Thursday, 30 April 2015

Outfit: flirty floral capris

You might have noticed by now that I have a thing for capris. I just can't help feel like Audrey Hepburn when I'm wearing them, even though a penchant for cropped trousers is probably the only thing we've got in common... Although, the best compliment B ever gave me was after watching that recent advert where she (well, a heavily CGI version of she) runs around prettily eating Galaxy, when he turned to me suddenly and said "she looks like you!" (he didn't actually know who 'she' was at that point - men). She quite clearly doesn't (I think B literally meant - "you both wear ponytails and are brunettes!"), but it still made my day.

Anyway, speaking of pretty things, I've got some lovely capris to show you today in these photos, which were taken on an equally lovely spring day. We've had some surprisingly warm weather recently (actually, whenever the weather is warm here it's a surprise) and I even dared to get my legs out, just a little bit. The surprise of these capris is who made them because it was none other than that UK favourite known for their bargain swing dresses, Lindy Bop! And like their dresses, these are also very fairly priced and come in lots of different summery colourways. I had a tough time choosing a pair as the prints were all so fun, but decided that as I've already got slightly crazy, very tropical capris I'd go for something that was a bit more toned down that would go with more in my wardrobe.

I couldn't be more pleased with these. I thought they weren't going to be a good fit as I was, as always, between an 8 and 10 according to the size chart, but in fact, the 10 fits perfectly (my measurements are 27" waist, 35" hips - but if your waist is 28" you'd probably get into the 10). Another reason I love them? Belt loops!! I would put belt loops on everything if I could - it can make such a difference if the waist is slightly too big while the hips fit. They're a bit stretchy and have a concealed side zip (it's so concealed I bet you can't even see it in the third photo, but it's there!) and I think they're really good value for money, as I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. The fairly high waist is also pretty flattering - my short torso and I can't get along with super high waists (although do bear in mind I'm short, so what's high-rise for me will be lower on others).

Oh, and yes, I did buy another pair of Hasbeens. And no, I didn't follow my own advice about breaking them in in my eagerness to wear them with these capris. And yes, I got what I deserved on that front. And no, three pairs isn't enough (don't be silly).

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review

Peach pin-up hair lily

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review



Tortoiseshell catseye sunglasses by Peacocks

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review

Tortoiseshell catseye sunglasses by Peacocks

Swedish Hasbeens Fredrica in white pearl

Lindy Bop Kendra Capris in navy rose print review
Hair flower: Accessorize (old)
Sunglasses: Peacocks
Top: Peacocks
Capris: c/o Lindy Bop
Belt: New Look
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens via ASOS


What do you think? How do you feel about capris - especially colourful ones?


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Top 10 tips for petite vintage style

I hope everyone's well this very grey day (in the UK) - I kind of like grey days sometimes as they always feel like my blog reading days; I can browse around Bloglovin' and not feel guilty that I'm wasting the sunshine. (As a Brit, I'm very conscious of 'sun guilt' - I think a lot of us evolve to feel like we should be throwing ourselves out into the sun the moment it chooses to make an appearance. Sometimes you just want to stay in!)

Anyway, another tips post from me today and I realise this one isn't going to appeal to everyone, but it's something I've struggled with so I hope it helps some of you out there! I wanted to expand on my suggestions in my interview with Jessica (Chronically Vintage). If you're petite (or perhaps have proportionately short legs/torso) and you like vintage style, you've quite possibly also put on a pair of high-waisted jeans that restricted your ability to sit down, or a circle skirt only to find it makes your legs look about 3" long (which wasn't exactly the look you were after). The longer lengths of clothes from the 40s and 50s can pose the modern petite woman a bit of a problem to try to incorporate in a flattering way into their wardrobe. For the record, by the way, I'm 5'2" (just!).

