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I finally bit the bullet on one of my wish list items and added the iconic Black Halo Jackie O Dress to my wardrobe. It has been on my radar for over 10 years but my budget didn’t permit the purchase at the time. Fast forward to 2018 when Meghan, Duchess of Sussex stepped out in the iconic dress to attend a reception in London, it was on the front burner for me again. (Though I didn’t immediately add it to cart as I was pregnant with our youngest at the time and resolved to wait until I could try it on properly.) The recent Black Friday sales were the catalyst for my purchase – it was 20% off (though it didn’t work out to be that great of a discount after taxes were added). I thought it would be worthwhile sharing my first impressions given how well known it is.
The Black Halo Jackie O dress is one of the most famously classic dresses out there, has been featured in the wardrobes of blockbuster movies and is a favourite amongst celebrity stylists. The signature Jackie O dress features a timeless sheath silhouette with a cowl neckline and a skinny belt. In fact, the design was the result of an experiment by Laurel Berman (one of Black Halo’s co-founders) to stitch her blouse to her skirt because she got fed up with her blouse constantly becoming untucked from her sheath skirt. The rest as they say is history – and voila, a classic was born. The dress has been part of Black Halo’s permanent line since 2006.
I bought the dress on Shopbop during the Black Friday sales. While the website said it would take between 2 to 4 days to arrive, I received the shipping confirmation 7 days after I bought the dress, and the dress arrived 5 days after that via DHL. While the delay didn’t inconvenience me, it was still disappointing in light of the speedy time frames advertised. I was a tad concerned that the parcel would be sitting on our doorstep for a week while we traveled interstate to spend Christmas with family, but thankfully it arrived just before we set off on our trip. I received no communication about any delay either – so that’s something to keep in mind if you are shopping from Shopbop. That said, I would still recommend shopping with them because they’re a reputed store and I’ve been shopping with them for over 10 years.
The dress retails for $375 USD (or ~$514 AUD) and it was discounted by 20% to $300 USD. During the checkout process, GST of 10% was added to my order, bringing the total to $330 USD (or ~ $474 AUD). The discount turned out to be somewhat anticlimactic, but mentally I’m glad I didn’t pay full price! That price point isn’t a scary luxury price, but does place it within the contemporary brands category, comparable to Karen Millen (the Forever Dress retails for $450 AUD) but not quite Scanlan Theodore (where crepe knit dresses start from around $600 AUD).
The dress is offered in an inclusive size range – from sizes US 0 through to 16. After doing a bit of reading, I decided to go with a size US 2, and crossed my fingers that it would fit as the dress isn’t offered for sale in any retail stores in Australia so I was unable to try it on. It’s always a bit of a risk buying online (particularly without the safety of free returns for those not based in the US), but I was almost 80% sure that I got my size right and so I bit the bullet. You can imagine my relief when I received it and it fit!
Size wise, I’m an AU 8 (UK 8 / US 2-4) and I’m pear shaped. The US 2 fits well – it’s very slim fitting but the fabric is light and stretchy. I think I would prefer if the fabric was a tad thicker, because I feel like it wouldn’t do a great job at concealing a food baby as my Karen Millen Forever Dress. That said, the stretch in the fabric makes it really comfortable to wear. Sizing up to a US 4 would likely eliminate my ‘food baby’ concerns (I do like my food!), but I think the neckline would gape too much and the hem of the dress would hit lower than I’d like.
As you can see from the photos above, I had a bit of play with styling the dress and styled it as an LBD for an event and as a dress for work. The neckline looks great paired with an up-do as the cowl neck draping is largely lost when my hair is down. I can see why this dress is so iconic – the dress is elegant, timeless and creates a flattering silhouette.
As always, thanks for stopping by!