Item: New Look Abstract Print Zip Front Sleeveless Dress
Worn at: Stylist Magazine Photoshoot
Combined with: Jaeger Cashmere Roll Neck Jumper, Banana Republic Rollover Crossbody Bag, Office Phantom High Heel Sandals
Original Retail Price: £30
Materials: 70% polyester, 28% cotton, 2% elastane; lining: 100% polyester
As you already know, I am a huge fan of Jenna’s Stylist Magazine wardrobe. I just love the outfits they picked for her for this specific photoshoot and I’m not afraid to say that they’re all sort of on my “I really want”-list. Two weeks ago, the New Look Abstract Print Front Zip Sleeveless Dress finally found its way into my mailbox and I can give you a full review of this sought-after dress.
A Disappointing Jenna Item
First of all, let me be quite honest with you. I love most of Clara’s and Jenna’s wardrobe and it’s very rare for me to be really disappointed in a specific item, but the New Look dress is the very first that, upon unwrapping the parcel, made me go: What the hell is that? My first impression wasn’t good and even though I did warm up to it a little as it hung on my bedroom door for the past two weeks, I can’t quite get myself to love it. Seeing Jenna’s photos filled me with a lot of expectations for this dress even though I knew from the start that it was only a £30 dress and therefore nothing exquisite. However, on Jenna, it does look really sturdy and well-made and the photography gives off the impression that the dress is made from a jacquard material similar to Clara’s Caretaker Skirt. That is definitely not the case.
Materials and Quality
The dress is made from 70% polyester, 28% cotton and 2% elastane and it’s not sturdy at all. It is a lot softer than expected which kind of gives it a cheap look from up close. The fabric also isn’t very nice to the touch and especially the lining feels almost like a weather-roof plastic bag. Even for a dress that only cost £30, to begin with, it seems cheap. It looks exactly like they were trying to make a fancy-looking dress, but didn’t actually put any effort into it.
On top of that, it’s not exactly well-made. As you can see from the photos below, the lining is attached to the main dress in a very primitive, almost careless way. It’s only really attached to the skirt around the zip area, causing the hem to hang down and exposing the stitches. I knew that it was only a New Look dress and they’re not exactly famous for making high-quality clothes, but I own cheaper dresses that are made better than that. Overall, receiving this dress was probably the most disappointing moment of my cosplay career so far.
Pricing and Rarity
But on to the more positive things! The dress can be found very cheap. Luckily for me, I only paid £12 for it, so that kind of helped to keep the disappointment to a minimum. Since it only has an original retail price of £30, it can be found used for a relatively low price. I’d recommend checking the usual sites: eBay, Depop, Vinted, … but something that makes this dress quite difficult to find is that New Look made tons of dresses. I found it very hard to narrow down my search so I wouldn’t have to scroll through countless new dresses on a daily basis and eventually gave up, so that can definitely be a little challenge. Since the quality of the dress isn’t good, I wouldn’t recommend spending too much on this dress. Anything up to £15 is fine for a second-hand dress, but now that I’ve seen the quality, I’d suggest not paying more than that unless you’re really desperate to have it regardless of how it is made.
Sizing and Combinations
The sizing of this dress is also easily summed up: It fits true to size. I got a size UK8 and my regular dress size is UK6/8, so this one fits me nicely. A-Line dresses like these are usually difficult for me because of my hourglass shape, so it fits perfectly around the hips, but it’s very loose on the waist. As I’ve said, this is an A-line dress, so I expected that to happen. If you stick to your regular size, you can’t really go wrong with that.
Jenna Coleman wears the New Look Abstract Print Front Zip Sleeveless Dress with the Jaeger Cashmere Roll Neck Jumper, Banana Republic Rollover Crossbody Bag and Office Phantom High Heel Sandals – all of which are considerably more expensive than the dress itself, but I’m sure there are suitable alternatives for the jumper available online if you’re looking for something similar. Basically, any roll-neck shirt in grey will do and if it has sleeves, you can always cut them off.
Overall, I’m not exactly happy with this dress, but I will leave it hanging on my bedroom door for a while longer in hopes of warming up to it. I’m definitely going to take a few photos with it soon and maybe that will change my mind. I know of several cosplayers that really adore this dress and of others who didn’t (and therefore sold it), so I guess that is down to individual taste. If you’re still looking for it after reading this review, try to find it as cheap as possible so even if you end up not liking it, at least you won’t have spent a fortune on it.
Update 2022: I sold the dress last year because I liked it so little, that I never even took photos with me in it.