So what's a girl to do? Well, I think there's a few things that can really help to work with your height rather than against it, with minimal compromise. It's probably worth noting that my own style is more vintage-inspired than authentic vintage, as most of you know, so if you disagree with anything I say I fully acknowledge I'm not trying to create a true vintage look most of the time :)

1. Find your midi swing skirt length

Petite length midi swing 50s style skirt

From this post

For years, I was convinced I couldn't wear beautiful big midi length circle skirts - years! They were almost as long as me for the most part and they just made me feel short and stumpy and overwhelmed. Turns out I just wasn't wearing them right - all I needed to do was find the length that worked for me and my height, which is ideally around 25-26" long. Anything longer than that and there's more skirt than there is me, which I don't feel good in. So find the length that works for your height and alter anything that's too long - simple! Although, of course, one thing to mention about this approach is that if you do want to buy something that is (or could be) longer than your ideal length, you should be very careful about this if it has a pattern that can't be cut short without ruining it e.g. novelty print skirts.

2. Know how high is too high rise

High-waisted pants for petite girls advice

From this post

This is something I've learned fairly recently and is one of the best tips I can give you! If you're petite, you probably don't have the same length torso as an average-sized woman. If you don't have this, buying skirts/pants etc that are designed to be very high-waisted is going to be an interesting experience. They're not made for your length! I tried a pair of Freddies of Pinewoods jeans several months ago and they finished on my ribcage and made it hard to move/breathe/live. Bending over in them? Forget about it! I soon realised I had a limit to how high I could go for it to be comfortable and look flattering and it's approximately what you see in the above photo which is about an 11-11.5" rise at the front (the back measurement will always be longer). I was reassured I wasn't alone by Flashback Summer who took her Freddies to be altered for her height - that's a very good idea indeed. Interesting piece of info for anyone who knows and loves Lady K Loves jeans - the owner mentioned to me back in January that she was looking into developing a style for petite women. Let's hope that happens!

3. See the 'full' potential in ankle grazers

Making ankle grazers work for petite girls advice

From this post

So... these perfect-length jeans are actually supposed to be ankle-length. But who cares? I've just ended up with some cute patterned jeans that look like they were made for me, even if that's ironic. If ankle grazers are around the 28-29" leg length, which I suspect most are, the petite girl wins if she wants a pair of trousers she doesn't have to alter. And if I want to, I can still tuck these up on the inside to make them look like capris - something that will apply to most denim fabrics; they're stiff enough to do this and stay put. So in fact, you're getting two trousers for the price of one ;) Money saving and good for your vintage wardrobe!

4. Embrace the crop top

Using the modern crop top in vintage style

From this post

I'm sure everyone's noticed there's this big trend in modern fashions for cropped tops, because apparently we liked it so much in the 90s we couldn't wait to get our bellies out again (who decided this?!). When I first realised crops were a 'thing' again, I couldn't help but groan. But then I bought one and it was life-changing! Crop tops are usually fitted and on the petite lady they often finish at a respectable length on the waist, meaning you can wear your usual vintage style high-waisted bottoms with them with minimum risk of exposure. Take the top in the above picture - it probably doesn't even look like a crop, but in fact if you look here you'll see it very much is. In this case, I covered the join with my skirt with a wide waist belt. No bulgy fabric underneath the skirt or to work its way out of the waistband. And like in the other post, sometimes I don't mind getting my waist out, as long as it's little enough to stay classy - 50s women did it too, after all.

5. Go strapless - on your shoes

Elongating petite legs with no-strap shoes

From this post

I struggle with this piece of advice, not because I like to strap my feet into shoes, but because inevitably I have to because they're incredibly narrow and fall out of most shoes. Wherever I can, though, I always prefer to wear shoes with no straps - particularly ankle straps - as they create a visual 'line' that chops into the length of your leg, making it look shorter. 

6. Match your tights to your shoes

Tights and shoes in the same colour for longer-looking legs

From this post

Now, admittedly, I don't always follow my own advice on this one as I often have different coloured shoes to my tights in the winter. But if I'm wearing flats or low heels (as above) I am a bit more conscious of it as I'm that bit closer to the ground! It's just about creating an illusion of leg length and matching your shoes to your tights helps with that. Especially if, like above, I've got a shoe with ankle straps on (which I've just said to try to avoid!). Opaque tights might not be seen as 'authentic' vintage style, but we do know ladies liked to match back then, so I think they would approve! And as you can see, I've worked it into a vintage look here anyway. A girl's got to be warm as well as stylish, sometimes!

