If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably notice I feature Reformation quite often. It is one of my favorite ethical sustainable fashion brands that really nails it when it comes to fabric, styling, and its overall branding images.
Reformation is known for its effortless and girly silhouettes featuring dresses and tops made from sustainably made fabrics. They also have jeans, accessories such as jewelry, shoes, and candles, as well as a huge selection of wedding dresses to choose from. Ref’s main range is designed and fitted for 5’6 to 5’10 women. They do seem to offer trendy styles, but in most aspects, I do see them last in the closet for a long time.
If you have been wondering whether Reformation is worth the splurge, then this blog post is for you! Before I jump into details of each item, know that I’m 5’5 and weigh around 112 lbs. I don’t consider myself as petite and would much prefer regular sizing in clothes. Ref’s fabric is what really sold me when I first saw and touched their stuff in-store at Nordstrom. I have also gone to their stores in New York and LA, so I totally get the vibe and see enough of what Ref has to offer.
1. Carina Dress
Exact dress is no longer available, similar style but other prints available here.
Carina dress is a very popular wrap midi-dress. V-neckline, cap sleeves, and string tie at the waist. 100% viscose (majority of Ref’s man-made/synthetic woven fabric from wood pulp).
I’m wearing size 2, the smallest size available at Nordstrom when I got it at the time. I thought size 0 would have fitted me much better although I was not sure if they made size 0 in this style. It is very ill-fitting on me, especially around the under-boob area. I don’t wear bras with low-cut dresses like this for obvious reason. Besides that, I have no other complain. I love the midi length (thought it is perfect, just like how I like midi stuff fit me!), the gorgeous lilac color, the subtle floral print. The fabric and the flow are incredible as well!
2. Ruffled Wrapped Dress in Selene
This dress is also sold out but is a very similar style to the Carina dress (featured above). This one has the ruffles lining along the sleeves and neckline, also super cute. It is lined and made from the same viscose material, hence, its weighty look and feel when put on. Compared to a slinky silk dress from Realisation Par (both retailed at very competitive prices, around $250!), I think Reformation dresses like this one is a better band for your buck. Even though the fit is slightly off (same problem like the above dress: very loose fitting bodice), this one is much less prone to get wrinkly. It looks and feels more fancy as well!
Here I have styled it really casually with some Converse since I shoot this at Discovery Park in the summer. Also get yourself nippies with low cut tops and dresses like this as they are convenient and secure enough. I used to buy the nippies on their own website, but Ref now sells them, here.
3. Stevie Dress in Ansel
Stevie is a body-fitted mini dress with a slight flared skirt. Lined. A center back keyhole and back zipper. 3/4 sleeves. High neckline with ruffles at collar, sleeves, and hemline. 100% viscose.
I’m wearing size 0, and it fits me perfectly all throughout. I also love how it’s a mini style and hits me at a very flattering length. Here I’ve styled it with a pair of black ankle boots and a matching black leather bag, but you can literally wear it with sandals and any heel heights you’d like. I love the high neckline and the feminine ruffle details, conservative but flirty! In addition, this one is new and is available at Nordstrom currently, so hurry up and pick one for your summer wardrobe! With Ref, if you like the print and know what your size is, get it asap since their stuff is sold out really fast. Because they only make limited numbers and can take awhile for something to be restocked. Know Ref stuff can also be re-sold at pretty good values as well!
4. Thick Strappy Floral Dress with Side Slit
Exact print is sold out, shop a very similar style dress called Persimmon in Black here. I’m pretty sure that the print of this dress is called Countess.
Persimmon dress is a midi dress with side slit and back zipper. 53% viscose – 47% rayon.
Viscose and rayon fall in the same man-made from wood pulp category of fabric. They both drape well, feel like cotton but look somewhat like silk. However, rayon is more commonly used since it is quite absorbent and easy to take in the dye. I’m wearing this dress size 0, and it fits incredibly well on. Love its sexy side slit as well as the sweetheart neckline.
5. Meyer Top in Wyoming
Meyer is a crop top with fitted bodice. Straight neckline and spaghetti tie straps. Mocked/ruched back. 53% viscose 47% rayon. Sustainably made in China.
