Review: Regina Doll Dress by Collectif

Collectif are one of those brands that I’ve been aware of for a while, but haven’t really got around to trying properly yet. A firm favourite of my burlesque buddy Little Miss Naughty (seen here in their Stella tiki print dress) and Georgina from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, I knew that Collectif produced clothing that was just my style – 1940s and 1950s inspired clothing for vintage vixens and rockabilly chicks. A recent visit to their Spitalfields boutique with my teenage nieces – who declared everything in the shop to be “made for you, Lori!” – confirmed that I needed to spend a bit more time browsing Collectif’s many styles and expanding my wardrobe. I just didn’t know where to begin.

Thankfully, the lovely folk at Collectif were kind enough to offer me a Regina Floral Velvet Doll Dress in exchange for a review so, of course, I jumped at the chance. A good friend of mine has the vintage crepe version of this dress in green and it looks stunning, so I was pretty sure that this would be a good style for me. There are currently no measurements on the Collectif website to help when deciding which size to go for, but their PR & Marketing Assistant, Genevieve (who assured me that they are in the process of making a size guide for each item on their site), advised me that my 38″ bust/32″ waist would fit a size 14 in the velvet Regina Doll as it has no stretch in the fabric. Because it is new for AW13, there isn’t much detail on the site about the velvet version of this popular style so I had to wait until it arrived to find out what the quality is like. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The dress is made from 100% cotton velvet so it’s comfortable, cosy – perfect for these cooler autumn days – and machine washable. Yes, you read that right… machine washable. The pattern is woven into the velvet rather than surface printed (click on the image above for a a larger version where you can see the detail), so it has a good quality feel and is deliciously soft to touch. The top of the dress is styled like a matching bolero over a strapless frock, which is very pretty and means that you can fold the edges back to show more décolletage if you wish.

The fit was good on the waist but, as I’m rather pear shaped, I needed a bra with extra boost in order for me to properly fill out the top, and the zip wasn’t quite long enough for me to step into the dress so I had to put it on over my head. This is not a problem though – I just have to make sure I do my hair after I put on the dress. Despite the size of my bottom (probably more of a size 16 these days), the full skirt skimmed my hips in a very flattering way meaning that it looks great even without the addition of petticoats. This dress would be great for swing dancing, or just twirling around for the sake of it really! I’m only 5′ 4″ tall, so the skirt fell to a rather fashionable midi length rather than the just-below-the-knee on the model photographed on their site. My only problem with the fit was one that I experience with a lot of dresses – my body is so short that shoulders and straps can seem a little bit baggy. It’s not really noticeable to anyone other than me, but I think I might get some shoulder pads for this dress to help the top of my Regina Doll sit just right on me.

The thing is though, I always have terrible trouble finding off the peg dresses that fit me perfectly because I’m such an unusual shape. Despite this, Collectif have managed to create a style that really suits me, but would also look great on taller women with longer bodies (due to the lack of a waistband), and bustier ladies too. Not only is it quite a classic style, but I’ll also be embracing this season’s dark romance trend with that gorgeous floral velvet fabric. How could you possibly resist snapping up a Regina Floral Velvet Doll dress for yourself?

DISCLOSURE: I was sent a Regina Floral Velvet Doll Dress, free to review by Collectif.