I was recently lucky enough to be offered a chance to select a dress from PIOL, a new company offering made to measure dresses. PIOL lets you piece together your desired style, choose the fabric you want, and then uses your measurements to create the perfect dress just for you.
The PIOL website is pretty spiffy–all pointy clicky–and you can see your dress take form as you are directed through an easy-to-use step-by-step creation process. The most difficult parts of the process? Actually committing to a design and getting your measurements right.
So how did I do? I wanted to make sure I judged the dress on a fair playing ground plus I wanted a dress that I might wear to death and wear everywhere, so I chose a tailored silhouette, a moderate v-neck, a long pencil skirt, and cap sleeves. In black. But before you judge and shun me for not choosing one of their multitudes of great patterns, I just want to say that I thought black would be the best option for seeing the true lines of the dress. AND, I chose black matte stretch, which turned out to be a to-die-for fabric.
The dress is lovely and looks exactly as it’s shown on the site.
UNTIL, and here’s where the advantage of off the rack comes in, you turn it around and see…
The exposed stainless zipper. Which I know was all the style last year but it’s not a readily disclosed feature on the site (although I can sort of see it in the photo now) and it really destroyed the LBD demure dress image I had in mind.
For my measurements, I measured and measured and measured again before submitting them. The bust size is spot on. Unfortunately the bust size fails to take into account my slightly broad shoulders and the fit isn’t quite perfect there. Also, I feel like I would take in the waist and hips in a future dress. It’s a little roomy. At maximum fatness, the dress would probably be fine but since I dropped a bit of weight since taking the measurements a few weeks ago, it’s not perfect. I probably should have cinched that measuring tape right up like a corset. Mea culpa. Completely. But I was also afraid of getting a dress I couldn’t slip on. Which would have been worse.
So would I do it again? I’m not sure. I’ve got a lovely Tahari black dress that fits me quite nicely that cost a small fraction of the PIOL retail. But I DO have difficulty finding dresses that fit (I’m talking to you J. CREW!) and I am certain that I’d have the measurements completely dialed in the second time around. But the zipper was a real shocker and I would be super nervous about choosing a pattern without seeing it in real life. To its merit, PIOL does its best to minimize risk and does offer a very gracious return policy (all you are responsible is for the shipping costs both ways). So I guess I’m undecided (although I know I would be tempted) and I hope they work on a hidden zip option soon.