When it comes to dresses for work, I ask a lot of them. I want them to look good but be comfortable. To wash well and be able to be dressed up or down, not just in terms of a day to evening switch, but to be layered up so they can be worn when it's hot or cold. Not that I'm picky or anything! So, when I was asked if I would like to review something from JD Williams, I was really keen to try out one of their maxi dresses. I always think that maxi dresses are very forgiving and, providing we're not in the middle of an unseasonable snow storm, they're just as suitable for spring and autumn as they are for summer.
Anyway, after much umming and ahhing - and kudos to JD Williams, by the way, for having both a well laid out, easy to use website, and nice shots of each dress from front and back - I narrowed the choice down to the Little Mistress Printed Maxi Dress (£88) and a cobalt Together Maxi Dress (£80):
The Little Mistress dress is so pretty but in the end I went with the Together Maxi because I knew it would be just that little bit more versatile. I love the detailing under the bust - it adds interest but without being so much bling that it won't work as a more casual day dress - and the colour is gorgeous. It's also machine washable and the fabric (polyester and elastane blend) is both thick enough that you can't see through it, and crease resistant. When it arrived, after a super fast delivery time, all I had to do was hang it up and you would never know it had been folded at all.
I tried it on quickly earlier this week to check the fit, and was very happy to have it confirmed that I've dropped a dress size since the wedding last month and ordering the 24 wasn't just wishful thinking on my part. Then today I had chance to bust it out and give it a proper airing as we were invited to Pontypool's Easter 'Eggstravaganzer' as Mayor and Consort.
Thankfully the rain held off and it was a really fun event. We painted rocks in the indoor market, tried our fortune in a few lucky dips, checked out Mad Mel's kids' disco, and danced along to multi award winning Elvis tribute artist, Dean Mack. After that, Marianna and I were asked to judge the Easter Bonnet Parade presented by Mad Mel.
So, how did the dress fare? Well, it might not have been quite as eye catching as Mad Mel's Easter egg outfit, but it did bag me plenty of compliments from people I know - and even a few I don't. It was very cold today so I layered it up over a black long sleeved top, and teamed it with one of my favourite jackets. I didn't have the Mayoral chains today - there were no staff about to fulfill the conditions of their insurance policy being a bank holiday weekend - so I actually wore a necklace for the first time in ages. I liked that the detailing on the dress was fancy enough to make it perfect for a special occasion, but not so full on as to make all my long necklaces look surplus to requirement.
More importantly, I felt good in the dress. The length (54") was just right for me as I like to wear flats but don't want my dresses trailing the ground, and it was nice and comfy. The block colour is striking but, again, it didn't feel like it was too much for a smart-casual look. But the real test for it was when Miss Blaenau Gwent asked to have her photo taken with me. Any dress that can make me not hate a photo of myself standing next to the winner of a beauty pageant is not just a keeper - it's a miracle!
I already know that I will get lots of wear out of this dress as it has gone straight into the front of my wardrobe where I keep all my favourite clothes. I'm even going to wear it to chair full council next month!
* I was sent the dress in exchange for an honest review. *
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