Outfit: hearts, bows and a Betty dress

Well, my friends, the day has come – with a week to go, I am wearing a Valentines themed outfit. I don’t want to worry you, but this may be the first sign of the apocalypse…

However, although it’s the first time I’ve dressed up for the occasion for this blog, it wasn’t always this way – I have a very clear memory of going to school with multi-coloured, sparkly heart clips all over my head. But it wasn’t so much the day I liked, thinking back, as the chance to play dress up. Like how my giant dangly skeleton earrings came out every Halloween even if I never did get an invite to a party. So, while I’m not a huge fan of the ‘holiday’ I do love dressing up for things – why turn down a chance to wear some hearts again? And when you put it like that…

Theme aside, I absolutely love this outfit and how it reminds me of early 60s Betty Draper. This is my first dress from newcomer British repro brand Dolly and Dotty and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t expecting it to a) fit this well or b) look this good. Repro dresses generally don’t on me (without alterations), which is why I always go for separates. Anyway, the brand is on the cheaper end of the scale, with most dresses costing around the £35 mark, but for that, you get lining (I have two and both are fully lined) and a fabric belt with actual holes, grommets and a loop. I was sent a matching headscarf too and while it’s not pictured here I should point out they make them for most of their prints, which for someone who loves matching like I do, can only be a good thing. It certainly all feels like pretty good value for money.

I’ll be honest, when I first put it on my dismayed thought was ‘ack, this is a small 8… am I still breathing?!’ but somehow the cotton has now stretched the little it needed to fit me like a glove, kind of like jeans do (and my waist-shaper has helped smooth everything out). The shoulders aren’t too broad, nor the sleeves too tight (but, being non-stretch cotton, it’s the usual difficulties in moving your arms above your head) – and the skirt is my favourite length at just below my knee. So for fellow petites (I’m 5’1″), this dress is especially worth a look, although, warning, if your bust is bigger than the size guide, go up! Like I say, there’s no stretch, other than the bit of natural give you get from cotton.

I can’t wait to show you the other dress soon – it’s also been an instant winner for me. I’m going to be keeping an eye on Dolly and Dotty for affordable, cute day dresses in future.

Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress reviewLuxulite valentines brooch and Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress


Alternate Normality bow fascinator with veil in red


Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress review


Luxulite red and pink valentines heart brooch


Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress review


Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress review


Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress review


Dolly and Dotty Vanessa dress review


Red or Dead red suede ankle strap shoes


Earrings: c/o Chronically Vintage
Dress: ‘Vanessa’ c/o Dolly and Dotty
Canvas underskirt (not seen): Pinup Girl Couture
Brooch: Luxulite
Bag: Skinnydip London (available here)
Shoes: Red or Dead via Schuh
Side note: this is a bit of a weird location and although it’s where I planned, it’s not in the direction I planned. Just in front of me is the River Cam, complete with punts floating along. I thought it was going to be sort of romantic to have couples punting past in the background, but the sun had other ideas and the lighting just didn’t work. The neon coats of huge punts of tourists weren’t ideal either, nor were the lads who wolf-whistled, making me grimace in approximately 40 photos. What you can actually see is some of Magdalene College, which is where one of my best friends studied and where I’ve been to shoot photos a few times now on different spots (here and here).
And now I’m off to London Edge so suss out the SS16 repro collections so you don’t have to! More on that to come very soon…


  1. February 7, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    I love this outfit! And yes we are twins with our matching purses 🙂 I have been eyeing Dolly an Dotty lately and have heard such great reviews, it is hared to believe all of that quality in such well-priced garments!

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      They are very well-priced for what you are; I've certainly paid more for less where repro is concerned, in the past… But, you know, they're still not up to the quality of the top end repro brands, don't get me wrong. For a budget option, though, they're very good.

  2. February 7, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    This is gorgeous: I absolutely love the print, and it's perfect with the pops of red! I've bookmarked a few Dolly and Dotty dresses recently, so it's good to see one in the "flesh", so to speak 🙂

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      I am dying to wear this dress to a picnic… Actually I'm just dying to have a picnic fullstop right now. Anyway, the second dress will come very soon and it's a bit different in material and fit to this one, so keep your eyes peeled…

  3. February 7, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    This does fit you wonderfully and I adore the plaid.


  4. February 7, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Such a cute outfit, dolly and dotty look like they have big things ahead! X

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:12 pm

      It's kind of incredible how fast their range is expanding… Having met the team yesterday at London Edge I have no idea how they're managing to do it all! x

  5. February 7, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    Lovely outfit, it is a really nicely shaped dress. Looks great with the red accessories.

