Search Results for: collectif

Off the Rack ~ Bust-Friendly Coats: The Collectif Molly

Fall is well upon us, and it’s already starting to feel like winter here in New York City. That means it’s one of my favorite times of year—jacket season!

Last year, I reviewed the Collectif Pearl Coat as a good bust-friendly option. This year, I’ve been hankering for a 1940s-style short jacket, but really wanted one that would be warm enough to wear as a proper coat, not just a fashion blazer.

Naturally, I looked to Collectif again, and they did not disappoint! I went with the dark olive green “Molly” jacket because it’s part wool and has a big (faux) fur collar. It’s nearly sold out on Collectif’s site, but can be purchased from several other retailers, including TopVintage.net and ModCloth.com (where it’s listed as the “Sentimental Twist Belted Jacket”).

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The jacket is 20% wool and 80% polyester, and it’s fully lined in 97% polyester/ 3% spandex. The outer fabric feels super soft, and so far the lining is perfectly comfortable and doesn’t make me sweat any extra. It features belt loops and matching belt, four buttons up the front, and a removable faux fur collar (over a curved lapel). The fur is ultra silky and shiny with a deep pile. It certainly wouldn’t fool anyone into thinking it’s real, but it feels nice against the skin and really does add a lot of extra warmth, even with the deep, open neckline.

I measure 37”-29”-41” and wear UK 28GG. Ordinarily I take a UK 12 (US Medium) in Collectif, though I occasionally size down to a 10. The description of this jacket says it’s cut slim, but so does the Pearl Coat’s description, and that in size 12 fits me perfectly. But size 12 was sold out when I was ready to purchase, so I went up to a 14 anyway—and I’m glad I did!

The shoulders, arms, and bust all fit perfectly. There’s enough room for a thick sweater or sweatshirt beneath it without being bulky or baggy when worn over a thinner top. The waist is a little big, to be honest, but the wide belt means I can cinch it in if I want an extra hourglassy shape.

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Now, I have to note that I actually moved the belt loops a whole inch and a half lower than where they were originally placed. You can see in the manufacturer photo that the belt is located right under the boobs. That’s great if you have a short torso or your underbust is the narrowest part of your ribcage. But it did not play nice with my super-long torso and smaller waist.

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Here’s me wearing the jacket with the belt fastened in its original location. You can clearly see how far down I moved the belt loops.

One thing I do appreciate about the belt loops is that there are four of them—two in the front and two in back. It drives me nuts when clothes only have two loops, one on each side. Inevitably, my rounded tummy causes the front of the belt to curve upward, and the sway of my lower spine causes the back of the balt to slide downward, and I end up looking pregnant. Here, that is no issue!

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So not only do I have the belt to cinch in my waist, but the tailoring of the jacket is also very bust-friendly. It features classic princess seams, which always help clothing contour nicely to bigger breasts. It also flares out just a bit on the hip, helping to balance my volume up top.

Sadly, there are no pockets, but even if there were, they probably would have interfered with my placement of the belt loops, so I can live without them.

Today’s temperature was in the upper 40s and low 50s (Fahrenheit), and the coat was more than warm enough over a long-sleeved tee. I think it might be a little cool at sub-freezing temperatures, but even then, I could probably be okay if I added a warmer layer underneath and a good scarf.

I originally took this next photo to show off the collar without the fur, but was too lazy to remove the fur (which is attached with little buttons all along the inside of the neck), but then I realized that if I get chilly, I can flip the fur collar up like so for extra warmth. In fact, I’m tempted to add a hook and eye so that I can do that without needing to hold it closed.

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Collectif really is the best for vintage-style winter coats and jackets. At this rate, I’m going to need a bigger closet!

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Off the Rack ~ Bust-Friendly Coats: The Collectif Pearl

I really should have reviewed this before Christmas, but I just couldn’t get my shit together for the past couple weeks. The holidays wiped me out (in a good way), with family gatherings, parties, and travel. I’m even late this week, as you can see!

