I forget how I was originally introduced to Blackmilk Clothing, but I’ve had my eye on this Australian brand for a couple years now. They make very youthful styles, so there isn’t that much that appeals to me as a 36-year-old, but once in a while I find something that strikes my fancy.

Blackmilk is known for their creative prints, some of which are partnerships with licensed brands such as Harry Potter and Disney. My first purchase from them was a pair of blue plaid cuffed pants from a Harry Potter collection. The cuffed pants are released all year round in different colors and prints. They’re stretchy and cozy, with a slight fuzzy feel on the interior (like a cross between flannel and micro-fleece), flat-front pockets, and cuffs at the bottom that can be worn turned up for a cropped length or turned down to reach my ankle bone (so still a little short).

Per Blackmilk’s size chart, I ordered the pants in size medium, but they stretch out quickly, so I would highly recommend sizing down. I later bought another pair of cuffed pants in size small and they are much better. In fact, I want to add elastic into the waistband of my mediums (which will be easy since the waistband is a hollow tube), but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

So that’s it for my experience with Blackmilk. Most of their dresses and tops are stretch material, super short, and look like they have short torsos. So I haven’t tried any until now. But then Blackmilk recently had a really deep sale and I found a non-stretch, reasonably long dress in a really beautiful blue and white Chinoiserie print. With international postage and the exchange rate, it only cost me $37! I won’t be keeping it in the end, but at least now I have a better idea on Blackmilk’s sizing for next time.

Here is the “Chinoiserie Sheer Angel Dress” in size Aus 12 (note that Australian and UK clothing follows the same scheme, so this is equivalent to a US 8):

The Angel dress is a frequent release, but usually is maxi length with a sleeveless, tank-style bodice rather than these billowing sleeves and Victorian collar. It has a tiered skirt, buttons up the front of the bodice, and an elastic waist. It’s made of sheer polyester and the skirt is lined in white viscose. Here it is on me:

I like the length and love the print, but overall it feels like too much on me. With the sleeves, the flouncy wrists, the high neck, the skirt tiers, the bodice ruffle, the neck tie, and the very busy print…it’s a lot. And it doesn’t help that the bodice has no tailoring, so the ribcage is quite loose.

However, I will give Blackmilk credit for some of the details: For one thing, the pattern matching is superb. Everything on the front and back of the bodice is symmetrical and even lines up with the manufacturer’s photo (as seen above). Even the side seams of the skirt panels line up really well. Most cheap brands (and even some expensive ones!) do not bother with pattern matching like this. As well, the neck tie is attached in place with a button at the back of the neck, so you can entirely remove it if you so choose.

Further, the buttons don’t gap—a small miracle!

Even when I pulled my arms back and bent my elbows, the button placket only pulled a little—and not enough to expose bra or threaten to pop open. Plus, the pattern is so busy that even this small amount of pulling is basically camouflaged.

When I saw that the buttons only reach to the waist, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fit the dress over my hips. But then I noticed it has an elastic waist. The elastic is very stretchy and gentle, though, so it doesn’t dig in or pinch. In fact, if I had the ability to try this on in a store, I definitely would have tried a size down too.

My biggest problem with the dress is the sleeves. They’re a bit too long with the flounce at the end, and the fabric is very static-y and sticks to my arms.

However, since the wrists are also gently elasticated, you can pull the sleeves up above your elbow and turn them into loose three-quarter length instead.

As you can probably tell from the enthusiasm in these photos, I definitely prefer this look with shorter sleeves. And maybe it would even appeal to me more if I removed the sleeves entirely. But I’m trying to be more judicious about what clothes I keep these days, which means only hanging on to things I actually wear and not just things I like. So I’ll be sending this back to Blackmilk after all. Oh well, more room in the closet for something else!