Summer Tales Boutique – Elegant Bolero Review – POSITIVE

Summer Tales Boutique is an indie brand based in the Netherlands, Europe. The brand makes all kinds of items, from dresses to bloomers and petticoats, as well as offering other kawaii items in their shop. The tagline is that the brand is “for elegant and outspoken souls” – now, I’m definitely one of those things but not sure about the other!

I had previously had the chance to check out clothing items from Summer Tales at various European events – I’ve even been to the Summer Tales Boutique atelier when the brand owner, Katie, ran special events to celebrate SFE’s Under The Sea in Amsterdam – but I’d never taken the plunge or bought anything aside from a few small and well-made accessories. However, I’d been eagerly watching their releases on Instagram, and admiring everything (especially the sleeves on their OTT House of Royal Stewart OP from 2019!).

Re-opening announcement. The text reads “Today we want to announce our webshop is back open again and we have one Florence blouse in black chiffon IN STOCK. We only have ready stock items now, we will announce when we do MTO items again! Ready items mean we also pause custom sizing until made to order items return. We are so grateful for your patience while the webshop was closed! It took a little while, but we are excited to open again and start presenting our autumn/winter collection soon! Is there something in particular you have been hoping for?

This all changed in 2021. The webshop was shut for September while Summer Tales Boutique worked on filling pre-orders, and then on 19 October the brand announced a release of ready-stock items. Of course, I had to have a look at what was on offer…

Product description: Our Elegant Bolero stands out with its gorgeous neckline. Perfect to wear with dresses with detailed bodice’s or for a more mature look. The soft tricot gives a nice fit and is very comfortable to wear.

The bolero does look elegant, and I didn’t previously have a navy bolero but thought it would work well in my wardrobe. The fabric content was listed as “a soft and stretchy tricot fabric (96% cotton, 4% elastic)” and I have been trying to move my wardrobe to natural fibres as they suit my skin better. My only struggle was deciding between the long-sleeved or the short-sleeved version – and I can see this didn’t take very long, because my order confirmation email was dated the same date as the re-opening!

Close up product picture. The tie is chiffon.

The bolero was posted the very next day. The postage method offered came with tracking – unfortunately, the email containing the tracking number went to my “junk” folder so I didn’t find it immediately, but it was provided quickly and I did receive a separate shipping confirmation email so I knew it was on the way! The package arrived on 27 October, so took just under a week.

Package

The bolero was packaged inside some tissue paper tied with string, inside a cardboard box with extra tissue paper and a thank you note. It felt like receiving a really fancy present from myself to myself! Summer Tales Boutique are committed to making the best and most sustainable choices with their productions and this extends to the packaging as well.

Now, onto the bolero itself.

Two sizes were available:

BustArm lengthArm widthHeight
Size 190 cm59 cm30 cm44 cm
Size 2100 cm61 cm36 cm44 cm

Fit: I could probably wear either size, especially as it is a stretchy material, but I went with Size 2, as I thought the extra room would be good if I wanted to wear a blouse and a JSK under the bolero, and also because I didn’t want my arms to feel like an overstuffed sausage with the narrower arms of Size 1. Because the bolero ties in front, it is somewhat adjustable, but I really love the sleeve length of Size 2 as I think the wrist-skimming ruffles are particularly elegant. Being tall, I often find Japanese brand boleros sit more at “bracelet length” on me.

Material: The material is a thick and soft dark navy cotton knit. There’s a clear inner and outer side of the fabric, as there is with most knit fabrics, but are equally soft. I have worn it against bare arms and it is comfy! The chiffon of the tie closure is a perfect colour match.

Binding on the neckline seam finish

Construction: The seams are all overlocked to finish, bar from the neck which binds the raw edge with a self-made binding. The ruffles are all evenly measured and gathered and the edges are finished with a rolled hem. I did not spot any loose threads in the bolero. The chiffon ties and the ruffles are firmly attached to the bolero.

Chiffon ties, ruffles, and seam finishes – overlocked seams joining the ruffle to the body, and rolled hems on the ruffle itself.

Style: I feel that a lot of care has gone into making this a classic styled and long lasting garment. It is a solid colour and the detailing is elegant and not too overpowering nor too understated. It is very much a “goes with anything and everything” piece – I have found myself reaching for it over and over again this winter, and my only complaint is that I wish it came in more colours!

Closure: The bolero is supposed to close with just ties. I found that the ties didn’t keep the top bit together as well as I wanted – this is probably because I use my hands a lot when I talk, or do anything – and I was having to do them up more frequently than I would have liked. This could be overcome by using a brooch to keep the top two bits together, but I have sewn in a hook and eye which is working well for me. This isn’t a criticism of the design – I am sure most people wouldn’t have this issue, or wouldn’t find it as annoying as I did!

How to wear: As I said above, wear with everything, it really is versatile. Here’s two of my favourite outfits so far – one over a blouse, and one just with the bolero.

Dress: Angelic Pretty “True Rose Story⁣”; Bolero: Summer Tales Boutique; Everything else: various offbrand (the tights are actually lacy but the pattern didn’t show up)⁣
Dress: Innocent World⁣ “Stained Glass Rose”; Bolero: Summer Tales Boutique; Everything else: Assorted offbrand/vintage

Overall? This was the perfect bolero, and I am really pleased with the customer service and the quality of the item. I will be watching Summer Tales Boutique’s releases eagerly!

If you’d like your own bolero, they are available at the Summer Tales Boutique webshop. Summer Tales Boutique often post on Instagram, and use this to provide updates from the atelier about upcoming collections or in-progress releases, and their Instagram is here.

I am also on instagram, wearing this bolero with every outfit!

Hello, Internet!

Hi! I’m Zixi. Over the last year, I’ve found that I’m still returning to old EGL blogs to read details of meetups from a decade ago, or to follow a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make something frillier and fancier than usual, or before I take the plunge on buying something new from an indie brand I haven’t had chance to examine in person.

Blogging seems to be having a resurgence – whether it’s RR Memorandum using it to give a behind-the-scenes look at their brand, Cupcake Kamisama showing off the versatility of everything in her wardrobe, or Jenna championing indie brands at Lovely Lace and Lies – and I’ve decided I’d like to join in. 2021 marked a lot of changes for me, not least a new job with a better work-life balance, and I’m hoping to use this space to record outfits, sewing and other crafting projects, and favourite things I’ve bought.