So it does happen! Dreams do come true. My dream of owning a Marchesa dress is finally a reality.. times two! Maybe three? Hell in a few months, maybe even five times over (totally imagining the disdain on BF's face right now as he's reading this). No longer will have I have to scour the racks of Goodwill looking for a child size Large in the Neiman Marcus: Marchesa for Target dress.
Actually, no. I lie. I'll probably still do that. It mean c'mon. It was a pretty awesome dress was it not? But at least now I can own one that doesn't need to arm holes to be cut open wider.
The thing that I found most interesting about this line (as I mentioned in the look book post) was the name. I'm having a hard time understanding why it couldn't just be called Pearl by Marchesa for JCPenney--unless Georgina Chapman plans on launching another line soon.. perhaps bearing her namesake? What a better way to get it out there than to really make the general public realize who is behind the Marchesa line? In any case, if you are looking for all the things that you love about Marchesa at an affordable price, this line will not disappoint.
In general, I found this line to be a little hit or miss. The hits are amazing and the misses not too bad. I gaffed at the price point initially, but for the most part, I found the prices to be fair with a few that were overly aggressive. What I loved most was the standard of quality and the detailing put into this line. They not only thought of how this garment would look on a person, but how would it look on a hanger as well. I love that there were extra steps taken to ensure that a strapless dress could be hung without gaping open and being accidentally ruined.
Things I didn't love? The promotion and placement of this line. There was absolutely no signage in-store. If you didn't know where you were going or you couldn't find an associate to help you out, you would be wandering for quite a bit. I don't know if the signage is just not there yet and is currently being delayed or if there will really be no signage at all. If its the latter, I will be greatly disappointed because I do feel this line deserves that kind of attention. In general, I think JCP handles their designer collaborations a lot differently than Target does. For one, one of the stores in my area barely had any of the items in store on launch day. Another was still missing around 25%.
And of course, there were some quality issues, as there will always be in a mass produced line. Not nearly as much as I found in the Prabal Gurung for Target collection, but a couple to note. Sizing/fit was also all over the place. I found myself bouncing back and forth between a 0 and 2. But what really bothered me was the careless placement of the tags...
Skewered! Right through the fabric. Way to poke a hole in a $70+ dress. I found this to be the case in almost every single dress I tried on. Straight through the fabric, not the seam, or into lace/mesh overlays. Make sure to check your garments carefully ladies because after a few try ons, I'm certain some holes are going to start popping up.
Now before I start the review, I'll be honest, I rarely step in to JCPenney. I can't even recall the last time I purchased an article of clothing from there, so the best I can do when referring to the fit of these items is to compare it to the size chart on the JCP website. According to the sizing chart, I should fall between a size 2 and 4 (you can find my exact measurements under my profile), and if that is the case, then the line definitely runs large.
So lets get reviewing shall we? I decided to create a visual index this time since there are so many items in this review. Feel free to scroll down or jump straight to the item you're most interested in!
You see this face? This is a face in love.
The Good: I was pretty iffy on this dress before I saw it in person. The promotional ad looked fantastic, but the stock photo looked super junior. This was actually the first dress I found the Pearl section. I literally gasped out loud, ran over and snatched it up. It really is a breath taking dress. Despite the fact that it looks like a deep shade of red, the dress is actually raspberry pink (see photo below). But thats the great thing about mesh overlays, done correctly, they can completely change the color of an item. I love, love, the muted red this combination creates. It gives the dress an air of sophistication instead of screaming prom! prom! prom! The bow on the shoulder can be puffed up or puffed down depending on your drama level and the amount of accessories you need is minimal. The fabric is nice and heavy, very structured. There's boning on the inside you don't have to worry about the material sagging and a hidden size zip allows the dress to fit perfectly.
The Bad: I can see this dress being overwhelming for some. I can also see BF absolutely hating this dress.
Fit: Runs large with no stretch. Great for someone with a short torso, may cut too high on someone who has a longer one. 33.5 inches in length, so a no go for taller individuals unless you like being risky or pair tights underneath.
