The Forest Seville fabric from The Pretty Dress Company is just one of those prints that you can’t help but love. It’s a rich, dark green sporting a pretty, colourful floral pattern, destined to look good on every woman of every skin tone because it is sumptuous and classic and just plain lovely. When it first caught my eye it was on the Hepburn dress, though it’s available in three other dress cuts as well, but it’s that same Hepburn dress I kept thinking about months after I first spotted it whenever I rifled through my wardrobe and lamented my lack of dark green clothing.
The print reminds me of English country gardens, of quaint afternoons, of plates of scones and tinkling china and being very proper. It’s elegant and understated, so it only made sense that once I was lucky enough to get my excited little fingers on it that I would take to one of those English country gardens to shoot it for this review.
The Hepburn dress is, like the woman it was named after, classic and ladylike. It’s a cut that’s appropriate for any occasion, thanks to the modest neckline, and it’s eye-catching without being attention-grabbing. Pictures really don’t do justice to the depth of this rich, gorgeous green, but even that couldn’t make me mad at this dress. The floral print has a subtle watercoloured feel to it, I think, and I love how many different soft shades there are in the print to contrast the darker green. The pinks, yellows and oranges are obvious, but there’s hints of caramel, lavender and plum as well, giving you ample styling inspiration to draw from.
The high gently-curved neckline is balanced out by dipping into a ‘V’ cut in the back, but the latter doesn’t threaten exposure of your bra’s backband. The dress closes with an invisible zip in the centre of the back. The sleeves are half length, providing flattering arm coverage. The full circle skirt sits beautifully in large full pleats, fitting a medium volume petticoat well or laying prettily without one. It is, quite simply, twirl-tastic. To top it all off, the dress is fully lined.
I actually first fell for this dress several months ago, promptly ordering it upon release in the same size 16 I usually wear for TPDC pieces. (For those who aren’t aware, TPDC size smaller than the UK high street.) After receiving it, I was saddened to discover that the 16 was too tight in the bust and arms for me, so I had to send it back. Since then, I’ve noticed my Fatale Prom dress, also by TPDC, has also become tight in the bust and arms compared to when I first got it, due to my weight gain, so I can confirm that the sizing of the Hepburn is consistent with TPDC’s typical sizing standards. My not fitting the size 16 was just an issue of my personal shape not working with the fabric and cut of this particular style.
Since I was still in love with this dress, though, I decided to try sizing up to 18 and I was thrilled that doing so solved my problem. Even in the 18 the arms still feel a little tight when I first put it on as they don’t have much give, but after I’ve had it on a few minutes the material warms up and I feel comfortable. As I expected, the waist is a little big on me, but as I needed to size up for other areas this couldn’t be avoided. All that really means is that the dress has comfortable ease of movement, so it’s nice that I can count on wearing it for a full day out without feeling pinched or too restricted by day’s end.
In terms of flat measurements, this dress does line up well with the size chart. The waist flat measures 34.5 inches and stretches to 37 inches max, so there’s some decent give in this material there. The bust is listed as just under 42 inches on the size chart but I found it can accommodate up to my 44 inches happily without straining. And for those who have big arms like myself, the closest measurement I can get on the arms is approximately 15.8 inches–my arms measure 16 inches at their biggest point, though, so that gives you some input as to why they feel a bit tight for me when I first put the dress on. There is a little give there in the upper arm but it is much less than in the waist, which has stretch rather than give. The skirt is 25 inches long, so at 5 ft 7 it hits me just below the knee.
The quality of this dress, like all The Pretty Dress Company’s pieces, is wonderful. It’s made with care in the UK and that care shows. I’m so pleased that after a false-start with sizing I finally have this dress to treasure and flaunt, which I’m sure to do every chance I get. I mean, it’s kind of begging for an invite to a garden party, don’t you think? It would be almost rude to deny it such a pleasure.
The Forest Seville Hepburn dress costs £129 and is available in UK sizes 8-18. The Pretty Dress Company do offer a custom-made service, however, so if you want this dress made in a size not currently in stock, or a different dress in this fabric, et cetera, their customer service department is happy to advise you on this service. If you’re sold on the Hepburn dress but fancy a different print or colour, they offer it in 9 different fabrics in total. TPDC ship internationally and offer 20% off discount codes regularly, practically every month, so it’s worth following them on their social media or signing up to their newsletter on their website.