You know how sometimes you see a dress and fall in love with it, but there’s a little niggling thought at the back of your mind that it just won’t work for you? That’s the experience I had with this dress by Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female. Thankfully, wonderfully, blissfully, I was wrong–and now I have a new favourite that will fit me not just any day of the week or month, but even if I drop a few dress sizes–yes, a few dress sizes, you read that right. How?? Let’s take a closer look at this unique piece.
The most brilliant part of this dress, ignoring it’s beauty for just a moment, is that it’s a one-size-fits-most piece. Before it’s belted it’s a loose billowy gown, a choir-girl-esque smock. Once belted, whether with the matching stretch jersey belt that comes with the dress or with a belt of your own choosing, it becomes a slinky lounge-wear inspired 40s gown that evokes the immediate glamour of a Hollywood Starlet reclined with a head of long soft curls and the poutiest of lips.
The fact that the entire shape of the dress is so dependent upon the belt is actually a master stroke of design–it’s not only what allows women of many different sizes to be able to wear this dress, but it also means you can choose exactly how you want it to look and lay with just a few small adjustments. You can arrange the gathers created by belting to emphasis or mask your assets, and you can even arrange it to make the V-neckline fully modest or flirtatiously daring.
The bishop sleeves are elegant while the centre slit in the skirt is sexy and more than likely to make you feel like a femme fatale. I was delighted when I first picked this dress up out of the beautiful tissue wrapping it had traveled in to find that there’s a luxurious, comforting weight to the fabric, a high quality jersey that never stretches past the point of full opacity. Immediately I knew that in winter I would be perfectly happy to wear this dress with tights and boots. I think the full length sleeves do mean it wouldn’t be suitable to wear on a scorching hot day, like some of those we’ve had recently, but cleverly Deadly and Alexandra have also produced a flutter-sleeved version that will be cooler to wear. It’s currently only available in red and has fulfilled pre-orders for green, but I suspect it’s sure to come in other colours soon–I’ve got my fingers crossed for a burgundy.
Both this full sleeved version and the flutter sleeved version offer a high level of versatility not only in fit and shape, but in suitability of wear. It’s such a sleek, simple dress that should you want to wear it with flats and sunglasses on your most casual days it won’t look too dressy paired with your relaxed demeanor. It can also be styled up as glamorously as your twinkling heart desires for your most fabulous events, but can still be worn conservatively for work and other modest occasions. It is, truly, a dress that can do it all, and the fact that it can do it all for women of so many different sizes is wonderful.
On their website Deadly is the Female advise that this dress is one size fits most but that they think it would work up to a 42 inch bust, which is why I wasn’t sure it would work for me, a curvy and very squishy size 18 with a 46 inch bust. Clearly this dress does fit me, although I wouldn’t be willing to say that means it would definitely fit every UK size 18/20 lady. We all have different body shapes that carry weight differently, so if you’re also plus sized and love the look of this dress I would take your measurements and consider how you think it would realistically drape on your frame.
The dress itself measures roughly 64 inches flat in the waist, but the back panel is 27 inches flat across as more of the fabric in the circumference of the dress is technically constructed in the ‘front’ of the dress to allow for all the gathers to flow from the waist when belted. It’s 44 inches long from high point on the shoulder to hem. It has hidden pockets, which you should pull around to lay at the correct point on your hips after belting the dress, not just for access but also because that will help you create all the gathers in the front by redistributing the fabric of the dress correctly.
I want to note that certain greens and blues are incredibly hard to photograph accurately, and this beautiful bottle green is one of those shades. It looks teal in these photos but is a true bottle green, rich and deep, so I edited one shot to show a more accurate representation of its colour (below.) In terms of care, this dress can be machine washed and should be air dried, but can’t be ironed, although that’s not necessary anyway. As this is a jersey fabric I used a magnetic back with the brooch I’m wearing in these pictures to avoid piercing holes in the fabric with a pin brooch back, and I would suggest you try to avoid doing the same as jersey fabrics show holes and snags easily. When wearing you should be careful not to wear any jewellery with sharp edges to minimise your risk of catching the fabric.
I’m so happy I gave this dress a try because I honestly did not believe it would work for me at all, and instead now I’ve got a piece that can work for almost any occasion and will fit me at any size. As far as investment pieces go, I can’t think of any other piece that qualifies for that moniker more than the Claudia dress. I’ll definitely be buying it in other colours and absolutely can’t wait to see what new shades or patterns they’ll be releasing for Autumn/Winter!
The Claudia dress is currently available in green, black and red, with other colours in the pipeline. This dress sells out fast so you may have to waitlist or pre-order, but so far Deadly has quickly restocked as soon as they’ve sold out. The Claudia dress is also available to pre-order as a full length gown, currently just in black, although Deadly is the Female model and store manager Scarlett Luxe has previewed blush pink and green velvet versions on her Instagram page. If you want to be kept up to date on the latest restocks or pre-orders for upcoming colours, as well as all other Deadly news, I’d suggest joining their closed Facebook group the Deadly is the Female Dollhouse and/or following their Instagram account.
Congratulations Team Deadly and Alexandra for your incredible leap into producing your own Deadly range–it’s stunning, and I am immensely proud of you all!
Disclaimer: I bought the shoes worn in this review but they are from a brand (Lulu Hun) that has gifted me other items for review in the past. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.