I’m 5’1” and This Abercrombie & Fitch Dress Makes Me Feel Like I’m in ‘Bridgerton’

It's so nice I got it twice

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  • Value: 19/20
  • Fit: 19/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 19/20

Total: 96/100

As an oh-so-mercurial Gemini, I’ll admit that my fashion sense fluctuates on the daily—I’ll start the week off in all my eclectic grandpa glory and by Friday be full-on channeling Fran Fine. But if there’s one style “aesthetic” that I’ve been cultivating for years, it’s the flouncy and feminine look of the heroine in a period drama. Blame it on my binges of BBC Jane Austen adaptations or the fact that Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was my favorite movie in high school; in any case, I’ve always loved the romantic silhouette cut by a figure-hugging bodice and a billowy skirt. You can keep your Mr. Darcy, just give me the outfits.

So, you can imagine my delight when the popularity of Bridgerton, which recently returned for its third season on Netflix, ushered in the resurgence of period-inspired dressing, particularly in the form of what’s been dubbed Regencycore. In the few years since the show’s debut, the Bridgerton effect has brought about a slew of ready-to-wear designs nodding to the nu-Regency trend—square necks, poofy sleeves and empire waists galore. And I have no doubt that the show-turned-fashion-phenomenon is to thank for the creation of the best dress in my closet right now: the Abercrombie & Fitch Emerson poplin midi (from $120; $90), of whose praises I am here to sing. It’s become my go-to for everything from outdoor weddings and graduation parties to waterfront brunches and dressy post-work dinners, all the while making me feel like I just stepped out of a soiree hosted by Queen Charlotte herself.

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Abercrombie & Fitch

I first came across the frock last year at the beginning of summer, as I was diligently doing my duty as PureWow’s senior commerce editor and scrolling through Abercrombie & Fitch’s new offerings to write about. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.) This puff-sleeved beauty immediately caught my eye—and, apparently, the eyes of hundreds of other shoppers who quickly turned it into one of the brand’s best sellers. I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to make an impulse purchase that came with an over-$100 price tag, but after salivating over it for weeks, I happened to catch the dress on sale and didn’t think twice about running it to checkout. And I am so glad I did.

The Poplin Fabric Holds Up in Summer Heat

The OG Emerson poplin midi dress is the crown jewel, in my eyes, of A&F’s Emerson collection, which has since expanded to include sleeveless, mini and linen-blend versions of the signature style, among other variations (that I may or may not be adding to my shopping cart as we speak). It’s constructed of machine-washable poplin fabric, a smooth, tight weave made up of a blend of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester, which I find to be airy, yet substantial, with more of a mid-weight feel. The bonus of that being that it has a bit of structure and isn’t see-through, plus it’s thick enough to wear in the fall and winter. Nevertheless, I donned the dress to a sweltering daytime wedding last August and it kept me comfortably cool for hours in the sun, something I can’t say about many of my other, slinkier styles.

My one critique of the material is that it is prone to wrinkling, but it’s nothing a quick steam sesh can’t fix. Also, if you hang-dry it after washing (which is what the brand instructs), it actually has far fewer crinkles to straighten out than it does right out of the package.

The Silhouette Is *So* Flattering

Abercrombie & Fitch

To paraphrase my favorite SNL character, Stefon: This dress has everything. Princess sleeves. A ruched bodice. Back smocking. Pockets! But I can confirm that its biggest draw is just how freakin’ flattering it is. It lifts and supports the girls (no bra required), whittles in the waist and flows out into a swingy skirt at just the right spot to allow for plenty of dining and imbibing without the risk of feeling stuffed (one of the most important features of any wedding guest dress, IMO). So yes, it’s comfortable, too.

In fact, I love this dress *so* much that it is presently the only article of clothing I have two of hanging in my closet. (Full disclosure: I purchased the floral-patterned one last year, but since that exact print is no longer available, I requested the blue one from the brand for the purposes of this review.) 

I’m wearing a size medium in both iterations of the dress pictured here, and I do find it to be true-to-size, save for one caveat: That boob support I mentioned above is made possible by the snugger fit at the top. While it works to hug and lift my 36C bust, and the back smocking does allow for some stretch, you might want to size up if you’re more filled out in the chest area.

It’s Great for Petites

Abercrombie & Fitch

Given that I am a grand total of 5-feet, 1-inch tall, one of things I love most about this dress, and about shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch in general, is that it’s offered in petite lengths, as well as standard and tall sizes (from XXS to XXL)—as are most other items at the retailer. For most of my life, I’ve had to accept that any flowy dress I bought for an event automatically came with a trip to the tailor’s for hemming. But not so with this beauty.

Although it’s touted as a midi dress, however, even the petite length hits a little lower on me—as you can see in my photos, the hem of the tiered skirt grazes my ankles. Personally, I don’t mind this; I can show off my shoes, and it still saves me the time and cost of alterations. If anything, I think the length may even help to elongate my stature. 

Bottom Line...

Abercrombie & Fitch

By now, dearest gentle reader, you’re aware of how much I adore this Bridgerton-esque number. While it is on the pricier side at $120 when not on sale, its proven versatility, year-round functionality and ability to make me feel like the belle of the ball for all sorts of occasions makes it a great value in my eyes. So, even if you’re not a period drama die-hard like myself, I’d still recommend this flattering Abercrombie & Fitch Emerson poplin frock (or any of its similarly silhouetted offshoots in the Emerson collection) for all your soiree-going needs this summer and beyond. Who knows, you may even end up in Lady Whistledown’s society papers…

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