Collectif Dolores Doll ‘English Rose’ Dress

In Autumn 2012 I tried my first Collectif Dolores Doll Dress – the polka dot in navy.  I absolutely adored it and was instantly hooked!

I’ve tried several more since, and I’ve only blogged about a handful of them.  So this post is a review of one of my new Dolores Doll dresses.

Did you know that Collectif have an eBay page where they sell off a variety of different items?  Some of the listings are old stock that is on special offer, some is regular stock and then there are the gems.  Sample items made as one-offs which one can only assume are made up with a view to be put into mass production for the new season.  And I guess too that some of them don’t make the cut…but regardless, you could own a unique Collectif item, even if it’s just until the new range comes out.

In late November I found a dress that made me gasp.  And I whooped with joy when I saw it was available at a bargain Buy It Now price so I purchased that dress just as fast as I could.

And when it arrived, it was everything I’d hoped for.

Do you love the print as much as me?  I think it is absolutely stunning.  Simple, delicate, feminine and HEAVENLY.  If I was being really fussy I’d say I would like a bit of green foliage for contrast but still, this is lovely exactly as it is.  The bright white background is vibrantly illuminated behind the gorgeous red rose print.  I feel so girly and romantic in this dress!

This dress is a size 10/Small so it’s a size down from the navy polka dot version of the Dolores Doll (I got that in 12/Medium) but as you can see from the photos it fits my waist nicely.  It is a smidge tight on the boobs though, but all that does is enhance my cleavage, which is no bad thing in my book!  Thankfully the fabric is 98% cotton and 2% elastane so the touch of stretch allows for a superb fit.

As with my other Dolores Dolls, the length on this dress is perfect for me.  I am around 5’4 and it comes to just above mid calf.  I am not a fan of my legs at all so the more I can cover them up, the better.  This dress does exactly that but without looking frumpy or old-fashioned.

The sleeves are elasticated along both sides, which means they can be worn off the shoulder if wished.  This isn’t an option for me as I’ll always need to wear a bra but it’s a good option for those who can.  The sleeves do tend to move about a little bit at first on my shoulders but they soon settle down and if I’m wearing a bolero then I hardly notice them at all.

The dress fastens at the back with a zip.  I found it a bit tricky to get used to at first – I live alone so don’t have anyone on hand to help me!  And I’m used to jersey dresses that I yank on over my head…but with a bit of practice I soon got the hang of the zip.  I undo it all the way, step into the dress with the zip at the front and zip to just below the waist.  I then twist the dress around so it’s the right way (in the same way as some of you put on your bras), do the zip up my back as far as I can, before reaching from above and pulling the zip up.  Sometimes I have to push it up with my other hand just to get started on that last bit. Does that make sense?

For ultimate ease I think these dresses could do with a single hook and eye at the top of the zip, which would hold the dress together and makes for easier fastening.  I may yet install one myself.

I love the fact that this dress fits me very nicely without a belt.  I don’t always want to have to add one but it’s nice to have the option to do so.  Naturally I had to see what the dress looked like with my favourite red belt…

I got this red patent belt from eBay USA and although I had to pay a fair bit in terms of shipping as I was buying something from across the pond, I think the overall cost was worth it as the best is real leather.  To get the best possible value for the shipping fee I got the same belt in black, blue and white!  It’s a size S/M, which fits my 29-30* waist very nicely.

And what about a bolero/shrug?  Well, I firstly went for something a bit different:

What do you think?  There’s a huge trend at the moment for mixing prints and I can’t quite decide if my red and black leopard print shrug looks ok enough with this dress.  I think it does…but perhaps the question should be whether or not I am brave enough to wear this combination out of the house!

So, my fall-back would be a plain red bolero, of course:

Simple but effective.  The shrug will help to keep my shoulders warm and offer a bit of coverage.  It also means I don’t have to worry about those elasticated shoulders moving around and showing my bra straps.

The vast majority of my shrugs come from Excite Clothing.  They do them in straight sizes and plus sizes so there should be something to suit most people.  Shrugs are so versatile and can really change the look of any outfit.  One thing I’d like, though, are some shrugs that are a little more formal but without sparkles or glitter or whatever.  Just something nice and plain like this but perhaps made from a nicer material than this basic jersey, which is great for everyday and more relaxed occasions but wouldn’t be suitable for a posh event.

Red can be a tricky colour to match, which is why I am wearing nude heels for these pics.  However, I can’t wear these heels much in real life as I struggle to walk in them so I threw on something more comfortable for a few shots.

I know these shoes are not as sexy as the killer heels but they were heaven to put on after those skyscrapers!!  I would happily wear these Mary Janes from Simply Be all day and remain in comfort.

This dress does not have a name, seeing as it was made as a sample.  What would you call it?  I have named it ‘English Rose’ for the purposes of this blog post, and the name has definitely grown on me whilst writing.  Can you think of something more apt?

The Dolores Doll ‘English Rose’ dress is quite simply one of the most stunning garments I have seen in a long time.  It is a firm favourite in my wardrobe and I am longing for better weather so I can get the chance to wear it.  I love the fact that this is most likely the only dress like this in existence, although this could of course change when Collectif bring out their latest collection.  What do you think of this dress?  Would you buy it if it was available on the Collectif site?