7. Choose nude shoes in the summer

Wearing nude shoes to elongate petite legs

From this post

This isn't groundbreaking - if wearing shoes and tights in the same colour will visually trick the eye into seeing the leg as a longer, unbroken line, it follows that wearing nude coloured shoes with bare legs will have a similar effect. Maybe this is more of a modern day trick, but I think it worked just fine with my 50s-style dress here.

8. Go for long over mid-calf or ankle boots

Knee-length BAIT boots for a cute vintage look

From this post

Again, I'm not sure this is strictly 'vintage style' either - but I think it's a good option for the colder months when even tights make your legs feel too exposed to the elements. The likes of BAIT have some super cute knee-high boots available, so why not snap up a pair like I did and wear them with your skirts and dresses? Choosing boots that finish at the knee elongates the leg by not awkwardly breaking it up visually at the ankle or calf. Word of warning for the short-legged among us: learn your cut-off length for knee boots if you're ordering online. Mine is about 13" and anything longer ends up in the crease of my knee and I can't walk!

9. Make your comfy shoes low/mid heel

Mid-heel comfy Clarks courts for daywear

From this post

Along with always trying to buy shoes without straps where possible, the other thing I tend to do is choose low/mid heel shoes over flats as my comfy, walk-about-in shoes. The ones in the above photo I genuinely walked round a big nature park in and because they're well-made and the heel's only a couple of inches, my feet were perfectly happy about it. Heels, even low ones, are a good idea to wear with a long midi skirt if you're petite - the extra height will elongate your legs to offset the skirt and add a touch of elegance. Plus, any extra height is always going to make you taller, literally!

10. Have a staple denim jacket

Using a denim jacket in 50s vintage style

From this post

Well, maybe they're not everyone's idea of vintage style but Marilyn wore one, therefore they are cool (actually, some sources think that it was a photo-shoot of her in one that gave them a boost in popularity in the 50s/60s). And in fact, they're the petite girl's best friend because a lot of them are designed to be cropped in length. One woman's crop, is another woman's perfect waist-length jacket. Which is great for wearing with flared skirts in particular, so the full flare is on display and not awkwardly trapped (which I haven't got photos of yet, but now have ideas to!). Wearing them with smart skirts might not have been how the vintage lady would have worn them, but I generally love them as a throw-on jacket in the summer that goes with mostly everything... I wish there were more fitted, cropped length jackets out there, but for now I get by with my little denim jacket.

My fellow petite ladies, any other tips I've missed that work for you? I'm all ears...


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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Outfit: English orchid (wedding guest outfit option A)

I don't often have the occasion to dress up, but that's the great thing about wedding season - a perfectly legit excuse to wear pretty frocks and stilettos. (Oh, and the amazing happy occasion of two people celebrating their love for each other, of course, heh.) As it happens, I've only got one to go to this year and thanks to Whispering Ivy I'm spoilt for choice as I've got two potential outfits, starting with option A...

Anyone remember Whispering Ivy and their adorable detail-orientated dresses from the London Edge fashion show photos I took back in February? On the pin-up, vintage-inspired repro scene they're relative newcomers and their range compared to the likes of e.g. Collectif is small, but my what they do have can be very pretty indeed. The prices are also very good - I was expecting lesser quality for that but was pleasantly surprised. Take this dress, for example - alongside the beautiful side bow there is a hidden snap inside the bust to help to stop it gaping if you need it (I assume) and the inside of the shoulders are slightly elasticated to help them stay in place (which is still a challenge on me because I'm very narrow-shouldered being petite, but it's certainly better than none!). I certainly feel it's on a par with all of my Collectif dresses in terms of quality - superior to a couple of them, in fact.

