Shabby Apple Review: La Tour Eiffel

July 15th, 2010 § 48 comments

14 July 2010 – Shabby Apple Eiffel, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Dress: c/o Shabby Apple
  • Belt: Target
  • Shoes: Ralph Lauren, via Macy’s shoe sale

End Notes:

Maybe it’s because I spent the first half of my summer learning how to translate French, but when the kind folks at Shabby Apple asked if I wanted to review one of their dresses, I gravitated fairly quickly to this faux-two piece number that is aptly named “La Tour Eiffel.”

Now, the bad news. As much as you may want it to, this dress will not transform you into a blithe red head frolicking in the Champ de Mars. Bummer.

Not a Model, originally uploaded by academichic.

It does, however, inspire a certain carefree attitude. Perhaps it’s the fact that, for once, I’ve found a faux-two piece dress that is both long enough overall and accommodating of my long torso. Or perhaps it’s the fact that it has a great balance of stretch and structure (there’s a hidden side zipper through the skirt and top), creating a crisp, chic silhouette that still allows for easy movement (no retucking your blouse every time you stand up!). Or maybe it’s because I know that this dress is almost seasonless, and will stand up to scarves and cardigans in the fall and a flower pin in the spring. Or because it’s a great canvas to play with long necklaces, pop of color shoes, and brighter belts.

Or maybe it’s the pockets that have me feeling so insouciant.

Pockets!, originally uploaded by academichic.

No matter how many sizing charts there are, I am always uncertain when first purchasing clothes from an online-only retailer. Thankfully, Shabby Apple makes returns and exchanges free and easy, as I had no problem exchanging one size for another. And although the tag on the dress recommended hand washing, I did machine wash it in a lingerie bag and it’s none of the worse for wear.

I’m really taken with Shabby Apple’s desire to make dresses that don’t necessitate a camisole or cardigan for modesty, but even beyond their dresses, I’m quite intrigued by their retro-inspired swimwear and aprons!

Enjoy 10% off at Shabby Apple with this coupon code: academichic10off!

14 July 2010 – Shabby Apple Eiffel, originally uploaded by academichic.


§ 48 Responses to Shabby Apple Review: La Tour Eiffel"

  1. spacegeek says:

    I have one dress from Shabby Apple, and frankly, I am not happy with the material nor construction, nor the way the jersey has held up (pilled after only several wearings). I am curious to know how you’d compare La Tour Eiffel to garments from, say, Talbots or Anne Taylor or Boden?

  2. LL says:

    I second spacegeek’s question — while I don’t own any Shabby Apples, I was turned off by several reviews that said the construction didn’t match the design. They’re not cheap enough for me to justify buying something as a throwaway, no matter how cute they look!

    • Penny says:

      I just ordered my first dresses from shabby apple and I am very disappointed!!! the materials are very cheap, the style and color and not as pictured and the sizes are way too generous!!!!! And as you said they are not cheap enough to throw away!!!!!

  3. Clare says:

    Ooh, I love this!! When Shabby Apple asked me if I wanted to review a dress, I had SUCH a hard time deciding between this one and the one I ended up with. It’s perfect on you!

  4. MET says:

    I am loving just about every dress on that site. I am sad to read that people don’t think they are made well. Maybe I will stick to the sale section.

  5. Diana says:

    How funny, I am wearing a very similar dress today! (Mine is from ON.)

    I too would love to know what you think of Shabby Apple’s quality… I love their aesthetic, but the prices are a bit high given the mixed quality reviews.

  6. admin says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your input.

    Since I’ve only had the dress for a week, I can’t speak to how it holds up for multiple washings, but I did inspect seams and the zipper and was happy with the construction.

    @spacegeek, I don’t own any dresses from Boden or Talbots, but I would say that to me this dress’s construction is on par with an Ann Taylor Loft and definitely superior to Ruche, which is another online-only retailer I’ve tried.

    I will let everyone know how this dress holds up in terms of wear after a few more washings!

  7. Sabrina says:

    You look great in this dress.
    On the webpage, the dress appears to be black and white, but here, it looks black and white on top, and dark purple on bottom, and doesn’t quite match your belt. Is that just a function of strong sunlight?
    Also, what about the quality of the materials? One of the review online said that the materials felt cheap. Are they on the thin side or a bit more substantial? (The website boasts that this is a four season dress). Is the skirt lined?

  8. admin says:

    Sabrina, the skirt is black, but the sunlight does make it purple here, doesn’t it?

