To think a normal length cotton dress with sleeves is in fact the Holy Grail

(236 Posts)
Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 16:36:11

Because I can't find one anywhere, apart from Boden which I don't like.

I'm tall, so knee length is short on me. I work in a school, I neither want maxi or above knee level. I want just below knee or above ankle. These don't exist.

If they do they are ponte hideousness. Who buys all these polyester mini dresses?

missymarmite Wed 30-Apr-14 17:13:54

I know what you mean. All dresses seem to be sleeveless at the moment which is a pain because a) at the scho where I work staff aren't permitted to wear sleeveless clothing, and b) I have awful flabby upper arms I'd never want to inflict on anyone.

I hate most of the fashion out ATM. It is mostly unattractive, unflattering and dull. Hate hate hate.

I must be old. grin

missymarmite Wed 30-Apr-14 17:14:57

Should read school, no idea what a scho is!

SelectAUserName Wed 30-Apr-14 17:17:26

YANBU. The sleeveless thing in particular drives me up the wall.

Years ago I had a couple of lovely 'tea-dance' style dresses - cotton, just above mid-calf, short sleeve. I wore them until they fell apart and have never found anything as remotely nice, comfortable to wear but smart and appropriate for work since.

Revengeofthechocolatebunny Wed 30-Apr-14 17:18:49

I feel old. Especially when I get dressed up and think "don't look so bad" (doesn't happen often, as I work from home so slop around in leggings or jeans) and then walk into DD on the landing and she says

"Dear god. You're not going out like that are you?" blush

ShatnersBassoon Wed 30-Apr-14 17:19:05

It might be generally very biddyish, but Cotton Traders have some plain dresses with sleeves.

ElizabethJennings Wed 30-Apr-14 17:19:07

White stuff and fat face?

gotnotimeforthat Wed 30-Apr-14 17:19:25

I've had this problem, I had to buy a dress that had to be over the knee but one that covered my shoulders too. I spents weeks searching the best i could find was just a a few cm above knee but didn't cover my shoulders.

all i could find was floor length or borderline undecent.


missy I hate todays fashion too, I don't understand the obssession with tops that are barely longer than a bra, t-shirts saying yolo, swag or twerk.. i could go on and on.

RigglinJigglin Wed 30-Apr-14 17:23:52

I might have seen some on Seasalt.

FatalCabbage Wed 30-Apr-14 17:23:57

eBay shops. I've just bought a divine fifties-style dress with 3/4 sleeves, properly on the knee, in 100% cotton, slightly stretchy.

I have given up on the high street.

RigglinJigglin Wed 30-Apr-14 17:25:27
Lancelottie Wed 30-Apr-14 17:25:53

Would the cotton ones among these be too short on you, OP?

(I'm a midget so find it hard to guess.)

jay55 Wed 30-Apr-14 17:27:03

Therapy in house of fraser have some, though I'm shorter than you so they could still be too short. I've bought a few of their fake wrap dresses for Fridays.

SelectAUserName Wed 30-Apr-14 17:28:09

Sorry Rigglin if you own any of those, but I'm not paying £50-75 for something that looks like it was made from the same material as my dead gran's housecoat.

Where are all the nice dresses for average-shaped women? WHERE?? <shakes fists at sky>

ToAvoidConversation Wed 30-Apr-14 17:30:22

I have one, I have one.... Try people tree- sleeves, fair trade cotton and just below my knees. Comfy comfy!

merlottime Wed 30-Apr-14 17:30:37

Have you tried East? Again, sometimes a bit biddyish, but i have got a couple of cotton empire line dresses with short sleeves for work, just below the knee on me but i am not tall smile

chipshop Wed 30-Apr-14 17:31:13

I had this problem last year and bought a nice dress from Banana Republic. Smart enough for work, it got me through the heatwave.

Onelittlepiglet Wed 30-Apr-14 17:32:44

great plains have some in and look nice and might be what you are looking for? Their sizing is also good I find.

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 17:32:56

people tree have lots of cotton dresses

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 30-Apr-14 17:34:34

I can't help wondering if the bloody awful penny-pinching dress designs out there these days are one of the main reasons for the revival in home dressmaking.
Last year I spent a whole day in York failing to find a simple white linen or cotton shirt with a proper collar.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:34:57

Unfortunately I dislike the whole FatFace/seasalt/White Stuff/ Mistral look. It is just not my style.....

But I just want a longish 100% woven cotton dress with sleeves- not a plastic skater style thing. And I cannot find one anywhere at all. Here are the places I have looked online
phase 8
White Company
French Connection
Not one dress anywhere at a allsad

ToAvoidConversation Wed 30-Apr-14 17:36:37

I have one, I have one.... Try people tree- sleeves, fair trade cotton and just below my knees. Comfy comfy!

Takingthemickey Wed 30-Apr-14 17:38:17

OP try Hobbs.

Bunbaker Wed 30-Apr-14 17:38:48

I feel your pain. I have been searching for a summer dress for work and all the dresses are either too short (mid thigh length), maxi dresses, too low cut, sleeveless, shift dresses (which don't fit propery on me), made from viscose/polyester or too mother of the bride looking. House of Fraser has some nice dresses, but I can't justify spending the best part of £200 for a work dress.