Their latest range is particularly strong for floral prints, so if they're your thing I do recommend taking a look (there's a mix of wiggle and swing styles). I'm not usually a very big fan of florals - they're often quite big prints that are overwhelming on me and there's something in me that feels they're too twee for my style... but this dress got my attention because the flowers were quite subtle and there's something else in there too - leopard print! I can't resist leopard print. I also think the colours are quite an unusual mix and give you the opportunity to accessorise in numerous different ways - pink, green, orange, mink, black... I picked some orange orchids for my hair and was quite pleased with the finished look. With my pale skin (that hasn't seen the sun for an awful long time) and the florals I felt very English rose (or orchid!) taking these pictures in a Cambridge University garden. But I'm still not sure this is the outfit I'm going to go with for the wedding (you'll have to wait to see the second option)...

Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review


Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review

Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review

Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review

Sophisticated Flowers orchids in orange

Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review


Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review

Whispering Ivy dress and Sophisticated Flowers hair piece


Whispering Ivy Peggy Sue dress review
Hair flower: Sophisticated Flowers
Dress: c/o Whispering Ivy
Bag: Lulu Guinness (similar - and much cheaper)
Shoes: Next (similar)

Really cute dress, huh? And not too overwhelmingly long on my short frame either. One piece of advice - pay close attention to the size guide on the site if you've got your eye on something - this dress is a size medium, but I've got a second that's a small (they tell me they source from two manufacturers).


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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Makeup: the best bargain liquid eyeliner

Here's something that will come as no surprise to anyone: I love makeup. Barely a day goes past where I'm not wearing it (basically I have to be at death's door not to) and my cosmetic collection (ok, lipsticks particularly) is on the vast side. But I'm not a snob about brands and I'm always ecstatic when I find a high-street/drugstore product that works - and I thought it was about time I paid tribute to some of these makeup greats, starting with this one (anyone who read my interview with Chronically Vintage will remember I mentioned a post of this nature was coming soon!). And this is one of those I start writing wondering if I'm about to alienate all of my readers outside of the UK with what is probably (?) a very British brand... but here goes nothing!

Collection 2000 Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner review

There was nowhere else I could have started but here: Collection's Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner. I've been wearing this eyeliner pretty much daily for over a decade. I've dabbled with more expensive brands and different consistencies, including gel, and I always, always come back to this one. It's barely increased in price since the first day I bought it and not only is it my longest-used makeup product, it's also probably the best value for money. 

Collection 2000 Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner review

Why is this eyeliner great? 
  1. It doesn't smudge or flake and it stays on all the live-long day as long as you don't rub your eyes (albeit it can fade a little and I will touch it up if I'm going out in the evening)
  2. The wand - if you're a thick line lover like me, the shape of this wand is so easy to use to create a great big catseye wing. It's still precise enough to get a nice point too
  3. It dries pretty darn quickly so none of this waiting for it to set before you can do your mascara malarkey
  4. Did I mention it's cheap?! £2.99 to be precise!
  5. One little bottle will last you a while - with daily use for thick lines I can get about 4 months out of these (but see a couple of comments below on what might make you want to replace it sooner)
Those reasons alone mean that despite some of its flaws (which I'm getting to), it's always going to be one of my favourite products. Because, here's the thing, it does everything I need an eyeliner to do. So why would I upgrade it to a more expensive model? 

Collection 2000 Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner review

However, like I say, it's not perfect. I actually don't find myself that bothered by its 'quirks' these days as most of them come from having a well-used bottle and for the price I'll just buy a new one, but to give it a fair review...

What's not so good
  1. While with daily heavy use (which I consider mine to be!) this takes months to run out, at about month two you will notice something: the bristles will start to come out. They're easy to spot when this happens and I tend to just pull them out, wipe the product off my fingers and carry on. It's cheap, so whatever...
  2. At about month three or four the liquid might get a little bit more 'gloopy' - this doesn't seem to happen with all of my bottles so perhaps it depends on how long it's been sitting on the shop floor, but I do notice it with some. When it happens, though, I just wipe the excess off on the bottle top and continue - and it's fine
  3. As I mentioned above, it does sometimes wear off a little during the day and if you have any issues with your eyes running this probably isn't going to be the eyeliner for you. It's not waterproof, but you wouldn't expect it to be!
  4. The waterproof version actually sucks, which is such a shame. It applies just as well but it flakes. I HATE flaking eyeliner. A whole chunk of your beautifully-drawn line just randomly disappearing during the day is not a good look

So there you go... that's my favourite steal beauty product (and actually, I've got another from this brand I might share in future too). However, I'm still half-heartedly looking for a decent gel eyeliner too for a softer look, so do give me any recommendations? I should probably try Collection's, to be fair! And don't recommend that awful Benefit push-up pen - the worst smudging of an eyeliner I've ever experienced!


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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Outfit: the check jacket - 'vintage lady' edition

Ever since I bought this jacket I'd been looking forward to making it work with a more ladylike, perhaps you'd say more authentically vintage outfit than how I styled it in this post, which was quite casual and more modern. In all those wonderful Pendleton 49er adverts from the 50s you see women layering over skirts and dresses and it seemed like a great idea, in theory...

While I think I like the way the outfit turned out in terms of its general components, the more I look at the photos the more I feel like it doesn't quite work for me. Or maybe I'm just not used to seeing myself incorporating this much of a vintage influence? Whatever it is, it's not one of my favourite looks so I'm interested to see what you all think - is it in my head or is something not quite doing it here? I tend to use most of the outfit photos I take (so far there's only one set I've decided really didn't work), as I don't have many opportunities to get out and snap them, but I really debated with myself on posting these ones...

I don't think it helped that I was having one of those days where my face went wrong in nearly all of the photos. One eye shut, hair in it, lips caught oddly on braces, dark shadows making me look 20 years older, double chins everywhere... So in short, I saw a lot of dreadful photos before I picked these ones and I don't think it did my confidence any good!

But of course, this was the day that B wanted to try out taking another video (below), so I felt extra bad about not using the accompanying photos! In the end, though, perhaps it's ok for not every outfit post to be my favourite...?

Pendleton 49er style jacket with full skirt

Pendleton 49er style jacket with beltPendleton 49er style jacket with belt and skirt

Pendleton 49er style jacket

Pendleton 49er style jacket - vintage style outfit

Pendleton 49er style jacket - vintage style outfit

Pendleton 49er style jacket

Pendleton 49er style jacket - vintage style outfit
Scarf: vintage (via eBay)
Jacket: vintage (via Rokit)
Belt: vintage (hand-me-down)
Gloves: ASOS (old)
Skirt: ASOS
Bag: via Top Vintage
Tights (fleece-lined): Primark 
Shoes: Clarks (old)

And here's the video... It was shot on my DSLR and then converted by B into a Super 8 style film using software. Pretty neat, huh? Although I hope you like shots of me walking about... I'm sorry to not be more exciting than that, but while I've just about got comfortable with having my photo taken, it's a whole other thing being a video star!!


Back to the outfit, though; should I stick to my more subtle vintage influence?

PS Don't look too closely at the hem on this skirt - this was the first (and so far last) item to feel the wrath of my new sewing machine and appalling minor alteration skills. The only good thing I can say about it is at least ended up the length I wanted...


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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Shopping repro: Collectif - how it fits / what to buy / when to buy

Collectif mirror
Mirror: c/o Collectif (I don't believe it's ever been on sale)

It's no secret that I'm probably one of UK brand Collectif's biggest fans. They've gone from strength to strength in recent years - the pieces they offer have become more varied and there's a lot more of them. Their 'punky' alternative range from the early days is gone (think a lot of black and leopard print in every colour apart from actual leopard colour) and the vintage-inspired lovelies have taken over. Now, they have some of the most unique repro pieces out there - mostly 40s and 50s styles and usually good quality, meaning they're a brand that's well worth keeping an eye on (ok, so perhaps my eye is a little more constant than my bank account would like...).

A recent conversation with Jessica from Chronically Vintage made me realise that I'm very lucky living so close to where this brand is based - I know a lot of you are much further away and fear the sting of huge shipping charges when trying to get hold of some of their less widely-sold pieces (they do have third party vendors around the world, but I doubt any of them take the whole range). Saying that, Collectif's shipping isn't free in the UK (nor are returns) so it still pays to know what you want and get the sizing right if you're on the same island. So, this post is a little guide to shopping from Collectif - especially advice on fit, what pieces are particularly special and worth getting your hands on if you can and best times to buy. And just to be clear, I'm in no way being sponsored by Collectif, so the gushing is genuine, because I love them ;) (the little mirror was an unrelated gift from the London Edge fashion show).

