The Model and Me: Country Road spring-summer 2011

Nikki Parkinson The Model and Me 59 Comments

The Model and Me: Ever looked at a model wearing an item of clothing that appeals to you and dismissed the purchase out of hand?  Yep, me too.  Well, I’m here to tell you that you SHOULD get into that change room and give the object of your desire a try.  You may not look like the model (I don’t, I’m a size 14), but you never know, it just may look right for you.

Welcome back to The Model and Me for a new fashion season.  One that I’m really excited about.

Stop laughing.

I know I start frothing at the mouth at the start of every fashion season (a bit because I start to reach the boredom threshold in my wardrobe, conveniently around the same time as the weather changes) but this spring, I’m REALLY excited.

I talked up the colour excitement in this post where I previewed the new Country Road collection but I withheld the image below from you.  If you’re a Country Road fan, you’ve probably already seen it.

It’s the hero shot of the new-season.

This green colour-blocked striped maxi dress is just calling out for a long lunch with my girlies or a summer barbecue with friends.  Well, it was calling out to me when I first laid eyes on it online.  It called out to me to ring my local store and have it put aside.

And I’m very glad I did – and that dresses have the power of speech.

Because, as you know, I don’t look like the gorgeous model but this is one dress that I knew would work for me – and I know it could work for so many of you.

Just a few styling tips for you first.

There is actually a lot of volume in the fabric of this dress.  And, as is the case with a lot of voluminous pieces I buy, I’ll always try on the smaller sizes as well as my regular size to see what actually suits best.

Often I’ll find that the dress or top actually looks better one or two sizes down.  That was definitely the case with this dress.  Normally I’d buy size L but it was the Size S that I brought home with me.

Going down in size does make the length shorter and it also makes the neckline less plunging.  Happy on both counts here.

A dress with a built in tie and loops doesn’t always look great on me.  And by doesn’t really look great I mean makes me look like a raw sausage tied around the middle with a piece of string.  It’s not so much the curves doing their thing, it’s the fact I’m not long in the waist and the ties rarely sit in the right place to be flattering. When they sit just above my ample hips, well, they just make my hips look more ample.

The simple solution here was for me to take off the rope tie and replace it with a loosely tied leather plait belt.  I’ll also wear the dress in summer with flats without a tie or belt.

To get me through till spring hits for real, a denim jacket is an easy add-on.

Here is the model wearing the Country Road stripe maxi dress ($149):

Country Road spring 2011 stripe maxi dress $149

Country Road stripe maxi dress $149

And here is me:

My style take on the Country Road stripe maxi dress

My style take on the Country Road stripe maxi dress

Outfit:  Country Road stripe maxi dress; Jag denim jacket – from nine years ago; Country plaited leather belt – from two years ago; wYse bodywear scarf – from two years ago;  coolbabycool bracelet (black); Wild Poppy Designs bracelet (silver);  Jewels of the Kimberley ring; Country Road platform sandals – from three years ago.

Who’s excited that the maxi dress is still around this spring-summer?  


  • Jo Evans

    Oh my, I just found your blog, CR is my fav shop. I adored ths dress but didn’t try it on due to horizontal strips , I am your size too, thought It would not be flattering. You rocked the look and I would have purchased for sure.
    Now following you for future tips

  • Cindy Rhodes

    Wonderful!!! I, just yesterday, talked myself out of buying that exact dress because the model was so skinny. You said there is heaps of volume which gives me hope, but is there elastic in the waist where the belt is meant to be? Not really corporate style on any occasion.

  • I love this dress, and put it on my wish list when my CR email arrived. I am hoping it will not swallow me up though with the volume of it. Best go in the store and try one on.

    • Yes, do try on Naomi. I went down two sizes and a client I shopped with on Friday bought the dress in x-small. She’s normally a 8-10.

  • I love how you do this, Nikki. It’s such a wonderful thing. If I was a fashion company I would pay 10 ‘real women’ to do a post exactly like this one. It would sell a dress faster than any model IMO. x

    • Now that is a great idea – imagine being able to show the same dress on every size and a range of heights?! Genius Bron. Now if only you were in charge of the marketing department of a fashion company!!

  • LOVE it! I bought a dress the other day which had belt loops, and a tie belt. They were in such an odd place though, halfway between waist and under bust. Snip!

  • Awwww you look really cute in that dress. How thin is their model? Definitely not your avrage body type…

  • Gorgeous dress – looks great!

  • I love how you’ve styled this dress. I bet you’ll wear it a lot too! I also fell in love with the stripey fabric and bought the T-shirt in similar colours from CR. I have worn it lots (while on hols in the USA summer heat) and I have had SO many compliments! CR is doing something right this season!

    • They’re definitely on the money with their colour and designs this season!

