Look, I know you know this about me, because I’ve said it multiple times here on the blog but it’s important and it bears repeating: I love burgundy. I love it all year round but in the colder months it really comes into it’s own. Just think about it–crisp golden leaves beginning to fall from the trees, a slight bite starting to creep into the early mornings, just enough that you wake up wondering if you should have porridge for breakfast even though no one wants to eat porridge over Marmite toast or a cereal that is more cookies than nutrition. And there hanging on the front of your wardrobe, visible from the warm snuggliness of your bed, a perfectly crisp burgundy shirt dress, ready to be layered up and worn out into the world like you’re a dose of festive mulled wine.
Well that’s the Zoe dress from Collectif and I am all about it.
I don’t own a lot of shirt dresses and there’s no particular reason for it, but the moment I put on this Zoe dress for the first time I wondered how quickly I should buy half a dozen more. Shirt dresses require minimal effort or thought to create a put-together, classic look, with the option to dress them up or down as much as you so wish. Just popping to the shops for a bit? Throw on with a pair of flats and you’re good to go. Got a lovely day out planned with family somewhere special? No problem, add gloves, heels and a vintage hat and you’re fabulously set.
The Zoe dress has an open neck collar and functional buttons placed down the centre of the bodice, with a secretly more practical hidden zip in the back so you don’t have to touch those buttons if you don’t want to–nothing annoys me more than a dress that requires you to undo every button down the front for you to get into it. There’s a pocket on each side of the chest, it comes with a PU-backed matching fabric belt (no floppy belt here!) and the elbow length sleeves end in turn-ups. My favourite thing about this dress, apart from the colour, is that the skirt is full, happy to take a medium-full petticoat and to go for a twirl or two if you’re in the mood. I’ve never been a fan of slim skirted dresses and in shirt dresses especially I don’t feel a slim skirt is flattering on my frame, so the full skirt of the Zoe really elevates this dress to my ideal comfort and style level.
I opted for the size 18 as sleeved dresses tend to be too tight in the arm and shoulder for me these days in a 16. The 18 fits perfectly all over, something I was delighted by as even an 18 can pinch at the bicep in some brands, so ladies with large upper arms who have been steering clear of sleeves might find similar joy with this piece. The bust flat measures 44 inches with stretch to 46, while the waist measures 38 inches stretched to 39, making it very true to the size chart. The arm holes are 21 inches in circumference while the sleeve turns ups are 15 inches. The skirt is 27 inches long.
I’m also wearing the Diana Crocodile heel by Lulu Hun, Collectif’s own shoe brand. You might recognise them from my London Edge round up back at the start of September as they share a picture with my absolute favourite pair of shoes from that day’s display (a cream and brown contrast peeptoe pair I suspect must be due next spring/summer.) At first I didn’t even feel all that drawn to this pair as I was so enamored with the cream/brown pair beside them, but as time went on and I began to mentally pair the Diana pieces with my new fall outfits I was creating–only to then remember that, oh yeah, I didn’t actually own them, I had just seen them as a preview. So when they released a few weeks back I treated myself excitedly, adding my first ever pair of brown or crocodile shoes to my collection.
I’m not really a crocodile skin effect person, nor someone who is all that drawn to authentic vintage style shoes, even considering how much I love every other aspect of vintage style. More often than not I’ll opt for a pair of ballet pumps or a slinkier, more modern shoe to finish my ensembles because they just feel more ‘me,’ but I love how authentically vintage this style is. They have block heels and a platform, making them sturdy and comfortable to walk in even if 3.75 inch heels are a struggle for you, while the peeptoe features a simple overlapped shaping design that feels very 1940s. They’re made of fake PU, making them easy to wipe clean, a definite bonus considering half of my shoes are a suede finish with all the headaches that creates.
Lulu Hun tends to be known for sizing a little small compared to standard UK shoe sizes but I’ve always found my usual size 7 works for me in all of their shoes I’ve tried so far with only pointed toe styles being the exception that required me to need a size 8. These Diana heels in a size 7 fit me beautifully, and as the slingbacks have a working buckle you are able to loosen or tighten them by a hole or two if you need a touch of adjustment in the fit for complete comfort.
The Zoe dress comes in burgundy, navy and black in UK sizes 6-22 for £76.50, and in a pencil dress version and a jumpsuit in the same size range. The Diana heel comes in UK sizes 3-8 for £39. Collectif have stores in London and Brighton, and stockists all over the world.