Refinery29’s dedicated Shopping team is back with another in-depth examination of an internet-revered item: Anthropologie’s Somerset Maxi Dress. After browsing the reader-favourite destination for the best summer dresses, we discovered this incredibly popular frock that over 300 reviewers adore for its relaxed pullover style, smocked waist, and tiered skirt. Previously, the Somerset Maxi could only be found in cotton fabric — but now, just in time for summer 2022, a linen iteration has made its highly anticipated debut. The vibrant cotton prints have been replaced with softer linen shades (think sky blues and muted pinks), and the beloved one-and-done silhouette is now even more easygoing with the addition of pockets (!).
“Whether you are going to brunch, a bridal/baby shower, or date night, this is the best and the most versatile event dress you could have in your closet,” one of its enthusiastic fans divulged on Anthropologie. “I own the blue and white chinoiserie print and lilac linen, and they both fit the same and are true to size. Currently, the black one is sitting in my cart too.”
Another reviewer, who owns both styles, reported, “I got this dress in white and this is my fifth Somerset dress. The other four are all in cotton, but I am now in love with this linen version as well. Best fit EVER for my hourglass shape. It is a bit heavier than the cotton version due to being lined. But I LOVE how the linen drapes, especially how the sleeves are less stiff than in the cotton version. I am not so keen on pastels, but this white dress will be my new go-to white summer dress.”
Although the hype alone for this crowd-pleasing dress might be all the convincing we need, we decided to try it on IRL for even more intel. Keep reading to discover what two fashion writers had to say about the fit, feel, and real-life appeal of Anthropologie’s new linen Somerset Maxi Dress.
This is a great dress for when you want to feel effortlessly put-together (always, in my case).
“I’m typically an XS/S in dresses, and with the help of Anthropologie’s detailed reviewers, I could commit to an XS. There was an agreement online that the dress runs a little large, so I decided to size down and couldn’t be happier. I was worried about whether or not to choose from the standard or petite sizes. It didn’t help either when I pulled the piece out of the box for the first time, and it immediately looked too long. However, after trying it on, my worries melted away. I’m 5’5” (on a good day), and the dress fell to my ankles.
“Let me first say that pastel hues are my cherished territory in the fashion colour wheel. Therefore I was in a rut deciding which shade I should choose. I naturally gravitate toward white and light pinks (my two favourite colours), but ultimately, the green tint caught my eye. Although I only have a few items in the mossy shade, I have this unspoken love for green items — especially now that it’s all over the runways. That’s why I decided it was time to add the tone to my collection of dresses for the spring/summer. I could imagine myself pairing my ivory JW Pei Gabbi Bag and thin pearl necklace with it for a contrasting pop of colour. Now, I’m left wondering if I need to buy a white version for laid-back shopping/walk-in-the-park days.
It cascaded perfectly down to my ankles and comfortably cinched at my waist for a fitted but loose silhouette.
Vivien Lee, Fashion Writer
“When it comes to the dress’s structure, I wholeheartedly love it — everything from the elastic waist, comfort, and thick lining. Plus, I don’t have to worry about it being see-through if it’s extra sunny that day. One tiny aspect I’d change is the clasp between the bust. I’m not a V-neck girl, and I was startled to see how deep the plunge went. Fortunately, there’s a hidden inner clasp that allows you to tie the two V-neck folds together without having a jarring button right in the middle of your boobs, although it still leaves a gap. If the V-neck is too low for you, I’ve found a safety pin does the trick. I use one pin to close the open part below the metal clasp and another a little above for my comfort. Instead of a plunging neckline, it’s a little V-neck. Warning: Since the dress is linen, be prepared for it to wrinkle. I think the crinkles add their own flair, but I’ll probably iron it for formal events or use my trusty wrinkle-free spray.” – Vivien Lee, Fashion Writer
“I got this dress in white in a size 2X. I’d say it’s pretty true to size. If you’re in between sizes, size down. The dress has a good feel to it. If you’ve worn linen before, it’s just what you’d expect. It has a slip, so it covers your undergarments pretty well. One of my biggest complaints would be that the clasps in the front of the dress near the bust area aren’t sewn on as tightly as I would like. The clasps essentially operate as internal buttons, and I unlatched one in order to slip the dress on because I have a larger bust. I’d recommend unfastening all of the clasps before slipping on the dress: They aren’t on super tightly, and one of them was loosened substantially after my attempt to slide on the dress.”
From every stitch and seam to the flowy-ness of the fabric to the cinching of the waist area, it’s clear the dress was designed intentionally.
Chichi Offor, Associate Affiliate Writer
“The dress arrived pretty quickly after the order was placed. Immediately, I noticed it had an impressive amount of weight to it. After ripping off the plastic wrapping it came in, I could tell the dress was pretty wrinkled. This made sense because it’s a linen material. I gave it a quick steam to smooth out some of the wrinkles for styling purposes. However, I don’t mind it being a little wrinkly. I personally love when linen has a little character. I decided to style the dress with my Maria Dora x Emily Dawn Long hat, light green Jonathan Geiger sneakers, and strawberry socks for a more casual look.
From every stitch and seam to the flowy-ness of the fabric to the cinching of the waist area, it’s clear the dress was designed intentionally. To top it all off, the dress has pockets! It’s a pretty thoughtful design addition that definitely makes it stand out among other linen dresses on the market. If the cut and style of the dress fit your ideal aesthetic, then I do recommend it. This isn’t really in line with my personal style, but I know a well-made garment when I see one. This dress is definitely that.” – Chichi Offor, Associate Writer
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