There were two pieces from Collectif’s autumn/winter season last year that were so perfect they made my knees feel a bit wobbly. You know, the way you get when the guy you have a crush on first texts you ‘Morning beautiful!’ Or when you’re looking at a really, really good looking doughnut. Yeah, you know the kind. Sexy, sexy glaze, nice plump looking dough, maybe some sprinkled crumbled cookie pieces…Mmm.
Wait, what was I saying?
Oh right, Collectif absolutely f*%$ing nailing it.
Last year they released the faux fur trimmed Deana jacket and Andrea skirt, together making the perfect warm, chic winter suit-set of my dreams. I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on both pieces needed to form this gorgeous set and my doughnut-glazed heart will forever be grateful for it.
The other knee-wobbling piece of last season was the Juliette dress, a sophisticated black pencil dress sporting faux fur trim to the collar and hemline, half sleeves, and the hopes and dreams of my entire life. I missed out on snagging the beauty, although, yes, I know, I already had a fur trimmed skirt suit set to console myself with and how many faux fur trimmed pieces does one girl really need?
All of them, okay? I need all of them. Don’t ask stupid questions.
So, fast forward to London Edge this past New Year when Collectif were previewing their SS16 line but also, because they are so incredibly kick-arse, their AW16/17 line as well. And there, hanging on the racks, were three brand new iterations of the Juliette dress. In that same pencil cut as last season, she had been re-imagined for AW16 with a dark, rich green faux fur trim over a navy and green chaise check print (also available on several other pieces this season.) Additionally, there she was in a new, fully luxe black and gold jacquard fabric, available in that original pencil cut and, be still my heart, also as an outrageously fabulous swing-skirted party dress. As a swing dress she sports that same faux fur trimmed collar as her pencil sisters, and, as if it needed anything else, pockets. I know! I’ll give you a second to recover before we push on.
Nah, I was lying, no time because BLAM! Time for pictures!
Dress: Juliette Jacquard Swing dress C/O Collectif Clothing
Shoes: Old everything5pounds.com
Bag: Old Hugo Boss
Hair pins: Old Poundland (I know!)
This dress is all kinds of wonderful. I mean, let’s just be redundant and state the obvious here: it’s luxurious and glamorous in the kind of way only vintage styled pieces can be, evoking the immediate feeling that you should be standing in someone’s perfectly decorated living room, cocktail in hand, laughing in a pretty, warm way that would actually photograph beautifully, rather than a bit horsey or double-chinned. It’s unapologetically fabulous and this is absolutely the right time of year for that sort of smug beauty.
But as if that wasn’t enough, this dress has pockets. Pockets in a day dress make me incredibly happy because they’re practical and useful and, if you’ll mind the pun, handy. But pockets in a party dress give me a different kind of joy. It makes me feel like Collectif have taken the beauty of our favourite vintage eras and melded it together with our modern lives in a way that just makes sense. Plus, I’m sorry if this is lame, but I just feel cool when I can slip half a hand casually into my pocket while I nod and laugh and mingle. Why is that? Is that just me?
Anyhow, this dress is undoubtedly gorgeous. The fabric glimmers but also keeps me warm, helped along by the removable faux fur trim which wraps around the high neckline and continues along the dipped back. I think that small swathe of exposed upper back is sexy in a subtle way, balancing out how modest the high neckline and half sleeves make this dress in general. The skirt is full and able to take a medium-to-full volume petticoat, and the dress closes with a back zipper.
I chose to size up from my usual Collectif 16 to the 18 in this dress because the size chart notes there is no stretch in this fabric, making me concerned my bust wouldn’t fit. Also, no-stretch sleeved dresses and I tend to run into problems in the upper arms/shoulder area as well, so I figured it was better safe than sausage–as in, the sausage casing effect caused when you’re wearing something too small for you. I know, not cute. Sausages are for eating, not impersonating.
Anyyyyhow, the size 18 was a good call. The waist in this size 18 flat measures 36 inches with no stretch and only half an inch of give, while the bust measures 44 inches and fits my 45 inch bust without strain. This means the size chart is exactly accurate with their 44-46 bust, 36 waist listings. In all honesty I probably could have fit in the 16, but I feel much better knowing I can wear this dress to my Christmas festivities and enjoy myself comfortably without having to strap down and strap in any part of me that wobbles or swells when there’s food or music present. I can actually dance in this dress with ease, so if your measurements likewise test a listing on the size chart then sizing up might be the best choice for you. I can always take in the waist or add a belt to cinch it in a little tighter if I feel like enhancing it, but making my boobs suffer in a dress that doesn’t want to accommodate them would be fun for no one.
The Juliette Jacquard Swing dress is available in UK sizes 6-22 and costs £93, shipped free in the UK. Collectif ship internationally and have 4 stores in the UK, should you wish to check out Juliette (or anything else from their line) in person.