I’ll tell you what–there are many ways we Brits are poorly adapted to dealing with hot weather, but for me one of the things I struggle with most is how uncomfortable I find tight seams and waistbands during hot weather. That might sound weird, but just picture it; you throw on one of your favourite dresses in the comfort of your cooled bedroom in the morning, then go out into the sweltering day only to realise a few hours later as you sit sweating at your desk, or on the bus, or waiting for your friend to turn up to your lunch date, that it was a mistake. Because in that moment, while you’re feeling hot and sticky and fed up, you realise that this dress–which was always a bit on the tight side because you were technically between sizes from this brand and you opted for the smaller size because it looked better on, even though you have to wear particular underwear with it–is actually fresh hell.
The waistband, which normally feels like it’s flattering your waist by cinching it in by sheer force of the fabric, is digging in to the clammy skin of your waist, and the bust feels like it’s squeezing your poor boobs, and the whole thing is just too tight and uncomfortable for humidity and summer and oh god why did you do this to yourself, this is not the kind of weather for sucking in and posing and remembering in every moment to be poised. You should have picked out one of your dresses that’s a bit looser, airier, one of those ones you normally have to add a belt to in order to feel it fits properly.
Or, you know, you should have worn one of your dresses that was literally made for you, custom measured in every aspect to fit your body. That, my friends, is what I’ve been doing a lot during our little British heatwave, and thanks to Hearts and Found I’ve been so much more comfortable for it.
The Gilda dress is a style I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while, as I’m a big fan of tie strap shoulders. It’s a simple, classic shape for a sundress, with a gathered full skirt and square neckline. The cut is so clean and sweet that I wanted my fabric choice to hit those same two notes, so I chose this sailboats fabric to custom create my dress, and I loooove it (You have to picture me singing that in a high pitched voice or else you’re not doing it properly.)
The biggest selling point of ordering from Hearts and Found is that they allow you to customise every aspect of your clothing; you can opt for one of their standard sizes if they work for you, or you can choose a fully custom sized piece, so your garment will be made to fit you, not the other way around. Every dress or skirt is offered in an array of lengths so you can make sure your hem hits you at just the right spot no matter your height, and I haven’t found a single dress yet that doesn’t come with pockets–I know, just when you think they can’t get any better, there’s pockets.
As all of my Hearts and Found dresses were made to my measurements there was no nasty surprises that a waistband or bustline fit tighter than I expected once it was in my hands, like sometimes happens with standard sized reproduction items ordered elsewhere. There’s something very reassuring when looking through my wardrobe trying to decide what to wear and knowing that I can always, always reach for one of my Hearts and Found pieces. I don’t have to pause to consider if a particular dress will work for a certain occasion because I have to wear X bra with it, or because the waistband is so tight on a dress that it looks better when I wear a cincher but this event will have a lot of sitting, so is that going to be too uncomfortable to wear all night? The dresses fit me exactly and that means no matter what I’m doing I can throw them on, look good, feel comfortable, and go. No deliberations, no bedroom movement testing. They fit my body, every time. The fact that such a peace of mind is not only beautiful but reasonably priced is some kind of small miracle.
Every Hearts and Found item can be ordered in any fabric they carry in the store, which they are constantly updating, so there’s always hundreds of options for what combinations of fabric and garment style you can create in your order. I make a habit of checking for new fabrics or dress styles regularly so I can custom order a new dress of my own choosing, eager to add more of their pretties to my closet.
The Gilda dress costs $82-92 in sizes XS-4XL or custom sized, available in any fabric, but Hearts and Found are having a summer sale right now for 20% off with coupon code SOMUCHSUN so it’s a perfect time to give them a try if you haven’t yet–just make it quick, that code expires tomorrow. They ship internationally and their customer service is always exemplary, so feel free to shoot them a message on Etsy if you have any questions or need any help before ordering.