Phase Eight Catheleen Tapework Dress Real Women Real Life Try-on

Try-on date: late November 2019

To watch the video of this try-on click here

To see more details of my size go to Real Women, Real Life Try-ons

Retailer and online stores

Phase Eight Click here to see the dress and reviews.

UK online and stores £199 but currently reduced to £149.25

Australia online and stores A$ 500

Europe online and stores EUR 299

Please note that all the sizes and prices mentioned are current as at late November 2019.  Please check on the retailer’s site for up to date information and reviews.  Sometimes a style is deleted but you will usually find that something very similar is available instead.  I select clothes which are beautiful and fashionable but not such high fashion that they will date quickly or be completely dropped from the retailer’s line up.

A home real life try on of the Catheleen dress by Phase Eight in navy and ivory tapework
I’m trying on the Catheleen dress by Phase Eight. Hem is pinned up 2.5 inches.

How it looks and fits

Phase Eight Style Code: 205117287

Retailer’s description: The contrast tapework lace design on this fitted dress makes it an occasion style that is both elegant and eye-catching.

Colour: Navy and Ivory.  It’s a very dark navy and a very pale ivory, almost white.  It also comes in latte and ivory which will look fabulous in the spring and summer especially if you have a suntan.

Fabric: 90% nylon with 10% Elastane for stretch.  The lining is viscose.  It is marked as ‘delicate dry clean’.  The mesh is quite fine so I think professional care is a must.

Fit:  I ordered size 14 UK (that’s about 42 France, 12 USA and Canada, 16 Australia).  Standard fitting, no petite available.  Available in sizes UK 6-20. It fitted me well.  The stretch meant that my larger-than-size-14 hips could still get into the dress. 

My waist and bust are a bit smaller than size 14 so the stretch worked well there too so that the dress didn’t bag at all. 

Length. This dress is 103 cm neck to hem.  I’m 5′ 2″ (157 cm). I only order online clothes if they look simple to shorten.  This dress has a straight hem on both the top layer and the lining so there should be no problems with shortening it.  Because I have pinned up the hem in the video it looks uneven and as if it tapers inwards.  In fact when unpinned this dress falls straight. 

I pinned the dress up about 2.5 inches so that it stops just below my knees.  At this length I would need to wear heels – high heels or platforms.  If the dress was worn shorter then it could look good with ballet pumps or other simple flats.

Style details:  The sleeves are small caps.  You can still see my less-than-perfect upper arms but somehow the cap detracts from that area.  Good news!

The neckline is simple and just below the collarbone.  So no worries about a sun-lined throat being on show.  Because of the intricate tapework you can’t really wear a necklace as it won’t be noticed.  But bold earrings will look good.

The ivory contrasting tapework across the top and down the sides definitely gives a slimmer silhouette than if the dress was just one colour.

The dress makes a strong visual statement so helps detract attention from areas you feel less confident about such as your legs and ankles.  This is really useful for older women.


Phase Eight also sells an excellent range of matching or go-with accessories – shoes, bag, hats, jackets.  This really helps pull the look together. 

Jewellery:  As the neck is already decorated with tapework  I won’t wear a necklace.  But I will look out some special earrings.  I think a bracelet would look good too.  Diamonds or gold will look great with this dress.

Cover-ups:  Lots of jackets available on the Phase Eight site.  This peplum jacket looks great with this dress and helps you look as if you have a small waist (thank goodness!)  Click here to see the Caroline jacket in navy.  Usually £130 it’s currently on sale at £97.50.  A$325.  EUR 189.

Shoes: in the video I wear some open-toed silver platform sandals.  I think I need the height to balance out the look of the dress.  These shoes are very comfortable which is vital at a wedding but if I had some red or bright pink shoes they would be my choice.  Navy and ivory is very smart but I want to avoid looking too conservative. 

John Lewis has a sling back court shoe in red at £63.20.  It seems to have taken the place of the fuschia slingbacks I suggested  in my Faith try-on last spring.  Take a look at these Alessia shoes here if you like kitten heels.

Hair and headwear: The neckline favours an updo.  Rather than wearing a hat now that the colder days are here I would look for a beautiful clasp for your hair.  Or just get the hairdresser to add a few highlights when you get it cut before the wedding. 


A really easy to wear and flattering dress that you will be able to wear at all times of the year and not just at a wedding.  This dress works well for any smart outdoor spring or summer event as well as indoor occasions and even evenings year round.

Buying through Phase Eight online

Phase Eight returns policy.  28 days to change your mind – for full price items. 14 days to tell Phase Eight you intend to return the item then 14 more days to actually return it – for sale items.

Free returns for UK customers through shops or by post.

International returns by post can be made through ReBound which offers a saving on normal postage rates. If your item is returned because it is faulty or damaged you will receive a refund on your postage charges. Otherwise, for a simple change of mind or wrong size or colour you will pay for return postage.

Australia has a local returns address.

Phase Eight shipping: UK :Free on purchases over £100. Australia A$15. EU Free. Import duties and taxes paid for all international deliveries although a purchase over A$ 1000 may attract additional import tax.

Phase Eight ships worldwide from the UK.

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