I went to a trunk show for Sympli/Sympli Grande today at a local boutique. Sympli is a canadian company that makes clothing in sizes 4 to 3X; The regular range is 4-18, while the plus range is 0X to 3X. The difference between an 18 and a 0X is pretty mild; mostly it’s a difference in cut. The Grande sizes are cut more loosely and have a higher neckline, which as you will see isn’t necessarily a good thing. The fabric is the same for all of the items; a relatively heavy-weight very stretchy polyester. This is the kind of thing you can roll into a ball, stuff into the bottom of a suitcase, pull out 6 months later and have it looking perfect again with just a shake. It certainly wouldn’t ever fade.
The collection includes skirts and pants. I tried the pants from the Grande line and they were insanely loose (think: room for a diaper), so in the pictures you will mostly see me with the size 18 slim cut pants. They fit like a pair of loose leggings; body skimming but not too tight.
The first outfit was a 3X top. As you can see, it’s a bag; no shape, high neckline, and over all not flattering. This top has a number of details that are hard to see in the picture, but fitting so loose it wasn’t worth trying to get a picture of. I tried on a 2X and it pretty much fit the same; no real shape, too high a neck to be flattering on someone with my kind of chest. After that I decided I needed to drop down to some of the smaller or straight sizes.
The second top was a size 18 (the top of their straight line), and probably the best looking. I LOVE this color, and the buttoned neckline was relatively flattering. Still, there wasn’t a lot of detail otherwise. The outfit itself just didn’t do it for me.
The remaining items and outfits are below. Most of these are in a size 0X or 18 top, which would be a bit small in general but was what they had to try on. The pattern is pretty similar; most of the items are fit and flare of some type (which admittedly is a good look on me), with different detailing around the bottom. Several items had detailing across the chest (such as the bright blue, which has a couple of odd seams in strange places, like right across my boob), but the nature of the styles (tone on tone, no contrasting colors) means that the differences are pretty subtle.
In the end, I didn’t buy any of the items. I could get any of their styles in the available colors, but there were 3 primary problems.
- The line was simply too expensive. The least expensive piece I tried on was the pants at $114; the tops were $150+. That’s more than I can afford to pay for a single piece right now, particularly one that is distinctive enough that the cost/wear* will end up fairly low.
- They had very few pieces immediately available, and nearly all of those were in black; you had to order what you wanted, pay up front, and get it in “4-8 weeks, more if you want it in a color other than black”. That’s kind of a long time to wait and have that money tied up. Plus since it’s essentially a custom order you end up hoping that you picked the right size AND that the shape is flattering on you. If it isn’t, well…..
- I felt that the pieces don’t fit my life or style right now. I’m really trying to create a signature style for myself, and I don’t think this fits with that look. I’m sure that I could make these items work, but they didn’t call to me.
*Cost/Wear: Cost per wear is a way of deciding whether to buy something expensive. For example, I have a pair of black Josef Seibel mary jane style shoes that I paid $150 for about 6 years ago. However in the intervening years I wore them, on average, 3 days per week for 5 months out of the year. That’s around 360 wears, making the cost per wear under $0.42. On the other hand, $150 is too much to pay for a piece that is extremely distinctive and not entirely my look. I might wear maybe ten times, putting the cost per wear at over $15 per wear.
I try to use this metric for deciding whether something is worth the cost to me. Items that are very trendy or very distinctive can have a higher cost per wear, but only if they are a great match to my style. The Talbots sweater that you”ve seen here will certainly end up with a higher cost per wear, but given it’s relatively classic cut and it’s coherence with my style, that’s OK. These tops didn’t have either of those characteristics.