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Collectif's Cherry Bomb

Collectif... This has pretty much become a synonym for self esteem in my book.

Collectif are a UK based company that specialise in 1940s and 50s reproduction, pin up and rockabilly style clothing. They have a wonderful website, an active social media page (I spend hours on their Facebook and Instagram pages just drooling over their clothes and the gorgeous women who wear them) and a handful of stores across London and Brighton all staffed by wonderfully helpful women who make shopping there a treat.

When I found Collectif's dresses my life actually changed. Before Collectif I had sought to wear clothes that "flattered" - meaning largely hid and obscured my shape. All of a sudden I was wearing dresses that actually looked better on me than some of the models (sorry models). I fill them where they are mean to be filled, I give them shape and my body breathes life into them. I realise that this all sounds incredibly dramatic, but that is how putting on a Collectif dress made me feel for the first time (and every time subsequently). 

I had always liked fifties fashion. The fifties for me where Rizzo, and Greased Lightening, and Judy Garland, and Elvis, and Marilyn, and pin ups. Endless glamour and clothes made so beautifully. To me this was the fashion high point. And now I found I could actually wear these things! 

I first heard of Collectif from following George of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust - George had done loads of reviews of many amazing Collectif dresses, and when I emailed her to ask what a good fifties starter dress would be she recommended the Dolores Doll dress (more on that at a later date).  I bought one and I have not looked back...

Today I am talking about the chiffony, floaty, gorgeousness that is the Violet Cherry Print dress. 

Shoes and belt - Primark
Red beads - Old, from a markey in South Africa

The Violet is a floaty dream. I always think of it as the perfect date dress - soft and feminine, it swirls and sways and flutters as I walk and makes me feel the romantic heroine. It sits just over my knee (I am 5'8) which is a demure length and makes it good for perching on a bar stool while attempting to witty banter and glances from beneath your eyelashes ;) 

Here I am wearing a size 22 (my usual size in Collectif - I find Collectif's fit very true to size generally). The chiffon floats over curves, and I feel like it accentuates what I like and hides what I am not as keen on (yay!). The sleeves are loose and delicate, so no squishing of my rather generous upper arms. There are shiny black buttons up the bust however these have been known to pop open on occassion (depending on your style this may or may not be ideal for dating purposes...) so i tend to safety pin at the back, and if I was better with a needle and thr and trusted myself with the delicate fabric I would just stitch it closed. 

The Violet comes with a fabric belt, but I prefer the contrast and definition of a proper belt and so add my own - usually this skinny black one with a gold bow to the front which I got for a couple of quid at Primark. The cherry print is cute and flirty, and of course intrinsically linked with the fifties.

I have worn this dress on dates (the dress has lasted longer than any of the men...), to birthday parties and at work and it has transitioned between all well. I have worn it with black leather work boots, and with my Doc Martins, which gives this flirty, girly dress a bit more edge which I like. Fully lined the Violet is not at all see through and warm enough to wear in the winter with some decent tights, but not at all too heavy for the summer so it's a good year round piece. 

This is currently my one and only Violet style dress, and I am not quite sure why I don't have anymore as I am a real fan of the style. I am currently eyeing out some of the other prints - I love me some leopard print and a polka dot

How about you? Are you a Collectif convert? What's on your current covet list? Let me know!

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