Elizabeth Suzann Marlena Midi Dress in raw silk | medium (gift from Elizabeth Suzann to review)
Kristen Elspeth necklace
James Perse Exclusive Birkenstock Arizona sandals | sold out, basic Arizona style
I couldn’t make you guys wait until Friday…so here’s a look at the Marlena midi dress in black, raw silk. I haven’t been able to wear it out yet (maybe today, with a light sweater on top), but just from trying it on at home and for these pictures, I KNOW it’s going to be the dress I reach for all spring/summer. In fact, I will say that if you could buy only one dress this summer, let it be this one.
I thought about dressing it up for you, but who am I kidding – I wanted to show it exactly how I’d wear it most often: casually, with my Birkenstocks. This dress lends itself beautifully to any occasion, I think. It would be great for work, with a cropped jacket and a wedge sandal, but equally perfect for the weekend with flat sandals, sneakers, or whatever, really.
I’ve never owned anything raw silk before, and I really love it. It has a nice subtle texture, it’s matte, and not delicate-feeling at all, which is what concerns me about silk in general, and why I don’t own much of it (my lifestyle doesn’t lend itself well to “delicate”).
On to the fit: Elizabeth Suzann sent me the small and the medium to try, and I’m sticking with the medium because it fits me better in the bust/shoulders. The small was quite small there on me, even with just my 34b bust, although it fit fine at the hips. The medium fits my chest perfectly, comfortably, and I like the way it fits all the way down better than the small; it just has more room to move around, sit in, etc.
The armholes are not so big they’ll show your bra, and not too tight – they’re just right. And on me, anyway, you cannot see my bra when I wear the v in the front or the back. In these pictures, just for you, I’m actually wearing a “substantial” bra (this one) rather than the unpadded, unlined, simple bras I usually wear. If you love the dress but find that the v is too deep for you, you could take the shoulders up a bit – reader Laurie did that with success.
I find the dress opaque; I am not wearing a slip underneath. I did try it belted, and liked that look as well – it would be amazing with Elizabeth Suzann’s knot belt – but sometimes belting dresses seems fussy to me. I don’t know why. But it is another way to wear the dress if you were so inclined, perhaps for the office? This would be a great dress for traveling too, since you basically have three completely different looks depending on how you wear it. I’m not sure how/if raw silk wrinkles, but I imagine it would hand wash well in a hotel sink and hang to dry by the next day.
I. Love. this. Dress. And no, I’m not just saying that because Elizabeth Suzann sent it to me to review. I’m picky when it comes to clothing, and really strive for perfection (as close to you can get anyway, because there’s really no such thing) in everything I choose to add to my closet. This is a versatile, well-made, easy, chic, locally-made (in Nashville, TN) in small batches by an independent designer, dress. What’s not to love??
And just to follow up to a previous comment conversation about silk, and the ethics of clothing made with silk, here is a very thoughtful response from Chelsea at Elizabeth Suzann about their use of silk:
Firstly, let’s talk about the silk we use. Our ultimate goal is to produce our fabrics here in Nashville. But, we do not currently do so. With the exception of our handwoven silk which is made here in Nashville by a local weaver, our silk comes from India or Korea. There are very few options for silk in North America simply because silk worms do not thrive here. We are aware of Peace Silk, but it is very expensive (~$40 per yard on average). Using Peace Silk would increase (nearly double) our prices. Therefore, we have chosen to strike a careful balance of using high-high-quality silk at a better price point, with an ultimate goal of weaving every single yard of fabric under our own roof in the future.…I so appreciate this discussion, and I am happy to be a part of it. All silk worms are insects, and all insects are invertebrates. They do indeed have a brain and neurons, but their system is so simple that they simply “react” to a stimuli such as a high temperature. Those reactions are similar to our reflexes. Meaning, if there is pain, it is very little and perhaps closer to what we perceive as a “sensation”. And, if they are introduced to high temperatures while in their cocoon, chances are they do not feel any sensations at all. This issue has come up several times at Elizabeth Suzann, and at this time, we have decided to continue using silk in an effort to keep our prices more affordable for our customers, but we are happy to continue the discussion.