Around four years ago, when I started regularly wearing dresses for the first time since being a teenager, the first dresses I favoured were maxi dresses. They are so easy to wear, with their long, flowing skirts that go all the way down to the floor. However, over the past few years I have mostly moved away from maxis and instead favoured midi or knee length dresses as I feel they work better for my figure overall. I do still have a few maxis in my wardrobe, including some gorgeous numbers from plus size US brand IGIGI and boob friendly Polish brand BiuBiu, but they usually only get worn when I go on holiday or on a more formal occasion.
This summer, I decided to see if I could find a few everyday maxis out of which I would get more frequent wear. I came upon this decision when I was browsing the rails of my local Asda Living, where they have a reasonable range of clothing available, and quite a few maxi dresses. I tried a few dresses on in store, bought some of them, and then when subsequently back at home I ordered more online to collect from the store a couple of days later.
I ended up with ten different maxi dresses. There are similarities between some of them but generally they are all quite varied, both in print and in cut. They are mostly in size 14, but one is a 12 and another is a 16 (all UK sizes). It's worth noting that some of these dresses are/were available in a variety of lengths so George at Asda is catering for women of petite, regular, and tall heights. Great work, George! All the dresses shown here are standard length. The dresses are available in plus sizes as well as straight sizes, so there should be lots of choice here.
I hope my mini reviews in this blog post will help you see which dresses might (or might not!) work for you. Please note that some of these dresses are no longer available online but you might still be able to pick one up in store.
For reference I am around 5'5 in height, I am wearing my Ewa Michalak S Tęczowe Kfiaty bra 32KK/70KK in these photos (review coming soon!) and my nude wedge heel wide fit sandals are from Primark. Underneath my skirt I am wearing my anti-chafing knickers from The Big Bloomers Company that I recently reviewed here.
First up, here's the Moda Aztec Maxi Dress (£18.00, sizes 10-24) in size 14. It's made from a fairly heavy fabric (97% viscose, 3% elastane) and it felt really comfortable on. The bust was rather a snug fit so ideally I'd have this in a 16, although of course that could adversely affect the fit of the dress elsewhere. My bra didn't show at the sides, and the armholes were a good size and did not cut in. The skirt is flowy and hangs beautifully and the dress ties at the back - I found this a bit odd because the ties seemed to be there for the sake of it as they didn't pull in the waist at all. The shoulders have a gathered effect with ties, which personally I found rather annoying and probably would have ended up cutting them off if this dress was a keeper. Lengthwise it's great and was almost down to the floor on me.
Next I tried the Stripe Maxi Dress (£16.00, sizes 4-28) in size 14. I really liked this dress when I saw it on the website as I have a thing for striped dresses! It feels very comfortable to wear - rather like a long t-shirt - and the 96% viscose/4% elastane fibre mix provides a great fit without clinginess. I'm not sure this dress does me any favours and I can't decide if it's because of the placement of the stripes, the thick and thin stripe combination, or perhaps something else. I think maybe it would simply work better on someone less curvy than me - I can imagine it looking terrific on a slim bosy with minimal lumps and bumps. The dress has a string waist tie, which again seems rather unnecessary as it serves no purpose because the dress has an elasticated waist. This dress was a little shorter on me but easily covered my ankles and would therefore work really well with flat sandals. The sleeves are short but perfect because they are not at all tight, even on my meaty arms.
I had seen the Leopard Print Maxi Dress (£14.00, sizes 8-24) on a few other bloggers and thought it looked great on them so I wanted to give it a try for myself. Unfortunately it's just not right on me. This is a size 14 and I think it's the best fit I would get in this dress. It has an elasticated waist, which is very comfy, but the top is quite baggy above the waist and although I know it's the fashion these days it just doesn't work for me. The dress is also very short, only just coming to my ankles, so really it would only be suitable for wear on holiday when heading to the beach. I tend to wear beach trousers as I live in fear of chub rub so I am not in the market for a beach dress. However, the boob room was great and there was absolutely no bra show at the armholes. Amazing! It's another stretchy dress and the fabric is 95% viscose and 5% elastane. The colour and print are pretty loud but I think this dress would be fab with some accessories and a big hat for day wear in the sun.
The Moda Tropical Print Maxi Dress (£18.00, sizes 12-24) is a beautiful patterned dress, which incorporates an array of colours including blue, orange, black and white. The crossover bust in this size 14 is a little small for me and you can see my bra at the neckline and just slightly at the armholes in some of the photos, but the coverage on the backs of my shoulders beside my armpits was brilliant and probably the best of all the dresses I tried here. The waist ties are more useful on this dress than on the others as they are both thicker and longer. Because the waist sat rather too high on me I doubled the waist ties around me and fastened them at the front, creating the appearance of a longer, more defined waistline. The fabric is soft and stretchy (97% viscose, 3% elastane) and there is a polyester lining under the top half of the dress. The skirt flares slightly and hangs really well almost down to the floor on me. There are ties between the shoulders to hold the dress together but I am not sure if they're really necessary. This would be a perfect dress to wear on an evening out on holiday after spending the day by the pool.