    The jersey is substantial — heavier than most jersey tops or dresses I own. The skirt is a poplin with some spandex stretch. It’s a lighter material but definitely not see-through at all. It’s also not lined, but since I tend to be a skirt-slip wearer, that doesn’t bother me that much.

    - E

  9. Iris says:

    The dress looks lovely on you! I can’t resist anything with pockets :)

  10. Cari says:

    Since you said you exchanged sizes, how do you think the sizes run at Shabby Apple compared to, say, Banana Republic or Ann Taylor?

  11. NGS says:

    I own one Shabby Apple dress and it has weird stitching everywhere! It’s held up well under a few washings, but, frankly, I don’t wear it much because it’s design is weird.

    You look absolutely adorable!!

  12. Cara says:

    I can’t join the conversation on quality, but I can say that I love the idea of that as a dress! I wore a very similar outfit a few months back (skirt and top, belted) and did find that the shirt kept popping out:

  13. Jackie says:

    Hey everyone!

    I am actually an intern for Shabby Apple and I helped that cutie in this post out with the La Tour Eiffel dress review on this fantastic blog! I would love to help out on a few questions and concerns you guys have- I have tried on just about every Shabby Apple dress (and if I haven’t tried it on I’ve seen it on one of the other interns) and I can vouch for their quality. Like any store, there are a few dresses that are personally not my style or don’t fit me quite right, but that is the case in any dressing situation. I have found that most of Shabby Apple’s dresses fit quite well on me, as long as I find the right size! I encourage you guys to check it out, especially the new Skyscraper line (seriously my favorite I am getting the CEO dress just as soon as possible!) and judge for yourself! We have a super easy return policy where if it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it for any reason you send it back to them and they send you out an exchange free! I am crazy about Shabby Apple and would love for you all to join my love for them! :) Happy shopping!

    • Penny says:

      OF course you are paid by shabby apple and want to keep your job…. I think I can only trust another consumer… I have forever21 and HM dresses that are better quality and that I can throw away easily when damaged cause they are cheap.

  14. Dottie says:

    You make this dress look super chic! I actually almost bought this a couple of months ago but closed the window before completing the transaction, as I do with 95% of my internet browsing/shopping :) I love how I could easily wear it from work to a date night with my husband, as well as through the different seasons. And I’m having visions of wearing it during my visit to Paris in September! That said, it’s a little more than I like to spend on dresses (I’m a thrift store girl all the way).

  15. Shabby Apple is everywhere I turn in the blogosphere this month. aaaggggh.

    ps: I love that the readers of AC are actually asking about quality and workmanship! I stopped purchasing from another familiar online retailer years ago after getting one too many wonkily-sized, poorly-made ‘retro-inspired’ pieces. And that is all I’ll say about that.

  16. LL says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Jackie.

    I hope I don’t sound like a witch, but your response actually wasn’t very helpful. Would you be able to respond to some of the specific concerns we addressed above:

    – sizing as compared to other retailers
    – quality of construction
    – heft of fabric and potential for pilling after washing
    – colorfade

    E already answered some of these concerns according to her role as style blogger, but since you’ve taken the time to stop by (which I appreciate!), I’d love to hear your feedback on these issues as well, as spokesperson for the company.

    Happy Friday!

  17. Erika says:

    I have a friend who owns two SA dresses. Her assessment is that they are not the best fabric quality and construction, but that they are cheap enough to be a decent value (especially since the styles are so cute). I like that SA pays attention to modesty; I started to dress more modestly when I started teaching undergraduates.

    Another company that makes adorable modest dresses is Boden. Their dresses always fit me perfectly (particularly since they come in “tall” sizes), and the construction is always well above average. And they make cotton and linen dresses; I don’t like polyester.

    E, you look great, and I love this dress on you.

  18. Lauren says:

    I think Shabby Apple’s sizing is pretty inconsistent. I got the dress that was featured in Corporette for my birthday, which said it fit true to size, so I got a medium. Bust and waist fit great, but there was no way on this earth that that dress fit 38″-39″ hips as advertised.

    So I sent it back, and exchanged it for the Beauty Mark dress which was supposed to run large. But I got it in the same size, medium, since the first dress had run so insanely small. You know where this is going — it’s too big on me. Now it’s been two rounds of shipping and I still gotta visit a tailor. Bummer.

    I really wish they could work out the sizing inconsistencies because I love the styles!

  19. Vanessa says:

    You look so lovely, and this dress looks very French. I could picture you in Paris or something (Black horizontal stripes always make me think Paris). I’ve never tried Shabby Apple, but the clothes LOOK very nice, at least.