Striped Collectif t-shirt
Cardigan: Oasis (old) | Top: Collectif (obviously!)

HOW IT FITS

Short answer: fairly true to (UK) size, slightly generous

Lower body

I'll start with waist and hips, which I always find tricky in dresses/bottoms due to my pesky 27" waist - this always seems to be a size '9' in most ranges (if only those existed), slap bang in the middle between a size 8 and 10 here, typically 26" and 28" respectively.  It's no different with Collectif - their size guide suggests a size 8 waist is 26", while a 10 is 28" - so far, so familiar. 

The good news for me is that most of Collectif's size 8 items fit me beautifully on my bottom half. I'm sure it's in no small part due to a lot of them having that wonderful modern invention - elastane - but I've had less stretchy items that have still been a good fit in an 8 regardless. I would generally suggest if you're between waist sizes like me and the item needs to be fitted on the waist, size down (but be wary of zero stretch). Collectif's hips measurement for a size 8 is a more generous 34"-36" which means their clothes usually fit my 35" hips pretty well as you'd expect; for the very fitted styles, I'd perhaps say they're more on the side of 34-35" rather than 36", but again most things stretch. 

BUT, here comes my word of caution with Collectif sizing: pay attention to the site's helpful fitting advice; most products now have a line explaining if something is true to size or runs slightly large or small. It was in this way I knew to take a risk on the Bonnie Cigarette Trousers, which the site said came up a bit large. They did, meaning a comfortable rather than skin-tight fit (which was more the design) - what I wanted for work anyway. However, this guide isn't fool-proof - especially in the case of the Rebel Kate Jeans. Let's just put it this way: a size 8 nearly made me cry, it was so excruciatingly small (something Ree Ree Rockette agrees with me about for this style). The site says these are true to size, but I'd say they're at least a whole size smaller than what's typical for Collectif. This is the only instance I've seen the style advice be off (and I did speak to Collectif and asked them to update it!), but I don't feel it's fair to state it's always 100% accurate following that experience.

Upper body

This is obviously the same for tops sizing - the site should suggest what the fit is like and much like the waist and hips measurements, Collectif's size chart fairly accurately reflects their sizing. My bust measurement is 34", which puts me again in their size 8's 34"-36" range. And perhaps unsurprisingly as I'm at the lower end of this range, unlike their bottoms or fitted dresses, I've never had a problem with a top/top half being too small - nor too big, as it happens. They tend to fit my curves pretty perfectly. If you're a little less busty than me you might find some of the very fitted tops don't fit right, so just watch out for that.

And...

If all else fails and you really don't want to chance it - particularly on things like wiggle dresses or jeans where the fit is so important - my advice to you is to drop the team at Collectif a line. As long as you don't time this during one of their site-wide sales (more on this later in 'when to buy'!), someone will usually respond to you within 1-2 working days. They're incredibly helpful and will measure things if you need them to.

Pin-up style tied gypsy top and striped shorts
From this post
Hair flower: ASOS | Top: Collectif (last year) | Shorts: Primark (old)

WHAT TO BUY

Collectif jungle print two-piece
From this post
Two-piece: Collectif (last year) | Bag: eBay | Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Short answer: beautiful, vintage-authentic separates and show-stopping 50s-style dresses

The longer answer can probably neatly be summarised as: everything a vintage/repro lover could want, these days! Not only do they sell clothes and bags, they've started stocking things such as Erstwilder jewellery and even homeware. There's definitely things that you can rely on from the brand though, and top of my list is their amazing range of vintage style separates - some of which are based on authentic vintage pieces. I've got plaid cigarette trousers, high-waisted jeans and capris (pictured below), a polka dot pencil skirt, a tropical co-ord set (pictured above), various gypsy tops (one pictured above) and knitwear (see shrug below), a knitted cape, a cropped jacket... really the list goes on, there's a huge amount of choice (and I've been buying pieces over several years - I promise this wasn't all recent!). It's a great place to shop if you're not much of a dress wearer or if the idea of head-to-toe vintage style isn't your thing, being great to pick up just the odd thing to put a retro twist on an outfit.

