Given my penchant for fruit print anything (evidenced here), you can imagine my delight when this Strawberry Print Wing Bust Dress arrived on my doorstep for review from Collectif Clothing! I tore at the packaging like a vintage-loving gal possessed and was completely giddy at the sight of the charming strawberry fields within.
And ohhh she was pretty. As a vintage collectress, I can be pretty picky when it comes to my reproduction or vintage-inspired clothing. But, I do like to have a mix in my wardrobe of both true vintage and modern dresses with a vintage flair. Reproduction definitely draws inspiration from those bygone eras we love, but tends to carry more modern sizes (there’s nothing more devastating than the perfect vintage dress that doesn’t fit) that comes in a range of fabrics. They’re also (sometimes) machine washable and not as delicate as that 1950’s chiffon ballgown might be (as much as we love those 1950’s chiffon ballgowns).
So I was pretty eager to take this beauty for a test drive – rated in terms of fit, fabric, features, and of course, twirlability. It was my first dress from Collectif and I was really excited to see if they would be added to my list of trusted vintage-inspired retailers!
The Fit (& Flare)
Ever since I learned to sew, I’ve always been a stickler for fit. I have a hard time not messing with things that don’t fit me perfectly – Hence why my sewing room is piled high with items that “just needle a nip here, a tuck there” that I honestly believe I’ll get to someday. (I’ll file that under the lies we tell ourselves).
According to the Collectif size guide, their UK8 is a 34-36 bust/26 waist and their UK10 is a 36-38 bust/28 waist. After a bit of chatting with customer service (who was lovely), I opted for the UK10 (My measurements are 35-27-38). She arrived and with a quick flip of the side zip she was on and I was swooning. At a rather vertically-successful 5’9, this dress hit just at my knee, which is perfect for the majority of my petticoats. I opened for a 27″ petticoat, which was just merrily winking at me from under the skirt.
I found this dress to run perfectly TTS – and the elasticized panel in the back is a godsend when it comes to getting that perfect fit. She was snug but still definitely comfortable, and the ruched back and slight stretch to the fabric hugged my curves but didn’t make me feel as though I were going to spill out over the top of the bodice (yeah, other well-endowed ladies know exactly what I’m talking about). As a larger busted gal, I am overjoyed when there is ample room in the bodice. I did find that the lack of boning in the bodice meant that I preferred to wear my longline bra with it for added support and structure – but for you lucky less-bosomed ladies that might not be an issue.
The Fabric & Features
Okay, we can all take a minute and sigh in happiness over this print? I mean STRAWBERRIES? I know that cherries tend to be the more traditional choice and often favored by repro brands the world over, but I’m a strawberry gal through and through and was completely smitten with this print (I loved the hints of yellow in the print as well, which makes it far more versatile and less Christmasy). The Collectif website is literally swirling with the cutest novelty prints ever (umm a pineapple dress? Wishlisted…) and can see more than a few that would find themselves instantly at home in my closet.
The fabric itself is 96% Cotton, 4% Spandex and the dress is unlined, but not at all sheer. This dress comes with it’s own red belt (and sewn on belt loops), but I swapped it out for a white one that had a bit of extra bling to break up the red a bit once I styled it with my red vintage capelet. (I simply cannot be denied my glitter.) The skirt is fabulously gored – meaning it’s made up of multiple flared panels that give you a (not quite) full circle skirt. You get the fullness at the bottom without needing to gather the fabric at the waist, which can sometimes add bulk.
I haven’t had the chance to wash her yet, as she’s new. However, I have heard from a few of my fellow blogging cohort who also own this dress that the colors DO bleed (even in cold hand wash with)! This one might be a dry-clean only, unfortunately. I’ll keep you posted in that area – Forewarned is forearmed.
When it comes to investing in clothing (which, let’s face it, we’d like to hang out with us for a good long while), I’ve always go my eye out for the little details that make a huge difference. Again, as someone who sews, I know that retailers will often leave off sewing details that add five minutes each to the overall sewing time, so as to produce quantity over quality. But those who take the time to include those features gets a big tick in my book – the multi-way adjustable straps that dress can be worn as a halter, a criss-cross top, or strapless, the hook an eye at the top of the zipper closure (and I the only woman who struggles with side zips?), and the elastic back panel.
And I need to have a moment of silence for this contrasting bust design. This sent-from-above, completely genius wing bust. The bodice is made up of two layers, and the bust can be worn with the petals up or flipped down to varying degrees for a different look. Who doesn’t love a dress that works double, triple, quadruple time? The styling options are endless.
The Facts & Figures
Naturally I had to spend a few hours twirling around the park, much to the amusement of the passersby (I can’t guarantee they didn’t get a flash of polka dot knickers…). In terms of twirlability, this Fragaria-speckled dress boasts a full circle skirt that’s simply made for taking you to dizzying heights.
She comes in sizes 6-22 (UK) and retails for £65. Collectif is holding a huge summer sale right now, where nearly everything on their website is 50% off at the moment and they offer free worldwide shipping for orders over £50. Due to this amazing sale, there are only a few of the Ginger Strawberry Print Wing Bust Dresses left in stock through the Collectif website. But, I found a few online retailers that have them (linked below) and I did find amazing print available in playsuit form. You can also sign up to be notified when it’s back in stock. I definitely recommend hunting one down and scooping it up, because she is going to be a summer staple!
I’m completely thrilled with this dress and can guarantee that this won’t be the last Collectif original to grace my ever-expanding closet.
If you do scoop up this beauty (or others), be sure to let me know! Happy shopping….
Dress: c/o Collectif (also available here & here or in navy here)
Capelet: Vintage (similar modern or vintage here & here)
Crinoline: Vivien of Holloway
Lucite Bag: Vintage (similar here, here & here
or exact same bag here – nowhere near what I paid for mine though!)
Apple Necklace: Swarovski (similar here & here)
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar here & here)
Vintage Gloves: Modern Millie Vintage (similar here & here)
Shoes: Oh Deer (similar here, here & here)