  1. Mrs D.
    24 January 2013 / 21:57

    Oooh the print on this is beautiful! And you look beautiful in it as always 🙂 xx

    • Curvy Wordy
      25 January 2013 / 01:35

      Thank you <3 It is such a lovely dress x

  2. Laura (DT)
    24 January 2013 / 22:28

    The dress is beautiful! I have a question, though — I'm seeing that their general sizing says that a size 10 goes for a 28" waist, but this seems to fit your 29" waist fine. Do you think that's a general rule for their dresses? I'm a 31" waist, and so I've been looking at the dresses that come in a 14 to accommodate a 32" waist. Do you think that'd be baggy/too big? Should I be looking at 12s?

    • Curvy Wordy
      25 January 2013 / 01:38

      The Dolores Doll dresses are definitely a generous fit. I have tried other styles and they fit differently, even the Dolores wiggle dresses (which I can't get to work for me, sadly). I would recommend that you go for a size 12 Dolores Doll as it's likely the 14 will be too big on you (although please note this is just a suggestion and you must make the final decision!). Maybe try getting one from somewhere cheap to try for size? It should be reasonably easy to resell if it doesn't work x

  3. Juliette M
    24 January 2013 / 22:28

    I love anything with roses and would definitely buy that it if Collectif brought it out. (HOPES) I love it! I need to get my head round their sizing. I bought a 22 on ebay but it is WAY too big for me. At least 4 inches in bust and waist! I am 46-42-50 so I thought it would be OK – I am 20-22 in a lot of stores. My tip for those Excite shrugs, which I also love: they are 100% cotton, so I have bought some which I know will match certain dresses, but I have also bought a lot of white ones and dyed them to match. Dylon Machine dye is what I use. I do unpick the Excite label from the neck/back once dyed, though, as the polyester cotton which is used to sew on the label remains white.

    • Curvy Wordy
      25 January 2013 / 01:41

      It's only the Dolores Doll dresses that come up larger, in my experience so far at least. If the 22 was much too big on you, perhaps you should try an 18 next time? You can often find cheapish ones on eBay so could be worth just trying one for size.And so funny you mention dyeing – I have posted about dyeing before! I love it and have dyed many a dress in order to give me more wardrobe options. I have even considered buying a Dolores Doll and dyeing it!

  4. Jessica Marie
    25 January 2013 / 01:31

    That rose print one looks STUNNING on you! I would absolutely buy it if it was available on the site! I currently have my eye on the Violet dress, but it has no stretch. I do have a couple of questions, though – How do you think the Dolores measures up in terms of sizing? The cut looks fantastic, but the Collectif size chart doesn't have any measurements, so I have no idea what size I'd be (postage to Australia is about £13 so I want to get it right). Had I not seen your post, I would have gone for a 14 to accommodate my bust, maybe a 12, but your post makes me think I might need a 10 (we have roughly the same waist measurement, but my bust is 32H).

    • Curvy Wordy
      25 January 2013 / 01:44

      Thanks Jessica! You never know if it might become available one day…The Dolores Doll dresses definitely come up generously. Do bear in mind that the sizing is different to the Dolores wiggle dresses. You can buy Collectif from various places in Australia, just do a search on eBay and I'm sure you'll come up with some options. I think a size 10 would be good on you – I currently wear 30KK (should be 30L) bras so the 10 will have plenty of bust room for you.

  5. Anonymous
    26 January 2013 / 23:07

    Just wanted to say, you look so good it's almost illegal. Oh my god!

    • Curvy Wordy
      27 January 2013 / 10:28

      Hehe thank you 🙂

  6. phillip walsh
    10 February 2013 / 21:52

    You always look so amazing and have lovely feedback, big fan.

    • Curvy Wordy
      10 February 2013 / 22:22

      Thanks Phillip! I try to write posts that are useful to others so it's great to hear back from my readers.

  7. Audrey
    21 February 2013 / 08:35

    Magnifique !

    • Curvy Wordy
      21 February 2013 / 13:04

      Thank you – it really is a stunning dress.

  8. Unknown
    7 March 2013 / 05:17

    Gorgeous. Already that pattern isn't available on the website. Do you happen to remember which bra you were wearing in the photographs of yourself in the polka dot dress?

    • Curvy Wordy
      14 September 2013 / 19:07

      Sorry – the photo was taken so long ago that I can't remember exactly which one it was but it would have definitely been an Ewa Michalak PL bra 🙂

  9. Cynthia
    7 March 2013 / 05:19

    The polka dot version seems to already be gone. Do you happen to recall which bra you were wearing under that dress? It looks fabulous.

    • Curvy Wordy
      14 September 2013 / 19:07

      Sorry – the photo was taken so long ago that I can't remember exactly which one it was but it would have definitely been an Ewa Michalak PL bra 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    1 August 2013 / 23:21

    Shes pretty as is her cleavage of her big bosom put on display in that lovely floral dress that she fill out nicely. A pity women are not as smart as they were back in the sixties and earlier where they didnt make trouble for men who complimented there bosom,cleavage and rears.

    • Curvy Wordy
      14 September 2013 / 19:13

      I think throughout history women have been angered by lewd comments from men. Men make trouble for themselves by behaving in such a way.

  11. Anonymous
    5 May 2016 / 13:59

    Good lord woman, you rock!

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