Worth the Cost? Heck yeah!
Also comes in a Dusty Blue.
The Good: The colors on both version of this dress are beautiful. The skirt is similar to the red polka dot bow one above. The mesh is nice (not itchy... take notes Prabal) but stiff to add a nice flair to the tiered layers.
The Bad: This was a "WTF" kind of dress to me. A "WTF" in What the F*K where they thinking when the made the top of this? The fabric is suppose to be charmeuse (polyester version), and it certainly mimics the look of it well, but in general was very disappointing. It feels cheap and flimsy. All those lumps you see on top are from my bra showing through. I almost wish they just forgotten the top all together, chopped $20 off the price and made it into a skirt. I would've bought this at a skirt. In fact, I still might. At 70% off (or whatever JCP's Target discount equivalent is). Cut off the top, resew the zipper and ta-da. Adorable tiered skirt. I totally stole that idea from a friend btw. But its a great one.
Fit: Runs large on top. Not really meant for people with shorter torso, like me, as the waist fit the there was tons of extra material on top. Also not meant for tall people (sorry tall people), only 33.5" length.
Worth the Cost? No, not at all.
The Good: The rosettes on this dress are done nicely and up close look delicate. The dress itself has nice structure, despite not having any kind of boning. I like it very much for being a simple black dress with a bit of flair.
The Bad: My shoulders? I feel like a linebacker? Yeah something along those lines. I’ve seen this on someone else who didn’t have as broad of shoulders as I do and it looked a lot better on her.
Fit : Runs a little large. I didn’t try on a 0 in this, but the 2 fit a little roomy so I think I would fall somewhere in between.
Worth the Cost? As long as it doesn’t look like you’re going to try out for the NFL, yes.
The Good: I love this dress. Its really so adorable and one of the more casual dresses you’ll find in the Pearl line. The fabric is polyester, but not the cheap kind. Despite being a casual dress there was still a lot of thought put into it. Again, there is a hidden zipper and lots of boning since it’s a corset style.
The Bad: Felt a little too thin on top where the cup are, which is a bad thing because you really can’t wear a bra with this so if there is a bit of a breeze.. well you’ll be grabbing some attention. I also really disliked the grosgrain ribbon tie. I general I really do like grosgrain, but I feel like it was totally abused in this line. I can find a nice grosgrain ribbon tie on a Forever 21 dress – I don’t want to find it on a Marchesa one.
Fit: Runs very small on top. My girls barely fit into this because the cups had been made so small. The rest fit true to size.
Worth the Cost? No. Don’t get me wrong it’s a very nice dress but it doesn’t exactly scream Marchesa. And with a $70 price tag, I feel like they should’ve done more with the fabric than polyester to make it worth the cost. That being say, I will definitely be stalking this when it goes on sale.
The Good: The organza is pretty…? No, really. The organza is very pretty, however, its obvious that this dress is not for me.
The Bad: I found the volume of the dress to be too stiff in general. The organza is nicely done, but because its a poly organza and not a silk the material is a lot heavier and doesn't quite flow the way I believe a dress like this should. You see how the dress folds right down the middle? No matter how I tried the skirt refused to fold any other way. The material just collapses and doesn't adjust with your movement. The other thing I disliked was the organza on top. At initially glance the dress seems to be covered entirely of organza rosettes, but when I turn to the side you can see they only went up the front top of the dress. Its kind of like that whole half shirt print idea - its cheating. And at $110, I don't want to feel cheated out of design. And again, and you see me say this very often through out this review, I disliked the grosgrain ribbon. I feel like if they wanted a ribbon to break up the organza and create the imagery of a waist it should've been sewn into the dress instead of sloppily tied around it.
Fit: True to size.
Worth the Cost? No.
The Good: The fabric is perfect for this type of applique and ruffle. It lets them stay in their form without falling flat.
