It’s been quite some time since I last put fingers to keyboard (is that a correct enough way of modernising the phrase ‘put pen to paper’?) to write a blog post. I am sorry for being gone for so long; it certainly was not my intention.
Back in February, I had a very busy time with work. Shortly after that I was extremely ill with Norovirus (a nasty, vicious bug) and it took me quite some time to start feeling human again. In fact, I don’t think I’ve fully recovered even now. It’s left me feeling very tired and weary, and it’s been about as much as I can do to keep up with work, never mind anything else. On top of that there have been a few personal things I’ve had to deal with…and seemingly within the blink of an eye over three months has passed and my blog and social media channels have laid dormant. Well, I hope this post is the start of my return to a more regular online presence, both here on the blog and also on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
Whilst I’ve been away I’ve had a number of lovely emails and messages asking after me and checking I’m ok. Thank you to everyone who did that – your words and kind thoughts meant a great deal to me. Your support is invaluable.
I’m marking my return by featuring a gorgeous dress that I know I will get heaps of wear out of, and you’ll no doubt be unsurprised to learn that there’s quite a few photos of me wearing it in this post. I hope you like this dress as much as I do!
Back in April the amazing Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust and I met up in London one day. We had a jolly old time doing various things, both blog-related and not. During our day we popped in to see Lucy at Scarlett & Jo, who was as wonderful as ever, and shared with us all sorts of news and samples and photos of pretty things that will be coming soon (and many of which are already available at Evans).
One of the dresses Lucy showed us simply took my breath away: it was the Scarlett & Jo Black 2 in 1 Floral Prom Dress (£60, UK sizes 14-32), which is part of their Summer Romance collection.
Image courtesy of Evans
During my little hiatus Scarlett & Jo had put together a photoshoot featuring a number of plus size bloggers, including Georgina, Callie, Hanna and Danie. You can see a small selection of photos from that shoot here.
All the girls look stunning in their dresses but the one that really captured my heart was the Black 2 in 1 Floral Prom Dress – it’s just so ‘me’. It has a fitted stretchy top half with a scooped neckline, a wide elasticated waistband that works like a waist-cinching belt, and a gorgeously feminine skirt in a pretty floral print. What more could a girl want?
Whilst at Scarlett & Jo I was able to try on the sample size they’d kept in stock (I think it was a 22 or 24) and despite it being too big for me all over it gave me a clear idea of how well this dress would work on me in the right size.
After bidding a fond farewell to Lucy, George and I hot-footed it over to the Evans flagship store at Marble Arch. Two of my favourite ladies happened to be working that day – Monira and Francesca – and of course they were as helpful and friendly as ever. I was initially devastated to find that there were no size 14s or 16s in store, but Monira was brilliant and took the size 14 out of the window display so I could try it on.
I was absolutely delighted with everything about the dress – the fabric, the cut, the fit. It was pretty much perfect, and I hope you’ll agree…
The dress is nothing short of AMAZING. It has so many wonderful features that I don’t know why every dress isn’t made this way!
The top is made from a lovely soft and very stretchy black jersey crepe viscose material. The three-quarter length sleeves are super and suit the look of the dress perfectly. The scoop neck is quite low but it certainly has the WOW factor and would be more modest on someone with smaller boobs. I suppose it would have been better if there had been a bit more boob room but I don’t mind keeping this as a dress for special occasions when it’s fine to have plenty of cleavage on show. For reference, I am wearing my Ewa Michalak S Szykuś Bra 32KK/70KK in these photos.
I can’t believe I’ve never had a dress with my dream waistband before – it’s simply a strip of wide elastic, much like that you’d find on an elasticated waist belt, but it works brilliantly to show off the waist. It’s not tight and is incredibly comfortable to wear. I’m usually quite fussy about the quality of elastic on those stretchy waist belts as the cheap ones warp and fold over very quickly so it remains to be seen how well this waistband will wear, but if all else fails I can always pop a belt on over the top if needs be!
The skirt is made from a non-stretch polyester fabric but because the skirt is semi-full there is no need at all for it to be stretchy. It’s always quite a novelty for me when I wear things without stretch so it was great to have this feature on the dress. The print of the skirt fabric is just stunning; it has a black background that is covered with a multitude of flowers in blue, pink and purple hues. It’s so simple but so pretty.
Underneath the main skirt is an underskirt, which acts as a lining but also has tulle attached that helps give the overskirt a fuller appearance. I love it – it’s a bit like having a petticoat but without all the layers.
The length of the skirt is great. As you can see from my photos it just about covers my knees but it seems to be longer because of its fullness.
The size 14 was perfect on me. I did latterly try on a 16 that I’d ordered online but the waistband was kind of loose and seemed to add bulk so I sent it back and stuck with my 14.
I really can’t think of many ways in which this dress could be improved, except perhaps if it had pockets. (Pockets seem to be the holy grail of clothing bloggers, including me!)
If you’re wondering what the ‘2 in 1’ in the title of the dress refers to, it’s because the top is supposed to be designed to be worn on the shoulder as I have and also off the shoulder. However I don’t think it would work that way because the top is cut in a way that it would sit awkwardly if off the shoulder and the neckline would be even lower, which is certainly a no-no for me.
The photos above were taken in natural evening daylight, but I also took some with the lights switched on.
In these pictures you can see the details of the dress more clearly, especially the elasticated waistband.
It’s easy to see that the dress works well with tights and high heels, but it also looks great dressed down with leggings:
Sorry these pictures are a bit dark – I have to wait until late in the day to get photos in natural light as earlier on the sunlight shines directly into the room and spoils the photographs. Not that I’m complaining, of course; I love the sunshine!
This dress is such a winner for me on every level. I would love to see variations of it in a number of colourways, in particular one with a polka dot skirt! I think it would be best to keep the top in a plain fabric but there’s all sorts of exciting prints I can think of that would look amazing on the skirt. I really hope this will be one of S&J’s continuity dress shapes.
I was lucky enough to see in person the next iteration of this dress, ‘The Poppy’, as seen on S&J’s Facebook page:
Image courtesy of Scarlett & Jo
There are two main differences between my dress and The Poppy: the latter is a little longer in length and it does not have an underskirt, so hangs straight down instead of flaring out. It’s great for a more everyday look, whereas my Floral version is more suited to special occasions such as parties, weddings, and so on.
A whole raft of bloggers have already posted about the Scarlett & Jo Black 2 in 1 Floral Prom Dress, and here’s links to a few of them:
Diamonds ‘N’ Pearls
Bump And Beyond
Tutus and Tiny Hats
Fabulously Fat Fashion
The Welsh Housewife
Plus Size Proud
I’ve probably missed a ton of posts on other blogs so please feel free to add links in the comments section below.
All in all this dress gets a huge thumbs up from me, as do Scarlett & Jo. The brand seems to go from strength to strength and their designs are really ticking the boxes for many plus size women. Here’s to many more stunning collections to come!