I'm reviewing two Tara Starlet shirts today that I picked up in their sale: The sleeveless shirt, and the Jo shirt. I've previously had some sale success from Tara Starlet, with their lovely Marlene dress, but I also had a few disasters, such as the Molly dress and the Bow Bodice. You know by now though, that a sale is like a siren call to me, and I will inevitably end up buying a few things. Here's how I got on with these shirts - one success, one failure!
I ordered the sleeveless shirt in blue and white stripe, in my usual size 12, and it was at the bargain price of £15, reduced from £45. The fabric is a lovely stiff kind of cotton, the same kind of fabric that they make their knot top and shorts from (which I tried but didn't like). The blue stripes are such a wonderful bold colour in real life. The fit is spot on. I wore it to work with some cropped black trousers one day, but it also works tucked in to a high waist skirt. It was fab to wear, and I am looking forward to wearing it again soon. I am slightly puzzled as to why the care instructions say to hand wash only at 40 degrees though, seeing as it's such a simple cotton shirt. Is it because the colour might run? I washed it on the hand wash cycle on my machine at 20 degrees and it washed fine.
My verdict on the sleeveless shirt: Great fit, and a super buy!
Next up, the Jo shirt. I ordered this in polkadot in my usual size 12 also, for £14 down from £58. The guidance on the website says to size down if you're in between measurements, but I was practically spot on their measurements so I didn't do this. As you can see from the photos below, the shirt is huge on me. It's a nice quality shirt otherwise, a less stiff cotton that the Jo, and it comes in a few different colours. I compared the sizing of the shirts by measuring them both, and I was quite shocked. A size 12 in Tara Starlet is meant to fit a 38" bust in their old size guide, and a 37" bust in their new range. Now, the bust measurement of the sleeveless shirt is 37", but the bust of the Jo shirt measures 41". That's a whopping 4" difference. The same for the waist, which is supposed to fit a 29" waist in the size 12. The sleeveless shirt is a roomy 31 and a half inches, while the Jo shirt is 35 and a half inches. That's a 4 and a half inch difference. Definitely two whole sizes too big, not half a size as implied on the website.
My verdict on the Jo shirt: Return! I was very cross about it being two whole sizes too big and had to wait ages for a response from customer services. I had my delivery charge and item cost refunded but no offer of return postage costs, or any goodwill gesture. I remain cross at the time of writing this. If the product is so bad I won't even keep it at a greatly reduced cost, then why on earth would I risk buying any of the pricey new stuff they bring out? Hurrumph!
At the time of writing this, these shirts were still available in the Tara Starlet sale section, in various prints and limited sizes, at further reduced prices of £12-£14 each.