I’m certainly not known for being afraid of bright colours, but even I’ve got to admit the Del Ray dress by Unique Vintage might be taking that love of brights to new heights.
I saw it previewed at London Edge back in February and featured it then in my review post among my favourite picks from UV’s upcoming line, so its fearlessly bold striped print definitely captured me right from the off. Still, when it arrived and I pulled it from its bag, unfurling it before me in the air of a dim English morning, I had the slightest moment of pause: wow, was it too bright for me? Within a split second I had remembered myself: Nah! I’m good.
Let’s do this Del Ray, you beautifully obnoxious burst of Californian sunshine!
I’ve been to America less than a handful of times but with those experiences I definitely look at this dress with a reminiscent feeling of my time spent in the South West. The Del Ray makes me think of California, of Texas desert, of New Mexico and Arizona. It reminds me of how hot that sun felt compared to the weaker rays we enjoy here in the UK, of what a relief it was to slip into the passenger seat of an AC ready car after rushing to reach it through the thick heat from your apartment door just a few hundred yards away. Of the absolute necessity of carrying sunglasses at all time, not merely as a trendy fashion statement. In short, it reminds me of happy holidays I’ve taken and imaginary vacations I hope yet to take. Summer dress yes!
The Del Ray is a shirt dress featuring the obvious explosive spectrum of stripes, a notched collar and functioning fabric covered buttons running the full centre panel of the dress from collar to skirt hem. That does mean you’ll have to unbutton rather than unzip to get in and out of this beauty, but it also means you can unbutton the bottom portion, add a pair of bright coloured shorts or capri pants and rock this dress like a fun playsuit set. The short sleeves are cuffed, there’s forever-handy pockets, and it comes with a matching belt. The full circle skirt is twirl-ready and happy to fit a full volume petticoat, if you desire, measuring at 26.5 inches long.
I’m between sizes in Unique Vintage’s range so I size up these days into the 2X mostly for my 45 inch bust, but also in a style like this for my broad shoulders and chunky upper arms. This 2X makes for a comfortable fit for me across the shoulders and through the bust, though the waist is rather loose on me as I expected, but the matching belt solves that problem. Fitting a little looser does at least mean it will make for an easy, comfy wear even on the hottest English days in summer, which I appreciate as I hate pinching, tight seams in hot weather. Overall, the dress does size larger than the size chart states but that’s because it’s shirt dress style that’s not supposed to be worn skin tight anyway, and is sized accordingly. Specifically, the waist flat measures 38 inches, with stretch to 40 before the waist button starts to gape. The bust flat measures 47 inches and stretches to 49 before gaping issues. The armhole is almost 21 inches and the sleeve cuff measures 17 inches, so even those with large upper arms like mine should find this style comfortable in that area.
Bold as it is, the Del Ray dress is for summer fun and summer play, and who doesn’t look forward to that?
The Del Ray dress comes in sizes XS-4X for $98, and Unique Vintage ship internationally, also offering a customer reward scheme.