For the longest time I have wanted a dress like the one famously worn by Marilyn in this picture.
There have been times when I’ve found reproductions of it but for one reason or another it’s always been impossible for me to get my hands on one. Some times the company didn’t offer them in plus sizes, other times the reproductions was simply too expensive for my budget. So imagine my delight when I was scrolling through Instagram one day and came across this picture of gorgeous Ashlyn Coco, one half of fabulous blogging duo The Pink Collar Life, sporting just such a dress.
I followed the tags through to Blueberry Hill Fashions, a brand I had never heard of, fully expecting it to be yet another reproduction I couldn’t purchase, for whatever reason. I was thrilled to discover that not only was this dress within my budget at only $89.95 but that it was available in a wide range of plus sizes. I was so excited to finally have found my dream dress, but after a pause I had some slight reservations.
I’m going to be really honest here. While the Blueberry Hill Fashions website itself is clean and stylish, lots of the other items for sale were showcased using the kind of mass-produced stock photos typical of cheap eBay listings and budget ‘rockabilly vintage 50s swing pinup lady womens fashion‘-esque websites that all tend to hail from China and send you products that only vaguely resemble the picture that sold you on the purchase. Or perhaps the item looks how it’s supposed to, it’s just not going to fit you, because it’s made for a woman 3 sizes smaller than you. We’ve all been there. That kind of online shopping experience is disappointing and frustrating and tends to make you wary of dealing with products coming from such sources, no matter how tempting the low cost seems at first.
Since those stock photos on the Blueberry Hill Fashions website gave me those wary China-products vibe I was half convinced that if I ordered then I would have to fill a Paypal claim demanding my money back. However, I was reassured by Ashlyn’s post–she had her dress, didn’t she? And it looked lovely. I doubted she would post in support of a shady company.
So I decided it was worth the risk, with Paypal as the worst-case scenario fall back. It took a little time, as I’ll detail below, but the risk was worth it: I’ve got finally my Marilyn dress!
Dress: Marilyn Monroe Reproduction dress by Blueberry Hill Fashions
Cardigan: Old season Primark
Brooch: Red Poppy Field by Erstwilder
Shoes: Red Faux Suede flats by F&F at Tesco
The dress is lovely. It’s a tiered cotton confection with plenty of fabric in the skirt, real tying straps (a favourite of mine,) and a lined bodice with a ruched bust. It closes with an invisible back zipper. The lined tiered 30-inch skirt has volume of its own and lays wonderfully, but it will take a petticoat if you fancy layering up.
This dress is much better made, more substantial and nicer than I had first expected it to be thanks to the wariness I had originally felt because of the stock photos used elsewhere on the website. This dress is part of their Blueberry Hill Originals line, their own brand, so it’s produced separately to the items that have stock photos, but I do think those stock photos do the brand a possible disservice if all the pieces are as lovely as this Marilyn dress. But for this dress alone, at least, I can assuage your concerns: it’s wonderful.
Now, let’s talk about shipping and production. When I placed my order, the page said this dress shipped in 2-3 days. It took at least 2 weeks for it to ship, though I can’t tell exactly how long because they never sent a shipping notification that would have allowed me to keep track. The dress page does now reflect that it takes 2 weeks to ship, so if you do order be aware that you’re committing to a wait, especially if you live outside the USA and will have to wait for international delivery as well. I think it took roughly 3 weeks for my dress to arrive from date of purchase, so the delivery to the UK wasn’t too lengthy, at least. Although considering they only offered First Class USPS international shipping as the sole delivery option, about a week for delivery is standard and expected for that service.
The size chart pictured on this dress states the size 16 is 34 inches in the waist, so that’s what I ordered. What I received was a size 18, which flat measures over 38 inches and stretches to nearer 40 inches. It swamped me. There wasn’t any obvious size labels in the bodice of the dress so I just assumed their sizing was crazy and that my China-vibes had been right in one way after all. It was only in scrutinising the sizing in writing this review that I found a small label inside the lining of the skirt that reveals I was actually sent a size 18, which would explain why it’s so large on me. The website FAQs say a wrongly received product must be reported within 72 hours of receipt, which is long gone for me, so I can’t be bothered to deal with trying to get some kind of partial recompense for the mistake. So if you order an item try it on promptly upon receipt, and if you feel the fit is off then make sure to check that sizing label in the skirt to confirm and email customer service promptly. I ended up taking in the waist and bodice for these pictures but it’s still too loose and I’ll need to take it in some more.
