Friday, 23 January 2015

Collectif Christmas sale haul and reviews

So after weeks of waiting patiently, my Collectif orders that I placed in the Christmas 50 % off sale finally arrived! Sadly, the first order that I placed was the victim of a background system error, so Collectif didn't get told about my order. Yet after speaking with the Collectif Team (who have been great) my order got sorted and was delivered. Yeah, it would have been great if I didn't have to wait nearly 4 weeks for my order to arrive (and some items I ordered were out of stock by the time it was dealt with, so I had to choose alternatives), but heck, I have been too damn excited to care! I 100% appreciate the magnitude of the success of the sale and the task at hand for the Collectif team, therefore I am not about to start complaining about them. I am just thrilled that I could continue adding to my pinup wardrobe for a little bit less money than usual! So thank you Collectif for giving me a much needed leg up on the Pinup ladder!

As I have mentioned previously, I am fairly new to pinup and as a result, instead of buying lots of expensive items that I would realistically only wear on the odd occasion, I decided to buy a range of 'basics' - pinup wardrobe staples, which I could mix and match to make a variety of outfits. Once I have my day to day pinup wardrobe in place, I can then buy some of the more specialist items and accessories. This will hopefully help to tie my whole wardrobe together, as I have a really bad habit of buying 'items' that I like instead of whole outfits, leaving me with either a lack of total pinup outfits, or looking like a completely different person from day to night! 

So this post is really focused on staple pinup clothing and day to day styling. The only item that is an exception to this rule is the Delilah Dress, which I brought in preparation for my friend getting married at the end of February, which I thought was an excellent bit of tactical shopping by me! 

I will be detailing what I managed to get in the Christmas Sale and how I will be wearing it, along with some notes on sizing and fit.

Ashley Coat 

So since it came out, I have really wanted to invest in the Pearl Coat, yet I decided that I needed something more suited to day to day wear. So I decided on the Ashley coat, thinking that it would be nice, yet not a scratch on the Pearl Coat - oh how wrong I was! This coat is amazing!

The first thing that stood out for me about this coat is the weight! Putting it on pretty much constitutes exercise in my book as its really heavy, which I love. The coat itself is of a really good quality and the wool / polyester mix is lovely and warm. The faux fur trim is again of a great quality and super soft. I am also really impressed with the lining. Its a beautiful navy blue polka dot fabric (I absolutely adore polka dots!) and is lovely and silky. The bottom of the coat is far more full in real life than the pictures on the website give it credit for, so this was a lovely surprise when it arrived.

Ashley coat from Collectif
The Ashley Coat
The fit of the coat is perfect for me. I was a bit concerned about buying a long coat, as previously when I have tried on long coats, they have made me look like I am drowning in them, as I am only 5 foot 2. But this coat is a perfect length. I also lucked out in terms of the fit with this coat. I got a size 10 and it fits like a dream. I have plenty of room to move around without it being drafty!

My only criticisms of the coat, (which aren't really criticisms) is that the belt. for me, is not quite long enough. I like to tie coat belts in bows and there really isn't enough length in the belt for that. But this really is not a massive issue. Also, when the coat arrived, it smelt very strongly of what I can only describe as TCP. I spoke to Collectif about this and they told me that the smell comes from a dye that they have used to make the coat. They have assured me that the smell will fade with airing and this seems to be the case, so don't let that put you off when it arrives!

Amanda Blouse and Bernadette Sailor Skirt

So after my initial success with the Ashley coat, I was really excited to try on the rest of my bounty! But when I got to the Bernadette Sailor Skirt, I became a bit unstuck!

The first ever items that I brought from Collectif were the Jo Cardigan and the Tara Cherry Tie Blouse. I got them both in a Size 8 as I have always worn a Size 8; I didn't even think about it. Yet when I got them, they were a bit small on me. So I instantly thought that I was just a size up in Collectif. Not a problem I thought, I will just order everything in a Size 10. #Fail.

