After a browse through the website, I went for the David Emanuel Madagascar Abstract Print Mock Wrap Jersey Dress in size 12 (£28.00, UK sizes 10-24):
Image courtesy of Bonmarche
David Emanuel is a renowned British fashion designer whose biggest claim to fame is that he designed Diana Spencer's gown for her wedding to Prince Charles back in the 1980s. I always find it interesting to see clothing collections put together by big time designers so I was very intrigued to find out what this dress would be like.
Before ordering I read the reviews on the website to help determine what size to go for. I can wear anything from a UK size 10 to an 18/20, depending on the fabric and cut, but usually in stretchy items I opt for a 12 or 14. The reviews made me think the smaller of these two sizes would be best, so that's what I decided on.
So, first of all the print. I know animal print is not for everyone but for me this is a great example of how animal print can be adapted to make it less 'in your face' but still have a fresh feel. I absolutely adore the vibrant cobalt blue highlights (it was this that drew me to this dress in the first place) and I think it works very well indeed.
The fabric is a lovely soft stretch jersey that is 95% viscose and 5% elastane. It doesn't crease at all and is so comfortable to wear. It's also the sort of material that does not bobble or pill so it will look as good as new even after several washes.
The dress is intended to be knee length; as you can see from my photos, on me it is in fact below knee. I am quite happy with this but some people may find it a touch long. I am only 5'4 so on a taller person it would of course come up a bit shorter.
The fit of this dress is quite good, although I would say that the waist is a little high. I know my boobs are on the big size but it's disappointing that because of the amount of space they take up in the top half of the dress the waist ends up being too high. I am not sure if you can see this from the photos as the pattern hides the seams somewhat but I could feel when wearing the dress that the fit wasn't quite right on me, and sizing up or down would not have solved this. However, it is ideal for anyone with less of a waist:bust ratio than me, and even for me it could be good if I ever need a dress with less waist definition. There is some slight ruching on the waist so it's great to help disguise this area if wished.
I feel that the size 12 was a good choice otherwise. The dress clings in all the right places and makes me feel very ladylike. The v neckline is perfect for me and my big boobs and shows just the right amount of cleavage. The sleeves are genuine three-quarter length so they provide great arm coverage and of course some much needed warmth at this time of year.
Some of the reviews on the Bonmarché website complained about the ruffle down the front of the dress. I can see what they mean but personally I quite like it and it makes an otherwise straightforward dress have a little je ne sais quoi. It also makes it feel more formal and suitable for parties and nights out instead of simply being day wear.
Overall, although this isn't a 'wow' dress for me, I think this it's one that would be perfect for Christmas parties, a day at the races or even a wedding. It's also great to wear at the office or for a meal out.
Interestingly I'm posting this just a few minutes after David Emanuel was named runner-up on this year's I'm 'A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!' (if you're not in the UK it's a celebrity TV programme). Congratulations, David - I think you did brilliantly on the show and I was rooting for you to win!