I’ve been reviewing several more pricey repro pieces lately so it was time to look at a budget-friendly piece. I recently bought the Courtney dress from Lindybop, a short sleeved version of their gorgeous Vivi dress. Both versions of this dress feature a gathered skirt, fabric belt and a collar bust. The Vivi has three quarter length sleeves, while the Courtney has short sleeves, but both feature a gorgeous sleeve detail of turn-up winged cuffs. I loved the Vivi when it first appeared on the scene but only tried it and never bought it, so with the weather warming I secured myself a Courtney in navy, my favourite colour, and was super excited to see what it was like.
The dress closes with a side zipper, which isn’t my favourite, so it’s one of those dresses you have to get into being very careful not to leave a foundation smudge on the collar as you wrangle your way into it (which I may or may not have done when I donned it for this review, no comment.) It’s made from a medium weight fabric so it’s good for those of us who live in more temperamental climes as it’s neither too thick nor too thin. It would make a lovely dress for work appropriate wear, whether you want to style it in a vintage manner or not. I adore the cuff detail of the sleeves and I love the look of the collar, but there a few things that I had an issue with.
The first thing I noticed when ordering was that Lindybop usually class their UK 14 as a 32 inch waist, but in the Courtney it was stated as 31 inches with 33inches as a size 16. In Lindybop wiggle dresses their size 14 usually fits me snugly and their size 14 swing dresses normally fit me tightly on the arms but swamp me on the waist, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I suspected their resizing meant this dress had no give, so I sized up. The arms still feel a bit tight, a near-permanent fault I’ve found on every Lindybop sleeved dress I’ve tried, even though my arms aren’t at an extreme level of chubby for a size 14 girl. There was room in the bust for more boobage than I’m blessed with, but I’ve found this on dresses from other brands as well so I wasn’t shocked or bothered by this. The main issue is the waist.
If you’ve read my past reviews about other Lindybop dresses you’ll know I usually find that they sit oddly low in the waist on me. I’m not a short-waisted girl, I have a long back if anything, so I know this issue is due to construction and not personal fit, as echoed by my friends who have also come across this issue. But the Courtney dress, like her Vivi sister, surprisingly sits too high on the waist. You can see in the picture below that with the belt removed the gathers of the waist sit two or three inches higher than my natural waistline, hitting the bottom of my ribcage instead. This feels especially noticeable anytime I raise my arms, as the waistline threatens to make friends with my underbust. When the waistband is covered by a wide belt this isn’t as noticeable, but the fabric belt that comes with the dress doesn’t have a belt loop attached to keep the end in place, nor any grommets to keep it cinched, so the belt frequently flops down or loosens enough for the gathers to show.
The waist issue is a really disappointing one because otherwise this dress would be amazing, especially at only £29.99, a verifiable bargain. If you would, like me, replace the belt with a thick belt of your own anyway then it’s less of an issue, and if you’re really short I think you’d have less of a problem with this dress. However I imagine ladies with a large bust will probably find this waistband will probably be nearer their bra band than their waist and that won’t do.
The waist aside, this dress has a lot of potential. The design details are lovely, the skirt is a decent length as well as forming a nice full shape with a petticoat beneath (and you know how picky I am about my skirt fullness.) As mentioned, the price is faultless, but I would have happily paid another £5 or £10 to have a longer waist that would sit where it’s supposed to. As is, if you’re happy to wear a thick belt with this and you’re on a strict budget, this dress has enough redeeming features that you’ll likely find a way to wear it. If you have the money to spend up on a dress that has a waistband that sits on your actual waistline, I’d suggest you skip this number.
The Courtney costs £29.99 and currently comes in the colourways plain navy and a red & blue plaid.
Do you often have a problem with the sit of a waistband on any dresses? How do Lindybop dresses tend to fit on you?