but no dice. I will say, LL is a cleavage-factory, so…if you’re not cool with your jubblies jubbling along in public view (this dress in particular follows the edge of my bra pretty closely), you’re gonna need a tailor/sewing machine/cami, or a slip. The birdie dress, at least, is light and unlined, and thus a slip would not go unappreciated underneath.

  2. ChloeMireille October 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I think the dress would look a lot less twee in a richer color palette. It’s not nearly as saccharine in Dove as it is in the pink color shown.

  3. Tovah November 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    It’s a cute dress for a young girl. That color, however, I just can’t imagine it as being complimentary to any skin tone. I would maybe love it more in a sheer black with gray underneath. Also, the style just seems to fussy for us, the plus sized.