Review: Gowns by Roberta, ‘Isabella Blow’ pencil skirt

I first discovered Gowns by Roberta last year on Instagram and was instantly drawn to the timeless glamour of the brand, and its iconic red rose motif. I have a deep love of the colour red and of roses, so this made all of the skirts very appealing… even before I learnt that the velvet roses are also a pocket! The brand is run by one woman, with a focus on good designs (often inspired by vintage pieces) and excellent quality fabrics, so the prices reflect this. I’ve always been someone who prefers to support small businesses and spend more money on something that will last, so this slow fashion approach really appeals to me.

There are so many of Roberta’s designs I like that it was tricky to decide which one I’d go for first. I’d narrowed it down to the Grace Kelly circle skirt and the Isabella Blow pencil skirt, but there are also lots of colours to choose from! When I finally decided which skirt I wanted to buy, it turned out there was sadly no more of the black brocade left, but Roberta had some new fabrics coming in and asked if I’d be interested in the black and white houndstooth. She sent me a photo of it, and it looked like it would fit into my wardrobe rather nicely, so I placed an order for the Isabella Blow pencil skirt in a 34″ waist, paid my deposit and waited excitedly.

Due to Brexit-related production and delivery delays (which Roberta always kept me updated on), my skirt only arrived with Roberta shortly before my trip to Edinburgh. So, once I’d paid the balance, I asked if I could collect in-person as we had already planned to meet up while I was in the city. When I took the skirt out of its pink tissue paper wrapping I was so impressed! The fabric is delightfully soft with a lovely drape to it, but thick enough to add a decent amount of structure. The cut is perfect, with a shape that gives room for hips/tum/bum if you have plenty in those areas but that still magically sits right on those with a far less dramatic hip-to-waist ratio than me. It also has a long split at the back which means that it’s easy to walk in… but not so long that you’d end up accidentally flashing stocking tops at those behind you!

So, I have to say, the Isabella Blow pencil skirt in houndstooth is absolutely glorious!

Lori wearing the Isabella Blow pencil skirt in houndstooth, from Gowns by Roberta. Photo by @paperingasmile
Lori wearing the Isabella Blow pencil skirt in houndstooth, from Gowns by Roberta. Photo by @paperingasmile
Lori wearing the Isabella Blow pencil skirt in houndstooth, from Gowns by Roberta. Photo by @paperingasmile

These photos were taken by my friend Louise when we met up with Ed for a Cruella-inspired afternoon tea at The Lanesborough (so a black, white and red outfit was a must!), and then had a little mini photoshoot outside the hotel afterwards. I briefly felt like an influencer as I posed while people walked past! I paired the skirt with a vintage-inspired cherry necklace from Luxulite, a blouse from Collectif (because it was a warm day) and some practical heels from Chie Mihara (because I had to do lots of walking and a little bit of rain was forecast!). The skirt was extremely comfortable to wear all day, both for sitting and eating all that delicious cake, and also for walking through Green Park which are both things that I never usually find pencil skirts to be at all useful for. A practical pencil skirt? Who knew such a thing existed? Roberta is quite a genius.

Even if a pencil skirt isn’t your thing, I recommend that you check out the Gowns by Roberta web shop for more beautiful high quality clothing and accessories.

UPDATE: Here are a few more photos of me wearing the skirt. The image on the left shows it with a blouse from the Seamstress of Bloomsbury, and in the other two images it’s paired with blouses from Gowns by Roberta.

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