Last week I shared with you a review of the Polka Dot Claudia Max dress by Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female, a piece that immediately became one of my favourite dresses of all time. I bought it using money I had been given for my birthday specifically for buying myself some treats from my favourite small businesses, so Deadly is the Female of course had to be top of that list. At the same time I also bought myself the Navy Flutter Sleeve Claudia dress, because its understated chicness but clear practicality had been calling to me like a siren song ever since I had first tried it on in early March. Genuinely, I’ve been thinking about this dress at least a couple times a week since. I’m so, so pleased that my memories of it live up to it’s beauty.
Dress: Navy Flutter Sleeve Claudia dress by Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female
Hat: Ali Express
Bangles: Bow & Crossbones Bucks Fizz Billie bangle + old thrifted pieces
Shoes: Old New Look gold cage flats
There are many genius aspects of the Claudia dresses. The one-size-fits-most feature is, of course, the main and most brilliant characteristic of this dress, but there are many others. There’s the fact that they can be worn both casually and formally, as well as in various vintage-inspired ways but also totally effortlessly without a vintage thought in mind, for all the folks who don’t look to their past for their styling inspirations. There’s the fact that they can serve as a cover-up by the pool or at the beach. For the flutter sleeve version in particular there’s the not-so-minor detail that said sleeves give those of us who are self-conscious of our arms the perfect option to wear short sleeves–airy, flattering sleeves no less–without having to worry about cuffs being too tight, or pinching if we lift our arms above waist height et cetera, etc etera, in a circle of chubby upper arm torture. No, these sleeves skim and breeze, making us dainty and delicate by extension.
But one of the things I love most about the Claudia dresses is just how comfortable they are. Many of them, this one included, are made from a high quality stretch fabric that has a nice reassuring weight to it that feels substantial and luxurious, but ultimately means you can slouch and squirm and eat and lounge all damn day and still remain perfectly comfy. The fact that the dress shape is created by the belt makes this dress fundamentally special, as you can wear it however you think looks best on your bod, but that also means if it gets to the end of the day (or, indeed, right now, you simply switch positions on the couch) and you decide you need a little extra room in the waist, all you need to do is loosen the belt a touch and you’re all good. In other dresses, the only relief to be gained is typically loosening your belt by another notch, if possible, or taking it off entirely, but this dress will stretch with you when needed and can simply be adjusted and retied when that stretch alone won’t do it.
Which brings me around to why the Claudia dresses are such a wonderful investment piece. All the items that Deadly stock are high quality pieces that are made to last you years, the antithesis to stock you will generally find on the high street that can begin to fall apart or sag out of shape after a couple of washes. Deadly don’t believe in fast fashion, so the only thing quick about them is their service. Their pieces though, especially those lovingly designed with and made by Alexandra King, are ready to serve you well, fabulously, and long term.
The Claudia dresses are made with that in mind, but their brilliant sizing means that not only will they fit you at almost any size, no matter how much it fluctuates (hello periods! stress weight loss! pandemic snacking weight gain, apparently!), but you can also let your best friend/sister/mum, who is always raiding your wardrobe in a panic for special occasions they weren’t prepared for, borrow it too and look just as fabulous. And bonus? Thanks to the sizing and the comfort of the fabric, this dress, especially in this lovely flutter sleeve version, feels just as good to lounge around in at home as it looks. That makes it the perfect purchase to satisfy your ‘I really want to treat myself to something pretty, but I just won’t be able to wear it until this is all over’ itch that many of us have been begging to scratch. Get a gorgeous dress that will fit you through quarantine, comfort-snacking aside, still look great when we come out the other side of it, and support two small, woman-owned businesses as a result? Hell yes!
The Claudia dresses are, as mentioned, one-size-fits-most, which in practical terms means that the Deadly x AK team anticipated that the dress would work on up to a 42 inch bust when they first launched it. They were thrilled to see many of their plus size customers give the Claudia dress a go, myself included, only to discover that it works for a wider range of sizes and body shapes than they had originally hoped. Part of this is simply down to personally preference; if you want there to be an abundance of gathered fabric on show in the front of the dress after it’s belted then, realistically, yes, the larger the waist the less likely you will have as much left over fabric to play with to create that look. But I would say from my personal experience wearing the dress that ladies who have busts of up to around 48 inches can still wear this dress beautifully (my bust measurement is 46/47 inches, for reference.) Even through the waist I think you could have a waistline of between 36-40 inches and still find there’s room to adjust the fabric achieve the pleated look that dress was designed to showcase. When I ordered my first Claudia dress I wasn’t sure it would look the way I wanted it to on me, but it did, and when I feel like adding shapewear or a corset to the equation I can enhance that look even more so. These days, I’m just happy it’s such a comfy lounging dress.
Touching on the last final details, let’s do a quick fawn of each; pockets? SWOON! V-neckline that can be adjusted to be either modest or plunging? YOU SEXILY ADAPTABLE BEAST. That thigh slit? VA VA VOOM! Tick, tick and tick.
This dress and every other item in the Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female collection are handmade here in the UK at Alexandra’s Wells studio, about 30 minutes from Deadly’s boutique in Frome. The shop is currently closed to the public, for obvious reasons, as is Alex’s studio, but both businesses are still shipping out orders from their websites, which is an excellent way to support them if you can afford to. It meant a lot to me to be able to ask my friends and family to gift me money for my birthday (if they could afford to) so that I could choose some small businesses in the vintage-inspired world to shop with. I think I’ll always cherish these dresses I bought from Deadly during this time even more so than usual because I know how important and special it felt to support such kind, hard-working, wonderful women in this situation.
Now, it wasn’t until I had totally finished writing this review that I realised this navy flutter sleeve Claudia had just sold out of it’s first run, but! Don’t lose hope! There’s two reasons all is not lost. One is the fact that you can order the maxi version or the bishop sleeved version instead if you’re absolutely desperate for a navy Claudia, or, on the flip side, can snap up any of the other colourways of the flutter sleeve Claudia dress if your heart is set on the silhouette more so than the navy colour. But two is that there’s a good chance the navy flutter sleeve will be restocked. The Deadly team is always happy for customers to let them know their interest levels in seeing an item be stocked or restocked, because they want to stock the items you love, so you can contact them to let them know how much you’d love to buy this dress. They also allow you to sign up to an email wait-list to be notified first when items come into stock, as well as opening pre-orders on certain styles, so those are further options it’s useful to know about for future reference. Restocks of the Alexandra King line are often opened for pre-order, so if you ever see an item you love it’s always a great idea to pre-order it or shop as quickly as you can afford to in order to avoid disappointment. Deadly also offer Clearpay, which allows you to pay for your purchases over staggered payments to split the cost, and they have a new reward points system that earns you money off future purchases.
The Claudia dress is available in a range of prints, patterns and plain colourways, in 2 different sleeve styles and 2 different dress lengths. Deadly is the Female ship worldwide.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.
COVID-19 NOTE: These pictures were taken in the safety of my garden, thus abiding by the strict social distancing rules currently in place to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Please stay home, and when necessary to leave the house for work or necessities remember to keep at least 6 ft away from any persons you may encounter.