The Bad: This is more a matter of taste than anything, I simply don't like the giant rose in the middle of my chest. I like the applique, actually, I think it is nicely done, but I hate the placement of it. Also, whenever I go back and the photos of this dress on, I automatically start hearing in my head (cue Gangnam Style music) "Hey~! Sexy Lady~! Op..." Oh.. sorry didn't know you were 5 months pregnant. Looks great from the front! Looks great when from the right side, but the left? Bam! Instant pregnant belly. Bad thing about having structured ruffles.
Fit: A little bit large.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: I love this dress. It is probably my second favorite out of the entire bunch, and one of the few where I don't mind the loose grosgrain ribbon tie. I think it works with this dress (though I do prefer it without), and I love that it was incorporated into the top ruffle. It fits amazingly well, and is padded on top--how a real corset top should be--so you don't have worry about wearing a bra. There's boning incorporated into the dress, and the thing that I really loved is that they didn't cop out on the straps and just go with ribbon or black fabric. The floral lace is actually used in the strap as well.
The Bad: Nothing! Its amazing. Ok, no. It is small on top, so bustier girls will have issues fitting into the dress. Its also short, like the other dresses. Only 33.5" in length.
Fit: True to size.
Worth the Cost? Yes!
The Good: The dress... has pockets. POCKETS. What kind of formal/prom dress has pockets? This ones does. Possibly my favorite feature of this dress. This dress is similar material to the red applique dress above. I like this material because it feels smooth and comfortable and it holds the shape of the applique well.
The Bad: The color. I don't really feel like it works for the shape/cut of this dress. For one thing, it seems to wrinkle very easily, and is so much more obvious in this light pink than it was in the red. Also, there seems to be a slight quality (consistency?) issues in the applique. If you look at the photo below you can see the center of the first rose is sticking out like tongue instead of tucked in like the others.
Fit: Runs a little large.
Worth the Cost? So so. I think if you love it yes, but make sure to check your rose appliques for quality.
The Good: The Pink Ombre is so pretty and very well done. The more I stare at that version of this dress the more I love it. Not that Milanese Floral Print isn't nice as well, but I think it lacks the unique factor that the ombre has. The satin white fabric they use underneath the mesh ombre really lets everything blend perfectly. In regards to the overall quality of the dress, I found myself to be very impressed. I didn't care for either of these initially. I'm not normally a fan of center ruching, but this dress really surprised me. It looks like your every day stretchy strapless pull up over your hips kind of dress--but its not. There's boning and a side zip and not very much stretch to this at all. The result is a very nice silhouette that just sucks in all of your fat. No spanx needed here!
The Bad: More grosgrain ribbon! Why? I totally plan on cutting off the belt holders on this dress as well. They way they stick out on the side looks tacky to me.
Fit: True to size.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: Gah. Third favorite of the bunch! The back is ridiculous adorable and flattering! Do you see how slim and skinny my back looks? Even BF didn't recognize me in the photo (which means my back really is like a linebacker huh?). I love that the bow snaps into place and isn't something you actually have to tie yourself. The taffeta is a great comfortable material and I liked the simplicity of the a-line cut.
The Bad: The only reason I haven't brought this dress home with me is because of the color. I really wish they had chosen a different color with this dress. Its too pretty to wear to a funeral or work, and its not very appropriate to wear to a wedding. It would be a nice dress to wear to homecoming but hey! at $70 don't you want to target the non-high schoolers as well? I'll probably pick this up on sale later to offset the lack of wearing. I also found the zipper to be a little stick with this dress.
Fit: Runs large overall, but I found the armholes to be very tight.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: The straps are button adjustable, so it doesn't look like a total corset. The grosgrain ribbon in this top is nicely done and doesn't look sloppy. In general I love this version of the lace floral print because of the muted red that gets created with the lace overlay. I like how the fabric feels nice and structured.
