I’ve said it more than once here on the blog, but generally I can’t be considered a fan of leopard print. When done well, though, I do appreciate it, and the Troublemaker leopard print dresses by Vixen by Micheline Pitt are definitely leopard done well.
The Troublemaker pencil dress was the first release in this leopard print to catch my eye last fall, a long-sleeved slinky wiggle that was all va-va-voom. I immediately fell in love with it but my infrequent wearing of wiggle dresses meant I knew I couldn’t justify adding it to my wardrobe, where it would likely be under utilised, which would be akin to a crime. This same leopard print is also offered on the Vixen swing dress and Vixen pencil skirt, as well as the long sleeved Troublemaker top. The Troublemaker swing dress, though, is what I was waiting for, a cut that would fit seamlessly into my existing favoured styles but with the added purr and growl of this saucy print.
Even saying all that, I held off buying this dress for a long time because I was saving, I have too many clothes already, blah blah blah, all the adult excuses. Once I realised it was in stock at Deadly is the Female, though, my boutique babe faves, I pounced. It arrived the very next day, perfectly wrapped–just in time for our June heatwave, which rendered the long-sleeved cut a no-no lest I desired to perish. Finally it’s cooled down here to more welcome, reasonable temperatures and I was able to take this baby out for a little spin.
This dress is classic and actually pretty modest, and yet it oozes bad girl sex appeal all thanks to the great fit and that perfect leopard print. The neckline is seamless so whether you’re large or small busted you’ll get a great fit, and the front bust has doubled fabric to provide great shaping and support. The thing that most stuck out to me when I first tried it on was how incrediblely strong and sturdy the zipper was, like none I’ve ever come across, which is because it’s a heavy bridal invisible zipper. Such a good quality zipper makes a huge difference in zipping up a dress made from a stretchy fabric, which can be a real pain to do when alone, but there’s no such problem in this number.
Said stretchy fabric is actually the highest quality, softest brushed textured stretch crepe, so its stretch is matched by its quality, with no issues of flimsiness, unflattering clinging or semi-transparency here. Finally, in the full gathered skirt there’s the deepest pockets I’ve ever found in a dress–no, seriously, the deepest. Absolute superlative, I dropped my iPhone 6 in it’s chunky battery case into my pocket and was amazed to realise there was still room for my huge mobile battery pack, my car keys and my lipstick, with room still to spare. These pockets are the pockets of pinup queens.
The fabric of this dress is stretchy and sturdy, and it puzzled me for quite a while before buying because I just wasn’t sure what it was going to be like in person. I’d seen lots of ladies saying it was so stretchy that they could size down when between sizes in the various leopard print pieces offered in Micheline’s range, but more than once I’ve followed such advice across various brands only to be disappointed. In such instances I’ve sometimes found an item itself could be stretchy but that the armhole seams had no give, creating an uncomfortable fit that had me pinching and pulling at the shoulders of my dress all day. I really didn’t want this to happen with this dress, so since I was between sizes but have large upper arms and broad shoulders, I decided to opt for safety and size up into the 2X, knowing the grommet thick belt it came with could help me cinch my waist if need be.
As it happens it is technically a bit big on me, but only in that way that means I can feel certain areas of looseness when wearing it, yet it looks to other people like it fits, so it’s actually a very comfortable wear, especially in my shoulders and arms. Specifically, the stretch in the fabric means the measurements range from 40-48 inches in the bust to 37-46 inches in the waist, so the XL definitely would have been an easy fit for me. My only issue is that it’s shorter in the body than I was expecting (16.5 inches flat shoulder to waist,) so when on it’s about two inches shy of hitting my natural waist. I can mask that issue by wearing the belt on my actual waist over the tops of the skirt gathers, creating extra length to the eye. As the body is short, the 26 inch skirt hits me a little shorter than I was expecting for that length as well, so if you also have a long torso be aware that the waist will likely hit you high and the skirt will consequently sit a tad shorter.
I only have one other Vixen piece, the Vixen top which I reviewed last Autumn, so for months now I’ve heard endless praise for the high quality and construction of Micheline’s designs. As someone who’s loved her design work for years, I had no doubt at all that all those compliments and glorious reviews were well deserved and painstakingly earned, but it’s lovely to finally be able to invest in another of her new pieces and find that the talk of supreme quality is all truth. I’m so eager and excited to watch Micheline’s range grow and to see what gorgeous designs she has in store for us in future.
The Leopard Troublemaker Swing dress comes in sizes XS-4X for $124 (Deadly is the Female still have several sizes in stock for £120.) The Troublemaker swing dress is also available in black, with pre-orders for purple, red, and zebra print available as well. Micheline’s website and Etsy store both ship internationally.