Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Revival Retro Boutique - the joy of 'real world' shopping

A review of the Revival Retro Boutique

I hold my hands up - I just don't like 'real world' shopping. There's few shops I can walk into, try a dress on, and leave not feeling like I've got an awkward body shape that suits no clothing in the history of the world ever. When you're petite (5'1") like me, with curves, you're just not going to fit into things designed for slimmer, taller people - i.e. most of Topshop. And don't get me started on changing room and checkout queues and those funhouse mirrors they install that make you look the worst you've ever looked in your life. Online is just so much easier, for me. I can shop all the non-high street brands I love and it's so easy to find the things I want to try. And I can do so in the safety of my own home without being under lights that make me look dead. 

But online, of course, brings its own frustrations. We've all ordered two sizes of something because we're not sure how it's going to fit (it always turns up being the one you thought was going to though, doesn't it?!) - and then had the hassle of going to the post office to return the unsuccessful applicant (or both of them, if you really get lucky). Shipping charges can be all over the place - if it's free you're winning, but most of the time it's not and that's before you get to return costs. And couriers - I hate them! The number of times I've had a parcel delivered to a random house down the road and no note left in my house - or a note that, on one memorable occasion, gave my own address as the one the parcel had been left at (it hadn't.). And then there's the times they don't even try to ring your doorbell and you actually watch the 'while you were out' card flutter onto your doormat.

Still though, all this being said, online is still my shopping method of choice because my hatred of the lack of choice and inconvenience of real world shopping far outweighs my grumbles with random sizing and clueless couriers. So, when I was asked to go along and experience what shopping is like in London boutique, Revival Retro, I have to say I had my reservations. Now that I've been though, I do see the appeal... And if you're not local, it's worth mentioning they do also have an online shop and I link through to some of the pieces I'm wearing below.

The Trashy Diva Deco Daffodil wrap dress

The Trashy Diva Deco Daffodil wrap dress

The Trashy Diva Deco Daffodil wrap dress

First off, the range that this little shop has is really quite impressive. But even more impressive than that, is the care that goes into choosing the stock. If something about the way an item fits is off, they won't stock said item. What you're left with is only the best quality pieces from the best quality reproduction brands out there. It means that when you try something on, chances are it's not going to make you feel bad about how you look because it's just not cut that way. Take this Trashy Diva Deco Daffodil dress I'm modelling here - my assumption was it was too long to suit me and there was just no way those sleeves and shoulders were going to sit right. Clearly, that assumption was entirely wrong - and I think that's in large part thanks to how fabulous this dress is. The material and shape work some kind of flattering magic on me here. And the low v bust doesn't gap away from me like they normally do, either. 

Beautiful vintage-style fan brooch

The Stop Staring Celebrity polka dot dress in red

The Stop Staring Celebrity polka dot dress in red

The Stop Staring Celebrity polka dot dress in red

The Stop Staring Billion Dollar Baby Dress in green

But it's not just the top quality stock that makes the difference here, it was also the work of the lovely store manager, Sarah. Here she is, making sure this dress was sitting as it should be on me. For the Trashy Diva dress, she showed me the most flattering way to tie it and explained why she didn't let anyone walk out of the changing room with the knot at the side 'I tell people it's not a bath robe so don't tie it like one!'. She really cares about people looking their best and she was a fab personal shopper - I told her my size and what I usually wear and she pulled dresses off the shelf that somehow all suited me despite being pretty different. It's like she's some kind of shopping wizard! I'm sure she's personally responsible for a lot of the sales that happen in the store, as I was all but ready to hand over my savings, until I realised I have to spend them on really un-fun things like my new house's stamp duty (ugh). Anyway, I'm a huge introvert and I usually hate speaking to shop assistants etc, but Sarah is so friendly and knowledgeable about the products that if you like clothes as much as I do you could spend all day talking to her.