The Bad: The torso is cut very short. Too short, even for someone with my lack of torso. The peplum flares out way too much and while my waist looks pretty darn tiny, my hips look huge. Not the most flattering peplum you could wear. I also forgot to take a side photo of it on, but hey you get the full on lace floral head to toe like in the lookbook. Notice how this sentence falls under "The Bad"? ;) And again, the cups are cut very small.
Fit: True to size with no stretch. I barely fit into this 2. I think it I would probably be more comfortable in the 4.
Worth the Cost? No. Generally speaking I found the separates in this collection to be over priced. Most of them ran around $50 and $50 for a top or pair of shorts is a bit on the high side. Especially when you can get a full dress for only $20 more.
The Good: I liked the idea of this dress. I've always liked items that had a shorter fitted hem line and then a sheer longer overlay. It lets you give off a sexy vibe while being conservative. My favorite part of this dress was the mesh ruffle on top, it was a nice change from the grosgrain.
The Bad: If there was ever a dress that should not have a loose tie ribbon it is this one. The ruffles along the waist already add volume to your mid section but throw in the tie ribbon and it really just looks bulky. Not flattering at all. I also hated the length of this dress (to be fair I hate most tea length dresses) and wish they had just brought the length all the way to the floor instead. The hem of the dress is awkward as well. For some reason it flairs out. I have no idea what that happens as the lace didn't feel overly stiff, but it does.
Fit: True to size with no stretch. Runs small in the cups.
Worth the Cost? In general the dress is nicely done, and there are a lot of details in to it. Falls just a little short of being totally worth the cost but if you can rock it, I'd say its worth it
The Good: The sequins are done very nicely. None of them felt loose or like they were going to fall off easily. They are batched together well so that you cannot see any of the fabric underneath. The dress is also lined.
The Bad: This isn't really a bad, bad, just not necessarily a good. The dress felt overly simple to me, especially given the complexity of the other gowns in this collection. While being simple is not a bad thing, I think it was executed well in this dress. It reminded me of a dress you throw on when you're feeling a bit bloated but want to go to the club. It lets you feel comfortable but gives you that bit of glam needed. The shape is not super flattering and makes me think nightgown more than anything. If it wasn't for the sequins, this would be a very boring dress.
Fit: Runs large. Fairly short dress, but would definitely be a cute tunic for the taller people.
Worth the Cost? No. It is way too simple of a dress to be worth $70.
The Good: Yes! Finally a white laced dress. I love the back of this dress and I love that the lace is actually sewn into the fabric underneath. It made it really easy to get in and out of.
The Bad: You know what I'm going to say. The grosgrain ribbon. Again, if they wanted the contrast and to break up the fabric, I think the ribbon should have been sewn into the dress. I really like the black against the white, I just dislike this execution of it. I'm also not a fan of the ruffle that goes down the center, and unfortunately there's nothing I can do about it. If it wasn't for the ruffle, I would probably want to take this dress home.
Fit: True to size. Won't work with the taller folks.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: This is such a great dress. Lucky for me, my friend bought it so I don't have to buy it. I can just steal it instead! :P Its a multi-function kind of dress. Great for a dance; great for a wedding; great to out to a nice dinner with. The bright blue lets you get away with wearing it earlier in the day and transition into night if needed. I like the peplum is a sheer lace and not solid fabric. When the peplum trend dies down a bit, you'll still be able to keep this in your closet.
The Bad: Nothing. I really can't think of anything bad about this dress.
Fit: Runs large in general. Runs smaller on top than it does in the waist. The bottom fits me perfectly, but as you can see I'm spilling out a bit on top. Also another shorty dress.
Worth the Cost? Yes!
The Good: I like this dress even though it wasn't my usual style. Its fun and flirty and I like how the waist was done--no grosgrain ribbon ties here! The embellishment is not overly done too. A lot simpler than some of the other dresses.
The Bad: The dress isn't overly remarkable and its a little too much on the young side. While I like the dress it doesn't invoke any type of must have kind of feelings. But then again, that maybe because its not totally up my alley.
