I can’t be the only one who sometimes pictures a certain kind of dress I really want, but can’t find it anywhere. For a couple years now that has been my struggle for a sleeved black swing dress with a white collar. It sounds like something that you’d think multiple brands might produce, so simple but chic is the idea, and so well fitted to the concept of something we could picture Audrey Hepburn wearing. But no, instead, I have been destined to wait, to wait and to hope.
This season, finally, Collectif have answered my wardrobe prayers, and produced that perfect dress. She’s here–the Winona.
Available as a swing dress, a pencil dress and a top, this classic collared pretty is ready to be rocked by every pinup no matter her silhouette or dress/separates preference. Actually, forget just pinups, this is one of those pieces that pretty much every woman out there could probably find a way to style in her own favourite ways. Able to look good with a sleek updo, loose long locks or a structured, coiffed style, it can also work with–and this list is almost endless–patterned or coloured tights, all manner of brooches whether worn on the chest or centered in the opening of the collar, chiffon scarves tied under said collar to create a cute pop of colour, boots of basically every height, ballet flats, stiletto heels, vintage gloves…it really goes on and on. It you can think up a new way to style this dress, it would probably work, because a clean, classic look like this is a great base upon which to get creative.
For me, I had to keep my first wear simple, after so long of dreaming of a dress like this. Paired with warm tights and knee high boots to help keep out the mild autumn chill, I chose to wear my hair up to really highlight that adorable white collar. The bengaline fabric makes it comfortable to wear, with just that right amount of happy stretch, while the matching fabric notched belt cinches in the waist. The half sleeves are a flattering length on every body type, and the rounded front pockets in the flared skirt are as handy as they are sweet. It is, all in all, just what I wanted.
I asked for this dress in a size 18 and it’s a wonderful fit. The waist flat measures 34 inches with stretch to 38, while the bust lays flat at 42 inches with stretch to about 47. The skirt 28.5 long and will take a medium-slim volume petticoat, but it’s only flared close to the body at the upper hips, not a full circle or with any gathers, so it can’t accommodate full volume. Thanks to the stretch in the bengaline, those of us who have larger upper arms won’t experience any difficulty getting the dress on, nor any pinching or regret throughout wear.
The Winona swing dress comes in black and navy, in UK sizes 6 – 22. The pencil dress comes in the same size range in both colours, but the Winona top only comes in black, also in that same size range. Collectif Clothing have 4 UK stores and have stockists all over the world.