I promised pretty vintage inspired holiday party dresses, and now you’ll get them!
I recently purchased the beautiful Faye Floral Doll dress from Collectif on a nice sale. It’s a gorgeous black, full-skirted 1950s style with a built-in petticoat. The entire dress has an overlay made of a beautiful sheer mesh fabric, including the illusion-style sweetheart bodice. There are hand-cut, hand-applied lace flowers scattered on the skirt overlay. The same appliques line the bodice’s sweetheart edge.
With Collectif employee Julia’s kind assistance, I selected the size 14 (I’m 42-32/33-48″) and have no regrets!
Since revamping their website this year, Collectif’s been a lot easier to shop. The site now features informative size charts and individual advice for each particular item. I tend to fall pretty squarely in the size 14 category for most Collectif items these days, but I recommend a bit of caution when ordering; their sizing can vary considerably from item to item. When in doubt, ask! Everyone at Collectif is very knowledgeable and happy to help you. They own and wear the clothes you’re buying, and in many instances, have had a hand in designing them!
The dress was a total impulse, but it’s better than I could have ever imagined! Here’s a detailed look at the floral lace appliques on the bodice…
Even though Collectif is UK-based, shipping to North America is fast and reasonably priced. This year, they have had multiple 20% off sales, at least two 50% off sales, and other promotions designed to ease the shipping burden.
For those with a taste for whimsy, the Deadly Dames Folly Flair mermaid dress is another great holiday party option.
I have to admit, I wasn’t that into this one when it first rolled out last year. I thought the red satin/black lace fabric was very pretty and I enjoyed the fun mermaid hem poof, but the sleeveless-tunic styling (eek, my arms!) and $220 price tag put me off. I opted for the Laura Byrnes Isabelle dress for New Year’s Eve instead (which ended up running really big in the shoulders, oddly enough) because of the cap sleeves and interesting lace details on the bust.
Then there was the sizing issue. I have big hips compared to my waist and bust. At 42-32/33-48″, wiggle styles are hard unless there’s good stretch in the fabric. My friend Cynthia – who has really similar measurements – tried the Folly Flair in an XL (our usual Pinup Girl Clothing brands size) and promptly informed me that there was no way we would be able to get away with it. She ended up ordering the 2x and altering it.
I loved the way the dress looked on Cynthia, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted to spend full price on it, let alone the alteration fees that would follow. When Cynthia decided to sell her Folly Flair, needless to say I jumped on it.
Now that I have the dress, I understand the appeal. It’s not the best dress ever on me, but it’s definitely a goodie. I will probably have to get the dress altered further as it is still a bit big in the waist and doesn’t yet give me the boobie effect I wish for. That said, it’s still wearable. I adore the black lace overlay and bright red satin fabric. The tulle mermaid hem is really unique. Heck, even the velvet belt is special; unlike the regular black velvet Deadly Dames belts, this one is RED on the reverse!
The dress is now sold out at the Pinup Girl Clothing website, but it will be restocking soon in new fabrics and colors for the holidays. The original red/black run was supposed to be a one-off limited edition thing, but they ended up doing a second run anyway. It’s also possible that they’ll bring the fabricway back for a third tour as it was such a hit. Here’s hoping!
12/13/2013 UPDATE: The Folly Flair is back in red/black and in two new colors: beige with black spiderweb overlace and black with black spiderweb overlace.