Sometimes in the vintage-inspired fashion world you get really lucky that a dress you love gets made in multiple colours or prints. Occasionally the same dress style gets made in both a wiggle cut and a swing. Never before, though, have I found a dress I loved that came not only in different colours or fabrics but also as a gown version. Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female’s Claudia dress floored me in that exact way, and about a hundred others. Ready to look upon some true old Hollywood glamour mixed in with mourning widow, deadly goddess vibes? Let’s walk into the fog.
I own the knee length version of this Claudia dress already in the green, black and leopard print versions, so you can probably accurately surmise that I love it–just in case you want to know exactly how or why, you can find those specifics in my previous review of that dress length. Despite my deep adoration of that dress, I never thought I’d buy the gown version. Clearly, so painfully obviously, it is gorgeous, but these days I have no likely occasions in my life that call for a gown and thus, maybe surprisingly so, my loves-to-shop brain automatically glanced over it, almost in the same way it does wiggle dresses, which I just don’t like to wear. I have no need for a gown, especially as the One Who Is Always Overdressed amongst my friends and family as it is anyway. But then, I realised, with a small excited jolt that felt akin to my heart gasping–I do, I do have an upcoming event that would allow me to get supremely dressed up. To warrant, even, splurging on a dress, outfit of my standard budget. My younger sister is getting married next spring! BOOYAH, AMY GONNA WEAR HERSELF A GOWN!
At first the idea occurred to me more as a back up. I hadn’t yet been that fussed by the notion of what I would wear because dressing up is such a comfortable concept to me, as is the ease with which I have access to appropriate and glamorous clothing I love year-round within the vintage realm, so I just assumed I would decide on a look I wanted to sport nearer the time and then I would seek out the items to achieve it. Plus, in total honesty, with the way my weight has been fluctuating the past couple years, I also didn’t want to buy something early that might not fit come May. The Claudia gown, now that I thought about it, would make a lovely sister-of-the-bride dress, and would work no matter what dress size I might be at the time, as it’s one-size-fits-most like it’s knee length sister. Yes, I thought, comforted and pleased with the idea–if I didn’t think of something more specific I desperately wanted to wear at the start of spring, I would snag a Claudia gown. I even chatted happily about that to Claudia, the dress’s namesake and Deadly’s owner, who was as encouraging, enthusiastic and lovely about the idea as she was about literally everything I’ve ever talked to her about.
There was just one problem. Now that the seed was planted, I wanted the Claudia gown and I wanted it NOW. I didn’t want to order it yet, partly because I just wanted to be sensible about my monthly outgoings as I have some lovely social events this month I’ll be splurging on, but also because I knew that owning it and not wearing it for 6 whole months would be pure torture, especially with Christmas approaching. IT WOULD LOOK SO GOOD FOR CHRISTMAS. AND FOR MY BIRTHDAY, WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING, BUT WHATEVER. Basically, if I owned it, I would need to wear it ASAP, I was certain. But then the thought occurred to me–it’s a sleeved gown, and made of velvet, a fabric typically used for autumn/winter clothing lines. Would it even be available to buy in spring? I asked Claudia and she confirmed that the velvets likely would not be restocked after they sell out from the winter season, and so of course I immediately ordered my supposed ‘back up’ dress and it arrived as a vision of godly perfection and I love it and clearly not wearing it until May will be almost impossibleHELP!
All that is to say if you’ve been debating any of the velvet Claudias I would act fast, or upon your own head be it when…you know, you maybe have to wait until Autumn/Winter next year, which, yeah, isn’t all that dramatic a punishment, except it is because you will definitely regret it because you’ve seen this dress, right? You have eyes and you’ve seen it and that’s why you’ve been debating it, yeah? Yeah, exactly. So you’ve been warned.
So, I’ll try to cut back (somewhat) upon the dramatics now to tell you some of the actual specifics of this dress. As previously mentioned, like the knee length Claudia dresses, this gown is a one-size-fits-most piece and the reason that’s possible is because it’s cut in a shapeless, choir-girl-esque robe through the body. The matching belt, which can looped around your waist 2-3 times depending on your size, is what cinches your waist and creates the flow and shape of the dress. If you’re on the smaller side, belting the fabric will create a greater number of adjustable pleats through the skirt, whereas if you’re on the larger end of being able to wear this gown there will obviously be less excess fabric available to translate into the flow of the skirt, so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re pondering how this piece might fit you.
I’m a UK size 18, I carry my weight all over but most predominantly on my stomach, and my bust fluctuates between 46-47 inches, yet I think this gown is beautifully flattering on my frame and it’s a joy to wear. I can tie the belt to whatever tightness is most comfortable and/or the most complimentary for my body, which is a wonderful thing to know given there are lots of dresses hanging in my wardrobe that require me to calculate what level of discomfort I am willing to live through to wear them on any given day. The bishop sleeves are not only elegant and becoming but a great source of warmth for winter and evening wear, as well as functioning as a comfort blanket for those of us who are self-conscious of our arms. Speaking of, my upper arms are quite large, needing a sleeve to measure 16+ inches across the bicep to be comfortable during wear, and thanks to the generous cut of this dress and the stretchy velvet fabric there’s no pinching or straining to speak of for me during wear.
Sorry, I got a bit excited there. What I mean to say is that you may also be thrilled to learn that this dress has pockets–yes, a gown, with pockets. I know, Alexandra and Deadly really know what the fuck they’re doing, and I love them for it. Further excellent news is that all Claudias, of both lengths, get free UK shipping, just make sure you select that option at checkout if it doesn’t automatically apply. Deadly is the Female also now offer customer reward points, so you can tally up a nice little discount off future orders every time you shop.
The Claudia gown comes in navy, red, black, green and white velvet in this full sleeve version, as well as in non-velvet black and dusty pink versions in the same cut. It also comes in a flutter sleeve version that is available in velvet leopard, or in sequined versions in red, gold or black. The Claudia dress (knee length) also comes a bishop or flutter sleeve versions, in a variety of velvet and non-velvet colours. If you’d like to see ladies of all sizes rocking their Claudias you can join the Deadly is the Female Dollhouse Facebook group and interact with other Deadly babes.
Disclaimer: Items marked with (A/L) are Affiliate Links. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.