I am waiting for a delivery of this dress. It isn't cotton, but if it fits it will have to do.

I hate shopping online because I am in between sizes and much prefer to try things on before buying. I "window shop" online then am often disappointed when the stores don't carry the stock.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:39:22

Have also looked on Great Plains...not a sniff
People tree all look too short. I look shit in knee length. Have lumpy bumpy knees. Mid calf much more flattering on my height. But all the 'midi' dresses are plastic.

Have been eyeing this up....but the cost and the ironing is putting me

LizzieMint Wed 30-Apr-14 17:40:52

Just a suggestion, but how about investigating a local seamstress and seeing if you can find one to either make you a dress or alter one? It is going to be more expensive than buying from the high street, but you should get something that is exactly what you want and fitted for you.

gymboywalton Wed 30-Apr-14 17:43:14
Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:44:01

Oh Lizzie...don't. I have a degree in fashion and am a trained pattern cutter. I could make one myself in the twinkling of an eye if I had the time...but I don't. But I cannot pay a seamstress to do something I could do equally well myself...I just can't.sad

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 30-Apr-14 17:45:29

You've probably already spent longer looking for one than it would have taken you to make one, then!

gymboywalton Wed 30-Apr-14 17:45:37
Onelittlepiglet Wed 30-Apr-14 17:45:44
Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:46:00

Hey, I quite like those. Not keen on large buttons, but they could be changed...

Bunbaker Wed 30-Apr-14 17:46:01

I like this one but it is out of stock sad

BeyondTheVirtualActivist Wed 30-Apr-14 17:46:04

I'm tall too. I have two flowery summer dresses from joe browns? Mid thigh on me and im 5'10

Fruityb Wed 30-Apr-14 17:46:10

I make my own! I have the same problem so got the sewin machine out and bought a very simple pattern. Have three dresses that are all at the knee with three quarter sleeves. Get my material from eBay so each one costs about a tenner.

I hate fashion at the moment. Every dress I try on skims my bum and fits in at the bust so makes my hips look enormous!

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Wed 30-Apr-14 17:47:38

Don't buy that maxi dress, seriously. It looks nice, but you'd have to leave it unbuttoned to above your knees, or otherwise if you forget and cross your legs you can rip the buttons off have never done that.

I'd really like a shirtwaister, not for work, just in the summer. I loved my school summer dresses.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:47:46

Have rejected all the White Company ones earlier. Too short/long/sleeveless.

Sainsbury's one is too short. Already tried on and rejected. I have been looking for a v long time.....grin

BeyondTheVirtualActivist Wed 30-Apr-14 17:48:09

Only had a quick look, but how would this be?

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 17:48:20

What sort of style are you after?

this is nice, but do you want something more structured?

Nocomet Wed 30-Apr-14 17:49:15


Some cotton, some viscose, one at least not saying.

LizzieMint Wed 30-Apr-14 17:49:23

<stern look> if you have time to browse the t'internet you have time to make a dress then!
No excuses! Could you set aside a day and make yourself two or three?

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:50:15

Hmm, yes polka dots that is true. Never thought about that...

BeyondTheVirtualActivist Wed 30-Apr-14 17:50:55

Balls, i misread mid calf as mid thigh!

BeyondTheVirtualActivist Wed 30-Apr-14 17:51:38

If you dont want maxi but are a proper sewer, can you not buy maxi and lop the bottom off?

meddie Wed 30-Apr-14 17:52:14

I just bought the camille wrap dress from fat face in blue and teal and they are so comfy and extremely flattering, make me look about 2 dress sizes smaller and skim over my bottom and hips. I am in love with them

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 17:52:30

I quite like this

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:54:12

Top Shop one is great but backless! I couldn't wear that to work....!

The Joe Brown one is too knee length and cap sleeved. I want below knee and mid short sleeves

<difficult to please>

I just can't make my own. I am so obsessed with the finish and everything being perfect that I can't meet my own standardsgrin

ShatnersBassoon Wed 30-Apr-14 17:54:14

Start making and selling them! There's obviously a demand for normal dresses.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 17:59:02

Hmm, just looked at patterns...quite like this

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Wed 30-Apr-14 18:02:18

I bought one very like that, but without sleeves recently. This one (it comes with the cardi).

gymboywalton Wed 30-Apr-14 18:04:16

go for the vivvienne of holloway ones!

LadyStark Wed 30-Apr-14 18:07:04
earlyriser Wed 30-Apr-14 18:07:56

Not sure about this one, but i have seen it advertised in a patterned fabric just can't find it anywhere on the site!

LadyStark Wed 30-Apr-14 18:08:52

Really like this one from White Company - wish I could pull off white!

Waxlyrically Wed 30-Apr-14 18:09:29

I have just bought 3 fantastic pure cotton & lined dresses from Mistral. Snip of the price of Boden.

MissBattleaxe Wed 30-Apr-14 18:10:52

*Hmm, just looked at patterns...quite like this*

I had one like that made! I paid a seamstress about £50. I see that you are able to do it yourself but short on time, but I can

Do you know what I don't understand? I don't know why manufacturers think 1) we all want bodycon 2) we all want tunic length 3) we all want maxi dresses or 4) we love showing our bare arms off.

The average sized woman is a size 16 or over and this fortysomething does not want to bare my bingo wings or have to buy a cardigan!

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 18:11:22
tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 18:13:16

Have a look at collectif too

CMOTDibbler Wed 30-Apr-14 18:15:10

I really would make it - once you have found a pattern and adjusted it you can knock one up in an afternoon. I have a Vogue pattern a bit like the one you linked to with a sweetheart neckline that I lengthened the hem and sleeves of and made in several fabrics, In fact you've inspired me to make another!

I used to buy a lot of fabric from Remnant House as their prices on cotton lawn were great

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:15:17

I keep toying with that white Broderie one from White Company...looks a bit short though. That's the sort of thing I'm after, just a bit longer.

JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:16:01

Try Hobbs

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:17:22

Really like that Uniqlo one, but they only have extra small. Which would probably just go round my leg

bottlenecker Wed 30-Apr-14 18:18:38
Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:20:15

I love this Collectif one, but it's sodding polyester. I think its a tea dress type thing I want.

JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:26:03
Bunbaker Wed 30-Apr-14 18:27:15

I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread.

I went into 3 Hobbs shops over the last couple of days. Nearly all the dresses I saw in the shops are what I call "mother of the bride" dresses.

Am off to Fat Face tomorrow. The Camille dresses look nice. I am 5'7", how long would they be on me?

Those Mistral dresses have huge and low necklines which would look awful on my boney neck.

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 18:28:21

How about this?

JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:28:40
JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:30:18
JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:30:40

I am not sure what's wrong with Boden grin

EricIsMine Wed 30-Apr-14 18:31:53

I picked up two pretty cotton day dresses (with sleeves!) from Sainsburys TU section a few weeks ago for work ... they're reasonably priced and wash and wear well. Might be worth a look?

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:33:20

I have looked at and rejected both of those. All the reviews said the linen dress came up short on tall people and that the waist was too high...I'm very long waisted.

The shirt dress is too short, my knees need covering

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:34:44

There nothing wrong with Boden as such, but the fit of their dresses never works for me. The waist lines are too high. I currently have their borderline dress waiting to go back, as the waistline is too high and the dress is too short

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:37:47

Broderie not borderline...

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:38:51

Wow, Tethers that is fantastic

KitCat26 Wed 30-Apr-14 18:42:12

What about Fever?

JonesRipley Wed 30-Apr-14 18:45:12

Ah Ok, just wanted to make sure you'd seen those. It's a shame the fit's not right, they do have a good selection of styles

I feel your pain

JackShit Wed 30-Apr-14 18:47:10

My arms are vile, so I too need a sleeve and prefer a frock that sits on or below the knee.

Have you looked at M&Co or Dorothy Perkins? All my favourite dresses are from these two shops.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:48:30

The Fever ones look too short. Anything knee length in a photo is above knee length on me. I actually prefer mid calf as my chosen length. But these are as rare as hens teeth, and also considered uber unstylish on mnet

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:49:28

Looked at both of those. They are all full of polyester...

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 18:49:58

I love a mid calf dress too.

Kelly1814 Wed 30-Apr-14 18:52:31

Asos you can search for midi length dresses.....

I have just bought a few LK bennett cotton jersey dresses on e-bay, they are mid calf on me ( am 6ft)

Really, try e-bay!

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 18:54:37

Tried and failed at Asos

FatalCabbage Wed 30-Apr-14 18:58:52

How about this sort of thing, OP? I've bought from her before and it sounds like what you need. They're knee length on me with a very fluffy petticoat, so should be below the knee without even on someone rather taller. Choice of sleeve lengths and colours (see seller's other items).

Argh, just typed a huge post with loads on links and the page refreshed before I could post. Most of them were asos though!

Have you looked at ebay, I have bought a few dresses that come from china. It can be hit or miss but I've been lucky so far

bunchoffives Wed 30-Apr-14 19:10:06

you could get a few made by a seamstress. Shouldn't cost too much in cotton and a dress is quite easy to make so shouldn't be too much for labour. It will certainly fit you perfectly then.

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 19:17:57

Have you looked at Etsy?

this would be great for school.

tethersend Wed 30-Apr-14 19:25:22
FoxyHarlow123 Wed 30-Apr-14 19:43:54

It's all very Kirstie Allsop, so this might help

FoxyHarlow123 Wed 30-Apr-14 19:47:04
digerd Wed 30-Apr-14 20:23:12

Cotton needs ironing - yuck. The thought of ironing a cotton dress for hours fills me with horror. It also creases when you sit down in it.

sherazade Wed 30-Apr-14 20:41:28

try to give in to Boden. They make their dresses 'interesting' rather than 'pretty' but the cut will be so flattering you'll (possibly) never look back.

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 21:01:00

The fit is wrong on Boden. If you are careful, cotton doesn't need ironing, especially broderais anglais. I find I can get away with ironing every 3rd wash.

It's linen and viscose that wrinkle and crease

Koothrapanties Wed 30-Apr-14 21:06:31


I had a nose because a pp suggested the site and this is lovely.

