For some time now, I have been wondering if I should invest in a circle/swing dress. I have been wearing bodycon-type dresses which follow my curves and show the shape of my figure, but I have always been drawn to the feminine and fun look of a circle/swing dress.
Back in April this year, I was lucky enough to try on some of Georgina‘s Pin Up Girl Clothing Heidi dresses.
I really liked them but was disappointed with how tight they were on my boobs and yet big on the waist (a common problem for me!). I decided that circle/swing dresses were not for me – for the time being, at least.
Funnily enough, it was in Georgina’s company that I gave circle/swing dresses a serious try again. I had met up with her in London after a work meeting and convinced her to take me to Collectif in Covent Garden.
Image courtesy of Collectif
I had never had the pleasure of visiting a Collectif store before, and had only been to vintage-style clothing shops once before with my friend Camilla when I was in Leeds recently. We visited a wonderful shop called Memphis Belle where we tried on Collectif dresses (over our clothes as there was no changing room so it was hard to tell if they fitted properly) and I ended up buying this fab ruched waist belt for only £6.99!
I am keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll get it in various colours too – it’s brilliant!
If you’re ever in Leeds I would thoroughly recommend popping into Memphis Belle. The two ladies who run the store – Bev and Libby – are simply wonderful and will do all they can to help and advise you.
Please excuse me; I digress. Collectif sells a range of “40s and 50s inspired dresses, accessories and more, as worn by rockabilly dolls, pin up princesses and psycho bitches worldwide.” (I guess I would fit into the last category…)
Their clothing is TO DIE FOR. The dresses are stunning, as are the tops, dresses, coats and everything else they sell.
Georgina and I arrived at the store at Covent Garden with only around 15 minutes before closing, but the lovely lady on duty welcomed us in and did not make us feel rushed at all.
We browsed the store for a few minutes before I discovered the Dolores Doll Polka Dot Dress.
Image courtesy of Collectif
I had no idea what size I’d need but on closer inspection I made a judgement based on how big the waists looked and took a 12 and 14 to the changing room to try on.
After a swift try on I immediately dispatched with the 14 and had a go with the navy blue 12. I gasped as I found I could easily zip the dress up and it felt like it fitted me like a glove around the middle but also well on my boobs. The fabric is cotton but has some stretch to it so is ideal for fitting those whose bodies go in and out dramatically like mine.
Georgina very kindly lent me her belt so I could get an idea of what this dress might look like with one and here are some pictures she took on my phone instore (please excuse the crazy reflection in my eyes – I was possessed by Dolores!!):
I could not believe how wonderful I felt in this dress! It comes up fairly long on me – which I like as I am not a fan of showing my legs if I can help it (I used to live in maxis) – and the bottom hem rested around mid-calf. I am wearing slouchy boots in this pic, which probably isn’t the best thing to put with such a beautiful dress, but they were all I had at the time.
This dress is fairly pricy – £50 – and I had to think long and hard before buying it but in the end I decided that it was worth every penny. I was anxious as I stood at the counter to pay for it but after I walked out of the shop with it safely in my bag I knew I’d made the right decision.
When I got home I couldn’t wait to take some more pics so I could get a better impression of how the dress looked.
I feel so girly in this dress! Georgina suggested teaming it with either black or red accessories so I gave that a go too.
I love how well the red and navy work together – Georgina was of course absolutely right. I like the option of being able to add a shrug if I want to cover my arms or if the weather is a little cooler (as it tends to be at this time of year). And it feels wonderful to wear something other than black!
Last week I attended a couple of press events with two lovely ladies – Becky from The Ramblings of Mrs BeBe and Hanna from The Wardrobe Challenge. We had a lot of fun together and, with the help of several glasses of champagne, Becky and I celebrated our love of The House of Eliott by dressing up in some silly hats and posing for a photo.
My dress got all sorts of compliments from the various people at the events we attended and I felt very special indeed. Later on, Hanna was kind enough to take some photos of me to show my lovely Collectif Dolores Doll Polka Dot Dress in all its glory.
Hanna is such a good (and patient) photographer!
I cannot wait to get my hands on more Dolores dresses – I really am in love with the gorgeous shape, quality of fabric and patterns available. They are available in wiggle styles as well as circle/swing as I have here. My quandary is whether or not the wiggle dress would fit my backside in a 12 but I guess I will only know if I take the plunge and order some.
Collectif are very generous with their sales and often have 50% or more off many items so do keep an eye on their website, follow them on Twitter and become a fan of their Facebook page to keep up with the latest news.