More Boden Dresses: The Good, the (too) bad, and the ugly

Before sending back my Jade and Notch-neck linen dresses (visible here), I put in a new order at Boden. The dress that Angie suggested I try months ago came back into stock in my size, so I snapped it up, and predictably, because Angie's word is golden, this one's a slam dunk. Made with a lovely mid-weight cotton-linen, Eleanor is a perfect casual summer day dress for me. I put it on and Mr. Suz said, that is a keeper. Thank you, Angie! 

I was also intrigued by Emory so I decided to give it a try. I love the neckline. The fabric is cotton-modal and the bodice is lined in a light poly, but it doesn't feel the least bit hot. Again, this is a great throw-on-and-go dress for days when I have to head to town for errands but don't want to fuss. I like the more elegant length. 

I ordered UK 8 regular in both these dresses. Eleanor is quite roomy on me overall but fits neatly in the shoulder. Emory fits just right. 

Next, meet Josephine. She's last year's model and was on considerable sale. I thought she might be a substitute for Jade. All cotton, lined in cotton. Gorgeous, gorgeous fabric, beautiful workmanship! 

In this type of fit and flare style at Boden I seem to take the 6 UK. I'd ordered Jade in the petite version and the bodice was a good fit -- but I felt the overall length was too short and would have preferred the regular for that.  

Josephine doesn't come in petite. This makes her a bit long waisted for me. It is awfully hard to show in the photos, but if I hitch her up at the shoulders by about an inch and a half, I don't have extra material at the back, the neckline falls in a better place, and the fit is overall nicer.

Another issue that reviewers mention is that she's a button front style with a placket. People complain about gaping. I don't have it when I stand still, but if I bend at the waist the dress gapes a bit at my tummy, and I would have to have at least one snap added to prevent this if I were to keep.

Mr. Suz says the poor fit is obvious IRL and because of this, he was not in love with the dress (recall, he loves Jade). But he agreed it works much better if it is pulled up at the shoulders. I could have these alterations done -- they're not major. Thoughts? Keep and alter, or hold out for a different dress in a similar style? If so, suggestions? I could always wait and see what they come up with next year. There's no huge rush for this. This style feels dressier to me and I already have a few dresses that fill that niche. And am awfully tempted by one at Club Monaco for not much more $$. 

Now for the fun part. Valencia! Honestly. What got into me? I guess I was indulging fantasies of that beach vacation I have never gone on. Pure white linen was seducing me. 

But this romance was not to be. Valencia is cut for a very different person than me! She's snug in the hips (at least her lining is) but she's enormous up top along the sides (a frequent problem for me) and she looks like a hospital gown! Gorgeous fabric! Beautifully lined. But completely awful. Oh well. Live and learn, right? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • efbgen replied 2 years ago

    I do love 1-2- on you ( and yes how smart are you knowing what tweaks need to be done) .
    I have to say I see what you mean about the white one- the others are like- KaPow! While the white one is .......nice.
    I will not ask if the checks match on the side seam on 1. We went down that road on the red
    Enjoy- well done

  • karen13 replied 2 years ago

    Do the alteration, add the snap and keep Josephine too! That dress is to die for on you - navy, random polkadots, v neck swooniness.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 years ago

    Like Karen, I'd be tempted to do the necessary alterations on the polka dotted one. It looks amazing on you. Love the first two as well. I wouldn't go so far as "hospital gown" on the white one, but it is not worthy of you, unless you need a pricy beach cover-up. ;)

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    YAY. Two out of 4 dresses is excellent, Suz. #1 and #3 are KILLER in the pics. Couldn't be more perfect. And the second dress is a perfect grey with your hair. LOVING the elegant length and soooo yummy with your new white sandals. Quality and Chic. 

    *slight happy gloat*  :)

    What a pity that the fit and flare is a bust. It had great potential.

    The white dress is ill-fitting, but it's a great vibe on you. Don't give up on the vibe. 

    Boden quality is contagious, isn't it.....

  • bceasar replied 2 years ago

    Wow! I think polka dotted dress looks good on you, I also love the 3 - 4 It looks so nice! I love the gray color.

  • jussie replied 2 years ago

    Ooh those first two are SO PERFECT on you. They grey one is especially fun. The white dress actually looks nice, such a pity about the extra room under the arm. The spotted dress is cute, but I feel like it almost overwhelms your frame. Of course I’m no expert and if you like it then go for it!

  • Chris987 replied 2 years ago

    Wow, big score for you! Boden seem sso smart to make fits that work for all kinds of different body types...maybe they will read my inputs and go up a bit in their petite sizing. Doesn't everyone need a "hospital gown" dress? LOL :-)

  • Becky replied 2 years ago

    Oh, the Emory is stunning on you. I'd be tempted to see about doing an alteration to keep the Josephine.

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    I vote don't alter the Josephine, and get the CM floral. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    The first dress looks amazing on you.The next two are very nice as well,the poor fit is not so obvious in the photos and the navy colour looks very good on you.l suppose it depends how much the alterations are as to whether it’s worth it or not .l m sorry but I had to laugh about the white dress,not I hasten to add ,at you in it but every year I also have a yearning for a boho white dress and every year I look appalling in the ones I try on but it doesn’t stop the feeling that somewhere out there is the white dress that will turn me into a tousled beach babe,l wish!

  • texstyle replied 2 years ago

    # 1 in particular is fantastic! I really like both of the first 2 dresses - seem perfect for you. I agree with Angie to try the CM too.

  • kellygirl replied 2 years ago

    Love the check dress! That is beyond fab. The first two have been in and out of my cart so many times but I just think they’re not suited to my body type. The hospital gown looks like it would fit me perfectly though! It meets my fit parameters—narrow hips, wide on top!! Dots are awesome but if thenfit is off, don’t settle. Love these reviews. Thanks for posting. This is A dress season for sure!

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    In the pics 1-3 look fab but it sounds like 3 does have fit issues.

    I think you decided to keep the 1 and 3 from your last Boden thread?  The first casual stripe and the one with three quarter sleeves and a print - and return the coral and the white floral?

    I also like the Club Monaco floral and this does give a different vibe.... so I guess it comes to how many dresses you want - and ranking them on love/ occasions you will wear them - and fitting different roles - different sleeves/lengths and colours for example.

    You look great in all of them (Ok the white is not to the same standard) so you have lots of options....

    I do love 1 on you - it is a great summer dress (I think Angie and Smittie have it too).....  I think this is a really easy option for lots of occasions - dressy enough but not too dressy, I can see it with heels, flats and sandals in white, silver, red and cognac.

  • Sara L. replied 2 years ago

    I like the first three on you.  Too bad the white is such a bad fit.  A white summer dress is a fun idea.  I haven't seen the Club Monaco dress so I can't compare but it seems like you have to make a decision between the two.  The alterations on this seem fairly simple and I really like the navy with polka dots.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    "I can see it with heels, flats and sandals in white, silver, red and cognac."  Which just happen to be my sandal colours, Sal! :) Yes, it's a really easy dress. It is a cinch to wear. The Emory is a bit more "lady-like" but I don't mind that sometimes. 

    You're correct, Sal -- I am keeping both the cotton knit dresses from the previous haul -- both sale items from last year. The 3/4 sleeve one is for fall transition and (temperate) winter with layers. The short sleeved one is great for hot summer days or at the beach. 

    Kelly, Valencia has your name on it! It's pretty short, too, so works with your height. You'd probably look gorgeous in it. 

    Thanks, Texstyle. I think I will try the CM. 

    Cardiff Girl, you totally get it! Thank you for laughing with me! This was so silly in real life. Mr. Suz and I both started guffawing when we saw it.

    Thanks, Becky!

    Chris, so true...if I had one of these, maybe they wouldn't make me gown up for a mammogram!

    Thanks, Jussie and bcaser!

    Thank you for weighing in, Angie -- and also for your great advice. I should always just listen to you at the start of the season. :) 

    LaPed, if you saw that white dress in real life, you'd be amazed at how bad it is. 

    Karen, efbgen, thank you both! 


  • replied 2 years ago

    Eleanor is a winner for me.  Looks great on you and spells summer.  fresh, crisp, wearable.  I like the hemline on the Club Monaco and the print.  That could be a fun one to order next!

  • Staysfit replied 2 years ago

    Keep the two that fit and move on. These aren’t worth altering.

  • lindalu replied 2 years ago

    Love all but the white one!  You lucked out!

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    Haha Suz I knew that:)  And I forgot to add sneakers as well....

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    Great dresses all-round. I laughed because the white linen is the only one I could wear - lol.  You're lucky to have found such a great resource for dresses now! 

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    The first one is adorable on you! The second is nice too. I love how the third one looks on you -- I'd be tempted to alter as necessary if it's not cost prohibitive. 

    I totally relate to fit issues on dresses like the last one. Even when they do fit me, they never look very good on me -- just the way that style does not play well with my body. I think you should keep an eye out for something similar though, because that style looks promising for you. 

  • Aida replied 2 years ago

    More votes and loves for the first two. Agree about the vibe of the last dress but, yes, a different one :) I prefer the cut of the CM floral to the navy dotty dress, alterations or otherwise.

  • Dianna replied 2 years ago

    Eleanor is perfect.  Emory is great on you.  Josephine looks fine in pictures, but if it doesn't fit well, don't settle, and try the CM dress Angie suggested, it is beautidul too, and you seem to do well with CM dresses.   I love Valencia in concept (this is my kind of summer casual dress), but as someone who is smaller on top, and wider hips, I know those fit issues very well, so, next. 

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I'm happy that my guidance is helpful :)

    I continue to milk the dress season too:

  • pil replied 2 years ago

    Wow, that first dress is absolutely incredible on you!

  • Laura replied 2 years ago

    Eleanor is so you, I can’t stand it! Have you considered duplicating? It’s that good!

  • JAileen replied 2 years ago

    I like all of them except the night gown. Re polka dots: if the alteration will make it work, I think you should do it. If not, I don’t know if you would be interested in my navy polka dot dress, but I think it’s still available.

