Friday, July 25, 2014

Review + Haul: Orla Kiely Optical Illusions Dress

For reference, I am 5'3", 110 pounds, 32A bust, typically a size XS in tops, 0-2 in dresses, 25-26 in jeans.

On sale at ModCloth $89.99 (originally $179.99)
This dress is simply lovely. It is slightly larger than what I prefer, but it still fits and feels very comfortable on. It's versatile enough for work or date nights, and the black and white pattern makes it easy to create many looks with different accessories. 

This is an Orla Kiely with People Tree collaboration, which is a Fair Trade company. I purchased this dress in a size UK8, which is approximately a US4 or a size small. This is the smallest size the dress is available in (I'm not sure why though, as the main Orla Kiely line is available in a UK6). As with the Adorable Errands Dress, it fits but...I still think a UK6 would've been MUCH better. There's extra fabric in the bodice and the waist is not as cinched in as I'd like. But a belt could fix that, or I could wear a cardigan or blazer to give the illusion of a more fitted bodice.

The dress is made in India from 100% organic cotton and is machine washable, a great plus for someone who hates paying for dry cleaning (by the way, I pretty much never dry clean my clothes, even when it says to. I've learned how to hand wash my clothes with a combination of water, Woolite, and vinegar. I'll try to write a post about that soon!)

Here's a closeup of the print that's on the skirt portion. This is the Flower Girl print from the SS12 collection I believe. It's probably hard to tell from these photos, but the background is black and the print is a creamy off-white color that almost appears yellowish in some lighting.

The bodice is a bit different. The pattern is broken up by seams, which is a bit choppy - I would've preferred the pattern to continue seamlessly like the skirt portion, but it's really not noticeable and certainly not a deal breaker.

The skirt portion has some pleating under the waist.

The dress is unlined except for the bodice, which is lined with the same creamy colored organic cotton. If I'm wearing this to work, I'd definitely wear a slip underneath (I dunno, the extra layer makes me feel more comfortable), but if I'm wearing it outside of work, say on a weekend outing, I wouldn't bother wearing a slip underneath. Either way, the dress is not see through at all, so I'd say a slip is unnecessary.

The back has a zip and hook-and-eye closure, making it easy to step into the dress and close it yourself.

The shoulders have a slight gathered detail. The shoulders and armholes are very comfortable and do not feel restricting at all.

There are two pockets, which is awesome!

Because it didn't have a fitted enough look that I prefer, I decided to belt it and I thought it looked SO much better. Some dresses just scream for a belt, and this is definitely one of them. It helps define the waist and give it a more retro flair. Will definitely belt this dress every time I wear it. And I think that's another fun bonus with this dress - picking out different accessories to wear with it to make it look fresh every time. The belt I'm wearing here is from Anthropologie and the shoes are from J. Crew, both purchased a couple years ago.


  1. This dress looks very lovely on you. I got this dress at $53 dollars and can't decide if this dress is suitable for a wedding day well. I agree adding a belt looks better without anything.

    1. Thank you so much! And wow, what an awesome deal! I think with the right accessories, you can most certainly wear it to a wedding. Try pairing it with some strappy heals, an embellished belt, and a big statement necklace to make it look more formal. You can also play around with your hair and makeup to give yourself a more romantic wedding day look. Enjoy! :)