woman walking on seaside while holding woven bag

A glance on J. Crew Smocked Waist Pleated Dress

woman walking on seaside while holding woven bag

We have mixed feelings regarding the resurgence in smocking detail in clothing. We used to love Juicy Couture terrycloth dresses with smocked bodices for a long time in the early aughts, so it can be kind of nostalgia. However, smocking can really make clothing more expensive. There are plenty of design train wrecks.

We are not sure a handbook exists on the art of smocking, but a good rule of thumb is to choose designs that use it sparingly–or designs that hide it in a busy print, if they must smock the whole bodice.

The dress for review today is J. Crew Smocked-Waist Pleated Dress, for which we had high hopes. Other reviews complained of the pleated skirt being too full. In person, however, the skirt is less full, and more “jutted out unnaturally below the waist.”

We also thought the smocked waist was too wide on a short(er) torso, and gave the dress a pseudo-empire-waist look that feels dated. Honestly, we probably would not have kept this dress if It was a full-price garment, but at <$50 it’s a good contribution to collection of summer dresses.

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