DressBarn gets a whole new look. Introducing: DressBar!

“Who needs an “N”?” This was the puzzling question emblazoned across the chests of the very attractive bartenders at Thursday night’s pop-up store party in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood. With it’s white walls, thumping DJ, sharp store displays and saleswomen swanning around in chic LBDs, I was sure DressBar was just the newest upscale boutique on the block. The area is flooded with stores like Kate Spade, anthropologie, and Joe Fresh, none of which carrie plus sizes so I presumed the same of this place.  As soon as I spotted plus models on the Adrianna Papell posters and noticed that I was surrounded by an even mix of small and plus sized mannequins, I was thrilled.

DressBar is basically my heaven. A place where all of the trendy, quality-made dresses came in sizes 4 to 24. They were displayed seamlessly on the same racks. No size segregation or difference in cut or quality once it has a “W” on its size tag. Just a sea of the hottest dresses for all occasions in a hip space teeming with even hipper New Yorkers. Where has this place been all my life?

All too often plus size women lose out on a luxurious shopping experience because some plus retailers put little effort in their store design or relegate pour sizes to some dingy corner of the store. What I liked best about DressBar was it’s classically “downtown NYC” chic all-white look. It satisfied my craving to walk into a gorgeous boutique, slip on a well-cut dress not made of 90% spandex and it find it actually fits me!

Thursday night’s event highlighted this experience quite well. Dress designer Heidi Weisel gave interviews as shoppers visited the candy bar, the wine bar or  the Braid Bar provided by Dream Dry. After speaking with the incredibly sweet staff, I learned the most surprising thing. This was the dress department of DressBarn. Stunned, I said that this was the best rebranding I have ever seen! Most Americans might know DressBarn as a dated place their mother shopped for sensible work wear and capped sleeved skirt suits. I’ve been to DressBarn plenty of times in my native Ohio and successfully stocked up on standard shift dresses that would never see the light of day outside of my office. It was never like this!

I had sexy flirty dresses by the arm full! I finally settled on an asymmetrical neckline LBD, a black and white floral blouson-topped dress, an on-trend-for-spring yellow and navy belted skater dress and the teal dress of my dreams. Finally, I too can have a perfect silky chiffon fit-and-flare dress for my many summer weddings! A bit of a handkerchief hem and a black crystallized waistband made it just unique enough to stand out from the sea of summer occasion dresses. Four dresses for roughly $200 total. It is affordable too? Now I know I am in love.

They ditched the “N” and gained the respect of a whole new generation of fashionable women. My only disappointment is that they are a pop-up store that closes at the end of May. Until then, you can go see them every day and join the for cool events like this one every Thursday until closing.

Run do not walk to the “Bar!”

By Renee Cafaro


-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine