Clara Oswald’s Alice MaCall Sea Rose Dress from Listen

Item: Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress
Appearance: Listen
Combined with: Urban Outfitters Pins & Needles Double-Breasted Blazer, Kurt Geiger Gossip Heels, Topshop Cut Out Diamond Ring, Topshop Hollow Circle Ring, Reiss Marissa Green Skull Embellished Brooch, House of Harlow 1960 Gold & Blackened Arrowhead Earrings, Coast Clutch, Topshop Initial Charm Bangle (Freedom Line).

Original Retail Price: £490
Materials: 100% rayon, lining: 100% cotton

A part of me still can’t believe I actually own this dress. I think this dress, along with the green Topshop Mac and other rare items, is something like the holy grail for Clara cosplayers and since it’s extremely expensive and rare, I never thought I’d own it one day. Even if I could find one, I just didn’t think I could justify spending that amount of money on a dress I would never wear outside of cosplay. I didn’t even dare to put it on my ISO because I didn’t think this would happen.

Luckily for me, a friend of mine sold this dress in my size for just around £120 because a button on the back was missing. Still, I debated with myself because that is a lot of money for a dress that would live in a protective bag 99% of the time. As you can see from the photos, I ended up buying it and almost went mad because it was stuck in customs for almost 2 weeks (my theory is that everyone there tried it on). But it arrived safely and I couldn’t be happier.

Like I said, this dress is one of the rarer ones even though it might not be as rare as some other items. Since I got into cosplaying Clara, it popped up on Depop maybe every 6-8 months or so? So it’s rare, but it does exist. I think the rarity of this item is due to being from a rather unknown Australian designer and it probably hasn’t been produced in a big quantity. Because it had a high retail price of around £490 (according to ASOS), it’s one of Clara’s more expensive items. I wonder how a teacher can afford a London flat and designer clothes. Did they take any more from the bank of Karabraxos that we didn’t see? Anyway, if you’re after the holy grail, you should expect to pay a little more simply because of the high retail price and the rarity.

If you’ve got an eye on this dress, you probably want to know about the sizing. I got mine in my regular size and it fits me nicely, but it does have a pretty tight waist as you can see on Clara, so if you’re somewhere in between sizes, sizing up would probably be the better option if you’re fond of breathing.

Another thing about this dress is that it is incredibly short. I know, I say that about many Clara items, but it’s really, really short, especially on the sides. ASOS has a video of it on their website and you can see how the cut-out work leaves a nice view on the legs. I’m not actually brave enough to wear this out without tights and I’m only 1.63m in height. No wonder the Doctor always stole Clara away from her dates with Danny (sorry, the Whouffaldi shipper in me came through).

Something that surprised me was the fabric this dress is made of. Because it’s from a very expensive designer brand, I had expected high-quality fabrics, but to my surprise, the dress doesn’t necessarily have a very nice feel to it. It doesn’t look like it on Clara, maybe because most of the episode was quite dark, but you can see it a bit in the original product photos that it has a sort of plastic look to it and it feels a little like a water-resistant jacket (while not actually being water-resistant).

Another thing that might be of importance is that any normal bra will most definitely show under this dress. Even a strapless, tan bra can be seen. Luckily, I used to work for the European mainland equivalent of Victoria’s Secret (Hunkemoller), so I know all the little tricks you can apply on a dress like this one. If you have a smaller cup size (I think this might work up until a D-Cup), you can buy a stick-on bra. You can get them from Hunkemoller and probably VS, too, but these are very expensive and the same thing can be found on eBay for a lot less (I think it starts at £5). Wish will be even cheaper. The quality might not be as good, but you won’t be wearing it on a daily basis anyway, so a cheaper one will do. These stick-on bras are, like the name says, glued to your skin. After use, they can be washed and re-used if stored properly. An alternative for bigger cup sizes is a nifty, little thing called “low-back straps”. They are silicon, see-through straps that are hooked into the ends of your bra, pulled down, crossed over your lower back and hooked together over your belly. However, these only work when the bra is worn with straps. You will have to try and hide those under the dress somehow or use silicon straps. I can’t say for certain that this option will make your bra invisible under the dress and it’s a bit more complicated, so a stick-on bra is definitely the better solution for this dress. You can also use that for Clara’s red The Kooples dress and her The Caretaker Burgundy Panel blouse.

Fun fact: you can still see a tiny little edge of my stick-on bra under the Listen dress. That’s how revealing it is. Clara, was it your intention to give both Danny and the Doctor a heart attack?

The outer shell of the dress is 100% rayon and the lining 100% cotton.

Regardless of that, the dress is an utterly gorgeous piece and so far I really haven’t regretted the purchase even though my bank account was crying. The cut-out work is beautiful and the dress is definitely something very special that will draw the attention at every dinner party (*cough* cause I attend so many of those *cough*).

A while ago, a fellow Clara cosplayer and I were talking about this dress and we figured out something no one had previously noticed. There are two versions of this dress. One with additional cut-outs and one without. In my photos, you can see that the dress has 4 cut-out parts on the skirt. There are versions of this dress where only the lower two are cut out and the rest of the dress is solid. We spent a long time comparing and other than that, the dresses are identical. Clara is wearing the one with fewer cut-outs in the episode.

Clara Oswald's Listen outfit featuring the Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress and Urban Outfitters Pins & Needles Double Breasted Blazer

Clara Oswald’s Listen outfit featuring the Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress and Urban Outfitters Pins & Needles Double Breasted Blazer

Clara Oswald's Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress that she wore in Listen

Clara Oswald’s Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress that she wore in Listen

A closer look at the beautiful cut-out work

A closer look at the beautiful cut-out work

The side view of the Alice McCall dress is also magnificent, but it requires a flesh-coloured stick-on bra

The side view of the Alice McCall dress is also magnificent, but it requires a flesh-coloured stick-on bra

More cut-outs at the seam, although the upper parts aren't cut out on the SA dress

More cut-outs at the seam, although the upper parts aren’t cut out on the SA dress

Back view of Clara Oswald's Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress

Back view of Clara Oswald’s Alice McCall Sea Rose Dress

A closer look at the shoulder cut-outs

A closer look at the shoulder cut-outs

The highlighted parts are the ones not cut out in the SA dress, but apart from that, the dresses are identical

The highlighted parts are the ones not cut out in the SA dress, but apart from that, the dresses are identical

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