What Collectif probably became more well known for initially, though, was their wide range of wiggle and swing dresses. There's certain shapes they've sold for years like the Dolores styles, but in the old days while these were limited, stuck to a few key prints and were usually a cotton mix material, nowadays there's a lot more variety in shapes, patterns and fabric. Prices reflect the level of detail and the materials used and what I would say is that usually Collectif's clothes are pretty good quality. They're cut well and they're designed to fit and flatter. And whether you like florals, polka dots, leopard print, tiki, gingham, plaid etc etc, you'll find things to swoon over in every range.

It's worth mentioning that while they don't sell a huge range of their own accessories, what they do sell can be worth checking out. I love this pair of red sunglasses.

Collectif Judy sunglasses in red
From this post
Sunglasses: Collectif (last year) | Skirt: Hell Bunny

WHEN TO BUY

Pin-up style capris and gingham top
From this post
Hair flower: ASOS | Top: George @ Asda (old) | Capris: Collectif (several years ago)

Short answer: as soon as you see something you really want; in off season sales; in their epic 50% off sales

Collectif's range is huge these days and like most fashion brands, they bring out Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ranges. Usually, they'll tease the new ranges in photos on Facebook and lookbooks on their site for the weeks leading up to the first pieces going online, which is a great way to eye up what's coming. And why should you do that? Because if you see something you really love, the only way to guarantee you'll get your hands on it is to buy it as soon as it's on the site. For the new ranges, items are uploaded in small batches over several weeks when a new range launches. I recommend that you snap up that thing you really want as soon as it does because although Collectif are hugely popular now, they still only have limited numbers of most of their pieces, particularly the ones that are very season-centric. Some of the things they launch in e.g. their new SS15 range won't be restocked if they sell out - some will be restocked halfway through a season, but you can't assume it will happen for the thing you really want. Collectif tend to run out of the smallest and biggest sizes first, so if you're looking for those do bear this in mind.

Pink lady inspired outfit
From this post
Scarf: Next (old) | Shrug: Collectif (last year) | Top: Collectif (last year) | Belt: Dorothy Perkins (old) | Leggings: Topshop (old)

But, saying that, if you don't mind buying things a bit out of season (buying winter clothes when it's the spring, for example), then keep an eye on the sale page on the site as things are put into it all the time. Often, pieces are heavily discounted - in the last few weeks I bought a £120 cape for £30. Usually items are added in batches and it's to clear that season's stock to make way for the new one's.

But if you want a discount on any item of your choice, you'd be well advised to wait for Collectif's epic site-wide sales. Every now and then they'll offer a 20% or 30% off code for a special occasion e.g. Black Friday, but towards the end of a season they'll usually run a 50% off everything sale (I'm talking clothes, accessories are usually excluded). The last one was just before Christmas. However, take note of my advice on getting the best out of these sales! These days they're SO popular that you need to do two things to get the things you want in them: 1) check the day before what you want to get (and if your size is out of stock a day before, you'll need to give up on it) and save the URLs of the items' pages 2) on sale day go to the URLs, add everything to your basket and try to order them as soon as the sale launches (Collectif will advertise the start time). Things fly out of stock at an alarming rate (faster than the site can update sometimes) and the site receives so much traffic it slows to snail pace, meaning browsing is virtually impossible, technical glitches happen like your basket randomly emptying (hence why I'm suggesting you don't add things to your basket until the start of the sale rather than before it) and orders are quite difficult to get through the checkout process. Last sale, it took me about 45 minutes to get my order in - but perseverance and planning the day before meant I got the great bargains I wanted, so it pays off if you have the patience.

Red retro/pin-up headscarf look
Headscarf: eBay

So, there you have it. A seasoned Collectif pro's advice to shopping with them. If you like this post please say, as I may tackle more brands in future (I have a feeling a few of you might find Lindy Bop useful too!). Do you have any other tips from shopping with Collectif?


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