First impressions were that it is a lovely colour, slightly more olive than khaki, with subtle small polkadots in white. The fabric is a very light cotton, definitely what I would term 'summer weight' for the UK, despite having three-quarter length sleeves. The flower buttons really are a sweet touch.
In terms of fit, on the shoulders and across my bust the dress was snug but with ample ease. The waist seemed excessively large though, and without a belt or sash to nip it in, it just seemed to add a few pounds to my frame. I was confused, so I re-checked the size chart and then took out my tape measure. I found that although the size chart says a size 12 has a 30" waist, the waist on the Molly dress actually measures 16 and a half inches across flat, which makes it a waist of 33 inches - a whopping 3 inches more than it should be. This explained, coupled with the boxy sleeves perhaps, why I felt more frumpy than starlet in this dress. Customer service said that they'd helped quite a few customers exchange the dress for a smaller size, which puzzled me, as that kind of information should be on the website in the garment description, surely?
I was ready to love this dress, having debated purchasing it for most of 2015, but the more I then looked at it, the more I found to quibble over. Length wise, it's just below the knee on me, but that feels a bit more '40s to me than the 1950s style intended. I also inspected the seams and buttonholes thoroughly and found quite a few loose threads waving about, and wasn't quite happy with the way the darts sat on my bust either.
The Molly dress was originally priced at £75, which is fairly steep in my mind for a simple cotton day dress. I snapped it up at £37.50 in the sale (it was the free postage that finally caused me to press 'add to cart'), but even at that price, there are too many issues. I tried it with a belt but it just didn't look right with the nice buttons down the front. The final straw was that my husband looked at me in horror when I said it had cost £40, and advised me that it looked like it was from a much cheaper brand, rather than being a quality, British-made item.
My verdict: Return! As well as all the issues mentioned above, I was left a bit disappointed with the realisation that it wouldn't work across many seasons unless you layered it substantially with slips, knitwear and thick stockings/tights. I think I can put my best part of £40 to better use elsewhere.
The Molly dress is still available in the Tara Starlet sale section in khaki, black, and burnt orange, and was at £37.50 at the time of writing this.
For those of you that were following Tara Starlet's response to my review of the Bow Bodice top, I have an update for you. Despite my youtube video showing the issue with the cups, customer services finally responded with this:
"We did have a look at the top you sent back and unfortunately we couldn't identify a fault."
So there you go, that's their final answer, but it's certainly not my last word. I'm currently awaiting a response from their head of production over the issue of the waist sizing being too big on the Molly dress and will report back as soon as I've heard anything!