The Garden State Sheer Mesh cocktail dress by Unique Vintage is such a beautiful, classic design that they’ve been offering this dress in multiple colourwards for 3 years. I first came across it last year and had my first little swoon session over it. Since then it’s been on my wishlist in multiple colourways but I could never commit to any one colour. When I saw Unique Vintage post this Mint & White Polka Dot version on their Instagram I fell in love–sheer overlays, pleating, mint, princess-like fairytale status style? ALL THINGS I LOVE. I was thrilled and super grateful when UV offered to send me one because they felt it would look lovely on me. Oh UV, you little charmers, you! As if you needed me to fall even more in love with you. But I did. I zipped up this dress and I did. Because this dress. Oh.
I received this dress two days before the wedding of one of my best friend’s and immediately began the mental recalculations of what accessories I could dig out of my closet to make this outfit happen. I was laying in bed the night before the wedding when I remembered I had a vintage basket weave box purse that would work perfectly, and lo’ and behold, both the dress and the box purse were a total smash at the reception–while in no way threatening to upstage the bride, of course. Every pinup knows her proper etiquette, after all.
Above is the way I styled the dress for the wedding, but I knew the pictures for this review needed to capture the true fairytale feeling I get everytime I look at this dress. So there was really nothing else for it. It had to be done: I went for a frolic in the woods. I literally pranced around singing Disney princess songs, climbed trees, channeled Sleeping Beauty on a downed log or two, and crossed a bridge surrounded by trickling waters and mossy patches as birds chirruped. It was fun and a bit muddy and lovely. This is going to be a pic heavy post, and I would apologise…except I’m not sorry.
This dress is so perfect even the woods didn’t do it justice, though I tried. One of my favourite features of it is the sheer pleated shoulder straps as they can be worn in three ways: gathered entirely onto the shoulders like a normal set of straps, spread out as a cap sleeve, or off the shoulder in true princess feel. The way those mesh sleeves are gathered onto the back of the bodice is gorgeous and even draws attention there when wearing. I mean, hey, if a dress is as pretty going as it is coming then you know you’ve found something special. The polka dots vary in size across the sheer mesh top layer, and there’s under netting that means you don’t have to wear your own petticoat to get the lovely A-line shape.
I asked for this dress in an XL as the measurements for this state a 32 waist. I’m a 32.5 currently and with the stiff layering and boning I couldn’t quite get this dress done up alone with that classic zip-stuck-on-the-seam-bump issue. Once zipped up, this dress was a perfect fit and then loosened gently over time. Though it looks a bit loose on me at certain times I would say this dress sizes true and I would not have been able to size down on this, so you’ll have to follow the size charts exactly with this dress–boning is not to be trifled with, y’all.
It’s a truly gorgeous piece that catches the eye as well as (delighted) breaths. The beauty of its classic and feminine elegance is that it can be worn on so many formal occasions, including, though not limited to, being both the guest at a wedding or in the wedding, as either a bride or bridesmaid, and would also make a perfect prom dress for the upcoming prom season, a cocktail or ball dress, and the loveliest of occasion dresses for celebrating those other wonderful moments in life, from birthdays to anniversaries. I know I’ll be whipping mine out every chance I get.
The Garden State Mesh Cocktail dress is currently available in 10 colourways, costing $138 at full price but presently on sale in certain colourways in limited sizes from $50-$102. This dress has even been included in Unique Vintage’s famous $25 sale before, incredibly, so there’s plenty of opportunities to snap up this gorgeous design in all sorts of colours, available in sizes XS-2X.
If you’re fairly new to Unique Vintage you may not yet know about their incredible #IAmUnique campaign they’re running this year, encouraging everybody to embrace and love their uniqueness. If you want to know more you can read about the campaign and catch up on blogs from their Style Society members over on the Unique Vintage site. You can also read my very personal I Am Unique post to learn about my story and feelings about this campaign, as well as reading my guest post on the Unique Vintage blog too. So much positive reading to be found!
Thank you Unique Vintage for the wonderful gift.