Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a viral product like a Poster Girl dress, a popular trend, or an unexpected TikTok hack.
You’ve probably seen Poster Girl and their party apparel all over your Instagram and TikTok. The brand produces various styles in a number of colors but the most recognizable is their barely-there shapewear dress, featuring bold cut-outs and mesh detailing from top to bottom. It’s the new wave of bodycon dressing that’s encouraging us to bare all in public (or at least close enough).
The London-based brand, created by best friends Francesca Capper and Natasha Somerville in 2017, started off with a small collection of chainmail dresses and then expanded into their now infamous shapewear range. When Kylie Jenner posted a photo in the Miranda Dress last January, followed by Dua Lipa donning the same style on some album artwork the next month, the brand skyrocketed.
Now that it’s become impossible to avoid these body contouring one-size-fits-all dresses, I decided to try them for myself in order to answer all of our burning questions.
Is it actually "one size fits all"?
According to the site, the dresses are made to fit UK sizes 6 through 18 (US sizes 2 to 14) — the material (a polyamide and spandex blend) is extremely stretchy and is meant to mold to the body of whoever's wearing it.
I borrowed three styles from FLANNELS: the Cassia Dress, a mini with long cut-out sleeves and mesh detailing along the body; the Jetta Jumpsuit, a playsuit with cycling short bottoms and the brand's signature boob cut-outs; and the Miranda Dress, their most recognizable style with the cut-outs and short sleeves.
When my items came out of the packages looking like doll’s dresses, I felt hella unnerved but considering I've seen women of varying sizes wearing the dresses on TikTok, I knew they would fit my UK size 12 frame. But what I really wanted to know was how would it actually feel?
The pros? It streamlines your curves and its patterns — mimicking boobs, butts, and underwear — really compliment your shape. For some, this might sound like a nightmare, but for me, that's what makes me rate the trend: I'm here for celebrating the female form.
Cons: I didn’t feel like my parts were supported enough. I have E cups and while the cut-outs in the Miranda Dress and Jetta Jumpsuit accentuated them, I presume these styles are a lot more comfortable, and less precarious, for boobs smaller than a D.
How’s the quality of the material?
The actual material was nothing worth shouting about. I only wore the Cassia Dress out in public and it soon became clear that while these dresses look amazing on social media – modeled in static poses and brief video movements – the dress rode up almost immediately while walking and barely stayed down. Also, making sure the opaque patterns were still placed over my nipples and bum crack proved to be very difficult without a mirror.
While walking to an 8:30am breakfast meeting — yes I had my nips out that early in the morning — I was grateful I had thrown a long trench coat and a leather jacket over it.
With this type of material, the sheerness is to be expected, however I think anyone with darker features needs to know that these colors are not generous. I definitely think a thicker material or darker fabric around the breasts would be a better shout, but for now I'd suggest pasties (which I could not find in my wardrobe the day of filming — classic).
How do you wear underwear?
Up top: you don't. Down below: depending on the style, go for a seamless thong, G-string, or of course, go commando.
I mean ultimately, if you're wearing a Poster Girl dress, you're probably not after comfort. But one thing to note about these dresses is that flattering photos can make anyone look great in them; it's all about the poses and angles. While commando is fine for the pics, who really wants disco fanny after a night out in a dress that's been riding up since you left the house? Not me.
If you look very closely at Instagram pictures that display the top-to-bottom cutouts, the most common solution is wearing a skin-colored or matching g-string for minimum visibility.
For the Cassia Dress and Jetta Jumpsuit, I opted for a seamless light pink thong from Parade and went commando for the Miranda Dress because YOLO.
Is it worth the price?
If we're talking about designer dresses, Poster Girl’s price points are pretty accessible. But as a normal person who is not a celebrity or model, $172.50 for a mesh dress doesn't exactly scream affordable.
Personally, I couldn't justify dropping $154 to $308 on a dress that's thinner than paper, will likely ride up and give me multiple nip slips. And while the longer I wore them the more I liked the way they looked, my frugal child-of-an-immigrant mindset will tell you to try and get one in the sale.
As for where to wear your Poster Girl dress? I'd consider an event where you're mostly sat down.