Fallen Leaves, Golden Flowers & a Fall Harvest

There’s nothing quite like fall, especially here in New England: multicolored leaves, apple picking, pumpkin patches and plaid, plaid, plaid! This wondrous season is just around the corner and I’m celebrating its arrival with this stunning Megan Dress in Harvest Florals from Karina Dresses.

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a severe weakness for anything that emulates the sophisticated style of the 1940s, and Karina Dresses has never disappointed to meet my standards.

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The Megan Dress, in particular, is the epitome of 1940s style. It closely emulates the design of the classic wrap dress from that time, which was typically worn by working women. While some wrap dresses wound around the entire body, others crossed exclusively around the bust, as seen on the Megan. The sleeves have a slight puff at the shoulder, but slide halfway down the arm into a deep cap design. The bodice tucks in the waist and slowly curves outward for a signature A-line skirt.

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The Harvest Floral print is part of the Karina Signature line of in-house designs, along with over ten other equally beautiful patterns. The navy background of this dress changes to a muted green from afar, but look closely and that blue shines bright. The gold flowers provide a beautiful contrast to the navy and perfectly emulate the color of fallen leaves.

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In addition to being beautiful, the Megan is incredibly comfortable, which is something that founder Karina Counsineau strives to accomplish with every dress made. Part of the reason I love Karina Dresses, aside from their gorgeous designs, is that their mission is to produce dresses right here in America for women of every size, shape, and age.

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Karina Dresses come in US sizes XS-XXL. Each size has a range of measurements, for example I’m wearing the S/M, which corresponds to a 34-38 bust and a 27-31 waist. If you’re unsure which size would work for you, try their Best Fit Size Guide!

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The Megan dress is priced at $108, as are all of Karina Dresses’ fabulous garments. In my opinion, this is an absolutely fair price for such a beautiful and versatile piece. They ship for free within the U.S. for orders over $150, but for those under that price point it’s only $5. Shipping internationally will range from $20-25 depending on the location.

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Megan Dress in Harvest Floral c/o Karina Dresses | Shoes: Urban Outfitters | Fascinator Hat: eBay | Brooch: Vintage
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Recycled Florals, Gingham and Midcentury Staples

I’m proud to say that I’ve finally reached a point where I’ve built a pretty solid foundation of vintage and pinup basics within my wardrobe. That being said, I’m substantially lacking in the accessories department compared to most gals. I’ve collected some bangles, earrings, and hair flowers along the way, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to branch out and explore unknown territory, so when given the opportunity to review these adorable rockabilly headbands from Maple and Oak, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Headbands, or head scarves, have been a staple of women’s fashion for decades, particularly thriving in popularity from the 1920s to the 1960s. Scarves hold the potential to add some color to an otherwise dull outfit, tame those unruly locks, or provide extra warmth, so it’s no wonder they’ve remained so prominent throughout the ages.

During the 1950s, women wore scarves both around their necks and their heads, much like they had during the preceding decades. The difference being that the most popular scarves were often made of chiffon and square in shape. These scarves were often folded into triangles and placed around the neck, or rolled over into one long strip and tied around the head.

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Chiffon tends to be a delicate fabric, so fortunately for us, Maple and Oak emulates these iconic 1950s scarf designs using reclaimed and vintage cotton. Leonie, Maple and Oak’s founder and designer, is committed to reducing textile waste and lessening the overall use of our planet’s natural resources while creating beautiful accessories. And she’s not limited to headbands, either; Leonie has built a gorgeous repertoire of triangle scarves, jewelry, barrettes and bow ties, as well. And if that’s not enough, they also created video tutorials on how to style each of their products!

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Maple and Oak makes all of their goodies in Canada and ships internationally for a flat rate of $7.00! All of their rockabilly scarves are $20.00 and shipping is free if you purchase three or more! If you’re not sure how to pair their lovely designs with your own wardrobe, check out their Facebook and Instagram for inspiration and to keep up with their latest releases.

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First Outfit: Rockabilly Headband c/o Maple and Oak | Top: Pinup Couture Peasant Top in Pink – Pinup Girl Clothing | Pants: Urban Outfitters | Shoes: Primark

Second Outfit: Rockabilly Headband c/o Maple and Oak | Top: Deadly Dames Voodoo Vixen Top in White – Pinup Girl Clothing | Pants: Gotta Jet Set Jeans in Red – Modcloth | Shoes: American Apparel
Special thanks to Leonie from Maple and Oak for this wonderful opportunity.

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A Riviera, Nautical Stripes, and Hollywood Glam

There’s nothing quite like the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood: swinging day dresses, elegant evening gowns, and timeless wiggles. It’s no wonder appreciation for the fashion of this time period is continuously growing, and the gals of 1950s Glam are delving into it with a slightly modern twist.

