I love olive green, a colour I believe is massively under utilised and under appreciated. Lucky for me, Collectif have taken up the charge for championing it this season with several olive toned pieces in their AW17 line, one of my favourites of which is this Jessie floral cardigan.
Ah, Collectif; does anybody do coats better than you? Certainly I don’t think any other vintage inspired brand is as well known for their coats, especially when you consider the fame and fervor surrounding the yearly release of their Pearl coat. For me, it was the Riley coat that made my heart go a pitter-patter when I first glimpsed its preview, a coat so classic and beautiful I have already said a million times to anyone who will listen that I want to just wear it as a dress. I’m more than partial to a winter cape as well, so when the brainwave hit to pair the Paige velvet and faux fur cape with the Riley for hood coverage and extra warmth on very cold or drizzly days, I wasn’t just pleased with myself for the practicality of the idea, but downright obnoxiously proud of the glamorous combination it created. Behold, a pairing fit for most any winter wonderland!
Here’s the thing about London Edge: there’s so many pretty things everywhere that the volume of them is almost numbing and you begin to act a bit like a greedy toddler hopped up on sugar in a vast toy store, leafing through the racks and mumbling ‘want, want, want’ about practically all the lovely things, far more than you could ever conceivably buy.
It can take some serious self-restraint and concentration to organise your photo taking and mental cataloging throughout the day in order to best use the event as a way to plan out your purchases for the upcoming season being previewed. Sometimes I end up mentally dog-earring items I change my mind about later once they actually come into stock, when the druggish enthusiasm of the day has worn off. Considering that, my favourite part of the whole experience comes in the moments when a piece is so gorgeous that it will literally make me pause, my whole body stilling while my mouth gapes. When I’m there with friends I turn with wide eyes to look at them, wordlessly holding out the dress or skirt or bag, and said friends, often Giselle, will say ‘Oh you need that. That is so you.’ I feel validated and gratified. It IS so me, yes, thank you for acknowledging that; I must have it.
Just such a scene happened as I rounded a set of shelves at the Collectif booth in September and clapped eyes on the Lulu Hun Mara heels, this time pointing them out, mouth wide, in glee to Collectif’s own designer Julia. I feel that same glee here today to be able to finally get these sweet, classic little ruby cuties on my feet.
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.
Sometimes I go through phases of collecting certain things for my wardrobe. Normally it’s a binge of a specific item, like handbags in colours I’ve realised I don’t have but need for new outfit pairing ideas. So, suddenly, I might begin buying several pairs of summer wedges, or flats, or long sleeved tops, or hair accessories. The focus is always on fulfilling a hole in my closet, an under represented category that would allow me to create more diverse and more interesting outfits once that category has been properly curated. Lately, one such binge has been for patterned cardigans.
I fell for this Collectif chevron piece the very first moment I saw it pop up on their website. It was one of their earliest released items from their AW17 line, but it recently got a restock so I’m thrilled to now be able to add it to my wardrobe. It definitely fills a small but gaping hole that my wardrobe and I were eager to see addressed.
Sometimes you see a dress and just immediately know it’s a ‘you’ piece. Back in February when I was flicking through Collectif’s previewed SS17 line the Nora Abstract swing dress jumped right out at me in just such a way.
Featuring a bold print made up of red, green and yellow framed on a white background, it’s the kind of colourful print I’m never afraid of and always delighted by. The colour combination makes me think of chilies and dell peppers, and I think that’s kind of brilliantly fun.
As much as I love bright colours, I’m not much one for clashing. I’ve actually been known to say before how much I hate pink and red paired together, with an unnecessary amount of passion. Turns out, that dislike is more of a contextual thing, because when I spotted this Eden frilly fronted cardigan I was totally on board. I immediately pictured it paired with a sky blue skirt and a wicker basket handbag, and then when it arrived I styled it exactly so. It’s just like I pictured it would be. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
The Fairy Doll dress by Collectif is one of their staple dresses that receives new print and colourway releases every spring/summer. This year the offerings are tropical themed samples of deliciousness, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for this orange and green combo of bamboo summer fun to be released since I saw the preview of SS17 last September.
I knew I loved the dress instantly purely for its vibrant print, but I didn’t realise it was going to be such a comfortable, easy wear. With no zips and only stretchy, stretchy smocking, this is a perfect dress for wearing on hot summer days when tight waistbands can pinch and rub as your body temperature rises. Plus, that stretch factor means it’s an excellent dress for travelling in both style and comfort, something I appreciated massively when I wore it this past weekend in the hot glasshouses of the Royal Edinburgh Botanical gardens and walking round the gorgeous (but hilly) city.
I don’t really do trousers, not as a pinup. I wear jeans for work, as well as steel toed boots and a hi-vis jacket, because hello, Warehouse Supervisor life is the glammest of glam. But outside of that, in the vintage style realm of the 50s that I prefer, trousers are either high-waisted fitted styles or high-waisted swing styles and it’s that high-waisted part that I struggle most with. Because while my hips and butt are delightfully rounded food-storers, it’s my stomach that literally takes the cake. Often when I’ve tried these styles in the past what fits my hips won’t fit my waist, or sometimes they’ll fit my waist but they won’t really be truly high-waisted enough on me, ending at that weird belly button height that does favours for no one.
Well, Collectif saved the day, and my butt. Last summer when they launched their Kirsty jeans I heard talk that they were both truly high-waisted and stretchy as all get out. I eventually gave them a try and was delighted to find the talk to be true. Anytime I need to get out of the house quickly or want to be totally comfortable, I reach for my Kirsty jeans, so much so that I bought myself a back-up pair in this past winter 50% off sale. I figured that was me all set for a while with my pants needs.
And then along came Nomi, AKA Kirsty 2.0. Featuring the same high-waisted rise and comfortable stretchtastic denim, these babies are Kirsty jeans with the side zipper replaced by a partial front zip and 3 featured gold buttons, front pockets, and a slightly darker hue. Basically, babies, I love them.
If I were to say the phrase ‘Hands up if you think Miss Amy May would wear a playsuit pinafore set with side cut-outs’ not only would I expect nobody to raise their hands, but I would make a huge point of shoving mine firmly and roughly into my armpits, warm and safe in the comfortable folds of my stubborn body.
I’ve worn a dress in the past that had a large cut-out in the midriff and I did a whole enthusiastic blog post about it–I did, here, you can even see for yourself. But, you see, that was a couple of dress sizes and a whooole lot of lbs ago. And that doesn’t mean I can’t wear such items of clothing now that I’m nearer a size 18 than a 12, it just means that, you know, it’s a less comfortable prospect for me right now. Because, absolutely, I 100% still stand by my feelings that everyone should get to wear whatever they want, no matter their size, gender, or anything else, really, that people try to use as an excuse to dictate how and why people should dress themselves to please others and not themselves. I will never not believe that. Continue reading