I’ve always got my eye on companies that make quality vintage-inspired frocks. I’ve seen Chi Chi London dresses popping up on several of my favorites sites – like Modcloth and ASOS – but had never taken the plunge and purchased one. They’ve always been on my mind, though, because they’re usually the most sumptuous looking frocks of shimmery lace and full skirts. When I saw this stunner pop up on the glorious Miss Amy May’s Instagram, I knew I found the dress that would be my inaugural purchase: The Cassandra Dress.
There is something about navy that is inherently appealing. She seems to have all of the class of an LBD, but with a dash of added sass. And I’m all about the sass. So, after conferencing with Amy regarding sizing and consulting the size chart, I clicked purchase on this navy beauty and crossed my fingers as she flew through cyber-space to my front door….
The Fit (& Flare)
The first thing I noticed when I unfolded her navy locks from their packaging, was just how full the skirt was. And we’re talking Kara-level full, which is not for the faint of heart. I was overjoyed. A peak of her underskirts, and there was a lining and a healthy dose of tulle (cue choir of angels). Because I’m me, I did add an additional petticoat – but I found that it had beautiful shape even without the need for another crinoline.
According to the Chi Chi London size guide, their UK10 is a 86cm/34″ bust and a 68cm/26.75″ waist and their UK12 is a 91cm/36″ bust and a 73/28.75″ waist. I wasn’t sure entirely where I fell, as my measurements are 35-27.5-38 and I generally fit my bust first and take in the waist as needed. Taking into account some other online reviews and Miss Amy May’s advice, I opted for my usual size UK10 and crossed my fingers, as this dress was going to be a world traveler from London to Australia. My research paid off, as I found her to fit perfectly – snugly but not overly so. There was no underarm pinching (which is a huge pet peeve) and she hit me at the smallest part of my waist.
The Fabric & Features
The fabric is unfortunately 100% polyester, but it still feels pretty luxurious and as I said above, they did not scrimp at all on the amount of fabric tucked into perfect box pleats in the skirt, which definitely adds to the high-end feel of it. Full and sumptuous and ready for a party. I also loved her versatility – she whispers of candlelit dinners and twinkling jewels dangling from my earlobes just as easily as she calls out laughing, barefoot in the sand at a beachside soiree. True, I tend to be fancier than most, but I love dresses than can be easily dressed up or down depending on my mood.
She’s about 36″ from underarm to hem, which hits just below the knee on my 5’9 frame and suits my 27″ petticoat perfectly. This dress is fully lined, has a hook and eye and a back zip (definitely my preference – am I the only one who hates side zippers with the fire of a thousand suns?) I was also completely smitten with the high, square neckline but tapered bodice that showed off my curves, which made her both demure and sexy at the same time.
I HUGE added bonus for me – I was floored to find that I could wear this beauty without a bra! Kara’s boobs rejoice! At a size 34D (DD depending on ice cream consumption that month), leaving the house sans bra is generally unheard of. But, Cassandra has padded cup inserts and beautiful bodice seaming – even with my sizable bust, I felt very comfortable and supported without the need of an additional bra.
Most importantly, I just feel fabulous in this dress – sometimes a garment just rings your bell, and this one hit all of my marks and produced a symphony of vintage-inspired fabulousness.
The Facts & Figures
The Cassandra dress comes in sizes 6-16 (UK) and retails for £64.99. If you use the code WELCOME10 you can get 10% off your first order. As an added bonus, they offer free worldwide shipping! There are no free returns unfortunately, but the free shipping definitely helped in terms of my decision to order from a London-based company, and it arrived in about a week and a half. I can say you won’t be disappointed if you decide to get this dress – she really is a showstopper. I haven’t washed her yet, but the care instructions suggest a cold hand wash with mind detergent and hang to dry – got to love pieces that don’t require a trip to the dry cleaner!
Bottom line: I was incredibly happy with my purchase and will definitely be back for another dress from Chi Chi London – I’m loving the Caitlyn, Amber and Clara. The only question is – which to get first??
If you do scoop up this beauty (or others), be sure to let me know! This one can be styled in so many ways – can’t wait to see how you style yours!
Dress: Chi Chi London Cassandra Dress (also available in lilac)
Crinoline: Vivien of Holloway
Handbag: Vintage (similar here, here & here)
Harness Necklace: Curious Creatures (similar here & here)
Heels: Enzo Angiolini (similar here, here & here)