A few weeks ago, the lovely team at Eliza Parker contacted me to see if I’d like to review a piece or two of their collection. I see reviews as a chance for me to try items from brands that I haven’t bought from yet or to try styles that I typically wouldn’t buy for myself. If I’m handed an opportunity like this, then I want to make the most of it. Eliza Parker has very high quality clothing, but their target audience seems more geared towards those who buy professional or evening wear. My lifestyle now is definitely professional student (aka kinda of academic but kind of casual), so I decided to see how I could make Eliza Parker’s professional pieces work for my somewhat casual looks.

Out of all of the dresses Eliza Parker offers, the Monaco stood out because of its full skirt and neckline. I normally would have bought this in a red or black, but decided to not play it safe and went for purple. Bright, bright purple. Warning: May blind you from the whiteness of my skin, haha. Summer, I miss your tan glow!

I’ll admit; I had a really, really hard time figuring out what to wear with this dress. Maybe it’s because I don’t have an appropriate cropped black cardi like I was hoping for or a snug leather jacket that looked perfect in my mind, but the only top I could find that I felt okay with was this gray cardi that unfortunately has been washed out by the light. It has pretty details on the shoulder that make the cardi appropriate for both dressier and more casual looks.

Eliza Parker told me to size the dress based on my bust and waist measurements, so I went down a size, and I’m really happy I did. The dress fit comfortably on the top, and obviously the full skirt completely did its job of being wonderful and swishy.

The black belt was a little overwhelming, but we all have to work with what we have. I added a big pearl-ish and rhinestone ring I bought from ASOS months ago to bring a little shine to the outfit.

Luckily, North Carolina winters are like most people’s falls, so it’s still warm enough for me to wear the dress in all of its original glory if I’d like. The dress has cool pockets, too.

I also happened to get my hair colored and cut today. Unfortunately the color really isn’t coming across well in the images, but the top layer is a darker brown with a honey brown framing my face. I was inspired to do this by seeing Pencil Skirts and Latte‘s two-toned hair. I think my stylist was a little surprised by my request since I’ve been doing the same coloring for a long time, so she didn’t do anything drastic. We’ll see how I like it over the next few months, and if so I might make the contrast a little more apparent.

So my conclusions on the Monaco dress are that you DEFINITELY want to size your order based on your bust and waist measurements. The fabric, cut, and weight of the dress is really, really lovely, and if you’re into these one-color dresses that are easily accessorized, then the Monaco may be for you. Even though I knew I wanted to step out of my comfort zone with the color, I think I would like this dress better and get more wear out of it if I had gotten it in black or red. If I had the black version, it would definitely be my new favorite LBD! The only other con is that the dress is pretty pricey at $189. Truthfully, if it weren’t for me being given this item, I wouldn’t be able to afford to buy it. Eliza Parker definitely impressed me, but I might have to wait until I have a full-time job before buying from them again.

What do you think of the Monaco? Do you buy a lot of professional clothing or is your lifestyle calling for different kinds of items?

P.S. Eliza Parker is offering 20% off through 1/6/2012 with the code: New20

Eliza Parker gifted me the Monaco dress for the purpose of a review. The above post is my honest opinion about the item.