I bought this top last summer, and it is one of my most loved summer tops I own. Luckily, it is still available on the website, here. As you can see, I don’t wear bra with this, and it still looks really flattering on. My favorite feature of this top has got to be the tiny and long shoulder straps. They do tend to fall off, so make sure you knot them tightly at least twice. Now I have found the safest solution when shopping at Ref is to opt for sleeveless tops and dresses. If you notice, this top has the mocked back which really helps cinching in the waist. Please keep in mind that it is lined, so it can get quite uncomfortable at times especially in some hot summer days.
After looking at the Meyer top more closely on Ref website, I think this one is not the exact same top. Mine has much longer straps and is in a much darker green shade compared to the Meyer. Well, it is very close though, so get it or it will sold out again!
Hampton bodysuit has a cheeky bottom, straight neckline and ruffled straps. Made from Eco Rib, medium weight, stretchy soft ribbed knit – 88% TENCEL ® lyocell, 12% spandex. Sustainably made in LA.
I love this bodysuit, its straight neckline, ruffled straps and how thick yet comfortable the fabric is. It pairs well with jeans and sandals, can’t you tell?
TENCEL™ Lyocell is made by an Australian company Lenzing from semi-synthetic fiber, identical to cotton. It is a part of the Rayon family, made from renewable wood materials. TENCEL™ is manufactured from Eucalyptus trees, which grow fast and thick on low-grade land, about 5 times less land and 80% less water needed compared to cotton. Moreover, TENCEL™ production is done without the use of pesticides or insecticides, and overall great material to look for!
7. Mocked Crop with Ruffled Sleeves
Sold out style and print. Similar Grove Top with slightly longer sleeves here.
This is another flattering top you should keep an eye on Ref website. On me, it is quite cropped and fitted, so paring with super high-waisted bottoms is a must. Here, I’m wearing a mini denim skirt leaving a bit of midriff exposed which I don’t mind when it comes hot summer days! I remembered spotting another girl in Ref dress as she also stared at this outfit I was wearing. Love it! Ref’s stuff is flattering (of course if it’s the right size!) and can be dressed up or casually worn out. I also love the fact that I don’t have to bother wearing a bra with it!
8. Roper Jeans in Grenada Stripes
Rigid denim. Loose fit. Medium weight non-stretch denim from surplus fabric – content unknown.
These jeans are size 25, my normal size! And can you tell how loose and weird fitting they are on me? I bought these from the Ref website as soon as they first introduced their denim range. I only wore these to take these photos, so I decided to return them. Later on, I gave Ref jeans a few more try-ons at Nordstrom, but they did not seem working for me. I love the fabric as to how they look and feel in pictures and in person, but the sizing is odd.
Surplus or dead stock fabric are fabrics made in excess that others (designers or companies) do not want anymore. Close to 15% of Ref products are made out of “deadstock” fabrics, and some of Ref jeans and tees are made from old clothes and fabric waste. They cut, shred, and spun it into new yarn, called Recover®. Learn more about Ref’s other types of fabrics, here. Pretty cool stuff!
Reformation also does yearly review and report, called the Sustainability Report in quarters and yearly, where they talk about their sustainability effort and progress, what they have achieved and what can be done better. Read their 2018: Year In Review, here. You will also notice Refscale under each product description that basically Ref’s definition of cost in creating fashion that affect the environment. For example, Ref mentions the numbers of pounds of carbon dioxide emitted and gallons of water used as well as pounds of waste they generate. More about the Impact of Fashion that Ref has on their website, here.
I hope this post is helpful and inspire you to look into Reformation a bit more. Ref stuff is expensive, but I really think it is worth as an investment piece or just treat yourself once in awhile. You deserve it! Another great way beside shopping secondhand is to watch out for their sales as I believe they do it twice a year. I love that their designs are not flashy, trendy yet very conservative and sophisticated. One thing I really hope that Ref will add or include other models of colors and fits. I also think it is time that Ref expand their sizing including women who are in-between sizes or are not a petite nor a regular (aka me!). Well at least they have Extended plus sizes on top of their Petites now!
Photos by Toan Chu Photography