A mixed review

Bit of a mixed review for you today, because I’m afraid I am as yet uncertain about Kiyonna.
Kiyonna is one of those US labels that have been designed specifically for curvier girls. They’ve been around since 1996, and certainly seem to have one of the nicest ranges available, particularly for women who have outgrown the mini-skirts and slogan t-shirts that you find at Torrid (www.torrid.com) but aren’t quite ready to succumb to the elastic waists and deconstructed tunics at Taking Shape (www.ts14plus.com.au ).
Kiyonna’s clothes range from casual shorts, jeans and tees to wedding apparel, but where they really excel is with their dresses.
At the moment the range is a little bit slim pickings (and with the state of the Australian dollar, thank God for that!) but one dress that has always stood out for me is the “3/4 sleeve Scalloped Boudoir Lace Dress”.
It sounds like the perfect compromise between saucy and elegant – a nude sheath overlaid with sophisticated black lace, a figure skimming cut and a deep-vee neckline. It certainly doesn’t sound like something you’d want your grandparents to see you wearing, right? Sadly the reality is actually kind of dowdy:

Dress: Kiyonna www.kiyonna.com
Shoes: Robert Robert

There’s nothing I can really pinpoint about this dress that makes it so sedate. Maybe it’s bit too long, maybe the neckline is too discreet or the cut isn’t fitted enough. I mean, it’s a nice dress – I wore it comfortably to the Opera with my Mum and to a birthday dinner with Himself. But really, I wonder if it might be one pashmina away from Funeral-wear.
But I’m not sure it follows-through on Kiyonna’s promise of Head-Turning, Old-Hollywood glamour.
I actually bought my Kiyonna dress off eBay, and I’m pleased I didn’t shell out the $178 + $45 shipping price of buying it direct from the website, because as comfortable, and yes, well-made as it is, this dress is constructed of cheap synthetic materials, and for $200+ I would much rather buy a piece of fashion from someone who feels that plus-size women deserve luxurious fabrics as much as the next girl. Someone like Shoji Tadashi (www.tadashicollection.com), or Adrianna Papell (www.adriannapapell.com) whose silk and lace confections can be found on Nordstrom along with designers like Robbie Bee, Maggy London, Suzi Chin, and all at prices that are comparable to Kiyonna’s.
That’s just me though. I’d be interested in hearing everyone else’s experiences with the Kiyonna range.
Oh, for the record. If, despite everything, you absolutely adore this dress, you can actually find it somewhat cheaper on the website www.edressme.com . They seem to ship to Australia, but I’m afraid I haven’t ordered from them, so I can’t vouch for their customer service.

8 thoughts on “A mixed review

  1. Hi, I understand what you mean about the dress. I think it’s the hemline and neck that makes it seem a bit frumpy. I have this one http://www.edressme.com/12082201-b.html and it’s much sexier. I think that the Kiyonna modal stuff is really good and have a few tops and dresses, but I find that the other stuff is a bit cheap. Also they are way way way overpriced, so unless it’s ebay or on sale, I agree there are other better options.

  2. I like the dress on you. It is modest but I think it class all the same. You could vamp it up with a strappy shoe or slingback. You could also consider added a cocktail ring to the ensemble.

  3. I would say shorten the sleeves and hem slightly and open the neck out a bit more.

    It might also suit a sash in a deep red or the like – make it a little more funky.

  4. I know what you mean about the gap in the market. I’m 27 and I don’t mind wearing slogan t-shirts to the supermarket etc, I want something a bit older most of the time but not elastic waist bands or oversized floral shirts found at some other plus sized stores. If they had a plus sized equivalent of French Connection/Witchery/Cue I’d be a happy girl.
    BTW, I think a red sash is an excellent idea 🙂

  5. Oooh, nice one Sydangel! Plus modal’s the most scumptious material out there, isn’t it?

    Thanks for your comment ms. ks – an excellent reason to go out an find some strappy shoes, methinks!

    Hi Jodes, yeah I agree. And by “old” do you mean you wouldn’t be embarrassed to see your Nana wearing it?

    Good ideas, Sarah! I’m seeing a tailor this week about another dress, I’ll see what he can do.

    Sarah; Oh. My. God. If they did a plus-sized Witchery or Cue I’d be in there everyday buying up everything on the racks. Instead I just stand outside with my nose pressed up against the window, drooling.

  6. I think if you took out the sleeves it would look a bit more youthful.

    I personally can’t wear lace – it ages me about 20 years when I do.

  7. It just needs to come in at the waist, to be tighter around the waist, pulled in there. Everything else about it is fine, including the length, that length looks good on you.

    It’d look better with sheer black stockings, too.

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