Koothrapanties Wed 30-Apr-14 21:10:51
MrsCaptainReynolds Wed 30-Apr-14 21:12:26

Have you looked Toast? The fit usually seems to be good for long in the body types.

ChrisMooseAlbanians Wed 30-Apr-14 21:13:41

Have you tried Joe Brown's? Their stuff is great :-)

Orangeanddemons Wed 30-Apr-14 21:33:00

Tried both of those with no success.

Toast is full of short dresses. Joe Browns is full of viscose...

saladfingers Wed 30-Apr-14 21:38:23

Manteray at Debenhams?

PowerPants Wed 30-Apr-14 21:50:45
PowerPants Wed 30-Apr-14 21:51:34
Bunbaker Wed 30-Apr-14 21:54:44

I love that landgirl dress.

winklewoman Wed 30-Apr-14 21:56:02

Have you had a look at East? They have some short sleeved cotton dresses.

LightastheBreeze Wed 30-Apr-14 22:16:47

This is quite nice, even though its Per Una, may not be long enough though, and looks as though its sleeveless, 100% cotton though.

cloutiedumpling Wed 30-Apr-14 22:30:16

Laura Ashley? I got a great broderie dress from there last year.

BikeRunSki Wed 30-Apr-14 22:58:07


BikeRunSki Wed 30-Apr-14 23:40:30

People tree
Lands end

PowerPants Thu 01-May-14 00:07:51

If you were feeling brave - Eucalyptus and sister brand Friday on my Mind do some lovely 50s cotton dresses

Have you tried Jaeger? Their stuff is pricey granted but beautiful fabrics and they do proper sales ALL the time so it's worth registering for email updates. I think they're great for work stuff, it last years. I'm 5.6 and often have to get stuff shortened.
USA brands? Their workwear tends to be v conservative, they always have short, med, long lengths.

DomesticSlobbess Thu 01-May-14 00:27:02

Have you tried Next? I'm not usually a Next fan at all but I looked on their website the other day and was pleasantly surprised. Ordered myself a polka dot wrap dress, 3/4 sleeves and knee length. I thought you had to sign up for an account card to shop with them online but if you select No to a Next Directory at the checkout you can just pay there and then with your debit/credit card.

I looked in real life at the East cotton dresses yesterday when I was in John Lewis having my free cake and the cotton sleeved ones are very nice cotton prints. Very Liberty.

Which reminds me, have you looked at Liberty ?

winklewoman Thu 01-May-14 08:36:30

East do similar cotton dresses each year, and I have three, very comfortable and useful and now with your seal of approval, LaurieFC, excellent!

Igneococcus Thu 01-May-14 08:38:37

It's not only dresses, you can barely find a skirt that covers the knees.

fairylightsintheloft Thu 01-May-14 08:55:45

I actually have one from TU in Sainsburys that I wear to work (also a teacher.). Its a flowery print but with tights and boots is not too mumsy.

CuttedUpPear Thu 01-May-14 09:31:14

Checking in

....and thinking that sleeved means sleeves, not caps.

madasa Thu 01-May-14 09:32:11
madasa Thu 01-May-14 09:32:58
ginnybag Thu 01-May-14 09:59:34

OP - try this

Not all of it, but some of it and reasonable prices. I feel your pain, though. Decent length with actual sleeves... It's the holy grail for summer but it doesn't exist!!

thegreylady Thu 01-May-14 12:03:40

try East they have a lovely range of Indian cotton dresses

thegreylady Thu 01-May-14 12:04:25

Of course I posted before reading the last page!

MajorB Thu 01-May-14 14:03:04

I've given up with dresses and am building up my skirt & top collection instead; you get a much better over-all fit.

I've just been sent an email about this little beauty which is a definite contender for my next skirt purchase!

Caitlin17 Thu 01-May-14 14:17:46

Samantha Sung dresses. I have about half a dozen of her dresses. They are all good quality heavy cotton with a tiny bit of stretch. Really well cut , look great in an office and just as good outside.

They are around £400-£450

gymboywalton Thu 01-May-14 14:26:03

how many people can afford to spend 400 pound on a dress for work though???hmm

Fcukfifa Thu 01-May-14 14:29:50
LightastheBreeze Thu 01-May-14 14:36:22

I have given up trying to get anything in cotton which fits me at 5'10" and long waisted and hides my saggy knees and reasonable price.

A recent purchase is this, It is not cotton though, but is a fairly good fit in the long length, waist is a little high but not really noticeable with the flowery pattern. It come just below the knee on me.

Bunbaker Thu 01-May-14 16:09:46

This is beautiful IMO.

JonesRipley Thu 01-May-14 16:33:19


OP works in a school.

JonesRipley Thu 01-May-14 16:34:21

OTOH, she may have savings...

Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 17:31:03

I have no savings.

All those Asos ones have been looked at and rejected, due to polyester/ viscose. I like the style of them though. I have a million t shirt dresses and really want a woven dress.

I think this thread is proving that it is indeed a Holy Grail.

crabbyoldbat Thu 01-May-14 17:36:04
Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 17:37:27

I've looked at Liberty...the prices!

