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Friday, August 1, 2008

A Review Of Richard Chai For Target - Part 2

I saved some of my least favorite pieces from Richard Chai's GO International collection for part 2 of my review. I didn't buy any of the items that you see below, although I'm contemplating buying the long cardigan in black if I can find it.

The first dress that I tried on was the purple plaid cowl-neck dress. It's made of 100% polyester (it has a satin finish), and I was not crazy about the combination of the plaid print with the shiny, thin texture. I prefer plaid when it's wool or another hefty fabric, as it seems more appropriate for cold weather. In addition, the cowl neck draped awkwardly. It didn't look right when folded over and draped, so I tucked it under and let it fall loosely. I also added a thin belt to give the dress more shape. There are two patch pockets on the lower front of the dress and given that I'm petite, I liked the length of the dress - not too short, not too long. Personally, I think the price is a tad high, given the cheap-feeling fabric. My verdict on this piece is a thumbs down for fabric, price, and print. I would have liked it much better in a lightweight wool blend and without the cowl-neck.

The tuxedo dress in navy pleasantly surprised me with its precise tailoring, arced seams, side zip, cute pointed collar (which is stitched down), and the sporty/sexy racerback styling. The racerback makes it just casual enough for day, perhaps with a sweater or blazer layered on top. With a change of shoes and accessories, the dress could easily work for happy hour, dinner, or dancing. It's very form fitting, so it will reveal all of your curves, or lack thereof. I liked how it clung to the waist and flared out slightly over the hips. Of all the pieces I've tried on in the collection, this one had the best tailoring. It was quite flattering, but I wasn't crazy about the shiny satin finish, so I didn't buy it. I think it's a simple, versatile dress for $39.99, and it would even look great with a white button down blouse layered underneath. I award it a thumbs up for style, fit and quality.

The next dress I tried was the black ruffle dress with its ruffled bib, RC logo buttons, side zip, and striped fabric in the bodice. My main complaint about it is that it works best on tall or long-waisted women, as it looked like a drop-waist dress on me. The waist seam fell almost to my hips, and it was loose, so it made me appear larger in the hip/booty area. The skirt (which is polyester) has a lining, while the upper body (which is 100% cotton) is slightly transparent. I would have liked to see pockets in the skirt area, and a slightly higher waist seam for those of us who aren't as tall as models. My conclusion is that it's a cute dress, but I didn't like it enough to buy it. It gets a thumbs down for fit, but a thumbs up for style and quality (no buttons fell off and no loose threads were visible).

The ruffle tank in green is made of 100% polyester, with a satin finish. The straps are adjustable, and there are buttons on the side, which is nice, but the length was too long. Like the dress above, this piece would look best on girls blessed with height. I adore the beautiful jewel-tone hue, as it goes well with dark denim, which I wear often. My verdict is a thumbs up if you're tall and looking for a skin-baring, going-out top. Not surprisingly, I decided not to purchase it mainly due to its long length.

The woven top in black isn't pictured in Target's image album as far as I can tell. It featured snaps at the top (on the arced armpit seams) and banded hem sleeves which were way too tight on my upper arms. I had to unbutton the sleeves in order to comfortably fit my arms through. It was also a bit difficult getting the top over my head. I liked the arced seam in the back and the slight A-line shape, but I wasn't crazy about the top because it looked plain when I put it on. Perhaps a belt, vest, or statement necklace would spice it up. My verdict on this one is thumbs down for fit.

The girly knit top in pink featured a pleated collar, a button placket, and princess seams. I'm not crazy about this shade of pink, but I think it works well with the gray boyfriend cardigan in the collection. It was comfortable, very fitted (I tried an extra small), and at $16.99, very affordable. If they had this in black, white, or gray, I would have bought it. This simple and chic top gets a thumbs up for fit, style, and price.

I tried on the boyfriend cardigan in a size small and I was practically swimming in it. I know it's supposed to have an oversized fit, but I think they overdid it a tad. It's got epaulettes on the shoulders, two patch pockets in front, and 3 buttons which leave it open at the bottom. I recommend this one for taller girls, as it hits at mid thigh on me and is too roomy in the shoulders. Since I like the details so much, I might buy this later in black and a size smaller. A quick look at the tag inside revealed that it is made of 95% cotton and 5% cashmere. Nice! Regarding the price, I've purchased similar cardigans from other cheap chic chains for less than the $39.99 that Target is asking for this one. This piece gets a thumbs up for fabric and style, and a thumbs down for fit since it's too big. I would have liked to see it button all the way down to the hem.

The black zip-front skirt (which also comes in orange) didn't appeal to me, but I tried it on to see how it would fit. Not only was it fully lined in 100% cotton, it had two side pockets, and was very comfortable. The zipper in the front and the crinkle texture (with plaid print) make it sporty, while the A-line fit makes it flirty and flattering for those with hips. It runs big, so I'd wear this with a belt to cinch in the waist and perhaps some tights when the weather cools off. I didn't buy it, but I'm considering it. I'm a sucker for skirts and dresses with pockets right now. The zipper pull with Richard Chai's name gave the otherwise plain skirt a nice touch, and the length (which fell just above the knee) was perfect for me. It receives a thumbs up for versatility, fit, function, and its budget-friendly $26.99 price tag.

When I can get my hands on more items in the line, I'll post additional thoughts in a part 3 of my review. Until then, I'll be checking the blogosphere for other opinions and thoughts on the collection. Stay tuned...

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