Collectif Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress 20

For several years, I have been a huge fan of vintage brand Collectif. I love their 40s and 50s style clothing and own a number of their items, including coats, tops, and dresses.

Shortly before Christmas, I was contacted by the Collectif team to ask if I would like to review something from their range and of course I jumped at the chance. My first thought was to go for a Dolores Doll dress, but I have already reviewed a number of these so I wanted to go for something a little different. I ended up picking the Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress (was £60.00, now £30.00; UK sizes 6-22):

Image courtesy of Collectif

I had previously tried on Georgina‘s Phyllis Doll Dress in Navy (also in size 20) and although I quite liked it I found it wasn’t the best look for me as the fabric wasn’t particularly stretchy and the cut didn’t really work. I initially ordered the Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress in sizes 16 and 18 but found there was nowhere near enough boob room in the 18 (although it fitted really well everywhere else) so I sized up to a 20.

Please note that in these photos I am wearing my Ewa Michalak PL Laguna bra 36K/80K and Briefs 16/44, some black shaping tights from Matalan, and some fab wide fit black lace patent stiletto heels from New Look.

The size 20 dress was pretty much spot on! I do find it to be a little baggy on the waist but as my boobs take up so much space in the top half of the dress it isn’t as much of a problem as it could have been.

I love the deep green colour of the dress, and the velvet fabric is very soft and touchable. It’s also very stretchy (97% polyester, 3% spandex), so I had no problem getting it to fit around my curves. There is a cute floral embroidery feature on the right front shoulder area, and this does a great job of breaking up the plain green velvet fabric.

The fabric is thick without feeling too much, and the three-quarter length sleeves work perfectly with the look of the dress. This is not a frock I’d wear in the middle of summer, but I think it would be ideal for evening events at any other time of year when temperatures are a little lower.

The wrapover bust is probably true to size, but as my boobs are 3 or 4 dress sizes larger than my waist I had to size up in order to get them decently covered. I’m glad I did – the size 20 fits well on the bust and I can adjust the wrapover to show as little or as much cleavage as I choose. I do find the wrapover moves itself quite a bit, so I would simply secure it with a safety pin if I was going for a less cleavage-y look.

I like how the back of the dress has a v-shaped neckline as it adds interest and stops the wearer overheating. There is a zip to fasten the dress but I found I was able to put on and take off the dress without having to use it. That’s always handy when you live alone like I do as there’s no-one to help with the zipper!

I am very impressed with the cut of the skirt. It’s hard to find a true ‘wiggle’ skirt when you have waist:hip proportions like mine, but the Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress is an absolute winner in this respect. The skirt hugs my backside and then skims down my hips and thighs to my knees. There is enough width at the bottom of the skirt – which comfortably covers my knees – for me to be able to walk comfortably but it’s cut neatly to not flare outwards. It’s the perfect pencil cut as far as I am concerned, and the stretchy fabric helps give that super fitted look.

For me, this is one of the best bodycon dresses I have ever tried, and the sumptuous fabric and classic design makes it a real winner. I highly recommend the Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress and I hope Collectif will bring it out in other colours in the future. I’d also like to see it in stretchy bengaline, which is a more suitable fabric for warmer weather, in a range of hues and prints.

Do you own any Collectif dresses? What do you think of the Phyllis Velvet Pencil Dress?



  1. Anonymous
    26 January 2015 / 23:19

    You are the epitome of a perfect woman. Curves in ALL the right places. You make this dress look a million dollars, I bet the brand adores you!! They should make this dress in red bengaline and have you model it on their website. You would break the internet from all the clicks. Perfection x

    • Anonymous
      27 January 2015 / 00:06

      Somebody's been dabbing in the hyperbole powder. No seriously, you look good.

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:01

      Thank you both for your kind words. I love this dress and it fits pretty well. If you're a regular reader of my blog you will have seen that I've reviewed a number of Collectif dresses over the years (bought with my own money), mostly Dolores Dolls, so it's great to find another option that works for me.

  2. Ilena
    26 January 2015 / 23:47

    I did not know Collectif make plus sizes. Now I know I will be buying this dress very soon. They look very nice on you. Thank you for this review on your blog and it's information. The company is making nice clothes for large women.

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:03

      Collectif make up to a size 22 at the moment, but who knows, they may expand their sizing in the future. And the Dolores Dolls are a very generous fit so those above size 22 are likely to find a smaller size works for them.

  3. wendybien
    27 January 2015 / 02:34

    Thanks for this review! I love the cut of this dress, and it is so tempting on sale, but I am wondering whether the fabric really looks as matte in person as it does in your photos? I was a bit disappointed by that… I feel like velvet looks best on me when it has a subtle sheen to it, like the Evans dress you reviewed just recently. I spent most of the 90s trying on and wistfully putting back all the stretch velvet dresses/vests/tops… Overly matte velvet on a larger garment looks "flat" to me, I prefer when the fabric accentuates the curves a bit more.

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:04

      Wendy, the velvet fabric does have a subtle sheen to it. It just wasn't picked up in my photos, which is a shame. It definitely accentuates the curves!

  4. Charli Stewart-Russon
    27 January 2015 / 19:06

    You look fab! Do you think this dress would work for the office? Or a wee bit too special for a business park on the edge of an industrial town? C xx

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:06

      Thanks Charli. I think this could work very well as a dress for the office, as long as the bust area gave you sufficient boob coverage. Most workplaces don't find a great display of cleavage terribly appropriate, so it would be worth bearing that in mind. Maybe a vest or cami underneath for modesty?

  5. Alice
    28 January 2015 / 10:26

    I adore you so much! I love the poses and the way you show things from all angles. My fave plus size/curvy (because tbh you are more curvy rather than plus size) blogger ever. A x

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:07

      Thank you Alice. Curvy is a shape not a size, and I am a plus sized curvy blogger, albeit on the smaller end of the plus size scale 🙂

  6. Geri
    28 January 2015 / 10:28

    Hi Caroline,I don't often comment but my GOODNESS I just had to on this! You are a knockout, I am so pleased you've found a wiggle dress that shows off your incredible curvy proportions. I will be eyeing up the plus size goodies on the Collectif website once I have wiped the drool off my keyboard!

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:07

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Geri. Hope you managed to place an order with Collectif – I love their clothes!

  7. Anonymous
    28 January 2015 / 10:29

    I luv ur blog! It has helped me so much. I hope you keep posting reviews, thank you.

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:08

      Thank you very much. I do try to show a range of clothing styles on my blog so that my posts are useful for as many women as possible.

  8. Pink Haired Princess
    28 January 2015 / 20:42

    Oooh I've been eyeing loads on their site recently. This looks lovely.

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:09

      This really is a lovely dress and I hope you decide to try it!

    28 January 2015 / 21:11

    You look spectacular! xxx

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:09

      Thanks love – you can always tell when I love something as I post way too many photos! I just couldn't pick out my favourites so I went with them all 🙂

  10. Joanne Doddington
    31 January 2015 / 00:27

    Wow your curves are showcased beautifully by this dress. I wish I looked as good as you! You have tempted me to buy this though based on your review and I hope I look even half as fantastic as you do. Your blog has helped me have a wardrobe overflowing with a whole range of plus size frocks – my boyfriend thinks I should stop reading but I never will!!! x

    • Curvy Wordy
      8 February 2015 / 13:10

      Thanks Joanne – I do hope you went ahead and bought this dress. I bet it looks amazing on you. And I hope you ignore your boyfriend and keep reading my blog 😉

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