Look, I know I’ve featured many of the different iterations of the Claudia here on the blog. First of all, I don’t think I can really be blamed, because if Deadly is the Female and Alexandra King keep making different versions of the most perfect dress that I can’t help but buy, what, exactly, am I supposed to do, if not take (hopefully) beautiful photos of them and share them with you all? Secondly, it’s a dress made by 2 small, women-owned businesses, and if this past year has taught us anything it’s that we should all be buying from and vocally supporting small businesses as much as possible. But thirdly, this is actually a Claudia I wanted for a long time but told myself I didn’t have any need for, so it was off my buy list until this past winter when, suddenly, I realised exactly how many ways I could style it–and what’s the point of having such deeply meaningful revelations if I don’t share them?? So today, my darlings, we are going to look at 3 different ways of styling the Claudia Maxi Gown, because I am in love with it.
The glamour of the bishop sleeved Claudia gown was obvious to me from the first moment I saw its original incarnation, but I held off buying one for what felt like an age because I just didn’t think I would wear one enough to justify a purchase. Then my younger sister got engaged and in my search for the perfect gown to wear for her wedding it became apparent to me that the navy velvet Claudia was The Only Choice. Thanks to Covid-19 that dress is still hanging unworn in my wardrobe as we all put faith in The Third Time’s The Charm for the wedding to finally take place next year, 2 years later than originally planned. Buying that dress, though, assured me that the Claudia is much like any other dress, in that nothing should be saved for best if you love it, and when you love something you will find ways to wear it. Yes, that particular dress has to wait for that particular occasion before I can allow it to start it’s wearing life with me because it has a special debut purpose, but every other dress deserves to be worn as often as you damn well please (and eventually that one will too!)
Since then I’ve bought a few other Claudia gowns, but they’re all Totally Different So Don’t Even Try To Tell Me They’re The Same Dress because they’re all made from entirely dissimilar fabrics–semi-opaque black with white polka dots, sheer lace, and sheer mesh with black felt polka dots. Since I own several iterations of varying kinds but equal levels of glamorous, allowing myself the plain black jersey version seemed a bit extra–ironically. But as I mentioned in my intro, realising all the ways I could style this dress across a spectrum of casualness and elegance really made me fall in love with its versatility, to the point where I could no longer deny myself the purchase. Treat yo’self! And I did.
Despite my love for all things glamorous and chic, the main thing that drew me to this dress was the possibility of wearing it totally casually. I so wanted to throw it on with a pair of sunglasses and flats for a really lovely and easy day with loved ones (when allowed;) I wanted to don it with a sunhat and a red lip; with my hair scraped up into a messy bun and strappy sandals on my feet; with a wide stretchy belt and a cuffed gold bangle. There’s endless ways to style it because a LBD (in this case, a long black dress) is the most timeless of blank slates. For this post I gave myself 3 styling inspirations; Easy Goddess Casual, All Black Everything, and Full On Glam. It’s amazing what swapping out belts and adding other accessories can do to alter the vibe of this maxi, and that’s even before adding in different hairstyles to cement the styling.
Easy Goddess Casual
I wear my hair up 95% of the time, typically in a truly messy (not aesthetically ‘messy’) bun. For my social life, though, when I make the effort to get pinned up, wearing my hair up doesn’t feel special enough. This simple braided hairstyle is different for me, something I’ve only tried at home a couple times, but I love that it’s a way I can get my hair fully off my neck when my natural curls are not wrangle-able into something cute. The flow of this maxi lends itself beautifully to casual looks because it exudes effortless just as well as it does full glamour, and I enjoyed adding some simple texture to the look by echoing faux leather in the wide belt and the knotted front wedges. A soft pink lip helps with the ‘I tried, but just barely’ vibe I was going for in this styling. Definitely a look I would wear for any and all casual occasions, from shopping to hanging out at a mate’s.
Full On Glam
I used the matching fabric belt that this dress comes with for this look because I wanted the other metallic accessories to stand out without having to fight for attention. Plus, the way it wraps around the waist multiple times and has room left to flow down the skirt gives me goddess vibes that always makes me feel awesome. This vintage box bag works great for any special occasion, and starbursts are my favourite twinkly accessory to style up an outfit, so much so that I have a dozen or more different sizes, styles and colours of starburst brooches. Basically, layering crystals and all things twinkly on the Claudia maxis and gowns always works because diamonds, even fake ones, are a girl’s best friend for good reason; everyone looks good in sparkles.
All Black Everything
This belt isn’t something I would class as ‘me’ usually if someone were to ask how I felt about it, but when I saw it a couple years ago I was immediately drawn to the cinched look it gave so I snapped it up. Saying that, I think I’ve worn it once since, because it just doesn’t gel with my typical style the way I prefer to wear it, but when I was thinking up my All Black Everything styling I decided this belt had to be included in a look that, essentially, ended up being an ode to my LA pinup friends who love alternative and goth styles as much as they adore vintage. The big sun hat is, of course, necessary, and could be used for practically every styling of this dress really. I repeated its straw texture in the black raffia bag I chose in order to keep this outfit more on the daytime caj side of things. Flat caged sandals kept up that casual vibe, and I forwent any jewellery to avoid overloading the look.
Overall this was a fun styling exercise to do, not just because it allowed me to showcase a dress I love from two businesses I adore, but also because, let’s face it, we haven’t been going out or getting dressed up for so long now that it was a nice excuse to play around with the concept of outfit construction in a way that hasn’t been viable very often for the past year.
If you haven’t seen my many past features of the Claudia dresses here on the blog, then feel free to check them out to get in depth sizing details (this baby is one size fits most!) and for further information on both Alexandra King and Deadly is the Female. Their joint clothing line is all handmade in Somerset with great care and attention, so I’m always thrilled to highlight their beautiful craftsmanship and devoted customer service.
The Claudia dress comes in two lengths, two sleeve types, and more than two dozen different colours, prints and fabrics.
Disclaimer: I bought the belt used in one of these outfits from a brand that has previously gifted me other items in exchange for an honest review, but none of these items shown were gifted. 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 alone and safely in a secluded outdoors area with no other individuals present or passing, thus abiding by the strict social distancing rules currently in place to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.