If there’s one thing every woman needs in her closet, regardless of her style preferences, it’s a little black dress. The LBD is the long-accepted perfect option for any smart look, night out or formal event, but the other great thing about LBDs is that they make for wonderful last minute fall-back options. When you weren’t expecting to get a last minute invite, when your carefully selected outfit for the special event meets an unexpected tragic end, when you absentmindedly dropped off your job interview outfit at the dry cleaner’s along with your partners suits and now you have nothing to wear for your interview in an hour–the little black dress is always ready and waiting to help you in your hour of need.
A modest, classic, simple LBD can be dressed up or down to fit almost any event, and the puff sleeved Ellen dress by Zoe Vine is one of those versatile, timeless dresses that can serve as both savior and sinner in your wardrobe. You’ll all know I don’t wear a lot of wiggle dresses, preferring to opt for the fun and frills of a full circle skirt most of the time, but there’s something about how sassy and chic I feel in a black pencil dress that I do crave every once in a while. Trading in my petticoats and often-bright colours for the chance to be a bit moody and slinky, dramatic and daring for a night helps give me a burst of style inspiration that’s essential in keeping my vintage juices flowing.
Dress: Ellen dress C/O Zoe Vine
Cape: Old season Tara Starlet
Heels: Old season New Look
Wary as I often am to don a wiggle dress, there’s many things about this Ellen dress that makes it a stress-free, easy wear for a curvier girl like myself. For starters, the stretchiness of the fabric means it’s 100% comfortable every second of wear, with no pinching, rubbing or digging in. The half-length puff sleeves mean I don’t have to dither over whether adding a cardigan is going to ebb away at the chic aura of the style, as well as providing comforting upper arm-coverage for my squishy bits. And then there’s the keyhole feature of the neckline, a small but classic detail that adds a touch of interest and just a wink of skin to an otherwise entirely modest dress. Altogether, the design of this dress makes me feel sexy but not at all exposed, a fine balance to achieve. Adding layers and accessories to change up the feel of this dress would be so easy, making it just as easy to style for work appropriate wear as for a night out catching up with friends. It’s versatile and timeless, just like every LBD should be.
This dress closes with a concealed centered back zip and has a back slit for ease of movement. It’s fully lined in a soft, stretchy material, contributing to a dress that’s form-fitting and comfortable. That stretchy fabric means the sizing of this dress does have a lot of give. I’m wearing a size 16/XL, which flat measures 33 inches in the waist but can stretch up to 36 inches with ease. Similarly, the hips measure flat at 42 inches and stretch to 50 inches. While that demonstrates how much forgiveness there is in the stretch of the fabric, this dress is designed to hit below the knee, so if, like me, your measurements in the waist or hips are going to use a lot of the fabric’s stretch in those areas, you might find it makes the hem of the dress fall at your knee or above instead, as pictured above. Overall I agree with the website that the dress sizes true and don’t advise sizing down purely because it’s a stretchy piece.
The Ellen dress from Zoe Vine costs £85 and is available in sizes 8 to 16 (XS to XL.) Zoe Vine ship free by first class mail in the UK and offer reasonable flat rate shipping options internationally, or free shipping on international orders over £100.