One of the newer dresses to be released is the Phoebe (£55; UK sizes 16-32): a fully lined 1950s inspired dress with a flared skirt and built-in petticoat. It comes in a number of pretty prints but for me I was particularly enamoured with these two:
Images courtesy of Lady V London
I desperately wanted to try the Phoebe so I asked Georgina for some advice on sizing. She said this one comes up a little small compared to other Lady Voluptuous dresses, especially on the bust. She is wearing a size 18 in the stock photos so she recommended I try the 20 and 22/24 in order to have enough room for my big boobs. I took her advice and went for the Pink Rose Floral on Cream Phoebe in a 20, and the Japanese Black Floral Phoebe in a 22/24.
When the dresses arrived I was not disappointed. Both prints were every bit as lovely - if not even lovelier - as they look on screen and I could not wait to try them on. They are made from a soft stretch cotton fabric (97% cotton, 3% elastane) and have a 100% cotton lining, meaning that these dresses are ideal for wearing in warm weather as the material will help to keep you cool. Both dresses are machine washable at 30 degrees.
The Phoebe has a scoop neckline that shows a glimpse of cleavage but not too much. It has a defined waistband, short sleeves, and a full skirt, and the dress fastens at the back with a concealed zip. Unusually, the Phoebe has a v-neck at the back, which makes for an interesting feature as so often this is something that dress designers don't think about and just stick with a regular high neck at the back. The dress is designed to sit just below the knee, so the perfect length for the likes of me.
I'm now going to review the dresses one size at a time. For reference, in these photos I am wearing my Ewa Michalak S Kamea Bra 36KK/80KK, some sheer tights from Matalan, and a pair of nude peep toe heels from Internaçionale. I am not wearing shapewear, a corset, or a petticoat (apart from the dress's own built-in petticoat) in any of these photos.
I tried the size 20 Pink Rose Floral on Cream Phoebe first of all.
OH MY GOODNESS. I think this print could well be my favourite EVER. It is SOOOOO beautiful! And as I took these photos a few weeks after coming back from holiday I still have somewhat of a tan, and the cream and pink fabric makes me look even browner. This is the perfect dress for sunshine holidays!
I am sure you have noticed the silly expressions, gurning, grimacing, and multiple chins in my photos, and so you can gather that this dress did not fit me at all. Honestly, I could cry about this. The bust is way too tight and the waist is much too big. It can't be solved by adding a belt as the bust would still be super tight on me, and the underbust seam would still be partway up my boobs. Yes, my cleavage looks great, but it's pretty darned uncomfortable.
As much as I adored the fabric and the design of the dress, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind; the size 20 Phoebe was a complete no-go for me. So, the big question was: would the Japanese Black Floral Phoebe in a 22/24 be any better on me? Let's take a look at the evidence...
Yikes! Unsurprisingly, this one was even bigger in the waist and so it completely swamped me. The bust fit was better but still tighter than I'd normally choose, and the shoulders and back were far too roomy. In fact, this combination of fit issues created a bizarre effect: because the shoulders were too big the neckline gaped, but the bust area was still fairly tight. I could have done with more of the volume in the front of the dress, rather than in the back.
So it seemed that Phoebe was destined not to work for me...but I don't give up that easily! I added a black sateen belt, and hey presto, the dress was transformed!
SO much better! Ok, it's still not a great fit on me but the top half of the dress looks far less swamping with the addition of the belt as it pulls all of the fabric in. Thankfully with the dress's black background it's simple enough to match pretty much any black belt with it, although I think I would avoid a patent belt as the shininess would be too much alongside the pattern of the material.
Sadly, I don't think a belt would work with the Pink Rose Floral on Cream Phoebe for a number of reasons; mainly because it would be hard to find a belt in the right shade to match either the cream or the pink, and also because if a pink belt was added I think it might look wrong as it would break up the pattern of the dress too much and a pink line across the waist would not be right with such a delicate print. Such a shame, as I adore that fabric so much! I see it's available in the Isabella cut, but unfortunately it's sold out in my size (for reference I wear an 18 in Isabella). I hope they restock it, and also bring the Isabella out in the Japanese print - in both black AND blue, please, Lady V!
Eventually and begrudgingly, I admitted defeat and returned both dresses for a refund. I so very badly wanted Phoebe to work for me but she didn't and now I need to get over it. She is a beautiful dress and I have seen her working very well on other bloggers who undoubtedly have more 'standard' measurements than me, including these ladies:
Fuller Figure Fuller Bust
Curves n Curls (I have seen this babe in the flesh in her Phoebe dress and she looks awesome!)
Rachel Gee Bee
The (Not So) Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess
Diamonds n Pearls
Bump and Beyond
The Phoebe Dress comes in a range of different prints - let me know if you own one of them by commenting below!