The Amanda Blouse (which I got in a Size 10) fits like a dream. I have a 32DD chest which tends to want to escape any tops I put it in, yet the Size 10 managed to keep my boobs safely contained, without a hint of the dreaded peep hole through the buttons scenario! The lace detail on the blouse is beautiful, yet due to its placement (which is all over the top quarter of the blouse) a strapless or see through strap bra is required, which is not something I initially took into consideration.

Bernadette Sailor Skirt and Amanda Blouse from Collectif
The Bernadette Sailor Skirt with the Amanda Blouse.
Belt from Hell Bunny and Necklace from Kreepsville 666.
Shoes from Everything £5. 
Amanda Blouse from Collectif
The Amanda Blouse has a lovely lace detail on the top,
making a strapless bra or a invisible strap bra necessary. 
The Bernadette Sailor Skirt is lovely. It is beautifully lined and the white buttons and piping detail around the pockets are super cute. It is a lovely length on me and comes in just below the knee. The only thing I would say is that for me, the buttons are slightly too high up on the skirt, which makes wearing a nurses belt with it a bit tricky. This is just how I personally like to wear skirts like this, as I have no hips, so this tucks in my waist, giving the illusion that I have curves and some sort of shape!

The only other problem for me was fit. The size 10 was about 1.5 inches too big for me around the waist, so I am clearly a size 8 on the bottom. The website says to size up if you are in between sizes as the skirt has limited stretch, which is true, yet for me, sizing up was not required. I have had this skirt altered professionally to fit my shape, so as not to lose the shape or cut. I am really happy with the result.

Dolores Top and Florence Anchor Skirt

So as aforementioned, I brought all my Christmas Sale items in a size 10, including the Florence Anchor Skirt in Red. Yet trying this on, it was no where near as big as the Bernadette Sailor Skirt, so I am inclined to suggest that this skirt comes up a little bit on the small side. It is still a bit too roomy for my liking, yet it is not falling off, which is a bonus. The skirt itself is gorgeous. It is so wonderfully full and light. It's a bitch to iron, as it has pleats all over the top, yet it is a truly lovely skirt and matches perfectly well with my Red Dolores top.

Florence anchor skirt from Collectif
The Florence Anchor Skirt in Red.

Dolores top in red from Collectif
The Dolores top in Red. 

I went a bit mad in the sales and brought the Dolores top in three colours - red, black and check and I love them all. They are so wonderfully versatile as they pretty much go with anything. Yet not only are they versatile in terms of what they can be teamed with, they are also great for either day or night. Pop on with a bra and wear the sleeves up for work and then pop on a strapless bra and let those sexy shoulders out for a night on the town! I absolutely love them. My only observation is that the elastic on the sleeves is far too tight. I have weedy spaghetti arms, yet even on me, they leave marks where they have cut off my circulation!

Hilda Skirt

The Hilda skirt is a great pin up staple. There is nothing fancy about it. It just does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a basic, black, high waisted skirt and can be teamed with pretty much anything in my wardrobe! I love it. I am pretty confident that this skirt runs true to size, as I got it in a size 10 and it is a little big on me, so I will also need to get this skirt tailored.

Black Hilda skirt from Collectif
Dolores Top in red with the Hilda Skirt in Black.
Chrissie Fair Isle Jumper and Fiona Check Print Skirt

Well the Chrissie Fair Isle jumper is super cute. It is perfect for tucking into a skirt as it comes up quite short in terms of length, so it matches perfectly with the Fiona Check Print Skirt. The jumper runs true to size and fits perfectly. The sleeves are the perfect length and are not too tight.

Chrissie fair isle jumper and Fiona check skirt from Collectif
The Chrissie Fair Isle Jumper with the Fiona Check Print Skirt. 
The Fiona Check print skirt, out of all of the skirts that I have brought, is my favourite. As it is made of a stretch material, it clings to me and highlights my very slight curves really well. So if you want a figure hugging skirt that looks fabulous for day or night, then this is my recommendation. I have also teamed this skirt with the matching dolores top to make a cheeky little dress, which is an added outfit bonus!  

