I’m a big fan of simple spaghetti strap vintage style day dresses. Done in my favourite way, they’re boned with gathered skirts and an amazing print or two. I was curious, therefore, when I saw that Lindybop seemed to have released something similar recently, with, obviously, the cheaper Lindy Bop price tag, the Marlene dress.
The Marlene dress is lightweight, inexpensive, and comes in 4 super cute prints. Anyone who’s read my previous reviews of Lindy Bop know that I often have issues with fit–almost always the waist will be too roomy compared to the size chart specifications and yet the sleeves will be tight. This dress obviously doesn’t have sleeves, so I knew it would be safe on that front, but when I ordered the banana leaf print purely on the basis of being so enamored with the print I did so mostly out of curiosity and convinced That I would have to send the dress back.
I was pleasantly surprised…sort of.
Full details of how this dress faired over a few hours of gentle wear follows the results of a quick photo session spent with my 9-year-old niece let excitedly behind my camera.
Dress: Banana Leaf Marlene dress by Lindy Bop
Belt: White Sateen Belt With Grommets by Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Bettie Heels in Ivory by Pinup Girl Clothing
This dress is lined but it’s made of very thin cheap cotton, so it’s a lightweight piece that doesn’t feel very sturdy. Which is fine for hot weather, some people will find great use in that. The size charts suggested a size 16 for a 33 inch waist, so I sized up from usual size 14 and found it did actually fit. Kind of shocking for a Lindy Bop dress–I can’t remember a single swing dress I have tried from them in the past 3 years that has actually fit on the waist (and I have tried over 20.)
The straps are even adjustable! But, hold back the hallelujah chorus, because they’re also flimsy as hell. Within a few hours of putting this dress on for the first time the little clear plastic adjuster on my left strap broke, leaving the strap loose and the remainder of the plastic poking at me sporadically. As if that wasn’t enough, when getting undressed I managed to catch my other strap on a door handle and it ripped clean out of the seam on the neckline–that mishap was my fault, obviously, but I’ve caught other dresses in a similar way and they didn’t rip, so it speaks to the stitching of the Marlene that it came apart so easily. I would have given it a bigger benefit of the doubt had my other strap not broken earlier after only 3 hours wear when I was sitting still talking on the phone.
The gathered skirt isn’t full–LB skirts never are, they keep costs down by scrimping on fabric–but it did fit a petticoat, which is enough to keep me placated for a casual wear dress. The skirt length is also sufficient, another surprise from Lindy Bop, as it actually hits my knees (I’m 5ft 7.)
The final thing I noticed, which both confused and amused me, was that this dress has pockets…which are located about 6inches south of the waistband, necessitating a strange southward hand sliding dance as you try to find exactly how far down they are in the skirt. Even then the pockets themselves are quite small and don’t fit my iPhone 6, so it may not even be worth bothering to locate them unless you want to store something small like a lipstick or a secret cookie.
I know all those sassy truth bombs sound like I’m bashing the dress, but I’m not saying anything that’s not clearly apparent when encountering the dress, and nothing Lindy Bop themselves don’t already know, I’m certain. And at the end of the day, while I do think this dress isn’t well made and is cheap to the touch and to the wear, I do kind of like it for what it is: a dress available in pretty prints in a shape I’m fond of for only £34.99, meaning that it’s also a dress I’m not scared to wear around my nieces and nephews or on an active day out for fear that it might get trashed. If it does I’m not out $140 and the emotional attachment I feel to my other well made, beautiful and long-lasting dresses.
If you don’t have the money to splash on expensive repro brands or if you simply like the look of this dress and don’t require high quality in your wardrobe, then be careful with the flimsy straps and you’ll probably love this dress. It’s available in UK sizes 6 to 26 so it’s a good budget option particularly for ladies who struggle to find repro in their size. If it’s important to you that your clothes are well made and will last, invest in a Jenny dress from Pinup Girl Clothing, a Ruby Middy dress from Trashy Diva or a Priscilla Midi dress from The Pretty Dress Company.
I found your review so interesting! Mostly because every LindyBop dress I own is made so well with such good fabrics – but I have never gotten one like this one here that does look to be thin, light, and has spaghetti straps. I can see how it’s a bit different from their usual quality! I did however giggle at your pocket observation – they do place them so low! I find it amusing!! haha It’s such a bummer when you stumble into multiple issues with one piece!
From the looks of it, it looks like a great summer dress you can wear without fear of ruining. Cute and functional. Sorry to hear of all the fit and quality concerns. I’m glad for your honest reviews because I am skeptical about shopping with them–but it is what it is. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for when things go on sale to buy, I think I would be okay with the dresses if they weren’t full price. HOWEVER, I once did come across an online reseller selling the Ophelia for $112 (USD). Can you believe that?!
It’s too bad that it has some cheaply made features, because it’s SO pretty! I’ve been seeing LindyBop dresses on a few bloggers lately and wondering how their quality and fit is, so I’m glad you wrote about this dress. It looks gorgeous on you, and at least the plus side is that you can wear it around kids without fear! That’s important to me, having a 1-1/2 year old and soon a newborn.
Not worrying about it getting trashed it definitely a plus side to Lindy Bop dresses. If you can get one with a fit that works for you then they make for inexpensive every day dresses
Well that is seriously disappointing. As much as I would like to buy the pricey well made dresses, they are not in my budget…and then there is fearing wearing something so pricey for an everyday dress.
I guess I will stay away from Lindy Bop..and keep the search going for budget friendly dresses.
They’re really good for every day dresses because you don’t have to worry about being so careful with them like you do more expensive dresses. But this particular dress could do with having better reinforced straps at least. If you pre-emptively added extra stitches in to make them more solid you would probably do well with this dress!
Ok…what about fit…are they normally pretty true? I was reading the sizes and according to the charts I am a medium in top and a large on bottom…but as they are full skirts not worried about that…it’s waist I am concerned about and arms if they have sleeves.
Oh, I just love that print! Debating with myself whether or not it’s worth the shipping…can’t go wrong with banana leaves 🙂