I started Really Wonderful Things at the urging of one particular friend, hereafter referred to as The Priestess. In spite of this motivation, I have mostly failed to write the practical reviews she wants from me.
I think she thinks I’m hoarding the results of all my overthought, overwrought purchases. I’ve got passionate and informed opinions about, among other things, travel gear, brands for women and children, housewares, books, and the physical stuff of child-rearing.
What The Priestess says is mostly true. I’ve agonized over a ridiculous number of nearly trivial comparisons, making fascinating to me distinctions between a variety of mundane items. She claims I’m not the only one who should profit from these efforts.
Made in Maine ~ angelrox
Though I think I already sold The Priestess on this particular company with an in person demonstration, I’ll take her word for it that I owe it to the world to share my opinion of Maine manufacturer angelrox‘s travel friendly knit clothing, with particular emphasis on the “Goddess” and “Glow” dresses and gowns.
Here’s the bottom line: in a Goddess dress, you can echo the glamour of an old time movie star while you feel like you’re wearing your comfiest pajamas. These clothes are that good!
Goddess dress & gown
Goddess dresses are very fitted, but made of an exceptionally soft rayon-blend knit that doesn’t pinch or uncomfortably squeeze the waist in this design. View angelrox’s product page for artistic professional photos, but I’ll share my own snapshots to give you a glimpse of what this dress looks like on a size ten/twelve, middle-aged mother of two. And, no, I’m not wearing shape wear/Spanx because they squeeze and HURT. Another reason I’m not writing a “fashion” blog.
Keep in mind that a person with chronic pain is calling these clothes comfortable. This is not the “comfortable” designation of someone who will suffer for beauty. These are garments that I choose to put on when every inch of my body hurts in some way or another, but I have to cover myself or become resigned to staying in bed.
To feel pretty under these conditions is almost unthinkable luxury.
I wouldn’t have believed it either, but now I have four angelrox dresses to prove it. The Goddess dress ends about five inches below my knees, while the Goddess gown is a full-length stunner; the less fitted Glow gown hits me just at the ankle.
I’m about 5′ 3″, so, as always with hemlines, your mileage may vary.
I usually layer the Goddess pieces because they are so body conscious and I’m modest(ish) in my wardrobe choices. They work beautifully under floaty silk shawls, fuzzy cardigan sweaters, and more structured jackets. That said, I also feel confident that they are about as flattering as possible to my mature figure even on their own.
A full length Goddess gown makes suitable cruise ship formalwear for those who might otherwise opt for room service to avoid packing fussy evening gowns.
My most recent acquisition from angelrox’s dress collection is the less fitted Glow gown. It’s exactly what I wanted for those occasions when I’d like the option to remove my outer layers without revealing quite so much.
I liked my first Glow gown shown here in Mahogany so much that I ordered a second in Espresso just a week later.
The Glow shares a fitted upper torso with the Goddess design—albeit with a higher, less décolletage emphasizing neckline—so it is flattering to a not-skinny lady like myself, but it releases to a loose, swirl-able skirt beneath the bust. It’s not a full circle, but you can twirl in the Glow when you dance.
One of my big questions before I got the Glow was whether it would layer well for colder weather. The lower the temperature, the more likely I am to want to wear the extra fabric of the fuller skirt.
There’s plenty of room to hide a set of thermal long Johns under it if you wear boots!
None of angelrox’s product views showed the Glow gown worn this way, but layering over lightweight silk or fitted cotton is one of my most frequent travel tricks for carrying a smaller wardrobe to a variable climate.
Happily, my personal experiment on the subject yielded success. My photo shows how a Glow gown (Mahogany) looks layered over a fine gauge LL Bean signature turtleneck (in Dark Amber.)
This casual autumn look works for me, and will probably be included in my capsule wardrobe for an upcoming cool weather trip.
Shopping specifics ~ buying from angelrox
Angelrox is headquartered in Biddeford, Maine. They have a retail store there, and another in Portland, ME. Products are also sold online and in partner boutiques around America.
Aside from the still awe-inspiring fact that you can be gorgeous and comfortable in their designs, you might choose to patronize angelrox because they are a small business started by female designer Roxi Suger, and they work hard to give back to their local community.
Customer service is excellent every time I get in touch. Expect to be referred to as “lovely YourNameHere” when angelrox contacts you. You will probably be called an “angel” once or twice. I believe they are sincere when they use these terms, so it comes across to me as sweet, not smarmy.
When you get a package from angelrox, expect garments to be carefully ensconced in tissue. They do use plastic Ziploc style item bags, but they recommend reusing/recycling these protective sleeves.
Though there is item packaging, it isn’t excessive. There are no annoying plastic ties to cut off, or stickers to peel before wearing/washing. Care instruction tags are also minimal; they’re designed to be easily removed, leaving no trace. There are no itchy bits!
You may find a little gift inside the shipping box. There might also be a feather from an angel’s wing? I may be shopping for myself, but I feel like I’m receiving someone else’s blessing as I unwrap my angelrox order.