  6. February 7, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    Be still my beating heart! So much to love about this outfit – the pretty dress (with the perfect fit on you, honestly that's spot on!), the shoes, the fascinator (good taste!), and the brooch. All just Valentine's perfect without being top to toe in red. It sounds like a lovely location by the river, shame the lighting wasn't cooperating! I am so excited to hear about your take on the SS16 collections, I look forward to it xx

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Now that it's stretched it's spot on, but before that I was a bit worried 😉 Mind you, I'm used to ill-fitting waists, so I'm probably just unfamiliar with how things should feel! xx

  7. February 7, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    What a cute outfit! You look adorable!

  8. February 8, 2016 / 9:49 am

    This dress is really cute but your red accessories really make this dress stand out from the crowd! 🙂

  9. February 8, 2016 / 10:40 am

    Puuuuuuuuuuuurrrrfect Valentines outfit – you always do the loveliest holiday themed outfits, I enjoyed all of your Christmas ones so much and you really do know how to dress in the spirit of the holidays 😀

    Aren't Dolly and Dotty fantastic? I have been most impressed with their quality, such well made and affordable dresses. And it would be a crime not to mention that purse and those adorable heels – too cute!

    Deco Darling

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:14 pm

      Aw, thanks Harlow! I guess dressing in the spirit of the holidays is something I've been doing from a pretty young age – lots of practice!

      Ooh, can't wait to see what you've got from Dolly and Dotty! x

  10. February 8, 2016 / 10:47 am

    I just got my first dress from Dolly & Dotty too, and I also love it! I chose a purple polka dot sleeveless one and it's also a really good fit which I was surprised about too. I wore it this weekend to watch Mary Poppins at the theatre, but didn't manage to get photos (far too rainy!), so I really need to get out and do some.
    Your dress is gorgeous – makes me wish I'd gone for a sleeved option now! Ah well, next dress will just have to be one 😉
    I know what you mean with photo locations too – it can be very frustrating having a setting in your head only to realise that the lighting doesn't quite work or something similar – these still look gorgeous though!

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      I think whenever something fits me on the bust and waist, I'm gobsmacked, to be honest! I know you have similar problems in that arena too…

      It's so frustrating when something you've pictured so clearly doesn't work at ALL in reality. I was a bit gutted about this one, but like you say, these still came out ok anyway…

  11. February 8, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Fabulous dress and it fits you perfectly! I've got one that I made that's very similar but in black and white check and I always think it looks amazing teamed with red accessories, so good choice on yours. I particularly love the Luxulite brooch, it's so cute! x

    • February 8, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      Red accessories virtually go with everything – I am probably a bit lazy as I use them as my default for so many outfits!! x

  12. February 8, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    This dress is just perfect on you – colour, pattern, shape. I cannot believe it was tight because it looks such a great fit – fitted, yes, but so comfortable. I love the red accents, but I don't necessarily think of it as Valentine's themed- it's just wonderful in its own right! Kx

    • February 9, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      I promise I wasn't lying that it took some real effort to get it done up the first time, but now it's absolutely fine… I think I'm just used to stretch 😉 x

  13. February 8, 2016 / 3:49 pm

    Very pretty indeed! Take care!

  14. February 9, 2016 / 3:08 am

    Hooray for a brand that looks good on petite people without ten billion alterations! This dress is adorable and I just love all the red accessories you paired with it. So perfect.

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

    • February 9, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      I second you completely on the petite thing! Couldn't believe my luck…

  15. February 9, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    That dress is really beautiful and your outfit is just the best! I love bright red accessories with blueish dresses, they give just the right amount of vavavoom to an outfit.
    I've also heard about Dolly and Dotty, but I haven't bought anything from them yet. Somehow I might have judged them before trying out their clothes, because they remind me of Lindy Bop which doesn't have the best quality and Hell Bunny whose clothes never have any lining. But if it DOES have lining, seems like I need to try out their clothes. They have a really nice and versatile collection after all!

  16. February 10, 2016 / 3:15 am

    I love this outfit so much! The touches of red look amazing with that gorgeous dress x

  17. February 10, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    Gingham is always a winner, but the red touches really make the look special. Your fascinator is the perfect finishing touch!

  18. February 13, 2016 / 5:55 am

    Goodmorning CiCiMarie,
    this dress is Super Super Super Super Super Super Nice!…what a pretty outfit!

  19. February 15, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    Such a gorgeous outfit. I love that dress! Gingham is one of my favorites. I can't believe the price point for that dress and the fact that at that price it comes lined! <3

    I can relate to your feeling about the holiday so well! Having an excuse to dress in a fun theme is the best reason for the season! LOL

  20. February 16, 2016 / 3:57 am

    Whoops, totally missed this post. I love the dress! It's very on point for the holiday while being unexpected and non-traditional. I think my favorite detail is the veiled fascinator, it's really pretty.

  21. February 17, 2016 / 9:55 am

    Such a superb and fabulous outfit in that post, I just love it. The check outfit with the contrast of red it totally minds blowing. She seems to be very pretty lady in the blog of your site. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post. Brooklyn Nine Nine Jacket

  22. February 24, 2016 / 6:21 am

    Well. All the gingham wins at everything. I'm late to the party, but I do just have to say that I love this dress, and the pops of red really make it shine! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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