I have decided to make one. Like this in a chambray or denimy type linen, but long enough to cover my knees.

Thanks for all your help

AnyoneforTurps Thu 01-May-14 17:44:45

Lands End: some of their stuff is mumsy but the plainer things are nice and they use good quality natural fabrics:

Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 18:00:03

I've tried Lands End and Next. The first ones are all too short or sleeveless. Next is an experience I don't really want to repeat...

Selvedge Thu 01-May-14 18:14:58

Patra ?

MissBattleaxe Thu 01-May-14 18:24:09
winklewoman Thu 01-May-14 18:26:12

Have you actually looked at the East dresses yet?

There are several similar to this, one or two are reduced.

MissBattleaxe Thu 01-May-14 18:29:23

I bought a dress from East 6 years ago and it's still in fantastic condition. it's great quality, flattering and doesn't need ironing. I love it.

LightastheBreeze Thu 01-May-14 18:30:04

Hmm, Might pop into JL myself to look at the East dresses. i particularly like the one Bunbaker linked to

Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 18:33:46

Yes, I've looked at them. Am going to have another look though, as didn't see anything I like first time

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 01-May-14 18:35:49

Oooh, I love some of those People Tree ones!
Never even looked on there before! <bookmarks>

winklewoman Thu 01-May-14 18:39:10

MissB, I quite agree with you about the way East clothes last and stay looking good. I find their bubble fabric brilliant for taking on holiday, just roll it up and bung in your case. I popped in today and got a really lovely linen shirt dress, plus another couple of things (supposed to be on an economy drive but still....).

Those cotton dresses which might appeal to the OP are produced each year in different patterns and slightly varying styles. I have three and they have resulted in more compliments and enquiries about where I bought them than virtually anything else in my wardrobe.

MorrisZapp Thu 01-May-14 18:43:34

I got a fabulous dress in the Levis outlet store a couple of weeks ago.

It's a cotton shirtwaister in a blue and pink check, with hip pockets (a non negotiable for me) and proper knee length.

It's basically a knee length cowboy shirt, but properly dress shaped. It has full length sleeves and a tab in case you prefer them rolled up.

Think it was reduced from something like ninety quid to about thirty quid.

Bring on the summer!

Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 18:44:29

I like the Bunbaker dress too. Do you think it's cut on the bias?

MrsLettuce Thu 01-May-14 18:51:34

has this been linked yet?

MrsLettuce Thu 01-May-14 18:53:39

Oh and there might be something here amongst the daffy prints.

Orangeanddemons Thu 01-May-14 19:30:58

Oh Mrs Lettuce. I love those. I love the blouses too. All in cotton as well! And with sleeves. I like the pale green wish dress, and the blue grace dress. They are fab!

HolidayCriminal Thu 01-May-14 19:45:04

I was going to suggest get one made. I think I have similar body shape (& boy do I identify with lumpy knees). I almost always wear leggings under dresses, though, so well hidden (phew). And cardigans or jumpers or layers shirts (so cold-blooded) so sleeveless not an issue.

Boden are notmy style, but they do do most of their dresses and skirts in two lengths now!

3littlefrogs Thu 01-May-14 20:20:35

I would love some old fashioned shirt waister dresses made of cotton.
Then I could be cool and comfortable, have my bulges disguised and not worry about the skirt riding up.
Is that too much to ask?

Polkadotpatty Thu 01-May-14 20:32:05

I'm 5'9" and, er, not exactly racing fit. I love the cotton options from Gudruns Joden, although the website is not the easiest to navigate so if you like the look it's worth ordering a catalogue or visiting a store:

SassyPasty Thu 01-May-14 20:36:08

Not sure if this one has already been linked - may be a little short though (I'm a squirt so a midi is nearly a maxi on me blush

Also this is a lovely style for long-waisted ladies but it's viscose

Selvedge Fri 02-May-14 00:12:29


PowerPants Fri 02-May-14 00:44:11

Caitlin I love those Samantha Sung dresses, thank you

HanSolo Fri 02-May-14 01:34:43

Oh- those Poppy dresses are fabulous MrsLettuce!

I feel all summery now!

mimishimmi Fri 02-May-14 02:03:33

I make my own and have for years.

Vogue 2299, McCall's 3129 ( except make it a V-neck and shorter), and Simplicity 2917 are my 'stock' patterns but Simplicity in particular have some other great ones.

Finding suitable fabric can sometimes be a challenge - good years and bad years in fabric shops.

MissBattleaxe Fri 02-May-14 16:19:11

mimi- I'm going to try those patterns! great idea. I often see lovely fabrics but can never find a dress I like.

BeCool Fri 02-May-14 16:30:00

I feel your pain OP - I only have maxis as I will not go above the knee. Been looking for natural fiber, mid length, with sleeve, nice dress for eyars. Hens teeth.

Def gap in the market.

If I see another website full of above the knee fucking skater dresses (fit and flare they are called now) I might explode.

Also I never see anyone actually wearing these dresses in real life -Where are they all? Hiding with regret in wardrobes across the land while polyester manufacturers laugh hysterically?

Rainbunny Fri 02-May-14 16:38:10

Do you have Banana Republic in the UK? (Sorry it's been so long since I lived there). They have a few styles with sleeves.

