On this occasion, I decided to have another try from the AX Paris Curve range, which stocks items from 16 to 26 (UK). I was spoilt for choice - such a wealth of pretty dresses!
In the end, I settled on the AX Paris Curve V Front Lace Dress in Navy in a UK size 18.
Image courtesy of AX Paris Curve
How is this dress 'out of the ordinary' for me? Well, the shape of it is fairly typical 'Curvy Wordy' style: wrapover bust, a hint of bodycon, knee length. BUT I don't currently own a lace dress as I find the material can be frightfully scratchy so this is where I was trying something a bit unusual for me.
I would have gone for the 16 normally but it was out of stock, which was disappointing. However, I wanted to try this dress so badly that I was willing to give it a try in the 18, even though I was pretty certain it would be too big for me.
First of all, the rich navy colour of the dress is so lovely. I think the stock photo from the website shows it pretty well but my photos certainly don't do it justice so please know that in reality it is so, so gorgeous. Sometimes navy can be very dull and almost matronly but this shade is like a very dark, inky blue and it rocks!
As you can see from my photos the size 18 was indeed way too baggy for me, particularly around the waist. I wasn't surprised at this but I was disappointed because in the right size I think this dress could have worked really well for me.
The bagginess of the dress hides my waist and adds bulk to my midriff and tummy, which are areas I like to either highlight with a belt or to define with a dress that fits well. I felt a bit like I was playing dressing up with my mum's clothes with this one as the slinkiness of the fabric made it feel even more over-sized than it really is.
The dress has a top layer of lace which lies upon of a second opaque 'modesty' layer of silky polyester. Both fabrics are very stretchy, which is great for getting that perfect fit, and incredibly comfortable to wear. Together they give an almost sparkling effect that is glamorous and chic. The fibre content on the website states that the dress is 100% polyester, which would not normally be stretchy, so the fact it had a lot of give to it came as quite a surprise to me.
What I wasn't expecting was the shoulder pads! Yes, it's stated in the item description but somehow I didn't absorb that piece of information. I felt very 'Dynasty' with my shoulder pads, especially as the shoulders and arms felt too big, which only served to emphasise the effect of the pads.
With regard to the length, I think this is ok for me as it sits just above the knee but ideally I would have preferred if it had been longer and reached down over my knees.
Despite this being a size 18, the boob room was distinctly lacking. The dress kept showing my bra despite constant adjustment and efforts to keep it hidden.
So, how can I solve a dress that has fits issues like this? Add a belt, of course!
Luckily I have a very lovely mid/dark blue patent leather belt (from eBay) in my wardrobe and it worked superbly with the V Front Lace Dress. But, as is so often the case, when the dress was cinched on the waist it pulled the skirt even shorter and revealed even more of my bra! Of course, the latter wouldn't be an issue for those with smaller boobs but for me it was rather awkward.
Adding the belt did nothing to disguise the excess fabric on the tummy and even made it worse in some photos because it all seems to bag around the tummy, creating a false appearance of a larger tum. I don't think this would have been such a problem with the dress is a 16 instead of an 18, though.
During my trying-on session I found that the lace kept catching and getting folded up all on its own. This was frustrating and it happened quite a lot and very easily. So if that's the case with a simple try on I wonder how caught up and tangled it could become during extended wear...
I feel like I have been quite mean about this dress and I really don't want it to be like that at all. I adored the cut, colour and fabrics and I am sure it would look wonderful on someone less booby and with more of a tummy to fill out the middle of the dress.
The V Front Lace Dress is also available in Nude so if you are looking for a lighter, more summery shade then maybe that could be the one for you!
If you haven't ordered from AX Paris before, their service is good and items are despatched within 24 hours in most cases. You can often find their items in New Look, both in store and on the website.
So, this one didn't work for me, mainly due to sizing issues, but the quality and style has not disappointed. Let's hope they make clothing that is more hourglass-friendly in the future.