If you’re an avid follower of plus size blogs and their various social media outlets, you will almost certainly have seen a lot of hype about new clothing brand, Monroe Knows. Starting off with a small signature collection, the brand is set to expand very soon and I for one can’t wait to see what gorgeous items they bring out next.
I was absolutely delighted when Marvin, the brand’s founder, contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to review a dress from the collection. I headed over to the website to see what choices I had and I was pleased to see they have a good range of stylish dresses for me to pick from. All of the dresses look well made and cut for plus size figures, and the price point shows this is not another brand aiming at the fast fashion market but instead they are offering quality garments made to last.
I was instantly drawn to the Amber dress (£49.99, UK sizes 18-24); its figure-hugging style and slinky fabric appealed to me immensely and I loved the fact it had elbow-length sleeves, which are perfect for this time of year.
Image courtesy of Monroe Knows
I requested the dress in a size 18 as this was the smallest available at the moment. I expected this would be a good fit on my bust and hips, and I hoped it wouldn’t be too roomy on the waist.
The dress arrived amazingly quickly and I was very impressed with the packaging. The outer box was a very typical unassuming brown cardboard box, and inside was this gorgeous black box that added to the sumptuous feel of the brand.
I couldn’t wait to undo the ribbon and try the dress on – I was so excited!
For reference, I am wearing my Ewa Michalak S Tęczowe Kfiaty bra 32KK/70KK in these photos, along with some Sloggi briefs and a pair of Matalan High Waist Bum and Tum 15 Denier Tights in Black (I could only find the nude ones available on the website here).
As regular readers of my blog will know, I always show how clothing that doesn’t fit me on the waist looks with and without a belt. So, here we have the dress exactly as it fits straight out of the box. As you can see, it’s not a perfect fit on me as it is very baggy on the waist, but I was pleased with how the bust and hips fitted. I found the dress to be a little on the long side for me; at 5’5 tall (or short!) I don’t usually find dresses and skirts too long so this came as a bit of a surprise.
To make the skirt a little shorter, I pulled it up a bit on my hips to accentuate the ruching, and I tried adding an old belt from eBay to see if the loose waist could be fixed:
It worked! Suddenly the dress was transformed from something that looked quite a bit too big for me to a frock that appeared to be pretty much perfect in fit.
The Amber dress is made from a slinky fabric (95% polyester, 5% spandex) that can be machine washed at 30 degrees. It feels like it would be too warm to wear in the summer but for this time of year it is absolutely perfect. The fabric is ideal for a ruched dress like this as it has a slight sheen to it, which helps to highlight the ruching and make the dress look extra special.
The elbow-length sleeves are perfect and I found them to be a comfortable fit, and if anything perhaps a little on the loose side. I’m not complaining about that, though!
I love how the dress accentuates my curves and shows off my figure without being too clingy or in your face. It is absolutely gorgeous and I feel very dressed up in it.
The bust is a fixed wrapover design and as you can see from some of my photos it’s not deep enough to fit my boobs, and so I have to wear the dress with the underbust seam on the lower part of my bust. I don’t think this is a problem and I think it looks fine, but of course my preference would be for a deeper cut. I can pull the underbust seam down so it sits where it was designed to, but then my bra is clearly on show so that would not be appropriate. An alternative option could be to wear a vest or camisole underneath but for me that would take away the ‘special occasion’ feel of this dress and make it more of an every day frock. That’s fine if that is what you are looking for here, but for me I wanted to keep this as a dress I’d wear at a Christmas party or to a fancy night out so the only solution was to wear the bust area as I am in these photos.
I have a wealth of belts in my wardrobe so I tried adding one from Primark to see if it would still look dressy enough.
I think it definitely does and if anything I might even prefer this look to the first one!
This dress could be given a different look by teaming it with a coloured belt, and/or coloured heels. I also tried it with bare legs and as you can see it gives the dress another dimension:
Personally I prefer wearing tights with the dress but these photos have shown me that it still looks great if I decide to go without, especially when worn with peep toe patent stiletto shoes.
This is pretty much the perfect dress for me and I love how feminine it makes me feel. It looks very classy and worth much more than its very reasonable £49.99 price tag.
You can read another review of the Amber Dress over at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust here.
So, my first taste of Monroe Knows has been a very successful one, and I am very excited to see what gems the brand brings out next. The size range is currently 18 to 26 (UK), but in 2015 they will go from 16 to 32.
You can read all about Marvin and the brand here, and do make sure you follow them on social media to keep up to date with all the news. Let me know what you think about this dress and the others in the signature collection. What would you like to see from Monroe Knows in its forthcoming ranges?
(This post was sponsored; I was paid for an honest and impartial review.)