Some months ago I'd heard from friends about a dress from Bravissimo's clothing arm, Pepperberry, that worked for almost all curvy women: the Red Corsage Dress.
In theory, it looked perfect for me. A wrap-over bust area, a cinched, ruched waist, and a tulip-shaped skirt - all things that would be on my 'dream dress design' wishlist. Surely it would match up to my high hopes...?
Sadly, this dress has long been discontinued by Pepperberry, so I spent some time scouring eBay and eventually hit the jackpot.
I went for a size 14RSC (Really Super Curvy - meaning that the bust room is 3 sizes larger than the waist size) and I think this is the best fit I'd get from this dress. Unfortunately, the bust room insufficient and you can see my Ewa Michalak PL Onyks bra showing in some of the photos. When wearing the dress for an extended period it keeps getting worse so I wouldn't be able to wear the dress without a modesty vest underneath.
The waist fit was fairly good as it was only a little too big for me. However I think its position was perhaps a little high and/or the boob room too small as it felt wrong somehow as it just wouldn't sit quite right on me and felt as if it was pulling upwards.
I absolutely love this sort of waistband design, as I discovered when I bought my Wallis dresses. The one aspect that I really did not love about this dress was the gathered fabric below the waistband. It's not ideal for me as anything that adds bulk to my tummy is not good and the fact that this dress is made from a shiny fabric just accentuates the extra material. On top of this, the dress had a kind of 'pouch' of additional fabric on the stomach, which was again made worse by the material as it created shadows to highlight the baggy bit! Such a disappointment.
Lengthwise the corsage dress was too short for my liking. Covering the knee is my preference but this dress hit just above, so I didn't feel terribly comfortable. It works ok with dark tights but I would certainly never wear it tightless.
I have teamed this dress with plain black tights and my usual killer heels but I think for a different look it would also look great with ankle boots. As the weather here in the UK has turned cooler and wetter lately I have been on the look out for autumn wardrobe pieces and managed to pick up a cute pair of wedge ankle boots from TK Maxx. I have to be careful with ankle boots as they can make my already short legs much shorter but I think teamed with a pair of leggings or very thick black tights they can work really well.
The dress is made from a stretchy shiny fabric, which is 95% polyester and 5 % elastane. It is lined with 100% polyester. I am sorry to say that the shiny material feels a little cheap, which is not what I'd expect from Pepperberry, who tend to charge a premium for their boob friendly clothing. The dress is saved by cute corsage pin, though! My biggest concern is that due to the fabric's shiny appearance it would instantly show any imperfection such as a snag, a tear or a run.
In addition to this, I find that shiny fabric has a tendancy to show every lump and bump. The lining helps to minimise this effect by smoothing but it does not hide everything.
So, the Pepperberry Red Corsage Dress is not one I'll be keeping but it would undoubtedly work for someone with less of a difference between their bust-waist-hips measurements. I wish Pepperberry would make this dress again but this time in an unlined jersey fabric as I think it would be perfect!