I know what you mean, just as I have developed pudgy, wobbly arms out of nowhere, every damn top and dress is sleeveless this year!

Bunbaker Fri 02-May-14 16:55:16

I got this yesterday. I am 5'7" and it is exactly the same length on me as it is on the model. I am a size 10 top and 12 bottom and it fits beautifully. It looks to be much better made than most of the dresses I have seen in the shops as well.

The only negative is that it isn't cotton.

Theodorous Fri 02-May-14 18:20:56

Like eyebrow threading etc, hopefully it won't be long before the Asian way of having cheap and cheerful tailors on every street reaches the uk. I live in thee Middle East and virtually never buy anything these days, just get things ran up or copied at the tailors. And no, they are not poor migrant workers here, just people doing a job. Same when I lived in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. I have 1 Chanel suit for work with 9 copies and the copies are machine washable. 1 a day for 2 weeks!

bobthebuddha Fri 02-May-14 18:55:52

Someone recommended this company to me and this dress has been sitting in my Amazon wish list for a while. More for winter but worth keeping in mind! They have a lot of other styles too.
It is the bloody holy grail isn't it. Sleeves, longer length, flattering, widely available, decent quality. Not too much to blooming ask for, surely!

bobthebuddha Fri 02-May-14 19:20:25

There are a couple of linen beauties on the Etsy shop tethersend linked to. Thank you tethersend, I think I found my summer buy!

I have a similar problem op. Even when they're long enough the waist is under my boobs.

Does anyone know how uniglo come up because I like a few of theirs and they look like they might be long enough?

Bearleigh Fri 02-May-14 20:37:04
Bearleigh Fri 02-May-14 20:58:43

As the OP is tall and long waisted she might be one of the few who can wear Peruvian Connection dresses. They have some cotton dresses and some with sleeves:

Worth having a look in the sale with PC...

FatalCabbage Fri 02-May-14 21:01:17

Ooh those Peruvian Connection ones are lush.

Still no fecking sleeves though angry

Orangeanddemons Fri 02-May-14 21:13:27

I tried on a Seasalt one today which isn't usually on my list. But it was high waisted and had umbrellas round the hem. It did look nice but I felt a bit twee.

Aren't high waists loathed on S&b boards?

Orangeanddemons Sat 03-May-14 17:48:38

So, have ordered the following:

[ this]] hope it's long enough
hope this one is also long enough and this, but not over keen on spots

So 3 linen ones in the end...

olivo Sat 03-May-14 18:11:10

If I can't find one with sleeves, I just wear a three quart sleeve cardigan on top. Wish my school had workwear rules like yours- some of things people wear are not what I would deem acceptable.

SoulJacker Sat 03-May-14 19:00:26

I bought a sleeveless maxi dress, cut the bottom off and used that to make sleeves

BikeRunSki Sat 03-May-14 19:59:15
BikeRunSki Sat 03-May-14 19:59:27

[[ k

BikeRunSki Sat 03-May-14 20:00:02

Last try!


nocheeseinhouse Sat 03-May-14 20:36:36

I bought such a dress the other day, and thought of this thread! ;)

Orangeanddemons Sat 03-May-14 21:07:49

Well,unbelievably I've just found this in M and s of all places. A place I never ever find anything I like. I just hope it's long enough

JonesRipley Sat 03-May-14 21:10:46


Looks a bit short to me.

hellymelly Sat 03-May-14 22:00:06

op i am on the same search. I am also tall and hate my knees. And suddenly I hate my upper arms too. I have a lovely Toast dress but it is from seasons ago. Also I am a 30ff bra and toast don't cut for a bosom, they are a better fit on those a c cup and below. I fit vintage best but the height and long waist can be a problem. Every sodding catalogue that plops onto my mat is the same, inches above the knee, sleeveless, Flippy synthetic fabrics. Maybe I need to try making them.

hellymelly Sat 03-May-14 22:12:08

I also like long nighties with sleeves (that don't make me look like my aged mother). That really was the holy grail last Winter, I found one on the Swedish website Polarn o pyret, and then bought two more and two for my little girls while we were in Sweden. Am hoping they do them again this Winter. They are lovely, long soft stripey cotton jersey nighties with really long sleeves and almost ankle length. Flattering and not frumpy. Sigh of joy.

Orangeanddemons Sun 04-May-14 08:47:21

But I thought of sewing a white strip of wide Broderie anglais round the hem...

Ragwort Sun 04-May-14 08:56:58

Have you looked at Aldini designs?

MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 09:00:16

they are all a bit AMISH
i like the white marks oen but unless you are about 20 you will look like you are dressing up

MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 09:04:36
MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 09:04:47

oh no sleeves


MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 09:05:14
Orangeanddemons Sun 04-May-14 09:07:11

Yes, I've looked at Aldini. The spotty one I've ordered is from there.

Bunbaker Sun 04-May-14 09:36:07

I love this thread. The links to all sorts of dresses from retailers I have never heard of are so useful.

I wish more online sellers would show the dresses being worn and give the height of the model. I found the Toast site really unhelpful. Just laying the dresses out flat doesn't help to sell them IMO.

MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 10:37:20

i like a video too.
normally a BORED looking model sashaying to 80s techno

yes YOU marks and spencer and YOU asos

Have you tried tall girls?

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sun 04-May-14 13:41:55
comeawaywithme Sun 04-May-14 13:54:55

OP, have you looked at dresses from & Other Stories? They have some lovely items that might be suitable.

Orangeanddemons Sun 04-May-14 15:36:28

I saw a silk pink one on there. Kimono inspired. Looked perfect! Then I found out it was backless? Why?! why?!q

TheGruffalo2 Sun 04-May-14 16:00:15

Like the M&S one, but white for school shock. I suppose it depends on how much contact you have with grubby little hands, paint, felt tips, glue, etc. White wouldn't last until morning playtime with me.

Orangeanddemons Sun 04-May-14 16:38:11

It comes in apricot as well. I've only just discovered that. It each secondary, so not as grubby. Whits a colour that suits me. I've come to the conclusion, that I just don't like printed dresses either. I wanted something simple and easy

TheGruffalo2 Sun 04-May-14 17:13:06

I was initially very tempted as I'm a HoC Winter, so white is good on me too, but I know from experience anything too pale and that needs much ironing just lives in the laundry basket or ironing pile! sad

I'd like a basic either button-through or waisted dress, with sleeves to my elbow, not too straight as I spilt seams with all the bending I do, below the knee and, preferably a V-neck. I can sew, but I can't even find a pattern to make my own. When I started teaching (decades ago) I had a variety of dresses like this that I could wear with cardigans or jackets. Getting ready for work was so easy. But now I can't find anything suitable that fits (maybe the two stone weight gain doesn't help!).

Maybe that's my career change sorted; cottage industry - get someone to sort me some suitable patterns and I can sit home and sew them all day, sticking the occasional finger up at Gove????

MelonKim Sun 04-May-14 18:14:36

Saw the marks one. Looked nice

Orangeanddemons Sun 04-May-14 22:04:16

Well, methinks that Marks one is one you could get away without ironing much. Shake it out really hard, smooth it, line dry it and it should be ok. You could dye it...

TheGruffalo2 Sun 04-May-14 22:31:30

"You could dye it..." What a good idea Oranges - I've never dyed anything, but it is worth a test run before I purchase.

MeAndMySpoon Sun 04-May-14 22:39:00

Cath Kidston, if you want a retro look that's pretty demure. Rarely cotton, however - mostly viscose, but nice to wear and not sweaty. I have a couple half a dozen of their tea dresses and they're always flattering and have the all-important sleeves! Check on ebay for past seasons, as this season's offerings were a bit hit and miss.

MeAndMySpoon Sun 04-May-14 22:45:32


is retro, below knee, sleeved and pretty. I have one myself

MeAndMySpoon Sun 04-May-14 22:47:38

this is lurvey and classic, has a very flattering neckline and draps lovely. I also have this one Looks nice with navy or true red little cardi.

MeAndMySpoon Sun 04-May-14 22:47:52

shit, drapes not draps

Caitlin17 Sun 04-May-14 23:53:09

Meandmyspoon I'm wearing that dress right now! It's from 3/4 years ago. I love Cath Kidston dresses. I wear the Samantha Sung ones at work as they are more formal and Cath Kidston for non-work.

Runkittyrun Mon 05-May-14 00:35:16

How about this dress? I have it in blue drill cotton. It can be worn without the belt, I ordered one a size smaller so it's slightly more fitted if I do wear the belt. Although I'm short - I share the long waisted thing. It's not cheap but it is very durable, not prone to creasing and washes well. Choice of prints.

hellymelly Mon 05-May-14 17:56:51

Cath Kidston dresses are often viscose rather than cotton. Esp the tea dresses.

TheGruffalo2 Mon 05-May-14 18:23:49

I used to like an online company (originally a catalogue company ... showing my age!) called Penny Plain. But my google search shows they no longer exist and the company that took them over is too old, even for me!

Caitlin17 Mon 05-May-14 18:24:49

I have Cath Kidston dresses in viscose, cotton and silk.

If the OP is willing to consider other materials it will broaden the selection.

I have the Edina Ronay navy hook and eye print dress in silk and love it to bits.

BikeRunSki Mon 05-May-14 18:31:03

I used to like Penny Plain. They had a shop in Newcastle.

TheGruffalo2 Mon 05-May-14 18:46:12

Love those dresses Caitlin17, but not too keen on the price for school! Do they have sales?

orchidella Mon 05-May-14 19:17:09

BikeRunSki I liked Penny plain too. They used to do really nice cotton voile blouses and dresses. I've worn mine to death in heatwaves. Sadly the firm went badly downhill in quality in the last few years after financial problems and have now gone bust.

Caitlin17 Mon 05-May-14 19:27:51

TheGruffalo I've only discovered that range. There is a stockist in Edinburgh but I will sign up direct on the site in case there are sales.

Re Penny Plain there used to be a similar brand called Racing Green which went the same way. I had a couple of dresses from them which were exactly what the OP is looking for.

