I’m one of those people who’s pretty bad for encouraging others to buy the extravagant evening dress even when they don’t have a special event on the horizon. The way I see it, life is too short not to do the things that make you happy, and if one of those things occasionally is buying a fancy dress that actually made you gasp or groan or swoon a little bit when you saw it, that can’t really be a bad thing. Putting on a special dress that is too fancy for every day life has a certain kind of feeling that comes with it, a grandness, a fizz of excitement, a bubbling of childlike wondrous joy that you get to wear something so wonderful and look great in it.
Even if, like me, you own far too many dresses, there’s still something extra special about putting on an evening dress that makes you feel like a princess, a lady, or an old Hollywood screen siren. The latter is the realm of fancy we’re entering into today, with a floor length velvet gown from Dolly & Dotty that makes me feel like laying atop a piano and pouting my way through a breathy solo number.
Dolly & Dotty are most well known for their affordable swing dresses, so it was a pleasant surprise to find this slinky body-hugging evening gown amongst their latest releases. Often evening gowns come with a heftier price tag than day dresses, understandably so as they tend to make use of more expensive fabrics or more intensive structural design work, so it’s lovely to find a special occasion piece from a budget-friendly brand. Plus, I have a massive weakness for velvet evening gowns, so this was always going to be fated to draw me in.
This gown is floor length, full on and fabulous. The velvet means it clings to your curves in a dangerous way, while the halterneck and keyhole in the neckline mean your shoulders and a touch of your upper chest are revealed to give a sexy flash of skin while the gown itself actually remains technically modest in design. It closes with a back zip and the halterneck fastens at the back of your neck with two small round buttons.
As with most Dolly & Dotty pieces I technically could have fit this dress in both the 16 or the 18. Even though the stretchiness of velvet often means one can size down, I opted for the 18 because my hips are several inches larger than the measurements listed for the size 16 in the size chart, so it seemed safest. In reality it runs large compared to the size chart and there’s looseness for me most noticeably at my waist and in the back, so I definitely should have sized down and you likely could too. Comparing it to the size chart, the chart listed bust 43-45, waist 37-38 and hips 46-47. The stretch in the fabric actually means the measurements of flat to stretched are bust 40-50, waist 38-46 and hips 44-56 inches. There’s no shaping or built in control structure in this piece, which is rarely included in budget-friendly evening gowns anyway, so if you have any lumps or bumps you’re self-conscious of you’ll need to layer your preferred shapewear underneath to get your desired silhouette.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go find a piano to lay on.
The Eleanor gown comes in burgundy or black velvet in UK sizes 6-24 for £49.99. Dolly & Dotty ship internationally and offer 10% off to new subscribers to their newsletter.