Splendid's Slub Stripe Cowlneck Pullover | My Product Review
It's time for some product reviews. I've been in the fashion game for over ten years now (over half of those in e-commerce) the thought of which instills both fear and pride in me. Fear, mainly because all of those people were right, time does fly.
Pride because, well, I've managed to stay in a world that I happen to love and make a living at it for over a decade. Pat-on-the-back moment aside, there's always been something missing. I shop for myself, but more so for my clients' Lookbooks & Shopping Lists. I recommend product based on my own unbiased opinion and my background, that said, a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of these products are lacking in one thing. Outside of my endorsement (having previously bought from the site or designer), there are no real-deal product reviews out there on a global fashion level.
Sure, there are the tweens/early twenty-somethings pulling off shopping 'hauls' from Forever 21 and CVS, but I'm talking about the higher price points and the non-disposable product that will put you out for a bit more than ten dollars.
I am ob-sessed (note: this is not an exaggeration) with Amazon and their product reviews. We all love product reviews, and why wouldn't we? We get the inside scoop. But when it comes to fashion, I see that they're just not consistent. Sure, I can look on Free People or Ann Taylor and see a blurb here or there, but these customers usually fail to go further than one sentence having been turned off by fit (ps. you would be amazed at how many people don't review the sizing chart before buying on-line; I do it too, ugh).
Bottom line: I want more. And NOT from a hired third party (which several retailers do). I want to know if the product I'm spending money on is worth it, we all do. I want to know if the heel cap is going to fall off again after about a month (recurring theme in my life), or if after one wash the v-neck tee falls apart (the one I spent $66 on, not a $20 kick in the bucket). I want the Consumer Reports of fashion from someone who 'gets' fashion, but isn't so far down the rabbit hole that three hundred dollars on a pair of pumps is acceptable ninety-nine, point nine percent of the time.
Listen, I've seen the purchase orders, I know the average markups (cue the cough under my breath that sounds a little like "sixty percent-ish) on these items, and I know the 'bottom line' mentality that is needed to increase sales volume from last year to this year. I also know that, part of the collateral damage in this situation is the quality of product. It's not all the time, and I'm certainly not coming from a 'damn-the-man' (or buyer in this case) mentality. In fact, it's the opposite. A little honest feedback is a win-win for both parties. The vendor/retailer needs to (and honestly, should already) know that what they sell is a great product, but things move at the speed of light. The QA (quality assurance associates) line in the warehouse is compiled of amazing people (trust me, it takes major patience and attention to detail; both of which are qualities I do not possess) whose eyes are trained to catch a print that's off or a price tag that's missing. But it stops there, that's the extent of their job. This leaves factors (um, major factors) such as fit, wearability, and fabrication out of the picture. They become a toss up in on-line shopping, the one spot where they are SO necessary.
Enter me, and this post. I'm going to try this out. I'm the one buying these products (they are not sent to me or sponsored in any way at the moment; when that day comes I will only accept product if the vendor/retailer implicityly understands that I am giving a 100% honest review). More importantly, these are the picks that I recommend to my clients/members, as I never give them anything I wouldn't personally buy myself. It's time to put the money where my mouth is, or into my closet really, whatever, you get the point. I'm buying and then I'm giving you my opinion.
It's a concept that's perfectly in-line with who I am outside of this web world. I'm the honest friend people take with them into the dressing room because they know I won't tell them what they want to hear (I'm honest, not cruel; there's a distinction). I don't sugarcoat, it's not my thing. A sales associate is working on commission, I am not. The same goes here, my virtual fitting room. My promise to you is that you will get my honest feedback on every piece I buy, and I'm not talking about the latest Cover Girl lip gloss here people. I'm talking about pieces that are a level up in quality (and price) that touch on trends but also fall in-line with what I deem as 'essential' to any wardrobe. You're getting it straight up from the mouth of a woman who has been on the other end of this shopping spectrum (i.e. selling). So, without further adieu, the coffee is kicking in, I'm going to start with the first pick from Splendid:
A couple of pieces of feedback on this guy. I actually bought this sweater for a trip to San Francisco last month. I'm based in Dallas at the moment (if you could even say based; I'm never here) where the winter weather is showing massive signs of global warming because it hasn't hit a high under sixty degrees in months. Gotta love it. That said, San Fran has a tendency to get a bit chillier, hence, the pullover. I wanted something that had volume to it, but stayed on the more sophisticated end of the spectrum, and not the shlubby (technical term in my own head, usually meaning: frumpy) side of things.
The cowl neck and striped, marled print pulled that off for me. I got it home, tried it on, and it fits really well. The hem is high/low, something I completely lost sight of when buying. It goes a little long (not a fan of covering up my bum; I happen to really like it; I know, a woman talking about liking a body part, soak it up for a sec) and I was wearing these with skinny jeans, so a heel was in order.
I tend to go towards the more structured, fitted look. I find when you are at a cup size above B, this is a good way to go or else items may appear larger than they really are. It's all about draping. That said, this sweater has two seams in the front that run vertically along the chest and curve out to the sides at the bottom. Love this, it gives you a subtle hourglass shape without any constriction or tightness. Pretty genius.
