A DRESS FOR ALL SIZES

Boden-Celeste-Dress-Illustration

Before becoming a full time illustrator I used to design clothes for a living. I worked for large UK retailers and had a bit of a talent for designing flattering shapes for all women. This means I can spot a well cut garment a mile off, and it's why when I saw this Boden Icons dress I knew it would be a winner for all sizes.

When I feel great it's because an outfit is flattering. Whilst I used to think that was about looking the slimmest I could look, I now realise it's about much more. For me it's about creating a great silhouette, finding the right colour and feeling comfortable. So thankfully I've abandoned those uncomfortable high-waisted knickers bursting with lycra and instead realised that by adding volume to my hips and shoulders I can appear to have a smaller waist. And this is exactly what the Celeste Dress does, the combination of it's grown on sleeves and pockets & gathers give the illusion of an hourglass shape.
 

  Me wearing  Boden Celeste Dress  in a size 14

Me wearing Boden Celeste Dress in a size 14

The dress from the limited edition Boden Icons range arrived in a beautiful duck-egg blue box with gold embossing and on a hanger, it really was a high-end parcel to receive. And when I tried it on I got all sorts of excited, I loved the bold print, it was made in 100% silk, had pockets and it fitted me well.

And these photos of me wearing it show what it's like on a size 14 woman over 40. I'm 5'4 and on me the dress comes up rather long, but I think with my pink mega heels it's a great length. Whilst the backless style might turn some people off I just wore a bra and a bandeau top underneath. You could possibly get away with a little cami but you'd just need to be careful with the central back zip. It's a little long in the body for me so it gapes slightly above my waist, but I think the addition of some drape looks nice so I won't be getting it altered.

  I can't get away with not wearing a bra, so I just wear a bandeau to cover up the strap.

I can't get away with not wearing a bra, so I just wear a bandeau to cover up the strap.

The price isn't low at £250, but from being in the industry for years I can see why. You'll notice the printed flowers aren't all over the dress, instead it's what is known as a placement print. As a result this means that you have to make sure that each pattern piece is cut perfectly with the design in the centre, which requires incredible pattern cutters. Silk is an expensive fabric, and it's not easy to sew so you need great tailors. And often to make the production easier and more cost effective the prototype will change over time - so it's great that this still has pockets, it's still backless and that the range of sizes goes from 6-20.

  It takes skilled pattern cutters and tailors to work with placement printed silk.

It takes skilled pattern cutters and tailors to work with placement printed silk.

  I think every dress should have pockets and that all heels should have ankle straps. The world would be a more comfortable place for sure.

I think every dress should have pockets and that all heels should have ankle straps. The world would be a more comfortable place for sure.

I'm hoping in the future that all brands will shoot each of the pieces in their collections on a range of diverse models, but whilst we wait for that I've decided to illustrate some of my favourite looks on a variety of sizes as above (20, 14 and 8). I think you'll agree that this dress looks amazing on all three.
I sketched them in pencil first, then added colour with a mix of watercolour and gouache, and then added a black outline in my favourite ink pen. It was fun to mix up the accessories with each one too.

I'd love to know what you think so please do leave a comment, tweet me or send me an email.

Thanks for reading!

Niki


Illustrations by @miss_magpie_spy
Photos by Remco Merbis
Hair and Make up by Portia Channell