This week I’m reviewing the Collectif Pearl coat. Collectif is a brand I’ve reviewed before with mixed results. But my last review was two and a half years ago, and I’ve had much better success since then. I’m particularly fond of their “Dolores” styles (in which I take size UK 12 / Medium) and their sweaters (in which I take UK 10 / Small because they’re stretchy and I like them fitted for tucking into high-waisted bottoms).

Collectif also makes the best vintage-style winter coats. I’ve had my eye on the Pearl coat for years, especially after my pal MissShapen came for a New York visit a few years ago and brought one along. She looked amazing in it, and it was so flattering on a busty figure. From the original beige color, in the years since they’ve released it in navy blue, dark green, and, this season, in burgundy and textured black. I was excited by the green when it was released last year, but I couldn’t really justify buying another winter coat. Then this year, Collectif re-issued the green in limited quantities, and I knew it was finally time to take the plunge before I lost my chance. So I got rid of a bunch of jackets I don’t wear much to make room in the closet, and waited until Black Friday when I knew there would be sales.

I ordered both the green from ModCloth and the burgundy from Unique Vintage, so I could try on both colors and decide which I liked better. I ended up going with the green, as I thought its warmer tone (in both the coat and the fur trim) flattered my coloring better.

Oh readers, this coat is simply glorious. I literally get compliments every time I wear it. And even better, it fits a busty figure beautifully and it’s actually very warm and practical for New York winters!

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Off the Rack ~ Collectif Polly Gingham Shirt Dress Reviewed

As you may recall, I had pretty good success with two skirts from British brand Collectif earlier this year. As such, I’ve been eager to try one of their dresses. When they recently had a 50% off everything sale, I went with the Polly gingham shirt dress.

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I was planning on ordering a 12, which is what I took in the skirts, but on the morning of the sale that was the only size that was sold out. I debated whether to size up or down. I ended up sizing down for three reasons: 1) The waist of the two skirts I have is actually a little big; 2) the fabric is the same 97% polyester and 3% spandex blend as the Agarva skirt, which is quite stretchy; and 3) the size chart says size 10 fits bust size 36”–38”. At 37”, that should suit me just fine.

Unfortunately, the size chart is way off. I don’t know if it’s this way across the board or just with this one garment, but the bust was hopelessly small. I could just barely do up the buttons and then it was flattening me out and straining horribly:

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I was especially frustrated because my real concern had been with the waist, which the size chart says should fit 28” and I’m 29”. But it fit perfectly there! Additionally, I had actually called Collectif before ordering, told them my measurements, and asked if they thought a size 10 might work. They expressed concern that the waist might be uncomfortably tight, but said nothing about it running small in the bust. The website also doesn’t say it runs small in the bust, so one would assume that the size chart is accurate.

When I measured the dress, though, it wasn’t even close:

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Just in case the first photo wasn’t clear, here you can see it’s less than 17” wide at the bust, meaning about 33” around—5 inches shorter than the size it’s supposed to fit!

The waist, by the way, was spot on: 14” flat, or 28” around.

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I don’t understand why Collectif is listing a size chart that is so far from reality. Why don’t they just be honest?? Had I known the real measurements, I would have simply ordered a size 14 and taken in the waist. And by the time I received my order, 14 was also sold out, so an exchange was not an option.

I sent a rather angry email to Collectif, complete with photos, and told them I thought they should be responsible for the return shipping, since it was their fault I ended up with a garment that doesn’t fit. They did refund me for the dress and the return shipping, but I’m still pretty pissed because they don’t refund the original shipping, so I basically threw $22 out the window trying a dress that had no hope of fitting. I will never buy another Collectif blouse or dress again unless it’s second-hand and the owner has real garment measurements. How can anyone buy from them if the size charts are wrong?

 

Off the Rack ~ Review: Separates from Collectif and Pin Up Girl Clothing

In honor of the American “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving when stores open early and people line up in the wee hours of the morning to get crazy deals like 50 or 60% off big ticket items), British reproduction vintage clothing company Collectif held a “Black Thursday” sale during which every single item except coats was half off.

