I’m back with another Bolero dress review for the fall season. This time, it’s the “Empire Dress” in mustard plaid.
The Empire dress features an empire waistline (naturally), a higher scoop neckline, elbow-length sleeves, and A-line skirt. The front and back of the bodice are lined, while the sleeves and skirt are unlined—and of course it has pockets! (Side note: If there’s ever a Bolero dress you like that doesn’t include pockets, you can have them added for no additional cost. Just use the contact form to make a request.)
Empire comes with a tie belt and even has a belt loop on one side to keep it in place, but I prefer to wear it with no belt at all or to cinch it in at my natural waist with a stretchy belt, as you’ll see in the photos below.
Without a belt, this is such an easy silhouette to wear—super comfy and camouflages any “trouble areas” without adding bulk or completely swamping your figure. I bet it would look amazing on pregnant or post-baby bodies. Or if you want to show off those curves, the fitted empire waist plus a cinch belt really highlights the upper body and waist.
The elbow-length sleeves and slightly higher neckline make this a great choice for work or for other situations where you might need a little more modesty.
I took my usual Bolero size small in this dress. I measure 38”-29/30”-42”, height 5’6”, and bra size UK 28GG/30G. I’m wearing a Bravissimo non-padded plunge bra in 30G in these photos.
This past week, my husband and I made our annual weeklong trip to Central NY to get away from the city and visit my parents in the country. The leaves were the most bright and beautiful that we’ve all seen in years, so it was the perfect place to shoot this rich mustard yellow plaid.
My husband and I spent the afternoon at a local farm that hosts an annual fall festival, where we explored a corn maze, picked pumpkins and apples, and enjoyed snacks and local beer. Then I made him take more photos of me at home so you can see the dress details more closely.
I felt so festive among the leaves and gourds—and absolutely loved the way the dress looked paired with my favorite burgundy leather jacket!
The Empire dress comes in a range of fabrics, including velvet, jersey, ponte di roma, and the sweater material of the plaid I selected. This sweater fabric has four-way stretch, a soft and cozy texture, and great weight. It’s warmer than jersey fabric (good for fall and winter) yet doesn’t feel heavy or chunky.
Since Bolero dresses are specifically designed with a large bust in mind, the empire waist seam actually rests under my bust. Then the skirt flows smoothly over my hips, and the pockets don’t stick out like a lot of on-seam skirt pockets seem to do (even with dresses I sew myself!).
Bolero founder Patricia also sent a matching mask with my dress that I’ve not only been wearing with this garment but also with all my other fall outfits too. The colors are just too perfect for the season! Note that since it’s made of the same sweater material as the dress (plus two layers of cotton, including a pocket for a filter), it’s warmer than a standard cotton mask. As such, I expect to get a lot of wear from it during winter as well.