If you're wondering why I'm sitting on a random stool above (in the Stop Staring Arabella Polka Dot dress), it's because this is the shop's dedicated stool for the 'sit test'. If you can't sit down in it, you can't buy it. When it comes to uber tight wiggles like this, it's a pretty important thing to figure out! Wasn't a problem at all in the case of this pretty dress, by the way.

Revival Retro's shoe display

The Stop Staring Billion Dollar Baby Dress in green

The Stop Staring NY Lady Dress in navy

This navy Stop Staring NY Lady dress is going to haunt my dreams. It didn't impress me on the hanger. In fact, I almost didn't try it at all. Plain dresses just aren't my bag usually and I completely expected the length of the swing skirt would look wrong on me, seeing as so many of them usually do without shortening. But I trusted Sarah and duly put it on and fell swiftly and deeply in love. Look at it - it's beautiful! So classic, so well cut and I love those lapels and again how well the wrap v-neck bust hugs my curves. But the big question is, who wore it better; me or the model?! (Don't answer that.)

The Stop Staring NY Lady Dress in navy

Bettie Page stripe wiggle dress

A cute display in Revival Retro

The layout of the shop itself is so perfect for being able to see everything that's on offer easily - too easily, really, if you are having any kind of cash flow issue when you walk in (you'll surely have one by the time you walk out, if not!). Spacious, well lit and with mirrors and cute displays everywhere, there was lots of photo fodder for my helper that day. I haven't even used a fraction of it! I particularly like the three-sided mirror you can see at the start of the post, for helping to see the fit from all angles. And for generally being a great photo opportunity for this post, ha.

Miss L Fire Loretta Shoes in red

Brief mention for these amazing Miss L Fire shoes - so pretty! If you're a half size, like me, you can probably afford to size down (you can see my foot isn't filling this size properly). I'm not sure I quite had the hang of the tie straps, but I don't think it really mattered...

CiCi with store manager Sarah

When you're a fashion blogger, it's important to send the memo ahead to make sure that shop staff are coordinating with your outfit... Or something.

CiCi at The Revival Retro Boutique

So there you have it, I really enjoyed my time in the shop and can only praise the lovely staff for their excellent taste in clothes and how amazingly helpful they are. If you're ever in central London, I strongly advise stepping in. You'll be transported to clothing heaven...

It's worth noting that I haven't been compensated in any way for this post, so opinions are my own. If you choose to buy any of the items linked to here through my links, I may earn a very small commission (me and my stamp duty fees would thank you!).



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26 comments:

  1. Yep I definitely need the deco daffodil print. I wasn't sure about the print from how it looked in stock photos, but seeing it here is a whole different story. The navy Stop Staring dress has to be my favorite however, it reminds me of the dress Ally wears in The Notebook in the swing dancing scene!

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    1. Yes it's really quite unique! Very pretty. I still keep thinking about that Stop Staring dress... I'm trying to be extra good with my money in the hope I might be able to afford it, but let's face it, now is not a good time in my life to save -_-

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  2. I wish we had shops like that here. We do have one that sells Hell Bunny clothing, but to be honest, I prefer Collectif and Pinup Couture over Hell Bunny, that has a lot of those not-sitting-quite-right issues you mentioned at the beginning. I have bought a few really good pieces I thought I wouldn't buy, because of the shop, so maybe it's just a good thing we don't have another one selling all those brands I really love :D I'd be even more broke than I already am.

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    1. Yes I think Hell Bunny can be a bit hit and miss... I do find Collectif, who are one of my favourites, up and down but much better recently, for sure. Pinup Couture I only own their canvas underskirt, but I'm told it's great quality! Just so hard to buy in the UK without bankrupting yourself... Why can't the pretty things be affordable?!

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  3. What an awesomely detailed, engaging and downright fun post. That looks and sounds like a dream shop with a really stellar staff to boot. Thank you very much for taking the time to highlight so many of the perks of it, as well as what you tried on. From those magnificent red shoes to the gorgeous navy dress (which looks even better on you than the mannequin, fear not), one can really sense what a vintage inspired/repro fashion paradise that shop is. In short, I loved this post to bits!