I’ve had my eye on this brand for quite some time, but the pound to dollar exchange rate is never in the dollar’s favor, shipping from the UK to US is costly, and their prices aren’t exactly cheap to begin with. But for 50% off, everything suddenly became a lot more affordable, so I picked up two pencil skirts, Ahoy Sailor and Agarva Matte.

Unfortunately, Collectif’s sizing isn’t nearly as hourglass-friendly as Pin Up Girl Clothing, so I was a little unsure what size to order. My waist is between a 10 and 12, but my hips are squarely a 14. I asked for advice in an online forum and was told that in these two items, my best fit would be 12, but it would be quite tight across my butt. Both these items are 98% cotton and 2% elastane/spandex, so that sounded fine to me.

I was thrilled when the skirts arrived. Both fit, and the quality is also top notch, better than PUG or Bettie Page in my opinion.

First up, the Agarva:

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Even though both skirts are the same color and same fabric content, they feel totally different. The Agarva is thin and smooth, sort of like suiting fabric. The straps are adjustable in front and back, with buttons at two heights on both sides and buttonholes at two heights on each end as well. You can wear them crossed in back or straight. I’m wearing it with the back on the loosest setting (top button and bottom buttonhole) and in the front, lining up both buttons with both buttonholes.

I was impressed that the skirt did not hike up while I walked, which a lot of pencil skirts tend to do on me. It was, however, a little tough to walk in because the legs are so narrow. I was essentially forced to take fast baby steps, especially in heels. I do have one serious complaint—the side zipper sucks. Not only is it hard to zip up, but it ends up looking all bumpy. You can see this quite clearly in the second photo, on my left side. It’s so smoothing on the other side, I really wish it had an invisible zipper up the back instead.

Next up is the Ahoy Sailor Skirt:

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The fabric on this one feels like heavy, stiff twill. With both of these skirts, I really wish the waist was smaller. The Ahoy fabric, in particular, has the potential to really flatten and flatter your tummy, but on me it’s too loose and does not achieve this effect. It’s actually a little bit unflattering on me, because Ahoy’s midriff seam curves under my little belly and basically emphasizes it. Annoying! Agarva doesn’t have this issue since it doesn’t have the same seam.

Aside from it not matching up to my measurements, I have no other complaints about Ahoy. I like the stiffness of the fabric because it doesn’t show visible pantylines and it looks very crisp.

In addition to loving the clothes, I was really pleased with Collectif’s customer service. For some reason, when I placed the order I was not charged shipping. Afraid that my order did not actually go through, and also not wanting to accidentally steal from a small business, I emailed them, and less than 24 hours later I got the following response:

Not too sure what happened there, but we have definitely received your order! Seems like a glitch and you got lucky ; )

Wow, okay! I thought maybe they would want to charge me after the fact, but they let me keep my accidental free shipping. Thanks Collectif!

Lastly, I’m happy to report that both skirts come with spare buttons and are machine-wash cold. No stupid dry cleaning bill here!

Now, as for those tops I’m wearing with the skirts, they’re both from Pin Up Girl Clothing (well, actually they’re from PinUpGirlStyle.com’s swap/sell group). The white one is the Dolly and the red is the Sailor top. I don’t have that much to say about these shirts. They fit like your standard medium women’s fitted tee. They certainly don’t fit as nicely as a BiuBiu or Urkye shirt. The fabric is very soft. I kind of wish the Sailor sleeves were either a little looser or a little longer, as they tend to bunch up around my elbows.

However, what I will complain about is that they are really freaking short. The Sailor is just long enough to cover the button on a pair of low-rise jeans:

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The Dolly top, though, doesn’t even reach my pants!

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The description online says it’s “long enough to wear tucked in, or out over jeans.” Well that’s laughable. I know I have a long torso, but this is ridiculous. It’s lucky that I own so many high-waisted skirts and shorts, because I literally can’t wear this shirt with anything else. I grew out of belly shirts when I was a teenager and I have no desire to go back to them.