I am trying to refresh my capsule of casual, out-and-about, (not work) dresses. Dresses have always been the hardest item for me to fit: I have a very long waisted hourglass body type, with fairly narrow waist, so on most dresses waist hits me too high, and even when it is right, more often than not taking in at the waist is required, too. Recently, my body shape has changed a little (weight gain, than loss but not quite all the way back, etc.) and as a result, in most fitted/tailored items, especially dresses, I need a size bigger on the top than on the bottom. This of course requires buying dresses in bigger size to fit the top and taking in at the bottom. I am happy to do this for work/tailored dresses, but for casual ones, I try to avoid it - happy to tailor some of the casual dresses if I really like them but try to choose ones that don't need it in the first place. I generally prefer structured items with waist definition, am perfectly comfortable with occasional body-con fit and will sometimes try a waist surrendering item for a change.

I have tried five casual dresses and have lots of questions. Thank you for the answers/patience in advance!

1) French Connection off-white eyelet boxy shirtdress (photos #1-4). This is a new silhouette for me. I really like the dress on its own (very breezy, the slip dress is also cotton), but not sure if it fits me right or it is simply too big (you can click through the Find to see how it fits the model). This is S, should I try to find XS? If I can't, is S acceptable or not? And can one try to tie the ties at waist like I did in the last photo, or is it not meant to be worn that way in addition to untied?

2) All Saints stripe asymmetric dress (photo #5). This one took me by surprise, as it is more body-con than expected (there was no photo of it on the model). It was the last one, so no exchange. I am fine with the fit, as the material is quite substantial and there is ruching. I am leaning towards keeping, but please say something if you think I shouldn't. Also curious, can you see the IT tendencies/changes in my body shape and how noticeable are they?

3) Gap navy t-shirt dress (photo #6). Love the color, cut and fit. The only thing giving me a bit of a pause is material - I am used to rayon jersey which is fairly soft, and this is a cotton/poly (t-shirt) blend that feels rougher. Not sure if I dislike it or am just not used to it. Will probably keep it.

4) Loft green jersey dress (photos #7-9). This was as close to teal as I could find. This is my preferred rayon jersey and I love the color and cut. It fits good on the top. It feels loose, like there is excess material on the bottom, but hopefully it is just a feeling and does not look that way. It is already XS, so no sizing down is possible.

5) Loft woven rayon dot dress (photos #10-12). This dress reminds me of Reformation dresses, which I really like, but with more coverage. This is a typical situation I described at the beginning - fits at the top, but would require some taking in at waist at hips. I could try a size down but it will likely be too tight on the top. I am leaning towards keeping and altering, however wanted to make sure it is worth doing so. I like the color, pattern, and cut. I am holding the excess material in the back in the last photo. ETA photo of Reformation dress that shows how I'd like mine to fit in the torso.

This post has 13 photos. Photos uploaded by this member are only visible to other logged in members.

If you aren't a member, but would like to participate, please consider signing up. It only takes a minute and we'd love to have you.