TheGruffalo2 Mon 05-May-14 20:15:17

Gosh, I've just remembered that I lived in Laura Ashley cotton dresses in the late '80s and early '90s. They were perfect, but I suspect I would find them too floral and twee at my age now. I loved the styles, so maybe if they had them in plain, geometrics or non-twee-florals I'd be happy now.

BikeRunSki Mon 05-May-14 20:19:30

I remember Racing Green too. They were similar to Biden, but less "fun".

Does anyone remember Wealth of Nations? I think jury were the same parent company as Penny Plain. They sourced authentic "workwear/traditional dress as normal clothes" from around the world - stuff like Breton tops, duffle coats, Chinese silk dresses, twill work trousers etc. Had some great stuff.

TheGruffalo2 Mon 05-May-14 20:21:03

Has anyone bought anything from People Tree? It is one of the few I'm tempted with.

ToAvoidConversation Tue 06-May-14 07:02:55

I have. It's all lovely and so soft.

TheGruffalo2 Tue 06-May-14 07:03:34

Thank you, was the quality and customer service OK?

TheGruffalo2 Tue 06-May-14 07:04:04

Sorry, what I mean by quality was did it wash OK?

I have two people tree dresses which are lovely and wash well. The lengths vary, but it usually says on the site.

I am 6ft and they are just on the knee. It us trial anx error as two other dresses I ordered were tiny.

But they usually offer free returns.

I have a Cath Kidston dress in real silk, lovely

TheGruffalo2 Tue 06-May-14 07:13:29

Brilliant, thanks for that. I will look more closely tonight and decide what to order.

orchidella Tue 06-May-14 11:34:10

TheGruffalo I used to wear Laura Ashley too in late 80's but agree the fabrics would probably look awful now. Sorry I didn't see you were the first to mention Penny Plain btw. Why does hardly anyone make loose longer dresses these days? Body con and fitted shifts are all very well but not very comfy or practical. Even the dresses that say fit and flare are fitted to the waist as oppose to having a waist tie that does up at the back so you can pull them in that way. Empire line, a back tie and a flare out, pref on the knee or below - that is my holy grail! And in a cool non- sweaty material. With short sleeves.

Bearleigh Tue 06-May-14 14:11:27

I remember Wealth of Nations too - it was lovely (though not very 'me' so I never actually bought anything...)

hellymelly Tue 06-May-14 16:33:09

Wealth of Nations was lovely when it first started, it had Toast like shirts, and I bought a little fitted 40's style hungarian jacket (Later I saw pics of Paula Yates in the same one). But then they seemed to be in trouble, sold the name to a bigger company and the clothes got very boring and frumpy, sort of like Kaleidoscope is now, and then it disappeared altogether.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Tue 06-May-14 16:45:21

I tried on one or two Laura Ashley dresses last year (not the shape you're after though) and the fit was horrific. Lovely patterns, but the waist was very high and because they had a bit of an underskirt they made me look absolutely huge. It went out like a triangle from the bottom of my ribcage, like a child's drawing!

Thesebootsweremadeforwalking Tue 06-May-14 21:38:45

Lovely dresses on this thread, think I might save up for a Poppy England one for summer work days.

AuntyDiluvian Wed 07-May-14 10:41:59

I have very much enjoyed lurking on this thread and following the links. Really love all the komodo dresses and want to wear one to an upcoming wedding but I'm a size 16 which they don't do - curses! Anyone bought from them before and are the sizes by any chance weirdly large? (long shot)

BikeRunSki Wed 07-May-14 11:34:13

I am a 12/14 and I have a Komodo jumper in an "S" which is huge! It might be worth trying their 14 Aunty.

orchidella Wed 07-May-14 12:20:23

This just arrived in the post today thanks to the recommendations on East earlier in the thread. Fits all my requirements and very pretty smile

MissBattleaxe Wed 07-May-14 12:55:25

Gorgeous orchidella!

winklewoman Wed 07-May-14 13:31:25

I love that one, orchidella, and would have nabbed one had I not bought this: which I love; I found some cheapo Primark turquoise skinnies to wear under it, many compliments already in less than a week. We are off on holiday next Thursday and it is so cool and comfortable I shall probably travel in it.

javotte Wed 07-May-14 13:38:00

This one arrived this morning.

It is not cotton, but it is lovely. Nice, heavy fabric that doesn't cling, mid-calf length (I am 5'7), the sleeves are perfect.

AuntyDiluvian Wed 07-May-14 19:11:19

Ooh thanks bikerunski. Might take a chance on one of the lovely komodo styles then.

BravePotato Wed 07-May-14 20:10:55

Javotte, love the Next dress!

Have ordered it!

Nocomet Wed 07-May-14 21:24:00
winklewoman Thu 08-May-14 12:39:37

That's the one Orchidella bought, Nocomet. The thing about East clothes is that the fabric is good quality, they are well made and last for ages. If you do that thing where you divide the cost of an item by the number of times you wear it, you will probably find East clothes are very good value. I've got a long silk dress, cut on the cross and with a beautiful pattern that I bought 10 years ago and it is still going strong as it is perfect for hot holidays.
The other handy thing is that they tend to keep to the same colour palette, so items you buy this year will probably go with previous purchases. They are strong on turquoise and dark pinks which suit me.

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