Here's the Moda Floral Print Maxi Dress (£18.00, sizes 10-24) in size 14. It reminded me a lot of my BiuBiu Kyoto Bluebell Maxi Dress, both in its cut and in its colouring. The thing that completely spoilt this dress for me was the careless placement of the pattern on the bust - the left boob looks great but the right one looks odd because it has a criss cross towards the side. It's even more of a pity when you consider how well the pattern is placed on the skirt. I know I shouldn't complain as these dresses represent great value and not haute couture but I think a bit more care and consideration could have gone into the manufacturing process on this occasion. Apart from that, the dress is great. The print is pretty and feminine yet bold, and of course I love the fact it is blue. The white background helps give it a summery feels and the light fabric (97% viscose, 3% elastane) is stretchy and easy to wear. This is one of the longer of the dresses and as you can see from my photos the slightly flared skirt gently skims the floor. The wrap bust was not generous enough for my boobs and there was about a centimetre of bra show at the armholes. There is also really fantastic coverage on the backs of my shoulders behind the armpits. This could be a lovely everyday dress and also another that would be perfect for warm summer evenings on holiday abroad. It's also just the ticket for wearing to a summer music festival, like Glastonbury or V Festival.
I very rarely bare my legs so it came as a surprise to me when I found myself adding the Animal Print Maxi Dress (£12.00, sizes 8-24) to my online basket. This dress has slits up each side and go up to just below the knee, so actually it's a really great feature and is perfect for those who fear revealing their knees like I do! This would be a brilliant dress for hot climates as it's 100% viscose and is super light and airy (especially with those skirt slits!). For me, this size 14 is a very tight fit and I think I'd have to size up to an 18 to feel comfortable. The drawstring waist is useful but this is another dress where the top is baggy so I don't think the cut works for my hourglass shape. That said, the bust room in this size 14 is good and my bra does not show anywhere at all. The scoop neckline is lovely and offers a touch of femininity without baring any cleavage. I love the print and the variety of colours in this dress - it's like a rainbow leopard! This dress is available in other prints so if you like the shape then do take time to have a nosy on the George website. I think it would not only be good for summer wear but it could be made suitable for the colder temperatures of spring, autumn, and winter by adding some knee high boots, tights, and a thick cardigan or a snuggly shrug.
I first tried the Tropical Leaf Print Maxi Dress (£16.00, sizes 8-24) on in store and I liked the combination of black and orange so much that I bought it there and then. When I got home I tried it on again and wondered if a size down would have been a better fit (only this 16 was available in the store at the time). Here I am wearing the 16; I ordered the 14 online but the fit was so awful on the bust with extreme bra show at the armholes that I couldn't bear to take pictures of it. I still love this dress but I can't get past the bad fit at the armholes - so much of my bra is visible! Now, this could be partially addressed by wearing a plain black bra, but even so I don't think it would look very nice. And it's such a shame because I like pretty much everything else about the dress. There is a wrapover bust with a built-in panel underneath, so the neckline can be worn reasonably openly without showing too much cleavage. The black sections on the tops of the shoulders are a fun touch and add a calming contrast to what could otherwise have been an overly busy material. The dress is stretchy (95% viscose, 5% elastane) and really comfortable to wear. The standard length came up rather short on me and therefore this dress would be most suited to being worn with flats.
Here's another dress that I tried on - and bought - in store. It's the Moda Patterned Dress (£18.00, sizes 12-24) and I'm wearing it in a size 12. I originally tried on a 14 but that was all kinds of wrong so I nabbed the 12 off the rail and bought it without trying on again as by this point I was tired and just wanted to go home. The thing I love most about this dress is the pattern of the fabric. It's gorgeous! The blend of blues, black, and white all work together to create a fabulous print, especially with the subtle striped design going on in the background. The plaited shoulder straps are almost perfectly placed to cover my bra straps and there is no bra showing at the sides. The bust area has plenty of room but the elasticated waist again has this bizarre bagginess above that I just can't get my head around. It hides my waist a bit but I do wonder if I could make this work with a belt. The trouble is, the length of this dress is already shorter than I'd like and adding a belt with reduce that length even more. Not by much, but as you can see from the photos I don't have a lot of length to play with here. The skirt is quite straight and is perhaps a fraction tight on me but I figured the fabric (95% viscose, 5% elastane) would stretch with wear so it's not a dealbreaker. The question is, though, whether or not the length of the dress is...
The Moda Printed Maxi Dress (£18.00, sizes 10-24) is a great everyday dress. This size 14 fits me perfectly but it's not a keeper due to the gathered fabric at the centre under the bust (see my last photo). This design feature would be ideal for anyone wanting to hide a larger or a softer tummy but for me it adds unnecessary bulk. Everything else about the dress is spot on, though. The bust area fits perfectly, with no bra showing at the armholes. The backs of my shoulders behind the armpits are covered beautifully, and the length is great, almost coming down to the floor. The skirt has plenty of movement thanks to the 97% viscose/3% elastane fabric, and the waist pulls in underneath the bust to create a very flattering waistline. It's just a shame about all that extra fabric! I think I have seen this shape of dress on the George website in other prints so definitely go and do a bit of detective work if you like this one.
The final dress of this blog post is the Floral Print Maxi Dress (£16.00, sizes 8-24). This feminine number has a mock vest insert on the bust, with two faux wrap over panels coming down from the shoulders. This provides a great fit for larger boobs like mine and there is only the tiniest hint of my bra showing at the armholes. I do find the waist sits a little high on me but that's probably because my boobs are taking up more room than the dress was made for in terms of the length of the bust area. The elasticated waist has thin string ties, making this dress yet another with this seemingly pointless feature. I adore the lace feature on the shoulders and the upper half of the back of the dress. The skirt is fairly straight but there's plenty of room for movement in this size 14, and the length is about right for wearing with either flats or low heels. The fabric (95% viscose, 5% elastane) has plenty of stretch for a great fit, and the print is very pretty indeed.
So, there you have it. 10 maxi dresses from George at Asda, all different and each with its own pros and cons. If you were me, which of these dresses (if any) would you keep? And have I tempted you into buying any for yourself?