Try-on date: mid February 2019
Update: After trying on various dresses I finally decided to wear this one at my daughter’s wedding in June 2019. Despite running a fever on the day (there’s always something goes awry, isn’t there!) I felt elegant and comfortable in the Faith dress and got lots of compliments (yeah!). I shortened it by removing the final layer at the hem of the skirt so it came just to my knee. I didn’t wear tights as the day was warm and I thought the look was just right for me. (I lost a few pounds too so this helped the fit to be just right, even around the back.)
The accompanying Try-on videos show me (70) wearing the item without enhancing its look by special poses or camera shots. The idea is to provide older women with a realistic view of how they might look in the outfit because so many fashions are only modelled by very much younger women.
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 online and stores
Phase Eight Click here to see the Faith layered dress and current price, sizes available and reviews. Phase Eight is a British designer who sells worldwide. Click into the top right corner of their international site to select your country and currency.
UK online and stores £150
Australia online and stores A$ 375
Europe online and stores EUR 219
USA and Rest of the World online only. Prices vary.
How it looks and fits
Phase Eight Style Code: 205130529
Retailer’s description: With delicate layering from the bodice to the knee length skirt, plus a detailed lace yoke and cap sleeves, this is an occasion style perfect for your most important invitations.
Colour: Petal Pink. It only comes in pale pink. I would have liked to try it in deep pink or navy but no luck. The pink is a very nice slightly greyed-out pink in tune with today’s palette.
Fabric. It is polyester but because it is short-sleeved I don’t think it will get too hot even on a very sunny day. It is dry clean and cool iron. I don’t mind dry cleaning this dress as I may rarely, or never, wear it again. I don’t usually buy polyester (can be hot) or dry clean only (expensive to maintain) outfits but this is not going to be an everyday staple so I’m fine with that. Polyester is usually said to be washable so if anyone spills a drink on me I might be able to sponge it out immediately. I am not giving a professional opinion on whether you can wash this dress as the manufacturer labels it dry clean only.
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 back looked a little wrinkled as it had to stretch a bit across some folds of flesh there. But in the main it looked good. I prefer things to fit well from the front because I can always throw on a jacket or wrap if I think the rear view is letting me down.
Length. I’m 5′ 2″ (157 cm). I only order online clothes if they look simple to shorten. I could see from the images on the site that on the Faith dress the final layer could be removed to give me an on-knee length without any difficult sewing. In the try-on I have just pinned the hem up in case I decided I would send it back. Or in case it looked too short with one full layer removed. Removing the final layer shortens the dress by 7 cm (2.75 inches). Note, the hem looks uneven at the back but this is because I just had two pins holding the lowest layer up in case it would have to be returned. The hem on the dress as bought is perfectly even all around.
The length, pinned up, is slightly shorter than I would wear usually. My knees show. They are not too bad for my age but not something I feel good about highlighting. I will try the dress with some other shoes before deciding on the exact length. It’s really a choice of on the knee (cut off one layer) or over the knee (leave as bought) for me. Hemming a layer will not look right. Take note of the model’s height and the size she is wearing when you view online to decide if you can wear the standard length or will need to alter it.
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 looks good, with a revealed back and a demure, lace-filled ‘I’m Mother’ front. Phase Eight often use lace and tape-work on their occasion clothes which is ideal for weddings. The great thing about a more filled-in neckline is that visible bra straps are not an issue. I will fix mine in place and feel fine all day. The lace also covers any sun-damaged skin at the throat which can look very ageing.
Phase Eight also sells an excellent range of matching or go-with accessories – shoes, bag, hats, jackets. This really helps pull the look together. I’m not a fan of co-ordination having grown up in the sixties when your bag, shoes, gloves etc. all matched. But I want to look the part and I think a formal occasion cries out for a co-ordinated look.
Jewellery. As the neck is already decorated with lace I won’t wear a necklace. But I will look out some special earrings. I think a bracelet would look good too. Pearls would suit. Update: On my daughter’s wedding day in June 2019 I decided on pearls – a shortish necklace with three strands.
Cover-ups. I will buy a wrap, probably in a darker pink or cerise, in case of cool weather. Phase Eight offer a pale pink one: Diamond Weave Shawl, Petal Pink £68, A$100, E59. Click here to see the shawl on the Phase Eight website.
Shoes: in the video I wear some open-toed nude 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 I might look around for something less conservative.
I noticed these slingbacks in vibrant fuschia suede on the John Lewis site. The heels are not too high (6 cm, 2.5 inches) so I might try them. If you are OK in kitten heels take a look. They’d look great with the pale pink of the dress. They are designed exclusively for John Lewis and the early reviews talk about comfort and how they suit women no longer able to wear high heels. John Lewis & Partners Grace Slingback Court Shoes, Pink Suede£69.00
During the dancing I will wear flats. And I think this dress will look good like that. Everyone will be relaxing so I just want a laid-back style later in the evening.
The dress is also ideal for a short boxy jacket or a three-quarters lightweight coat like the Talita edge to edge jacket in Cameo – a pale pink. £110, A$275, E159. Click here to see the jacket
Hair and headwear. The neckline favours an updo. I’m going to try on some hats and fascinators and upload to YouTube soon. This upturned fascinator looks fun. It would match the shoes I suggest above. John Lewis Jess Up Turn Swirl Disc Occasion Hat, Bright Pink£35.00
I’ve done a try-on video for this hat here with some notes here.
If I don’t find anything right then I will buy a stylish clasp for my hair instead.
I have to acknowledge that Phase Eight really understands what mature women, and mothers of the bride or groom, want. The fit is not too narrow at the waist like many dresses designed for younger women, the filled in but pretty décolletage covering any lined skin there, plus the cap sleeve and the floaty layers which detract attention from imperfect hips and thighs.
At £150 it is less that I had expected to pay so I’m very happy.
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. Ships worldwide from the UK.