This Week I Love …

tracy reese

… Tracy Reese.

Like many people, I first found out about this designer’s work through her Plenty line, some of which can be found at Anthropologie and Modcloth. I only own one piece – this dress, which is fancy enough to get fairly infrequent wear – but found my interest in her work rekindled when I saw this Amazon ad last fall. That dress was NOT from a lower-end line and way out of my price range, but oh how I daydreamed about it.

Reese is a Detroit native who attended Parsons and, after graduation, rose quickly in the fashion design ranks to women’s design director at Perry Ellis. She launched her eponymous collection in 1998, Plenty in 1998, and Frock (another lower-end line) in 2006. She’s been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) since 2000, and has served on the Board of Directors since 2007. So, ya know, she keeps busy.

Although I’ve backed off my color obsession in my own wardrobe, I continue to admire Reese’s bold and inventive use of intense colors and intricate patterns. She has such an amazing eye for detail, and even her more subdued designs have thoughtful and unique touches. Her main line runs in the $500-$600 range, but the diffusion lines are more affordable. Here are some pieces you can nab right now:

tracy reese deveny dress

Deveney Ponte Sheath – $148

Fearful of print mixing? Let Reese do the heavy lifting for you. Such a great mashup of geometrics and florals, and will pair beautifully with black layers for the rest of the winter. Also comes in petite sizes.

tracy reese chunky toggle sweater

Chunky Toggle Sweater – $164

 After days and days of subzero temps, this sweater looks like heaven to me. It’s 60% cotton so it’ll be wonderfully heavy and warm, and I adore the toggle closures. Also comes in ivory with black closures.

tracy reese rayon blouse

Easy Printed Henley, Watercolor Blocks, Petite – $35.40

There’s only one of these left and it’s a size small, but I wanted to call it out both for its gorgeous print and to point you to Plenty section over on Amazon, which has some mind-blowing bargains.

tracy reese larmona lace dress

Larmona Lace Dress – $178

Such a classic black lace frock. Perfect for winter parties and nights out, but would also be so fun paired with a leather jacket and ankle boots. The low scoop in front will frame a necklace but this dress has a nice, high back.

tracy reese silk blouse

Floral Surplice Silk Blouse – $117.49

Such a creative take on ombre, and in rich magentas and pinks. Layer this 100% silk blouse under a blazer for now, and pair it with a sleek pencil skirt in spring. Too spendy? This Plenty blouse has a similar palette and is only $27.02 on sale.

tracy reese dress

Jersey Dress – $34.99

This one’s a bargain because it’s secondhand and listed over on thredUP, which has 67 fun Tracy Reese items for sale right now. You’ll need to create an account to purchase, but the account is free. Also love this arty sleeveless silk top.

tracy reese jali coat

Stitched Jali Coat – $199.95

Blanket/wrap coats are super trendy this winter, and this one provides a fantastic pop of color.

Sadly, Reese hasn’t done any plus or tall sizes yet – I hope she will – but if you love her aesthetic and are sized out of the clothes for now, check out her shoe and handbag designs. (A plus size designer with a fairly similar aesthetic is Anna Scholz. My post about her here.)

Other sources to check for Tracy Reese designs:

Anyone else a fan of Reese’s designs? Is this your first time seeing her stuff? Which piece is your favorite?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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7 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. mendotawaves

    I love Reese’s designs! And as I browsed the site, I was reminded of how much I love the clothes at Anthropology, though I cannot afford them, and might barely fit the sizing. (Can look second hand)

    But it made me wonder, why are there so few women of color? I saw one Asian type, one Black, one maybe Latina…there might have been a couple I missed. I am a fair skinned Caucasian, and there were many of those for me to imagine wearing the clothes. I wish a company that presents wide cultural influence in their fabrics and garments, would also present beautiful variety in their models. Not that the model would have to wear the pattern that might match her background, but that she would show variety in her clothing as well. Since I hadn’t looked at Anthro for some time, I’m not sure if this is their usual practice, or a recent trend.

    • Dust. Wind. Bun.

      Now I don’t feel quite as silly commenting on the models rather than the clothes (which aren’t so much my style, but they’re fun): the model in the lace dress, her eyes are BURNING HOLES IN MY VERY SOUL. It’s kind of creepy and kind of mesmerizing.

      Anyway, this person has a point – you’d think a trendy progressive-vibe company like that would want a more diverse model set.

    • Ginger

      My guess is that Anthropologie’s core customer is not of-color.
      I see models of color in some of their catalogs, but generally it’s a consumptive looking White girl plunked down in a South American village.
      My feeling is that their purchasing customer is someone (with money) who aspires to a style that’s exotic, boho, feminine and slightly vintage.
      My, total-generalization based on my limited experience, feeling about upscale Black women’s style is that it’s often a bit preppy, modern and tailored, making it in the White world tends to demand that.
      I’d also consider that “vintage” for Black American women is often a different set of looks than for White American women.

      With that said, while I could certainly imagine Michelle Obama in these items, I can’t imagine Valerie Jarrett.

  2. crtfly

    If these examples are typical of Reese, then I am a new, huge fan. My favorite? The coat.

    i like patterned tops in silk or rayon but the last 5 years or so, I haven’t seen any designs that I like. I’ve seen patterns with colors I like, but not the design. I’ve seen designs I like but not the colors. Her patterned tops are the only ones I’ve seen that I like. I even like her pattern mixing dress and I don’t like pattern mixing.

    Thanks for telling us about her. I hope that she will eventually expand her sizing.


  3. Talia

    I am a new fan! Wow, how I wish the dress hadn’t sold on Thredup! It is right up my alley. Thanks for exposing me to yet another fantastic designer!

  4. Moneypenny

    I have always admired her Plenty line at Anthropologie (from what I’ve seen), but sadly it’s always a little out of my price range! Her designs are fresh in the colors and patterns, but also very classic in the styling. I’m definitely a fan! And now I want that blanket coat! And the sheath dress!

  5. Jean Thilmany

    Wow, I like the point about styling targeted toward black women because “making it in white America tends to demand that.” Totally true. I say this as the complete white middle-aged woman, temporarily w/out money, the commenter pegged .. my style, everything. Oof.