Try-on date: mid February 2019
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 modelled only by very much younger women.
For more details of my size go to Real Women, Real Life Try-ons
Retailer online and stores
Phase Eight Click here to see the dress including current prices and sizes available and reviews. Phase Eight is a British designer that ships worldwide. Use the top right corner of the Phase Eight international site to set your country and currency.
UK online and stores £65 (in sale)
Australia online and stores A$ 325
Europe online and stores EUR 189
USA and Rest of World online only, prices vary.
How it looks and fits
Phase Eight Style Code: 204553785
Retailer’s description: Soft chiffon style, modern and elegant. Featuring a flattering wrap style bodice and a skirt that falls just above the knee, it is finished with a bow detail at the back.
Colour: Pale pink, cobalt, opal, emerald. I tried the pink. A good pastel colour, slightly warmer than the ‘petal pink’ of their Faith dress.
Fabric. Polyester. This fabric can be too warm but this dress is sleeveless with a V neck so there won’t be any worries, however hot the day is. It is labelled machine wash. Good news! When it arrived it was very creased as if it had been under lots of other items in the warehouse. Polyester is usually crease-resistant so I think there may have been some extreme temperatures as well as pressure to crease the dress this much. I was disappointed to note that after hanging in the steam of the bathroom for over a week the dress had not shed any of its creases. It can be ironed on the lowest setting but this is not advised before trying it on in case the dress needs to be returned.
Fit. I tried on UK 14 (that’s 42 in France, 12 in USA and Canada, 16 in Australia). Standard fitting. No petite available unfortunately. Available in sizes UK 6-20 although some sizes were sold out. As it was in the sale it’s unlikely they will be restocked. It fitted fine around the bodice waist and hips.
The straps of the built-in stiffened bodice fell down all the time as the dress was too long for me. They would need shortening.
The waist was only just large enough for me and the dress would have looked better if there had been a little more ease at the waist – I thought there would be some creasing just above the waist if I sat down in it for a long time (think wedding meal).
Length. I’m 5’2″ (157 cm). The dress is 42 ins/108 cm. This made it a mid-calf length for me. It has a straight hem so could be shortened but I would need to get a professional to do that as I do not have an overlocker (serger) to finish the edge.
Style details. Fit and flare skirt with small gathers from the waist. The gathers are mainly placed to each side so that there is a front section that hangs almost flat. This is quite flattering. But because the fabric is so fine you could see the hem of the bodice just below the waist seam through the skirt. I don’t suppose anyone else would be able to notice that but it was a small detail I felt made the dress look unfinished.
There is a built-in satin structured and stiffened bodice with just a tiny view of it in front. The dress could be worn without a bra if not much support is required. The fabric is slightly pleated/gathered at the shoulders which looks good. The front has a V neckline but the bodice ensures that it is not too revealing. It has an attractive but modest look.
The back has two long straps which you knot together into a bow which partially covers the low back. I found it difficult to tie the bow well myself (and in fact I notice that in the video I have left one of the tails of the bow to trail across my shoulder by mistake). This feature makes the dress look very feminine. But the bow is quite bulky so you couldn’t really wear a jacket.
It is sleeveless and shows quite a bit of the bare shoulder. I found that didn’t look great on my less than perfect upper arms. The focus of the dress is very much on the shoulders so I would probably find myself wearing a wrap for much of the day. If you were wearing a bra you would need to choose one carefully to ensure the straps ran under the bodice although I would probably pin the straps in place.
Phase Eight has a range of accessories to go with this dress which are ideal for a wedding. Co-ordinated bag and shoes will make the dress more formal. But I can imagine this dress with contrasting shoes too. It would look more fun and very wearable to a party.
Bag. Here’s a pretty wedding style bag that matches this dress. The Phase Eight Rosie satin clutch bag. £65
Jewellery. Either large earrings and a tiny locket or fine gold chain at the neck to reach to two thirds down the exposed area of chest. Or small demure earrings – diamond studs or pearls – with a more noticeable necklace or short pendant.
Cover-ups. It’s not possible to wear a jacket because of the bow so a wrap will be essential in case the day turns cool.
Shoes. To give the more formal wedding look I would choose matching shoes. Kitten heels would be fine as long as the dress ended no lower than the knee. High heels of course would look stunning with the flared skirt but that’s not an option for me. I can imagine wearing flat shoes, even sparkly trainers, for dancing into the early hours as the dress has a young look and would allow for some fun accessorizing once the formal part of the wedding was over.
Hair and headwear. Hair could be dressed up or down with this style. Short hair styles will make the most of the bow detail at the back but I would probably wear my mid-length hair in a French pleat with a clasp. Here’s a simple decorative comb that is easy to secure in place. Harmony Leaf Hair Comb. £20
This dress is not right for me because my waist is too thick and the style is young – so a slim waist is expected! Also the arms are probably just too bare at my age.
A pity, as it’s a super little dress and would look lovely for other summer occasions and, dressed up right, could look great as a party dress at other times of the year too.
This dress is categorized as both bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride. It would look great on someone younger.
How long the dress will be available now that it is marked down to a very reasonable £65 in the sale, I’m uncertain.
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.