  • shevia replied 2 years ago

    Boden/Suz eye candy! Wow they have great dresses. I happen to love the polka dot one. And the white is stunning on you (but agree this one does not fit at all). Obviously 1 and 2 need no discussion just admiration.

  • Elizabeth P replied 2 years ago

    Yup, first two are no brainers. I think you should talk to a tailor about the navy polka dot one, I really like it. In the photos it doesn’t look like a bad fit so maybe it’s close?.

    Can we see the CM on you?

    And obviously I agree with you and everyone on the white. Thanks for showing us though, it’s nice to see misses as well as successes!

  • tulle replied 2 years ago

    Oh, I'm mad for Josephine!  The shape has that sexy/ladylike retro quality that is so hard to find in dresses for grownups, and the polished cotton in that deep blue and white dot--so fresh and classic!  I would be strongly inclined to keep, even if it means raising the shoulders a pinch and stitching a snap or a square of velcro between the buttons, because it's really heavenly on you.

  • replied 2 years ago

    Super cute dresses! High five for gingham! I have been wearing mine every weekend.
    Love the second and third dress although I think I would pass on both of the ones that don’t fit correctly as I’m sure you can find others with a better cut for you that are just as nice.

  • Mirjana replied 2 years ago

    Beautiful dresses, Suz, I especially love #1 and #3 , the white sandals are very nice.

  • jussie replied 2 years ago

    Just thought I’d chime in and say it took me two years to find my “hospital gown” dress lol. White boho dresses that flatter are a hewi! You’d think they’d be easy to find but no.

  • Sisi replied 2 years ago

    Ah Suz, you look fantastic in the Emory dress! My other favourites are the checked one and the white one (beautiful !), too bad it doesn't fit. 

  • approprio replied 2 years ago

    Two out of four ain't bad! I love the first two, but I'd pass on the third. It's nice enough but looks a bit "mother of the bride" for your sharp style. That last one seems to be a very strange cut - what were they thinking?

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Dresses 1-2 are gorgeous on you. They are YOU. 
    Dress 3 is a departure from your usual style. It's fun, and from the pics, looks like it fits you super well (aside from the gaping issue you mention). It has a more girly vibe. I would definitively try it with booties and cropped bomber (à la Madonna-circa-1986), to try to infuse some badassery in it. But then again, would it be really you? 

  • Bijou replied 2 years ago

    #1 is my absolute favourite and I can see you in the CM dress. #2 and #3 are also lovely - but if keeping these means a no to the CM dress, then my vote is try the CM before keeping these.

    #4 does not look too bad - but given how amazing most things look on you, it is nice to know that even you can have fit issues from time to time!

  • unfrumped replied 2 years ago

    I actually like the polka dot dress a lot- it’s hard for me to judge fit well in the photos so if it’s too big all over — as sometimes flared skirts on me are “too much skirt” even though I’m Pear— then pass but I’d be willing to alter otherwise. At any rate the color and length are much better than the prior floral dress, so this is closer to the direction.

    ( corrected the weird words my phone put in)

  • Liz A. replied 2 years ago

    Did you get the grey or the blue in the Emory?  I order a US 6 and 8.  The 8 is definitely too big, and the 6 is slightly more close fitting in the upper back than I would prefer, but I think I will keep it because it's just so cute otherwise.  I got the light blue.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks all for your comments and suggestions. Very helpful. 

    Liz, I got the Emory in "Hazy Sky Fallen Blossom" which is a sort of light blue-grey with white, blush, and red dots. 

    Decisions made: I'm keeping Emory and Eleanor (the first two) and sending the others back. With my Topshop asymmetrical dress, that is four casual summer day dresses -- more than I've had in years. I also have a Comrags handkerchief hem cotton batik print which is slightly dressier -- can swing from day to night. And a dressy sheath, and dressy drop waist dress. 

    While I love the idea of a fit and flare for me, and they look nice enough (aside from the fit issues), somehow I don't feel quite right in the ones I've tried. I won't stop trying them. Eventually, the perfect one may come along. But it's not a need, whereas casual, easy-to-throw on day dresses are.

    I'll probably try the dressier CM asymmetrical dress, too, because I typically have good luck with them in terms of fit. (Not always with the styles, which for at least a year were so cluttered with ruffles and furbelows I had to shield my eyes!) But asymmetry is my friend and I'm a sucker for silk. So...

    My only minor irritation here is that I was not able to branch out more in terms of colour. Blue and white, blue and white, blue and white....seems like I never wear anything else! :) But I guess if it's not broken, don't fix it, right? Maybe next year we'll have a summer of berry tone items or blue reds, and I can stock up some more. 

  • CocoLion replied 2 years ago

    Great choices Suz.  I actually thought the fit and flare dress looked fantastic on you, when you hiked it up.  But all of the alterations seemed like too much work, and fixing button gaping might not be possible.  I have a fit and flare dress on my HEWI list.  If you find one cut for petites, let me know!

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