I’m a fan of the body positivity that I see on their website. Most products are sold as “one size fits most” with some also available in “one size fits more.” Models range from stereotypically young and slim to Rubenesque to silver haired. Many of them are even smiling, which I prefer to the constipated grimaces** so popular in high fashion photography.
Garments with the pickiest fits, such as trousers, come in more sizes, but instead of Small, Medium, and Large, prepare to choose between “Joy,” “Song,” and “Bird,” amongst others. Yes, you’ll have to read the special angelrox size chart, but you won’t feel labeled as a woman of unnatural dimensions if you aren’t proportioned like a high fashion model.
The folks at angelrox will custom hem your gown for free if you request the service with your order. That’s what I did with my Goddess Gown to avoid tripping over the extra length that I will never need since I no longer wear high heels for any reason.
I wear the Goddess dress and Glow gown without modifications, and I often wear petite sizes.
As is typical, customized items are no longer returnable*, which also explains why my first angelrox order was for the shorter Goddess dress. When I loved its fit, I ordered again and got the gown with custom hemming.
Styles that may not work for chronic pain sufferers size 10+
I must warn those like me with widespread chronic pain that the angelrox designs that I tried on with highly defined waists—a Swirlsuit and the Flirt worn as a skirt—were too constrictive for comfort on my size 10/12 figure. They fit on my body… but I immediately wanted to take them off.
My condition has made me very sensitive to squeezing waistbands. This advice won’t apply to every reader! But, since I’m advocating this brand for other women with chronic pain, it seems vital to emphasize this negative of these specific styles.
That said, I still own a Flirt in an accent color that I love. I just wear it in the poncho style instead of as a dress or skirt.
Weight and drying time could work against travel success
The only other aspect of angelrox’s designs that could work against success for travel use is also one of the line’s strengths: the soft, draping, mid-weight, natural fiber fabric. The products feel sumptuous in your hands, but larger pieces have definite heft.
Ultralight travelers won’t want to carry garments that weigh so much. Typical pieces will be easy to re-wear in unique ways, but they aren’t wash and wear items that will drip dry overnight.
My Glow gown took three days to dry carefully folded (one fold) over a rack in my bathroom in October. The heat wasn’t running yet, so conditions were low room temp (≅65° F) in a slightly damp environment—not ideal to air dry. You shouldn’t buy these pieces for sink hand-washing on a busy itinerary unless the climate or hotel room is hot and arid. Under those conditions, I could think of more comfortable clothing options anyway, like airy linen or very lightweight synthetics.
I’m not an ultralight traveler. I’m a weight sensitive traveler. Even so, I often find a place for one or more angelrox pieces in my bag. This includes the relatively heavy gowns, but I try to layer then over easily hand laundered base pieces or stick to accessories that won’t get unduly sweaty/soiled.
Use as formalwear in climate controlled environments should also result in more wearings with less need for cleaning.
Price range and colors
Dresses range from $98 to $188 with prices appearing directly related to the amount of fabric in the gown. Tops start at $68; pants from $108. Accessories begin at $10 for The Band (wide fabric headband) if you want to get your hands on angelrox’s dreamy soft fabric or view colors at home before committing to a more expensive garment.
When I asked about color swatches in 2016, angelrox provided them to me for $1 each. Now I just buy The Band or Opera Sleeves in a color I want to experiment with.
My often aching arthritic wrists especially appreciate the Opera Sleeves (fingerless gloves) which sell for $28 each. I have five pairs and almost always have some with me.
What the company could do better
I wish angelrox offered line drawings of each of their pieces. Sometimes their artistic photographs make it hard to discern specific details, like the cut of a neckline.
I wish angelrox would display their colors in a way that would allow me to drag and drop them next to each other. The web page display is helpful, but not as helpful as seeing specifics colors side by side. Even a page of “combinations we like” would be tremendously helpful.
You might have noticed this for yourself, but I’m not a huge fan of neutrals.
I wish every model photograph included the color names of all pieces shown. Barring the ability to view pieces I want in specific colors, at least I could tell from photos of other pieces together if the colors harmonize.
I sometimes struggle to find pieces I want on the angelrox website, even though they exist in inventory. I failed to notice pieces that were exactly what I sought before my first order. For example, some items aren’t obviously tops as opposed to accessories. Customer service alerted me to The Flutter when I returned The Shrug as too tight for my preferred fit, which is great, but it’s a shame when a potential customer has a hard time finding what she wants to buy.
These are petty complaints about a company whose products I enjoy very much. I find myself wearing angelrox almost daily, and the more I buy, the more I enjoy them.
Try angelrox if you like the layered look, are seeking comfort, or want to buy Made in the USA clothing. Wear it in good health!
*Briefs, i.e., underpants, are also final sale. That’s also industry standard and for very obvious reasons. All other items may be returned within 20 days of shipping and after submitting a written request to do so. That’s not particularly generous, but also strikes me as reasonable enough for a small company. Try garments on immediately and make your decision quickly to conform to these requirements.
**I assume they make these unhappy faces because their high heel shoes are pinching their feet. Then again, they might just be hungry.