Last month, I was on a closet cleaning gig for a client when we started talking about brands she wanted in her “dream closet.” She kept mentioning the brand M.M. LaFleur, one that I had never heard of before. So when I got home, I decided to do some investigating.
M.M. LaFleur was started by a woman named Sarah who worked in the finance industry and tired of the boring suits and lackluster dresses that fit her conservative office dress code. To remedy this issue, Sarah luxury-quality dresses without the price tag, dresses that embrace femininity and practicality. And to help her in this regard, she brought on the former Head Designer of Zac Posen, who also worked at Theory and Jason Wu. Talk about a match made in working-girl heaven.
The Akiko ($295) // The Mae ($295) // The Narie ($275) // The Felisa ($295)
The ordering process for M.M. LaFleur is one of the most innovative in the business. You can choose up to four dresses to try at home before you buy them. So if you want to try a couple of different styles, colors or sizes, you can take seven days to decide if you want to buy them. If you choose to keep them, you’ll be charged. If not, simply mail them back within the week time limit.
I was impressed by the quality of the M.M. LaFleur dresses. They were as well-made and stylish as Trina Turk, DvF or Milly dresses. They’re not quite as well-constructed as Black Halo, but they’re close.
I ordered the four dresses you see above to try. They say to order one size larger than you typically wear in J.Crew or Theory, however, I stuck with my usual size 4. It was a little snug in the thigh, but fit in the bust. So I would recommend ordering two sizes to try.
Of the four dresses, I kept only one, the Akiko dress on the far left. I was very impressed with all of the dresses, but the Akiko was the most flattering and best fitting in the bunch. I love the drape neckline and the slim-fitting skirt. It’s also cool that the skirt has a pocket just on one side, so you can carry a couple of business cards.
I would caution you, however, that the top on the Akiko dress is a bit sheer. In natural light it will be fine, as long as you wear a flesh-toned bra. Should you be anywhere near a camera flash, you’re going to want to wear a cami underneath.
All in all, I was very happy with the dresses I received. I also liked how simple the process was for returning the dresses I chose not to keep (postage was free). And I found the style, fabric and cut to be right in line with the kind of dresses I want to wear to work. The price is a little higher than I’d like, but if you’re looking to add one really great dress to your wardrobe, I think they’re a worthy purchase.
Before someone asks, I was not compensated in any way for this post. I did not receive a discount on my dress, special treatment or anything for free. I simply tried a product, bought it and wanted to tell y’all how much I liked it.
UPDATE: Want to see M.M. LaFleur’s dresses in person? They’re having a D.C. Trunk Show this weekend at The Jefferson with drinks and bites for attendees. Tickets are free and can be had via Eventbrite.
“one size larger than JCrew or Theory…”
Great. They do not have my size.
miss d says:
I wouldn’t assume that they don’t have your size, it’s a bit inconsistent. I’m a 4-6 in Theory but a 0-2 in JCrew and ended up with a size 0 Niko. The Mae is also generously cut.
Holy Photoshop, Batman!
M.M. LaFleur is also on my wishlist for my dream closet. Other brands include Tailour, Project Gravitas, Bow & Drape, and Dobbin Clothing.
When I tried on M.M. LaFleur at a trunk show in May, I found that their machine-washable styles at the time didn’t fit my pear-shaped body. (I consider myself pear-shaped because my bust is relatively small to my hips. My shoulders and hips are actually even, which would cause some not to categorize me as a pear.) For example, Lydia, Felisa, Narie, and Sarah were either fine or loose at the bust, loose at the waist, and snug at my hips. When I sat, all of these styles puffed out at the abdomen into a kangaroo pouch because of the pockets. Two styles that did fit me well are Jina and Michaella. From website photos, it doesn’t look like Michaella would fit a pear, but it’s cut more generously in the hips than other styles. Also, Michaella’s waist seaming at the back really helps to define the waist in a way that the other styles didn’t. Since May, the brand has launched styles that may fit me better such as Toi (A-line) and Karen (really difficult to see pattern and seaming on the black fabric) but I haven’t tried them yet. I wish M.M. LaFleur would provide grids of individual size/garment measurements like Project Gravitas does.
Tailour fits me beautifully (co-founder Chrissie is pear-shaped) and I like everything about their dresses except the exposed back zipper.
I recommend Dobbin Clothing for apple shapes and possibly for pear shapes. Pears may find that the raised waist of all Dobbin dresses doesn’t provide enough definition for their true natural waists. All Dobbin dresses have plenty of ease in the waist & hips.
Just because I’m excited about fashion start-ups, I’ll also add that bike commuters should check out Iva Jean’s Reveal skirt.
I should clarify that I don’t know which version of Lydia and Sarah I tried on in early May. I mention this because the website now lists Lydia 3.0 and Sarah 2.0. I also don’t know whether side-seam pockets have (dis)appeared among the various versions.
Lydia 3.0: “The Lydia is fitted throughout, with a tapered skirt and a high neckline. Version 3.0 retains the flattering fit but gives a little more room for the office. We also added a snap for holding your bra strap in place.”
Sarah 2.0: “This sheath dress is slim through the bust and hips, though version 2.0 allows a little more room without losing the shape.”
This is a great review and the other brands you recommended are useful as well. Thanks!
Thanks for reading! I’m glad I could help!
Re: other comments, I’d like to highlight that Dobbin Clothing offers sizes 00-16. Dobbin also provides complete sizing grids for each style.
The clothes look absolutely beautiful. I’m disappointed they don’t offer up to a size 14, but I understand that small business have their limitations.
Order a size larger than you wear in JCrew or Theory? That isn’t the clearest piece of advice considering JCrew’s and Theory’s sizing are not at all similar. I know I certainly don’t wear the same size in both Theory and JCrew. Theory’s sizing seems to be pretty widely considered as running small (or at least narrow) while JCrew’s runs quite large.
It’s not my recommendation, it’s theirs. I think that’s their kind way of saying, “We’re not vanity sizing these clothes.”
I too am disappointed with yet another brand that makes lovely professional work dresses that don’t make sizes large enough for me to wear. (Not on you, Belle, of course, and I am always grateful for the plus options you include regularly in your posts.)