In looking through my old posts, I’ve only reviewed items from Collectif Clothing four times throughout the years, and two of those were coats. But Collectif is actually one of my favorite brands and I shop with them all the time! So it’s definitely well past time that I post some more reviews. This week, I’m showcasing the “Dolores” tops. There’s also a Dolores dress, but I’ll save that for another post.

The Dolores tops feature gathered puff cap sleeves with elasticated shoulders and arm openings. They have a slight V neckline and the front and back each have a pair of seams for shaping. There’s also an invisible zipper on one side that reaches from the armpit all the way down to the hem.

Up until 2020, the elastic in the armpits was super tight. It would bite into my arm and rub my skin painfully, so I always loosened the elastic in that area. However, starting this year (after many complaints), they’ve changed the elastic so that it’s sewn in place in such a way that there are a couple inches of non-elasticated fabric right at the base of the armpit. It’s way more comfortable. Additionally, they added a hook-and-eye to the base of the zipper. So keep both those changes in mind if you’re buying second-hand.

In general, Collectif’s measurements are only slightly more boob-friendly than average (size UK 12/Medium is 38”-40” bust with 30” waist, for example). But since their designs are inspired by 1930s/40s/50s styles, many of them are tailored in such a way as to be more boob-friendly than average, or at least very boob-flattering.

I measure 38”-29/30”-42”, so I take a UK 12 (which is a US 8 or Medium) in Collectif tops and dresses. Occasionally, I take a UK 10 in swing skirts or wide-leg trousers because I’m in between 10 and 12 for my waist.

Do take note that Collectif has several different in-house brands that all have slightly different charts. The comments above are in regard to their mainline brand. The “Bright & Beautiful” line is inspired by styles of the 1960s and ‘70s, so the bust runs smaller to match the body profile that was in style during that time. Finally, you have the Collectif x ModCloth collaboration brand. (Note that US and Canadian shoppers can only purchase this directly from ModCloth; if you add them to your cart on the Collectif site, you won’t be able to check out.) The MC collab pieces extend Collectif’s UK 4-22 range to UK 2-30, so it’s more size-inclusive, but the overlapping sizes run the same.

The Dolores tops and dresses are some of the most bust-friendly options from Collectif. I would even say you could size down by one numeral if your waist matches a smaller size than your bust on the chart. The shape, light stretch, and gathers at the bust make it more flexible. As well, different fabrics fit slightly differently even though they’re all cut consistently. Here, I’ll share the three different types of fabric in my collection so you can see the differences.

Normally, I wear these tucked into high-waist bottoms, but they are actually long enough to wear untucked, even on my extra-long torso and 5’6” height, as I’ve photographed them here.

Here’s the whole collection. The two plaids in the upper left are a soft, flannel-like fabric; the gingham in the upper right has a woven feel; and the remaining four are a smooth cotton sateen.

First up is the woven gingham. This one has a more textured feel to it. The fabric content is 62% polyester, 25% cotton, 3% elastane. It’s from 2014, so it fits a little differently than the current tops. For one thing, it has a zipper on the right side instead of the left. The sleeves also seem to be a tiny bit shorter and wider-set. But otherwise, it’s the same length and has the same seams up the front and back.

This fabric is the least stretchy out of the three that I have, so I wouldn’t recommend sizing down in this one if you find it second-hand or if you buy another print with the same fabric content.

You can see in this photo that my bra straps are sticking out, even though I selected a bra with wide-set straps and tried tucking them in. These tops can definitely be problematic when it comes to visible straps, but this old gingham one is worse than current models.

Next up is the flannel-like plaid version. I purchased both of these in 2019. They are 98% polyester, 2% spandex, and they feel like flannel with a slightly fuzzy finish. I think this fabric is the comfiest and certainly the softest. Plus, how perfect are these prints for fall??

If your waist matches a size smaller than your bust, I think you could safely size down one numeral. The fabric is not stretchy, but it molds to my shape the best since it’s less stiff than the other two options.

Last up is the traditional cotton sateen fabric, which is what most Dolores tops and dresses are made of. This one is 97% cotton, 3% elastane. It has a smooth finish with a slight sheen. It also has the most stretch of the three, though again the stretch is still pretty limited. It does soften up and lose some of its crispness with regular wear, but that’s just fine with me.

This one was purchased in 2020, so it has the hook-and-eye at the base of the invisible zipper on the left side and has the looser elastic in the armholes. This fabric is perfect for showcasing bright, detailed prints—which Collectif obviously does not shy away from!