Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Look's bird-print tea dress – at last!

When I said that New Look's bird-print tea dress was top of my autumn/winter wish list back in August, I didn't expect the frenzy it would cause.

Modelling a press sample in ELLE's September issue, this was the first piece of coverage the dress received. More followed from the likes of Grazia, The Mail on Sunday's You magazine and Channel 4's Gok's Fashion Fix.

Now, I know many of you have been anticipating this dress hitting stores as much as I have. You've told me in your comments, on Twitter, by email and even by letter. So, when the supposed launch in late October came and went without said dress appearing, I felt your disappointment.

Having spoken to New Look, it said delivery dates had, unfortunately, been delayed. But, to placate customers (and to cater for demand), its buyers placed an order for an additional 3,000 dresses. These hit flagship stores at the end of November, with a further 182 shops receiving them at the beginning of December. Plus, the dress is now available online at £24.99.

However, the tea dress that has gone into production isn't quite the same as the sample I wore. The fabric is more satin-shiny and the miniature sequin embellishment is absent. Short capped sleeves replace the longer original, while the ruched front looks less elegant without the tiny bow details. The demure below-the-knee length has risen a few inches, too.

That said, the dress's strongest detail, the cut-out back that reveals a sexy triangle of flesh, remains. As does the front keyhole slit. And it's still a stand-out high-street piece that captures the mood of Miu Miu's designer collection this season.

So, while this isn't the exact dress I'd set my heart on, the silver lining is that with party season on our doorsteps, it's very, very now. Wear it for work drinks or cocktails with friends or more family-orientated gatherings. Just go from sheer to thick tights, faux-fur capes to cable-knit cardies and heels to smart ankle boots to match the occasion.

Another bonus is, with less sparkle and glitz than the usual party dresses at this time of year, you're sure to get further wear out of it in 2012. So, was the dress worth the wait for you? Have I convinced you of its merits? Let me know.


  1. Ah, I saw this on the site the other day and spent ages looking at it, wondering if it was "your" one. Alas, it's just not as nice, in my opinion. The prototype was just so, so elegant and lovely. I don't like the fabric, the ruching on the hips, or the sleeves on this. And for once, I think something's missing without the sparkle/embroidery - it just looks a bit flat. It's a shame. But thanks for this post, because I was wondering if I was going mad! (The backless detail still looks amazing on you by the way). x

  2. Oh wowsers, I need this dress!! Why am I so skint?

  3. I must admit it is gorgeous although I can never bring myself to buy anything from New Look no matter who is raving about it, so I'm glad it has the cut out back, which is amazing BTW, but it makes it too young for me and I think they are silly to make those changes when it had received such rave reviews.

  4. Hmmm I loved loved loved it when I first saw it,but after seeing on website I'm not so sure I like it...looks a bit slutty and cheap. Not due to the cut out bit...just the satiness and ruching...going to visit in the flesh and try on me thinks.

  5. I tried it on, but sadly my usual size 8 was too small,and size bigger was far too loose. So, unfortunately, however much I love the cut of the dress, is not for me!

  6. I couldn't wait to get hold of this dress, kept bothering the staff at my local new look for when it would arrive and was so disappointed when it did. Gone was the elegance and in was the slutty. I hate the satin, the ruching and the sleeves (flattering on very few above the age of 6). The original designer must be gutted. This has surely gone from potential best seller straight to sales bin. Needless to say, I didn't buy it.

  7. Thanks for all your comments - it's good to know what you think.

    The dress does come up a little small (unless I've eaten too many mince pies already!), so you are better off getting a size up from your usual size.

    I hear what you're saying about the fabric, ruching and sleeves (and sequins) - all changes that don't seem necessarily. Unfortunately, I don't know the reason why the dress was altered.

    Still, the cut-out back remains and is probably one of the most elegant details of the dress.

    Bargainista Fashionista x x x

  8. I didn't like it on the hanger but as my friend and I had been waiting for so long for the dress, I thought I'd better try it on. It looks great on the body- got it in my usual size 14- I'm not brave enough to wear it backless but a silky cami undernearth works and there's still a little triangle of skin at the top- I wore it with seamed stockings too- gives a great nod to 40s style

  9. I'm so dissappointed- I'm on my second version of the dress- The first one ripped on the side front seam on my first wearing-I exchanged it - they were very nice in the store and now my second one ripped within hours of me putting it on. My Seamstress Mum says it's because there isn't enough seam allowance. I hope this hasn't happened to anyone else.



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