UPDATE 17/08/16: I’ve been alerted that Blueberry Hill Fashions have now altered their returns policy so that their 72 hour contact window rule has been abolished. Instead they only ask customers with return inquiries contact them as soon as possible and get their item back in the mail for return within 7 days of receipt. Had I contacted them to let them know I had received the wrong dress they would have sent me a replacement size and paid return shipping label by express mail, they assure me, which I really appreciate. Sadly part of the blame there lies with my own assumptions and inattentiveness in not investigating when I felt the sizing was off, as I had already made alterations to the dress by the time they contacted me to let me know they would have been happy to help me with an exchange. I also discovered they use the stock photos to keep down the costs of the items for their customers, since hiring models and photographers is an expensive endeavor. I can definitely appreciate that their number one concern is being able to offer products to their customers as cheaply as possible, and I could tell from our exchange that making their customers happy is very important to them.
The sizing mistake aside, I’m glad I ordered this dress and I’m really pleased with it. I reach for it regularly, which is saying something considering the number of items in my closet, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future releases in their Blueberry Hill Originals line for my next purchase. Any company that makes my plus sized Marilyn dreams come true is one worth keeping tabs on.
The Marilyn reproduction dress from Blueberry Hill Fashions costs $89.95 and is available in US sizes 4/6 to 24. They do ship internationally; it cost me $33 for shipping to the UK and I was lucky that Royal Mail didn’t select my parcel to check for customs, but please be aware that if you order internationally your order may be subject to the customs and taxes of your country.
That is such a gorgeous colour! The Blueberry Hill site does seem a bit weird and has that China vibe. Fortunately there’s PayPal and because of them it’s usually safe to order from weird sites like that. One thing that’s good in that shop is those customer photos. Every shop should do that!
The customer photo gallery is great! I’ve actually heard from Blueberry Hill and they explained they use the stock photos just to keep costs down per unit for the customers, which I can totally understand.
What a gorgeous dress! It’s too bad you were sent the wrong size, and I agree about the vibe of the site. It totally feels very China-fast-fashion-y. But I’m glad at least you got a dress you can work with, and it looks great on you otherwise!
Turns out they use the stock photos to keep costs down for the customers so they don’t have to undertake expenses of hiring models and photographers, etc, which makes sense. I think it’s the headless thing that I struggle with most in stock photos like that, lol. The dress is so much nicer than headless pictures suggest, I wore it again yesterday and love it.
They followed me and I them a long time ago, but like you once I saw thier site I shied away from ordering for same fears as you, having taken chances with another such company that many have bought from and it was failure and stress, despite others success…I ended up donating the clothing being over it , it was no money out of my pocket it was a Xmas gift via a gift card, but no less upsetting. I think based on your review , even tho you love the dress I will still hold off from ordering .
Speaking with the company owner, happy customers are definitely important to them and it’s just unfortunate that I happened to be on the receiving end of a rare order picking mistake. I’ve done the same thing myself in the past at my own job; you just assume that the item you’re picking out of the bin marked ‘Marilyn Blue 16’ is, in fact, the blue Marilyn dress in a size 16, not that someone mislabeled the bag and put it in the wrong bin. I really don’t blame them for that.
The owner also explained to me that the stock photos are to keep costs down for the customers, which I’ve updated the review above to reflect. Understandable. And the dress is lovely, I’d say if you like anything from their Blueberry Hill Originals line you can feel safe in ordering it knowing it’s something they’ve designed and produced themselves. They sound to me like quality is important to them.
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Lovely Marilyn dress! It looks like quite a vibrant baby blue in your pix and in some of the others, more a grey-blue. Which would you say it was?
It’s definitely a classic baby blue, pictures where it looks really bright are just due to the lighting.
Thank you! I have placed an order myself – lovely frock!