There’s something I really love about summer prints more than anything else. It’s probably that I love vibrant shades, nature-inspired prints, and things that are a little unusual–and the new Tahiti palm print from Collectif’s SS16 range has all of those features. The second I saw the previews of this print I was sold: oh God, it’s coming in a cross-strap style sarong dress? I love those! Oh jeez, AND a swing dress? I LOVE THOSE TOO.
So. You know.
I had to own both.
Though I really wanted both dresses, I couldn’t really justify purchasing two pieces in the same print so I planned realistically to just get one. I have a massive love for the kind of cross-strap style bustline found in this Mahina Sarong dress, so I told myself I would only get that for now and then perhaps pick up the Dolores in Collectif’s end of Summer sale if I was lucky enough that there were any left by then (unlikely!) But once the Mahina dress was released, it immediately sold out in the size 16 I needed. Panicked that I would miss out on the palm print entirely, I ordered the Dolores instead…Only to find out Collectif had already put aside a scarce size 16 for me to review for you. So, I am basically the luckiest girl alive and I can review both for you so that you’re well prepared for the restock coming in April if your size is currently sold out.
The Mahina Tahitia Sarong Dress
Dress: Mahina Tahitian Sarong dress C/O Collectif
Cardigan: Old season Marks & Spencers
Bangles: Primark bangles set (current season)
Bag: Wicker Tiki Handbag by Dancing Days by Banned from Audrey Star’s Boutique
Wedges: Bella Brown Gold Wedges from eBay
The Mahina dress is a sarong-inspired dress with a wrap-over style pencil skirt. It has adjustable straps, both in the sense that they can be tightened or loosened like bra straps, and also that they can be worn as traditional straight shoulder straps or crossed over in the front to create the crossed-strap style as shown in the photos above. It has a sweetheart bustline, closes with a side zipper, and there’s an entire section in the centre back of the bodice that’s shirred elastic, which makes for a very stretchy and comfortable fit. Plus, it’s machine washable, which is always a bonus in repro clothing.
It’s not often I feel totally confident and comfortable in a pencil dress, but the construction and print of this dress are so forgiving that I feel amazing wearing it. I think in large part that’s due to the wrap over front of the pencil skirt, which creates a draping that’s very flattering on those of us with rounded tummies. The shirred back means it’s super comfortable to wear and the adjustable straps mean that even worn in the cross-strap style, the neckline doesn’t feel chokey, like some pieces in this style can sometimes feel. I am 5ft 7 and this dress only just hits me on my knees, so bear in mind that if you’re taller than me you’ll find this dress hits you even higher.
I flat measured this size 16 as 32 inches in the waist but it will stretch to 34.5inches flat, so there’s reasonable give there. The bust stretches to 44 inches and the hips are listed as accommodating up to 44 inches on the size chart, but my hips measure 47 inches and they fit without feeling restricted or at risk of busting a seam. Since there’s stretch in this piece you may be able to size down, but seriously take into account the measurements of your hips and butt when you do that as the wrap over front of this skirt is free flowing, not sewn shut, so you’ll probably find a lot of gaping in the knee and leg area if you massively overtax the stretch of this dress. Choose the right size and you’ll end up with a bodacious, fun, summery piece that can be rocked all day and on through the night.
This Mahina Tahiti Palm print dress is currently sold out, but as previously mentioned a restock is coming this month. It costs £45 and is available in UK sizes 6-22. If you love this dress style, there’s also a yellow Mahina dress available in a flamingo print.
Tahiti Palm Print Dolores Dress
The Dolores dress is one of Collectif’s staple best selling pieces for good reason, revamped every season with new colours and prints. It’s a sweetheart neckline swing dress sporting matching buttons on the lightly ruched bust and elasticated puff sleeves. Those sleeves can be worn on the shoulders or off, which I love to mix up depending on my mood and occasion.. It closes with a back zipper and has a full swing skirt that will fit a medium volume petticoat well, and just like the Mahina, it’s machine washable.
There’s generally a very forgiving amount of stretch and give in the Dolores dress, with this print following that trend, so I ordered it in a size 14 and it fits perfectly. The waist flat measures 33 inches and stretches to 35.5 inches. The bust accommodates 40-43 inches and it’s free in the hips. It’s got the same quality, comfort and cuteness we’ve all come to love and expect in our Dolores dresses, so if you’re a fan of the style this print will leave you equally as pleased. If you’re a newbie to Dolores, rest assured that it’s a versatile, fun, and sweet piece that is so comfortable I chose to wear my gingham Dolores from last summer’s line for the 9-hour plane ride I took for my recent trip to America without any regrets.
I love that the greens in these dresses are a mix of vibrant lime, a rich bluey-green and soft mint on top of a black background, making it a great way to wear an eye-catching print without it being overly bright for those who don’t like show-stopping colour. This print is a tropical beauty, so comfortable in both dress styles, and already one of my favourites for the summer. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful that I’m lucky enough to own both pieces.
The Tahiti Palm Print Dolores dress costs £55 and comes in UK sizes 6-22. Collectif ship internationally and often offer discount codes or free shipping promotions, so it’s worth it to follow one of their social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram,Twitter) or sign up to their newsletter on their website.