  20. Jac says:

    I’ve been wondering about Shabby Apple clothing since it has been all over the net and their stuff does look nice… but as someone else mentioned, they aren’t cheap. If you pay a bit more then you definitely want something that will last a while.
    I’m not so tempted now to buy from them as I’m international and it could be more hassle.

    Thanks for the review though. :)

  21. Miss Sarah says:

    Love it! I have waaay too many horizontal stripes in my wardrobe. I always seem to gravitate towards them:) But they’re such a handy standby.

    You translate French now? Very cool. French is one of our official languages so many of us Canadians are bilingual. Now you’re like us!

  22. Ms. Em says:

    I’m glad to hear everyone’s feedback. I agree that the intern from SA didn’t actually address anyone’s question, although she did do her job in terms of plugging the company.
    I think of AC as very honest blog, but I must say that I’ve very wary of the way in which certain web based clothing retailers that use personal fashion blogs as their major advertising campaign bothers me. There is so much gushing and squealing about how AWESOME certain pieces are, but that doesn’t help me at all as a non-sponsored, non-blogger. I glad that these comments have taken the sheen off Shabby Apple and ModCloth.
    I will be sure to check out Boden’s dresses.

  23. nicky says:

    I was thinking about getting that dress or actually one similar that had turquoise on top and navy on the bottom, but worried that it was too girlish for someone my age. I am 54. What do you think?

  24. T. says:

    Re: Boden. I find their sizing and quality inconsistent. I have purchased from them many times, and have to return 70% of the items I purchase. The things that work are GREAT, though, so I do keep ordering from Boden. They sometimes have free shipping/free returns.

  25. S. says:

    I just ordered a dress from Shabby Apple, I’ll keep everyone posted. I wear a 10-12, and the dress runs large, so I ordered a medium. I’m hoping it’ll be the right size.

    I’d really like to know how the dress holds up after being washed a few times.

  26. Katie says:

    Shabby Apple rocks! I’ve never been disappointed by them!

  27. Lisa says:

    what a DARLING dress!!!

  28. Erika says:

    T, I agree about the inconsistent sizing at Boden. But then I never order a garment without ordering a couple sizes (especially from Boden because it takes a long while to arrive), so I’m not usually stuck. Plus I always read the reviews to get a sense of how something will fit. And I’m glad to see SA has added reviews as well. :)

    I also agree with Ms. Em’s comment about general wariness about how web-based companies use blogs. But I do appreciate the giveaways and information. Like her, I do trust that the Chics are honest and forthcoming about their experiences with any company.

  29. Jackie says:

    Hey guys, I’m sorry some of you didn’t find me very helpful! I would love to address your specific questions:

    – sizing as compared to other retailers
    I honestly shop at a very limited number of places and I’ve lost quite a bit of weight recently so I did shy away from this question because I didn’t want to unintentionally mislead anyone… I will say that I usually have to go a size down in my Shabby Apple dresses. For example, I have the dress pictured above and I usually consider myself a Small, but I went with an XS and it’s perfecto! In general I would say go a size down from what you normally are on almost all the dresses.

    – quality of construction
    From the dresses I have tried on I find no flaws in the quality of the fabric. The dress descriptions say exactly what kind of fabric and usually how heavy it is so you can know what to expect. In any manufacturing situation you get the random dress with a faulty zipper or funny hem, but Shabby Apple is happy to exchange them if something like that were to happen with a dress you ordered.

    – heft of fabric and potential for pilling after washing
    Honestly the fabric depends on the dress. For example, the Bugle Boy bottom part of the dress is quite thick and feels like more of a Fall fabric, but the La Tour Eiffel dress pictured above is a regular jersey top and basic cotton fabric bottom, so it depends on the dress and we try to be accurate in the product descriptions on the dress pages. As far as pilling goes I really don’t have much experience with that. I am very cautious with my dresses so I rarely wash them, and if I do it is on cold and I line dry absolutely everything, so I have had no bad experiences with my purchases in terms of fabric upkeep. (I’m just trying to speak from my experiences so as to have an honest portrayal of our products :) ) But I am sure with some fabrics, especially jersey knits, pilling will happen after time, especially when machine washed as opposed to dry cleaning, I just haven’t had that experience with my S.A dresses.

    – colorfade
    I haven’t had any color fade with my dresses, but as I said I am uber-careful with washing them and their care.

    I hope that was more helpful, let me know if I can be moredirect, I really am trying to be honest and help with any ill- experiences with Shabby Apple! Happy weekend to you all!