Delilah Dress

I brought the Delilah dress for a wedding I am attending in February as I thought the velvet would keep me nice and warm. Not only will it do that, but it will make me feel like a million dollars! This dress is just beautiful. The velvet is silky smooth and the layers in the skirt glide over each other like melted chocolate when you walk - its divine!

Delilah dress from Collectif
The Delilah Dress
I think this dress runs true to size, but it is a bit roomy on me around the waist and the hips.  The sleeves are draped and they are a lovely elegant fit. 

So that was my Christmas sale haul! I am really pleased with everything and cannot wait to buy my next batch of goodies. Looking at the Collectif SS15 collection, I am going to need to get a second job to fund it! 

- x - LMDW - x -

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Great Grandma's vintage fur coat

I went back to my home town of Northampton the weekend before Christmas, in order to spend some time with my family. I was discussing my recent trip to the Christmas market in Lille with my Dad and mentioned to him that I had had the misfortune of falling in love with a genuine, modern fur coat in Printemps. How did I know the coat was real? Well the £8,000 price tag should do it. Upon hearing this, my Dad skulked off and a few minutes later, returned to the kitchen looking like Del Boy, holding 2 vintage fur coats - "you want a fur coat? I've got a couple!" He said.

They belonged to my Great Grandmother and my Dad had been holding onto them like many people do; unsure as to what to do with them. My heart instantly skipped a beat as I held, smelt and tried on these beautiful vintage fur coats. The question in my mind though wasn't around whether I wanted one or not, but rather around whether I should want one or not?

A few weeks earlier, I had read an article in Vintage Life Magazine by Pin Up Model Haili Hughes (aka Coco Fierce). She was discussing the ethics of vintage fur versus real fur and it got me thinking. The article argued that vintage fur was killed a long time ago and whilst it doesn't make it right at the time, it means that you are not contributing to the modern fur trade. It also mentioned that in the age of disposable fashion, it it surely better to recycle a vintage item than to buy a new coat which will only end up in the bin 12 months later when it is out of season? However, as people cannot tell at first glance whether the fur you are wearing is real or faux (I once had to take a detour round the back of Harrods to avoid a group of anti-fur protesters whilst wearing a faux fur coat from River Island, for fear of reprisal), I can understand the argument that vintage fur may contribute to the rise in people buying real fur. Haili states in the article that it will only take one celebrity to wear a real fur coat or stole on the red carpet to reignite the fur trend. Yet I know that if I was asked to decide between modern and vintage fur, I would choose vintage.

Coco Fierce in Vintage Life Magazine
Coco Fierce's article on Fur in Vintage Life Magazine December 2014

So I decided to take the coat home. The coat contains no labels whatsoever. So there is no real way of knowing who made it, when or from what fur, yet to be honest, I have not regretted it once. For me, this coat is a family heirloom, an antique, beautifully crafted and above all, a piece of history. I can also completely understand why women in the 30's wanted to wear coats like these. Every time I wear it, I feel a like a million dollars; my local pub landlord even said that I looked like a movie star when I popped in wearing it on Boxing Day.

Vintage fur coat
My Vintage Fur Coat. 
I know that this is a controversial piece of clothing, yet for me, I know where I stand ethically on the issue. You will never see me wearing a modern fur coat, especially a coat that is made from the fur of an animal killed specifically for this purpose. But my fur coat is likely to be over 50 years old, it is not contributing to the modern fur trade and in my opinion, is no different to the hundreds of faux fur stoles, hats and scarves that have been all over the high street this season, which could also be argued as promoting the use of fur for fashion. And to be honest, if you can buy a plethora of faux fur products in the shops, no one is going to pay attention to little old me.