F&F Clothing at Tesco Julia Plus Size Lace Panel Illusion Dress 18

Around a month ago I wrote about the fun I had being a model for the day for the lovely F&F Clothing at Tesco. One of the dresses I was asked to model was the Julia Plus Size Lace Panel Illusion Dress (£35, sizes 16-28).

Image courtesy of F&F Clothing at Tesco

On the day, I wore a size 16 and although it was roomy on the waist and at the back, it fitted pretty well otherwise. It was pinned for the photos to give a better fit, as is common on photo shoots, which made the dress ride up a little bit, so it was shorter than intended but for me it wasn’t an issue. Here is the photo that F&F chose to use for the campaign:

Image courtesy of F&F Clothing at Tesco

We didn’t get to keep the clothes on the day (as is normal on a photo shoot) but a few weeks after the shoot the F&F team kindly sent us our outfits. Unfortunately I was sent the wrong size but I wanted to review it anyway. So, here I am in the Julia Plus Size Lace Panel Illusion Dress in size 18:

As you can see, when the dress is not pinned it is a better length on me. I do prefer skirts that cover my knees and this one just about does, but for me I would have preferred it to be a couple of inches longer.

The fit of the skirt is pretty good on me, but there is a lot of excess fabric on the tummy. This dress is meant to have a bit of extra material here as it’s part of the design to help hide lumps and bumps but for me there is too much and it ends up adding bulk. For anyone wanting to disguise their stomach, though, this would be ideal.

The size 18 fits me well on the bust. The neckline is fairly low cut so this is not a dress for modest work wear but it would serve well as a party dress or any kind of night out. The pointed edges along the side of the neckline give this dress a unique and unusual look and make it a bit different to some of the other bodycon/illusion dresses out there.

The size 18 is clearly far too big for me on the waist. The dress swamps me around the middle, just as it did at the photo shoot, but there I wasn’t able to do anything about it. Now I’m in charge of the styling of my outfit, I decided to add – you guessed it – a belt!

My old favourite elasticated belt from Forever 21 works a treat and pulls the dress in at the waist. However, this makes the skirt a bit shorter, as happened at the photo shoot, so that’s a bit of an issue. But I’m less conscious about my knees as I can wear black tights, something I was not permitted to do at the shoot.

The belt provides great shaping and helps to show my hourglass figure in the flattering way that I like. I know not everyone wants ‘flattering’ but I like to highlight areas such as my bust, waist and hips, and by adding a belt to this outfit I feel much more comfortable with the overall look.

The dress is made of a fairly heavy ponte-like fabric, that is made up of 73% polyester, 25% viscose and 2% elastane. it has really good stretch to it so it shapes to your body but also the thickness helps it to retain its original shape nicely. There is also a lining (88% nylon, 12% elastane) that helps to smoothe everything out underneath.

Interestingly, I’d tried another Julia Illusion Dress earlier this year but hadn’t got around to writing the review.

This one is a size 14 and although the skirt generally fits better across my hips and tummy (much too short though!) I had big problems with the neckline. It revealed my bra and was absolutely not decent for public wear! I tend to find that wrap tops are not good for me unless I wear a vest underneath, which would have completely spoiled the look of this dress.

Naturally I sent this back for a refund and only remembered a couple of weeks ago that I had photos for it so I thought it was useful to add them to this post. This dress is no longer available on the F&F Clothing at Tesco website but here are some similar options:

Image courtesy of F&F Clothing at Tesco

As you can see, the Julia Plus Size Panel Illusion Dress (sizes 16-28, £35.00) works well with a colour block front panel, as well as a lacy one. This is described as red on the website but in this image it looks like a stunning deep pink/purple, almost cranberry-like and very festive! I love the look of this one. You can read a terrific review by Gaily Gumdrops here.

Image courtesy of F&F Clothing at Tesco

This is the ‘straight size’ version of the dress I wore for the photo shoot: the Julia Lace Panel Cap Sleeve Illusion Dress (sizes 8-18, £30.00). When my image was shared on the F&F Facebook page, lots of people commented that they wished it came in smaller sizes. Well, here it is! It’s not quite identical as it has short sleeves and a regular neckline but it has the same illusion effect and the lace print on the centre panel seems to be the same as my dress. There’s a petite version available here in sizes 6-18.

Image courtesy of F&F Clothing at Tesco

The Julia Colour Block Illusion Dress (sizes 8-18, £30.00) is identical to the previous version I featured but instead offers a plain cobalt blue centre panel. It’s lovely! And again there is a petite version here in sizes 6-18.

This is just a taste of the range of Julia dresses available at F&F Clothing at Tesco. I really love the feminine shape and sophisticated style these dresses provide and some of the colours in the collection this season are stunning. The full range is available here – which is your favourite piece?



  1. Vero M
    1 December 2013 / 09:09

    Hello,I found your article "Dyeing the George at Asda Moda Printed Jersey Dress" (21 August 2012) and this is how I discovered your blog. Well done and very interesting. I'll come back for sure!

  2. Anonymous
    1 December 2013 / 15:31

    The size 18 is definitely too big for you. The 16 they made you wear on the photoshoot is too big as well. Its a shame this one isnt available in smaller sizes as I think a 14 would of been perfect. That aside I think you look great in this dress and you made it look fantastic by adding a belt, I never would of thought of that. If this was still available in my size I would be buying it immediately but its sold out on the Tesco website. Great review and thanks for introducing me to the Julia range as I had never heard of them before.

  3. Paula Christiansen
    1 December 2013 / 16:22

    I find it so helpful that you always include a LOT of photo's in your posts. You give us such an accurate idea of what the item might look like on us because of this. So I want to say thank you for that.And as for the dresses? Well everything always looks great on you, even if its too big or too small!! How on earth do you manage that. I loved the Julia Plus Size dress on you when I saw you modelling it for Tesco and bought it because of that. Now I'm glad I did because its sold out in the smaller sizes. I wish I had got the red one as well now! xxx

  4. Angie
    1 December 2013 / 16:42

    I love these dresses on you and the recommendations for similar ones in the same range is so helpful. Thank you ! x

  5. Gemma K
    1 December 2013 / 18:40

    Beautiful! I love this dress on you – one of my favourites X

  6. Anonymous
    2 December 2013 / 01:08

    Such a shame they didn't put you in the red one for your modeling stint. I think it would have suited you better as the color is richer. You look good in the one they picked, but the red would have been better overall.

  7. Anonymous
    2 December 2013 / 13:06

    Beautiful! Just the type of dress you must have proper curves for.Ali x

  8. Anonymous
    2 December 2013 / 16:33

    I think you look lush in all of the photos – and although the one they used isn't how you would present it on your blog, it really is a beautiful image. They wanted you to be the 'plus size' representation I guess, and they made you look bigger than you are x

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