    Shabby Apple

  30. Mae says:

    I’m glad the readers asked all of these important questions. I am new to the “serious shopping” game, and I didn’t think of half of the things that you guys did. The dresses at Shabby Apple look darling, and I may try one to see what they are like, but I guess I should not expect perfection…

  31. LL says:

    Thanks, Jackie — this is exactly the response I was looking for!

  32. S. says:

    Jackie — Thanks so much for the clarification, specifically about the sizing. I’ve noticed that a lot of trendy/vintage inspired/relatively inexpensive stores tend to run small (particularly modcloth). I almost ordered a large but decided not to because of the measurements provided on the website.

    I do, however, have another question. After browsing the Shabby Apple site, I still don’t have a very clear idea about the actual company and who and what I am supporting by shopping there.

  33. S. says:

    Also, are there any women of color who are models? Is there a reason for the distinct lack of anyone except white women?

  34. LL says:

    S — Shabby Apple’s designers are largely LDS (Mormon). Their goal was to create a line of dresses that is both pretty and modest (according to their definition).

    I’d guess that the lack of white women has to do with their modeling base, especially if they’re located in Utah.

  35. S. says:

    I got my Shabby Apple dress. I’m disappointed — the quality of the fabric wasn’t very good. It’s cotton and it started to itch.

    Overall, if I had spent $40 on it, I would keep it. But seriously, $100 for a cotton dress with not very good material, sloppy stitching, a zipper that sticks, and a stretchy material in lieu of actual tailoring is a bit much. There are loose threads everywhere.

  36. LindsayH says:

    I just got a dress from Shabby Apple (that I paid for) and I’m hugely disappointed! It is cheap cheap cheap. I would compare the quality with somewhere like Forever 21, definitely not ATL or anywhere like that.
    One of the tops of the buttons fell off before I even got the dress out of the package! The material is thin and the dress is cut very strangely – I am a classic pear shape with small shoulders and chest. The dress fits perfectly below the waist but is very tight in the arms and shoulders. To be fair, there is a warning that the dress runs small in the arms but I do find this to be a little ridiculous even considering that. It’s too bad, I had high hopes and I used a big discount so I won’t be able to get my money back (just exchange).

  37. Dee Dee says:

    Wow- how I wish I had done more research on this company before ordering. I just went to the website loved the styles and ordered.

    I just received my first order and the dress came with two huge discolorations on the front of the dress. It cannot be worn in it’s current condition! I of course left a message for the company but have not heard back from them yet.

    I also had a coupon and I unfortunately bought two of these coupons and now wonder if there is absolutely anything I can order from them that will be of any quality.
    This is a real disappointment ..:-( I’ve learned a hard, but valuable lesson!

  38. Sava says:

    I have a SA dress that I LOVE (the Cat’s Cradle, which I think is no longer for sale) in a sour apple green color that bled BADLY when I handwashed it in cold water. The dress was covered in green and blue streaks. I machine washed it and most of the streaks were resolved.

    I own a few SA dresses and am generally happy with them, especially as one of their LDS target audience. It’s really hard to find unique dresses that cover in all the right places, so I take more chances on them as an online-only retailer than on others. (I have found sizing inconsistencies though.)

  39. S. says:

    Sava — try Talbots. On the models in the catalogs, some of it looks frumpy but on a younger person with the right accessories, most of their stuff is cute and modest.

  40. Kari says:

    I have purchased 6 Shabby Apple dresses and so far am happy with the quality and customer service. My Barefoot in the Park dress developed a hole on the first washing (that was probably already there; I just noticed it when I was hanging it up to dry) and they replaced it for free, no questions asked, no photo required. I have since ordered that dress in the two other colors (Pretty in Pink and Atlantic Fog) and am happy with both. I have Cat’s Cradle too, and the empire waist seam is coming loose in one spot, but that’s my fault for not being more careful when I took it off the last time I wore it. I will fix it with my sewing machine and all will be well.

    I wash them on the gentle cycle in my Speed Queen washer, which is known for having a gentler agitator and spin than most gentle cycles, and line dry either outside or on my indoor clothing rack. No pilling problems so far and Pretty in Pink has been washed a few times already. If your washer is rough, hand wash or use a lingerie bag, and you should be fine.

  41. Dee Dee says:

    I wanted to be sure that I followed up on my experience: Although there were some communication delays, Shabby Apple came through in the end, sending me a different dress that arrived in good condition and also sending a return shipping package so I could send back the damaged dress. I am happy they finally got back to me and really like the new dress–They do have great styles, but given what I’ve read here, I’d still watch out for quality issues with them and I think dresses made of certain materials might be safer than other materials when it comes to their fashions. My damaged dress was made of wool.

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