I wore the Grand National Style Award winning dress and I felt like a film star – Bethan Shufflebotham

Occasion season is fast approaching which means many of us are on the lookout for a new dress to wear to weddings, races, proms and events this summer. And since I’m still carrying some lockdown weight, I wanted to find something that made me both comfortable and confident with my new body shape.

When I spotted Donna Mulligan wearing this classy red Karen Millen dress on Ladies Day at Aintree at the beginning of the month, I knew it was ‘the one’.

the caped number helped the 39-year-old beat hundreds of competitors and take the coveted Style Award title at the Grand National Festival 2022, and it’s easy to see why.

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Donna styled the dress with heels from Holly Willoughby favorite LK Bennett and a hat she’d brought only two days before the big event, and looked absolutely stunning in her get up.

The cost of the dress was more than covered with Donna’s £5,000 cash prize money, alongside a £500 Never Fully Dressed/£300 House of Cavani voucher, a spa break and more.

At the time, Donna told Liverpool Echo: “I didn’t think there was any chance of winning, [I] just loved getting a nice dress and a nice hat and [dressing] up for the occasion and enjoy the racing so this is just unbelievable.”

I wore the £325 dresses to the opening night of Bat Out Of Hell the Musical at The Regent Theatre, in Stoke-on-Trent, and while a little overdressed, I felt like a million dollars.

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The dress is comfortable to wear and gives an immense confidence boost

The Karen Millen number comes in a vibrant red shade, or black for a slightly more subtle but equally striking look, and is currently on sale for £228 – almost a third off the retail price.

The maxi dress comes to the ankle with heels, and features an in-built cape that felt very fitting for the ‘bat’ part of the musical. The V-neckline is somewhat daring but modest, with a split hem to show a little, but not too much, leg.

I styled my dress with some more affordable suedette heels from Primark, a glittery black clutch I’ve had for a decade, and some gold jewelery, including a name necklace from Love Islander Olivia Bowen’s Abbott Lyon collection.

The back of the dress is just as stunning with the cape feature
The back of the dress is just as stunning with the cape feature

Made with viscose and elastane, it has a polyester lining and has quite a bit of weight to it. It is dry clean only, so I only hoped I didn’t spill a glass of wine down myself in the bar.

As I walked past more than 40 Harley Davidson motorcycles onto the orange carpet, I felt like a celebrity at a movie premiere, or like I was a guest at the Oscars.

The cape element of the dress looks incredible in photos, and really makes a statement. It comes over the shoulders to offer just a glimpse of the arms, but a ‘hand on hip’ pose really adds some drama to the look.

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Stairs can be a little tricky with the cape, as can slipping past people in a row of chairs to get to your seat. You definitely need a partner or a friend to give you a hand, as it’s quite easy to stand on and trip yourself up, which isn’t quite as elegant as simply standing in the chic Karen Millen number.

The shapes this dress can create, though – with thanks to the flexible cape – is dazzling. And despite being quite bold, it’s a versatile piece that would lend itself perfectly as a wedding guest outfit, leaver’s ball, graduation or, like Donna, a day at the races.

This sultry dress is on sale in both red and black for £228 on the Karen Millen website here.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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