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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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...
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.
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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