  • You look fab 🙂 I love maxi dresses – I layer them, they make me feel cool and good for sensitive skin too. And I feel tall!

    • They would be great for you – and the fabric in this one is soft. x

      • No more clothes til NYC! (My reminder from you ;))

  • Very nice Nikki! Can’t wait for Spring…it’s my favourite season 🙂

  • Meg

    Hi Nikki

    I tried this dress on last week in the xxs – I am 158cm and curvy. It looked hideous, even the Country Road sales assistant advised me against buying it, I think this dress is for those of you who are taller. I wear a lot of maxi dresses unfortunately this one wasn’t for me, even though I love the colours. I will buy the top in the same fabric because the colours are just gorgeous!

    • Glad you were able to get the top for a burst of spring colour!

    • k

      How fab that the shop assistant was honest and sensible enough to tell you it didn’t work for you – I LOVE sales assistants that do that, I ma more likely to buy from them becase I trust them.

  • Sarah

    I have been eyeing this one off too! But here is a question: could you do it 6-9 months pregnant? You said there is heaps of volume which gives me hope, but is there elastic in the waist where the belt is meant to be?

    • It would definitely work, once you take off the rope, there’s nothing there – free flowing and lovely and cool while pregnant in summer!

      • Sarah

        Buying it tonight then! Thanks Nikki!

  • I never thought I would like maxi dresses until I tried one on. And guess what, they look GREAT on a size 14 like me!!! GO THE MAXI DRESS!!! I haven’t worn one to work yet though – seem too casual for an office job. Or maybe Nikki you could show us how to style it for the office (hint hint) …

    • Fantastic – another convert! Now, re office style. That really depends on the office. If it’s creative, then go for it – just add a blazer. Not really corporate style on any occasion.

  • Steph

    Hi Nikki,

    You look fantastic in the dress.
    I’ve been a little afraid of maxi dresses but will definitely be wearing them this summer – your hint on trying a size or two smaller is a great one.

    Thank you for again opening my mind!


    • That’s great to hear, Steph! They really are summer’s go-to outfit!

  • I, just yesterday, talked myself out of buying that exact dress because the model was so skinny. I just assumed Id look like a string of pork sausages in it. Thanks for a great post – I will be trying it on tomorrow and hopefully spoiling myself with a long-overdue pressie!!

    • Try it on and try on sizes smaller than you normally would. That’s the idea of these posts to get everyone thinking outside the square – or the model – on their clothes purchases.

  • PS Plan to colour block this with my navy David Lawrence skirt
    1/2 Sleeve T-Shirt Orange

    • Nice. I’m going to colour-block my way through spring and summer till someone says stop.

  • Country Road sponsor this blog. You know she’s worth it.

    • I’ve had an addiction to CR since my first year at uni when I bought my first tote bag.

  • Yay I can finally see the picture. Love the maxi but haven’t taken the plunge myself yet. You’re inspiring me Nikki!

  • I love that dress and you look gorgeous in it. I love it so much it arrived on my doorstep this morning 🙂 I also have those shoes but it will be my 5 year old midas wedges ill be pulling out to wear with it I think. Verypleased that the maxi is back for spring & summer!

    • That is very, very cool. Love that the maxi is back and that the wedge has not gone away!

  • Love this post Nikki! I loved this dress when I saw the catalogue, you have inspired me to go try it on! xx

    • Fantastic! Just try down a size or two. Which is not such a bad thing 😉

  • Jacqui

    You and the dress look great Nikki. I am on the hunt for a go to maxi this summer. I am always a bit chicken though to go bold prints as I think “what if I gown out and see someone else in the same dress?” which freaks me a bit so I go a solid colour. This is probably an issue I need to get over though!

    • Haha, I suspect, I’ll see a lot of people in this dress! I’m not normally a brights girl but I’m coming round!

  • I love CR and you’re rocking it there with the denim jacket and scarf (of course;)

  • Amy

    You look fantastic! Those colours are really working for you!!!

    I like the horizontal stripe in a looser fitting garment as apposed to a tighter one. And the spacing is perfect on this!


    • Thanks Amy, it is a winner in my books! And that horizontal spacing thing can create an illusion – especially in a garment like this when the stripes are all different widths.

  • Wow – I’d never have looked at that dress until I saw it on you. I can’t do horizontal stripes. Couldn’t. Maybe. But I must ask – what sort of, er, undergarment are you working with that. Strapless? Halter neck? I shy away from that kind of stuff now because I can never work out what to put underneath! Sad but true.

    • Horizontal stripes don’t necessarily widen, the can create an optical illusion of the opposite. So, glad you asked the bra question. I’m actually wearing a regular bra with the straps “pushed” under the top of the dress.