The Betsy & Adam Illusion Maxi Dress

Welcome to another blog post, reviewing another outfit I have tried on. Though this outfit was doomed to fail before we even started (for reasons to be explained later), this was more for fun and trying things out that is outside the usual style I go for.

One of my favourite shops has to be TKMaxx, purely because of the amazing range they offer at amazing prices. The quality has never failed me, and while I may not always find something that I want or set out to find, it’s guaranteed that I’ll find something in that store which will make me stop and look. It’s also the case that what you see is what you get, their clothing is constantly changing, and it’s a bit of a jumble trying to find things; more often than not  you have to look through EVERYTHING. Which led me to randomly looking in a formal dress section, which ultimately led to me having to try on this dress because why not.

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This Betsy & Adam Black and White Illusion Maxi Dress is available at TKMaxx for £56 (reduced from £69.99) in UK sizes 6-12, found both online and in store.

Now, the first thing which must spring to mind is, “It only goes up to a size 12, why would you try that on if you are definitely not a size 12?”, the answer being very simple: I wanted to. That may sound incredibly stupid, but I loved everything about the dress, I wanted to see if me wearing it would still cater to that even if it didn’t fit. Which still sounds kinda stupid.

This dress features a back zip which made it actually fairly easy to get it over my hips and bust; especially useful as there was no buttons and the material was definitely not stretchy. I adored this look, I am in love with how it made me feel like I could walk down a red carpet. The entertaining part, from the front, I feel elegant, refined and lady like. From the back, there was not a chance that zip was reaching the top, I think I managed to get it as far up as my bra before I decided not to risk it. It was expected, but it just shows that if these dresses were made in larger sizes, they would definitely get sold.

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Starting at the top, ignoring the fact that the zip wouldn’t go up, it’s gorgeous. The simplicity of the black top really makes the lower sections stand out. The top was slightly strained, but obviously a bigger size would counter that issue, but it provided the right amount of coverage for the appearance of a crop top. It came a few inches below the bust which enabled modest, and made the sheer lace panel stand out on the waist. The top is actually made of two layers; the bottom/inner layer is attached to the lace panel and helps hold everything in, and then the outer/top layer which acts to make the waist appear smaller and more defined.

I’ve recently started wearing crop tops, potentially due to having more confidence in my appearance and feeling that showing a bit of tummy, however large, isn’t going to hurt anyone. It’s often about finding the balance when putting an outfit together, and by making this dress have a crop top and sheer lace panel over the middle, it works incredibly well. It enables the showing of skin in a dignified manner that’s becoming of such a formal dress. So well done there.

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Now we have the skirt. I’ve never really worn maxi skirts or dresses because I was worried they wouldn’t really suit me, they’d make me look shapeless and that they would engulf my already large and tall figure. But as you’ll hopefully realise, there is going to be a lot of trial and error on this blog and stepping out of comfort zones. In the two photos you can see just how flared the skirt section is, when holding it out, it barely affects the other side of the skirt.

You may also notice, but barely is just how long the dress is. It needs to be worn with heels to get the sweeping floor affect, as opposed to being dragged along the floor. I’m 5ft 8, the photo on above is me with my feet on the ground, and you can see how the hem is sitting on the floor. Whereas the initial photo of me trying it on, I’m actually on my tip toes, and the dress is just a bit off the ground. So it’s a long dress, and from the sizing and length, it’s meant to be worn by size 10 women who are around 5ft10 ish. But as always, you never know how it might look until you try it on.

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The dress has an adorable pattern on the skirt, something which does make a huge impact on the overall look of the dress. Normally I would stay away from an sort of patterns, especially on a maxi skirt in case it made me look even bigger, but the simple abstract design seems to bring the look together, making the skirt and wearer seem taller. While you can still see the curves of my hips, I feel the skirt and pattern doesn’t bring attention to them but rather to the overall look itself.

I adore this look, but there are downsides. Firstly, it would be much better if it was available in larger sizes; it would mean I could actually do the zip up, but I already knew it wouldn’t fit when I picked it up. Secondly, the length; I feel that I am tall, in fact I have been bullied for much of my younger years for being tall, this dress makes me feel short with how much falls onto the floor. While it would look gorgeous with heels, sometimes it is nice to not have to wear heels and still get that wonderful effect. Lastly, I’m struggling to think where else I could wear this dress aside from a formal event. Due to the length, it’s probably not right for a day at the beach or clubbing, making the versatility of the dress quite low.

I want to say that I wish I was taller and slimmer and had plenty of formal events so I could attend wearing this dress, but honestly, I don’t. After years of negativity, I’m happy with my shape and height, I wish I could have this dress in my size to fit me, but I’m not about to change how I feel right now to conform into society’s ideal size. If anything I’m going to continue my hunt for finding cute clothing that suits me, whatever colour, pattern or design. From this dress, I can wear patterns, I can wear crop tops, I can wear maxi dresses. If I can continue my hunt, my experiment for different looks that challenge my perception of how I look, so can you.
Another thing to mention is, I knew this dress wouldn’t fit, it’s a size that I don’t think I’ve actually ever worn, that’s okay. It’s okay that you don’t fit into a certain size, it’s okay if you shop in the petite range, the plus size/curvy range, the tall range, what ever type of clothing size that fits you, is okay to wear. You shouldn’t buy something that’s too small for you because it’s a size you want to be, or because if you lost weight it would fit. I spent years being ashamed to buy clothing that was a size 16-18, I’d be embarrassed to ask if they had the next size up, and often get upset if a size that I wanted to be didn’t fit. I’m trying to change that now, and I’m getting there.

Be happy with your body, regardless of what number is on a clothing label (They vary too much anyway). Be happy with the body you have, it’s yours.

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Alex Morley Hewitt
curvylegion@gmail.com
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