    Many hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. It's a really cool shop - I hope one day you get to visit it if you do make it over to the UK, Jessica :)

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  4. That looks like a great store to visit, I follow them on Instagram and they stock so many wonderful brands! The Trashy Diva and Stop Staring dresses look fabulous on you... Those red Miss L Fire shoes are amazing too, I want them lol x

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    1. They've got a great range for such a small shop, it's so impressive! I could have walked out with 95% of their range quite happily, it's so spot on!

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  5. Looks like a really wonderful store, love all the dresses you tried on and those Miss L Fire shoes...great blog post! xo

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it :D Bit far for you to come, I realise!!

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  6. This looks like such a great place!

    I am amazed that you were able to hold onto your cash when everything looked so amazing on you. You are a stronger woman than I.


    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. It was really hard, but I have quite a strong guilt complex so that helped... Particularly when buying a house - preemptive guilt!

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  7. Really nice shop! if just one day I return to London I will have to put this shop into the list of "places to visit" together with several Museums and places I still have not visited yet after many years visiting the city.
    By the way, those dresses look fabulous on you! and the red shoes... wow!
    Have a great week :-)
    Eva (from Luxembourg/Germany)

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    1. Definitely, it's not a far walk from this shop to the British Museum (my office sits fairly close to both), just so you know ;)

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  8. I wish this shop was near me! You looked amazing in every single one of these dresses. I love that navy blue one. Sometimes it's the simple pieces that really shine!

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

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    1. Yes, I tend to not give simple pieces much of a second look but I've learned a valuable lesson with this dress!

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  9. I have always wanted to go to this boutique! I will make the effort next time I'm in London (are you going to pinup in the park??). I have been eyeing that daffodil dress, it looks fab on you! And I think plain coloured dresses are sadly overlooked usually, yet they end up being so incredibly versatile. This one is a stunner on you. You have a will of iron leaving empty handed.

    P.s. bit fed up of mail order right now, have sent back a House of Foxy skirt today :(

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    1. I love the daffodil dress - it's just a bit different, isn't it? I have a bank account of zero, which is probably what really helped me stay strong, ha!

      Yeah, I think it's a nice antidote to the frustrations of mail order to actually try things on for once. It's not for me every day, but in shops like this it's worth it. xx

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  10. What a gorgeous selection - every one looks good on you. I am not sure I can choose a favourite, but I like the unusual colour of the olive dress. Beautiful, and beautiful photos too! Kx

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    1. I can't take any credit for that - Sarah basically pushed dresses into my hands and I wore them :D x

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  11. I darent go in for fear of bankrupcy! Everything looked amazing on you, I would have taken it all home wih me.

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    1. I'm not sure I can ever go in again for that reason!! But I love having such an amazing shop so close by. If my finances ever get back to 'normal' I'll risk it!

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  12. This looks like an amazing store, too bad I don't live in London :( I'll have to check out their online boutique though.
    It is amazing how sometimes garments look so shapeless and bland and boring on the hanger, but once you try them on they are great! The Stop Staring NY Lady dress is absolutely lovely, and of course you wore it best! :)

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    1. I think they put pretty much all their stock online, so it's worth a look. And if you want to see how anything fits, they're quite happy for you to ring up and ask :)

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  13. Daaaamn! They should hire you for their ads, because you look amazing in everything. I really love that navy floral dress on you, it's perfectly flattering and lovely.
    I usually shop online for the sake of convenience, but nothing beats being able to walk into a store with products that you like and actually put them on your body. I wish I got to do that more often!

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  14. Love your review of this shop! I love looking at their stuff online! It seems like such an amazing shop. All the dresses you tried on looked amazing on you though I do have to say I had an extra pitter patter in my heart seeing you in the Deco Daffodil Jolene dress by Trashy Diva-- my favorite brand! <3

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