This pullover made it's cameo on the day that I literally walked across the city. San Francisco is only seven by seven miles, so it wasn't saying much, but I was walking for over four hours (in flat boots, not my best moment, but I made it work). The weather was gorgeous, sixty-five and sunny. The pullover has a pretty open weave so I felt that sixty-five degrees on my entire torso. The air cut right through the pullover and I wasn't wearing another layer, which I'd recommend if you don't want that 'drafty' feeling. After about 10 minutes of busting it across the city, I got warmed up and was really thankful for the breeze. I had a shoulder bag on the entire day and it did rub on the fabric which gave way a bit. It definitely shouldn't be doing that after the first wear, so take that into account. It's a poly/rayon blend so it gives, which is a plus. The downside being that the label reads, 'dry clean only.' I never follow that unless it's silk so I'll be hand washing in some potions from the Laundress (adore; must have; buy now) and watching to see if there's wear and tear. Since I will be hand-washing, hanging to dry is not an option. This will stretch, so I'll lay flat. Oh, and something else I saw on the label that stopped me in my tracks, this is made in the USA. It's rare, and I love to see it. Cheers to you Splendid.
These few details make this pullover a bit more high-maintenance, but so goes life. I would have still bought it knowing this. Speaking of buying it, I found it in several places on-line, but was in a pinch to get it home before I flew out, so I went with Amazon. I'm a Prime member, so it was a no-brainer. The price was just over eighty dollars, a bit more expensive than other sites (Bloomingdales.com, etc) but actually evened out because that number included shipping (two day; have I mentioned how much I love Prime?).
Here's the product shot I saw on-line as well. I love comparing that to what I get in my hands. Sometimes it can be SO enlightening. I've been at several editorial shoots, and it's hilarious to see how many clips a stylist can get on a dress to make it look like perfection on any model. These people are masters at making clothing look good, there's definitely some smoke and mirror action going on. We've all bought something from a catalog thinking it would look one way and when we open the box, our grandiose expectations are relatively shattered in a millisecond. It's fashion, they want you to buy it after all, but it shouldn't be deceptive. Not a fan of working too much 'magic' to make a product look better than it actually is. Whenever I saw this level of overworking, I would call the buyer so they could negotiate a return to vendor. Seriously, I have no tolerance for it and neither should they. Nine times out of ten, they were thankful to get the feedback.
Soapbox moment aside, the pic on the site is pretty spot-on to what I received in the mail. Translation: happy customer.
Overall, right now this pullover is holding up. I put it through the ringer in San Francisco so I'm happy with the quality. That said, it hasn't been through the ringer in Dallas and wherever else I go, plus I've yet to hand-wash, so there may be updates.
I should also note my body type since this pullover isn't something everyone can pull off. It's pretty close to being a universal fit since there's plenty of room and the fabric has stretch, but just because it fits doesn't mean it's the right silhouette for you. So I'll go back to an old favorite, body types. Cue the visual, love this:
This Splendid pullover works for the following types: 1/Rectangle (the newspaper girlie) and 4/Hourglass (self-explanatory and also my exact body type). If you fall into the Apple or Pear (the fruitier shapes if you will), then the cut on this pullover is not your friend. It will fall away at the hips, not good for our Pear girls, and the added volume, when filled out with a fuller bust, could make you look larger than you are, not good for our Apple people.
If you do fall into Hourglass or Rectangle, keep in mind that since this top floats a bit, it's a great opportunity to go with a more streamlined leg, be it a skinny jean or, my personal favorite, a straight leg jean that fits like a glove through the thigh and flares slightly at the hem (see the J. Brand Lovestory, a standby of mine and the most flattering jean on the planet). Heels are a must, unless you're walking the streets of San Francisco for hours, in which case, go with a flat riding boot, or for Spring, an open/flat sandal.
So right, back to shopping. I love getting these new deliveries. It's like Christmas (or Hannukah, whatever works, my family did both so I'm equal-opportunity) every time. Shopping is all fine and good. Getting something that works when buying on-line is bliss. But then it comes to how to wear it. Since you're most likely not buying an entire look, this involves shopping your closet.
This process is EXACTLY what I do for my clients (check out the slideshow below to get the 'deets'). They send over a pic of something they bought (or already have hanging in their closet, but have no clue how to wear) and I show them ways to pull it off. I offer this service for people across the country now, but it started in my own closet after too many mornings spent frustrated by the question, "what am I going to wear today?" It gets even more frustrating when your place of work just happens to be Neiman Marcus corporate headquarters. There's no room for slacking. Right, so it began with me, I get to help others now, but it will always be something I have up my sleeve and do for myself. Case in point, here are two looks I've pulled together and added to my own Lookbook for future reference using the latest addition to my closet...
source: 1. Splendid Top Norwegian Slub Stripe Cowlneck Pullover (www.amazon.com), 2. Hue Corduroy Legging (www.zappos.com), 3. Via Spiga Yara Pump (www.dsw.com), 4. 3.1 phillip lim 31 Hour Bag (www.shopbop.com), 5. Club monaco Crystal Thread Bracelet (www.shopbop.com), 6. Oliver Peoples Benedict 59 Sunglasses (www.barneys.com)
source: 1. McQ Alexander McQueen Military Green Wool Army Jacket (www.stylebop.com), 2. Splendid Top Norwegian Slub Stripe Cowlneck Pullover (www.amazon.com), 3. Mother Runaway Skinny Flare Jean (www.farfetch.com), 4. Ann Taylor Delaney Haircalf Stacked Platform Pumps (www.anntaylor.com), 5. One by Abaco Jamily Bag (www.shopbop.com), 6. Lady Grey Reflected Triangle Ring (www.elizabeth-charles.com)
Like I said, this is what I offer to my clients. See the details here & feel free to contact me if you have questions or want to get on the waiting list!
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Hope you enjoyed the review. It's time to get more inspiration on all things that cover what to wear, how to wear it, and of course, where to shop.