Fit: The fit was a little off. The 2 fits me great in the waist but the top was loose. You can see in the photo it swings around a little bit. Either need bigger boobs or smaller ones. And yep, you guessed it. Its short.
Worth the Cost? So so, I personally think there are better buys in the collection.
The Good: The body fits fantastic and looks flattering. Because the ruffles are so exaggerated my waist looks smaller. Again, the taffeta material is nice and comfortable but form fitting. Much like the bow dress, I love how this looks from the back.
The Bad: This is another dress that inspires a song in my head. The song goes... "I believe I can fly... I believe I can touch the sky". Or maybe... Marchesa gives you wings? Ok. Again, another one of those not for me because of my man shoulders. Its really not a bad dress. I bet this will look great on someone with a slimmer frame. I do kind of wish I'd tried straightening the ruffles straight up like on the JCP website. Maybe another song would've popped in my head.. one that involves my favorite comic book super hero.. Dun na na na na .. BATMAN!
Fit: Runs large. The 0 here fit me but was a little tight, I'd probably be more comfortable with a half size in between, if such things existed.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: Hmm.... moving on.
The Bad: This isn't a horrible dress, but its not a very interesting dress either. The chiffon is super see through, its too thin, despite the fact that its line, I could still see through the material. I think a lot of it has to do with the light pink they chose. Its a lot prettier in this material than it was in the Rose Applique Dress above, but you'll need to wear an additional slip under it if end up getting it. There was also some quality issues with this dress. The rhinestones are sewn on quite poorly and in fact missing in a couple of spots. Given the price point of this dress, that is completely unacceptable.
Fit: Runs large. Even in the 0, I felt like I could go smaller.
Worth the Cost? No. You can find something similar for a third of the cost on Ruche or Modcloth.
The Good: These shorts are really well made. I always love lace shorts that have a scallop or overflowing hem to them. It really highlights the lace instead of down playing it. And ugh, the lace pattern they chose for these shorts is beautiful. I kind of wish they had done more with this pattern. A dress maybe?
The Bad: Lining is pretty thin. You'll need to wear nude panties with this.
Fit: Runs very large. Is also pretty short. The scallop hem is rather deceiving. The lining stops before the hem does, so your cheeks will probably feel a bit of air. ;)
Worth the Cost? I want to say yes because I do love these shorts. But again, for $20 more you can get a full on dress and the shorts themselves, while done well, are not all that unique either. In the end I will have to say not really, but I want them anyways?
The Good: This is a very pretty jacket. I love that it has hidden large hook closures and not small ones. It brings the edges of the jacket together seamlessly.
The Bad: I wish they had done more with the lace pattern the way they did the shorts. The lace here seems a bit plain and not as intricate as it was on the shorts. This is also something that I cannot wear. The added fringe on the shoulders just kill it for me. I think if there was more of the lace pattern woven into this and I could find some way to remove the fringe, I would be purchasing this jacket.
Fit: Runs a little large and short in the torso.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: I really can't decide which version of the lace floral print I love more. The blue really gives of a great vintage vibe, while the red is almost sultry. It look a lot of resistance not to take these home. Like the other lace floral items, the material is thick and structured, not whimsical like the scallop lace shorts. I enjoy the feminine pattern mixed into the menswear construction.
The Bad: Its not the most flattering fit because the shorts are high waisted. They definite add to my hip size.
Fit: Runs large. I think I actually need a 0 in these, but I couldn't find one to try on.
Worth the Cost? No, for the same reasons I listed for the scallop lace shorts.
The Good: I feel like I'm getting a little repetitive at this point, but again, the fabric is fantastic and the overall structure of the jacket is nice.
The Bad: I'm not a huge fan of the way this blazer was cut. It feels.. old. Even when I saw the stock photo on the website my initial reaction was that this is cut for a more conservative person. I guess its not really a bad thing, it just is for me. I would've rather had younger, trendier elements incorporated into it.
Fit: Runs large in general, but larger in the shoulders than it does in the waist. Really needed a zero to try on, but there was none to be found.
