I’m on Bridgerton Season 2 Episode 3 and have been gripped by what I can only describe as “heaving bosom fever”. (Why am I only on episode three, you may ask? It’s because I can only watch Bridgerton when Mr AMR is away because we like to watch something together in the evenings that we both equally appreciate and he thinks that Bridgerton is a load of old tripe. He’s not far wrong, to be fair, because there’s very little in the way of gripping storyline going on, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Apart from the annoying narrator who pips in every now and then to tell us nothing very useful. Go away narrator, we’re only here for the houses and the sexual tension!)
Anyway, I love the dresses with the plunging necklines and the chests held up by corsets and the expanses of soft, pampered skin – heaving bosoms ahoy – and thought I’d give a nod to them in this try-on video. And who better to turn to for plunging necklines and acres of pushed-up bosom than The Reformation. You may remember this brand from last summer (I made a video here): I dipped back in to see whether they had some corset-inspired low-cut dresses and tops and lo and behold…
The only problem is I have not a single clue how to style them. On the website the tops are bunged on with jeans and really that’s the only way I can see me wearing them. They’d look ridiculous with tailored trousers, surely? And with skirts would they not be a bit…costume drama? Jeans dress them down and make them seem effortless, but I’m still not sure I’d get away with it.
Thoughts in the comments please! And here are the tops and the dress I’ve tried on in the video:
Miraflores Top, short sleeves with a corset-style bodice. Online at The Reformation here.*
Isadora Top in Mildred fabric, similar shape but with long sleeves. Online here.*
Tagliatelle Dress in Blush Check, online here.*
Reformation is a brand that I’d only ever seen on Instagram – barely anyone I knew offline had heard of it and I hadn’t picked up a fashion magazine in so long (too busy reading House & Garden, apparently!) that I was feeling quite out of the loop with what was trendy and what was not.
But dress after pretty dress kept popping up on my Instagram feed and more often than not the ones that caught my eye were from Reformation, so I decided to take the plunge (quite literally, as you’ll see) and order a selection of bits and pieces to try on. Mainly to find out what all the fuss was about, but also to pull myself out of what I’d started calling my gardening clothes comfort zone.
I’d already noted from my online research that many of the dresses were cut in a way that I could only describe as…challenging. At least, challenging if you’ve spent over a year wearing the same green shorts and loose t-shirt. To suddenly be thrown into the world of dramatic cleavage, exposed decolletage and high leg splits is no laughing matter!
So here’s my try-on of the random selection of Reformation dresses. Cost-wise, they were all around the £250-£300 mark, which brings them in at around the same sort of price as a dress from Me+Em. I have to say that in terms of finish and cut, there is no competition between the two: Me+Em pieces feel as though they have been tailored and are finished perfectly to the last stitch. The Reformation dresses are, how can I put it? More casually finished. You’re paying for the label and the signature body-con sort of style and cut rather than deftly executed draping and darting of materials.
This comparison was brought home to me last week when I was trying on dresses from various brands for a shoot and put on a beautiful autumn sample from Me+Em; it just felt so incredibly expensive and tailored – fully-lined, the pockets precision cut so that they didn’t interfere with the line of the seam. Very clever.
So I’d say that the Reformation quality is fine, but for the prices of the dresses I’d prefer a bit more attention to finish – the autumn collection on their website, I’ve noted, is far more expensive than the summer one. Maybe those dresses are lined and more weighty in the fabric department but then you’re really paying for it! Some of the dresses are at the £500 mark! The cotton floral strapless maxi-dress from my try-on was by far the most beautifully made; lots of voluminous fabric to the skirt, nice pockets and a well-structured bodice that had been thought out carefully.
Fit-wise, all of the items were as expected: there was a lot of boob going on. I felt like a medieval milkmaid, or an extra from Game of Thrones. Which was quite titillating whilst still in the relative security and comfort of my own bedroom but felt a little…exposed when I had to run into Sainsbury’s to buy milk. I’m not sure it’s really my vibe now that I’m in my forties: for going out-out, yes, but for lunches and trips into town and casual dinners? I’m not so sure. And because I rarely go out-out, it leaves me with a dilemma: if I buy something from Reformation, when will I actually wear it?
In fairness (spoiler alert!) I did keep two of the items I’d bought. I’ll mark them in the list below. But let it be known that it’s only the maxi dress that’s had any wear: the booby top has been relegated to the bad behaviour section of the wardrobe because it’s quite gapey. I should have kept the small and not moved up to the medium, but then the small was very stretched across my tudor barmaid’s gut and I feared for the buttons.
Which brings me onto sizing: I’m a UK10-12, but lean towards a 10 these days in most brands. The “small” size fit well in almost everything I tried, apart from the top which you’ll see was rather a close call in terms of decency.
I haven’t washed anything yet so can’t comment on longevity or ease of laundering, but with expensive things I tend to spot wash or handwash anyway. (By handwash I mean I dab at things in a half-arsed manner with a flannel and then keep shouting out “the stain’s not going, I’m going to put it in the washing machine and risk it!” until I finally give up and just live with the stain.)
Here you go then: my thoughts on Reformation’s dresses and a real life try-on. I hope you enjoy this – it’s a few weeks old I’m afraid, because I’m still running on school holidays time, which means no time at all, so there’s something of a blog post backlog.
Let me know what else you’d like to see try-ons of in the comments. I have some fun ones coming up really soon…
Roland Top*: https://bit.ly/3yuweZo
Nell Top (I kept this) – loads of versions but this is “Lima”*: https://bit.ly/3iJanrD
Nikita Dress – they do this in 15 versions, this one is “Ronan”*: https://bit.ly/3sdZKQB
Kourtney Dress in “Tropical” (not on site currently but loads of patterns/colours)*: https://bit.ly/3xHrEFR
Mica Dress*: https://bit.ly/3sezYMe
Lissa Dress (I kept this, it’s beautiful)*: https://bit.ly/37EfkLV