A few months ago I visited the Marks and Spencer outlet store at Lakeside, Thurrock. I was driving back from a work meeting and wanted to break up the journey so a bit of retail therapy seemed just the ticket!
I tried a few dresses on but there was one that especially appealed to me and, after tweeting a photo of it and getting a positive response, I bought myself two: one size 10 and one size 12.
You may wonder why I bought two sizes; well, apart from being a bargain at less than £20 (I forget the exact price), the dress is made from a lovely stretchy fabric but it was pulled a fair amount over the bust thanks to my generous boobs so it had a sort of glossy appearance that looked like it was a bit see-through, even though it wasn't. My plan was to try both sizes on at home in different light to see if the problem remained and if it did I would be able to return the dresses for a refund.
As it turned out, both sizes had exactly the same issue at home in a variety of light so I decided to keep them as I loved them so much.
Unfortunately, I could not find the dress on the M&S website; nor could I find anything of a similar shape so in this post we shall just have to make do with my photos for once.
Here I am in the dress with just a simple black shrug from Excite Clothing to cover my shoulders. You can see the dress is pretty shapeless but the print is fab! The fit on the bust is good (despite the aforementioned 'glossiness') as the fabric is stretchy, which is why I was able to size down to a 10 and a 12. The length is great, falling just on the knee, which means I can wear my leggings with this dress. The neckline is round with slight gathering and as you can see it does not show cleavage at all. This makes it completely work-appropriate and suitable for other occasions when it would not be a good idea to show too much skin.
Naturally, I wasn't overly happy with the lack of shape to this dress so I added a belt!
My black Obi belt from IGIGI By Yuliya Raquel works perfectly to pull the dress in at the waist and help define my figure. It blends well with the black in the dress, as well as my leggings, shrug and heels.
However, I wondered if a red belt might work too so I gave that a try...
Yes! Now the red belt really brightens up this outfit and makes it look super cute! Again, my waist is defined and my hourglass shape is made clear. I do get a bit of excess fabric just below the waist but it's not enough for me to dislike this dress.
In April I headed to London with my blogging pals Mhairi from Lilybobombs Lovely Lumps and Hanna from The Wardrobe Challenge to attend a couple of press events and to celebrate Hanna's birthday. The weather was on the cool side and rather unpredictable so I wore this outfit and it proved a real hit!
Here I am at the Swimwear365 press event and on the tube taking a selfie with Mhairi. I love this pic of us!
However, I'm afraid this story does not have a happy ending. After wearing each dress just once and washing it in my washing machine on a cold wash (the label said up to 30 degrees was fine) I am sorry to report that the fabric gave up on me. It became slightly 'hairy' or fluffy, as if the fibres were starting to break down, making the dress look as if I'd owned it for many years more than I actually had. Thankfully I still had the tags and my receipt so I returned both dresses to my nearest Marks and Spencer outlet store, where I was given a full refund. So, it was great that I got my money back but I would have much preferred to have been able to keep my lovely dresses. Sad times.