Worth the Cost? Yes, just not for me.
The Good: The fabric and overall construction of the materials in these pants are nice.
The Bad: The name of these pants is kind of ironic because instead of feeling skinny, I felt like I'd gained 10 lbs in my hips. These just fit awful on me. The high waisted, side slit pockets that stick out if you ever so slightly bend, it was just all bad. I was having flashbacks to my days at NY&Co with all of the older style cuts. I also really hate this capri length since I'm short. It just looks like the designer ran out of material.
Fit: True to size, but the length is iffy for people with short to average inseams. These will probably look better on a taller person with long legs.
Worth the Cost? Meh.
The Good: Like the white tiered dress, the lace is sewn into the bodice and closed with a side zip. It really adds a nice structured element to an other wise whimsical kind of garment. I love the fringe hem, and do love that they decided to make this a long sleeve opposed to a short or sleeveless dress. I think it gives the dress a more grown up feel to appeal to a wider audience.
The Bad: The fit is off in this. The cups run pretty small in this dress compared to the waist. You can't wear a bra with it despite it being the only long sleeve dress in the bunch. And theres that darn grosgrain ribbon again. I would so swap this out for a normal high end belt, or hell just leave it off all together.
Fit: Runs large overall, but cups run really small.
Worth the Cost? I initially thought that this was a $70 dress like most of the line and was all set to say yes! totally worth the cost. My jaw pretty much dropped when I realized it was actually $110. It is a nice dress but is priced way too high.
The Good: Move along.. move along...
The Bad: The organza is too stiff in this dress, as it was in the red. I feel like I'm being swallowed whole by some organza rosette chicken. Its just a bit overwhelming and I really wish they had use a lighter blend so that the fabric wasn't so heavy. It doesn't move right, it just flops along awkwardly. And there is horrible fit issues with this dress. The mesh polka dot on top is way too big. I could not for the life of me get the 0 to zip up all the way, but the 2 is enormous on top. You can see how much extra material I have floating around.
Fit: Runs really large on top, and true to size in the waist.
Worth the Cost? N-O. Fit issues up the ...
The Good: >.< THIS DRESS IS SO PRETTY. I really wish I could've tried this on in a 2 so I could see the fit properly. The organza here is the same as the shorter dresses above but because this is a gown the fabric settles better since theres more gravity to it. I love the blush tones. Hell, I'd even consider getting married in it. There's boning in this, as there is with every strapless dress in the line. Probably the only reason the top is staying up on me because its definitely not zipped up all the way. :X The Bad: I have no where to wear it to? :(
Fit: Runs large in the waist, small in the chest. The 0 fit me fine in the waist, but would not zip up over my chest.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
The Good: I love the color of this dress and the fit of this dress. The top is thick and has boning, so you can easily get away with no bra or a light strapless one.
The Bad: Awkward tea lengths yet again. Also not a total fan of the giant pleated flower in the middle, but without the flower there isn't much to this dress.
Fit: True to size.
Worth the Cost? Yes
The Good: I wanted to like this dress. Its very romantic but not as dramatic as the other ones. The embellishment was a bit much for my taste, but I didn't totally hate it. I thought it was fairly subtle against the blush color.
The Bad: I felt like this was cut kind of funny in the torso, like maybe its too long or it doesn't taper in enough.
Fit: Runs a little large. Would not have been able to fit into a 0, but I felt like the 2 was a smidge big.
Worth the Cost? So so.
The Good: Now, this, is a nice sequined dress. It has an older cut to it on top but is given some youth with the high low hem and bow detail. I don't normally like sequins, but I really liked this dress. The sequins are done well, and the dress just feels like a nice quality (but is also quite heavy).
The Bad: Its a bit clingy in weird places and not as flattering as some of the other dresses in the line.
Fit: Runs a little large with no stretch.
Worth the Cost? Yes.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed. And I hope that one of these beautiful garments finds their way into your closet in the near future.