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1950s Glam is run by two lovely ladies out of Sydney, Australia who love the glitz and glamour of 1940s, 50s, and 60s fashion. Inspired by the gorgeous patterns of those times, they set out to find garments that give you an authentic pinup silhouette without all the shape wear underneath. In doing so, they support independent brands and manufacturers all around the world.

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The Beachlover dress is another perfect example of the classic 1950s New Look full-skirted dress, which is the most iconic dress style from the beginning of the decade. It ranged widely from sweetheart necklines to bertha collars, puffed sleeves to dolman sleeves and wrap tops to halters. In essence, there was no one style that signified the New Look dress, making it all the more fun to collect as many variations as possible.

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Although the Beachlover most closely resembles the New Look dress, it also has the characteristic front buttons of the Shirtwaist dress, another staple of the 1950s. The buttons would extend a bit below the waist for easy removal, while the hips would continue out to form a full gathered circle skirt.

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Like the shirtwaist dress, the Beachlover is easy to put on and easy to move in, thanks to it’s elastic back and lack of zipper. With the buttons undone, the halter top fits easily over the head, ensuring that you don’t disturb your freshly brushed set, which is important when you spend so much time perfecting your locks. The skirt is full of fabric, giving you enough room to fit a fluffy petticoat underneath for a bit of flare.

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The elastic waist not only makes it easy to slip into and out of the dress, but it allows the fabric a good deal of stretch. Generally speaking, I’m a size M across the board, but I fit comfortably into a size S (and with room to spare in the waist). For reference, my measurements are 36″- 28″. The Beachlover dress is available in sizes S-XL, but be sure to check the size chart because you’ll most likely need to size down. For those of you who need a larger size, there is a plus size glam section, too.

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You can purchase the Beachlover dress for $75 USD. The website allows you to change currency if you’re located outside of Australia and shipping is free. Yes, you read that correctly. Shipping is free worldwide. They also offer hassle-free 60 day returns and exchanges if for any reason you’re unsatisfied (but I doubt you will be).

To keep up with their latest releases, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or sign up for their newsletter for 10% off your first order!

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Dress: Beachlover Halter 50s Dress c/o 1950s Glam | Shoes: Beaufort Beauty Sandal in Crimson – Modcloth | Belt: Lindy Bop | Necklace: Red Bead Necklace – Splendette | Earrings: Novelty Red Lobster Earrings – Luxulite
Special thanks to Isabella from 1950s Glam for this glamorous opportunity.

 

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White and Blue Flowers, Ivy Covered Buildings, and a 1960s Flared Frock

The 1960s was a wild decade, or at least that’s what I’m told, and the fashion of that time certainly matched the rebellious atmosphere of those iconic years. Today, we see modern reproductions consisting of bold colors, psychedelic shapes, and florals of every size, but there was a certain modesty to the 60s, at least at the start.

In the beginning, style icons were more conservatively dressed, similar to what you found in the 50s. The most memorable fashionista of this time would be the ravishing Jackie Kennedy with her classic two-piece suits and perfectly white pearls. By 1963, however, the 1950s pencil dress began to change shape, widening the skirt, and became known as the “shift dress.”

The shift dress was generally reserved for home use, being too short for the public eye. Today, of course, this idea is preposterous and the many modern reproductions of this gown, such as this Charlize Flared 60s Floral Dress from Voodoo Vixen, is anything but scandalous.

The Charlize dress has many similarities to the shift dress, but where it strays from this original design is in the length of the skirt. Shift dresses typically landed above the knee, while the Charlize stays below it, adopting the classic length of a 1950s dress. The fabric, however, is dazzlingly 60s.

There were two shades of blue that were popular during this time: robin’s egg blue and teal blue. Robin’s egg blue was popular during the spring and summer seasons, preferably found on party dresses, sort of an homage to Cinderella’s gown. Teal blue, however, carried over from the 1950s and carried on into the 1970s.

Not only does the Charlize contain both of these shades of blue, but it also incorporates one of the most popular patterns of the 60s: florals. And let’s be honest, ladies, who doesn’t love a good floral dress?

On top of being exceedingly adorable, the Charlize is very comfortable. Made from 97% cotton and 3% elastane, this floral frock provides a good amount of stretch while remaining sturdy and breathable.

Despite it’s ability to stretch, it does run true to size, so be sure to check Voodoo Vixen’s size chart if you’re considering snagging this beauty. All of their dresses are available in sizes S-XL and for reference, I’m wearing a size medium, which is my normal size.

At £33, or roughly $42 USD, this dress is a steal and for U.K. costumers your shipping would be free (delivery is free for any U.K. orders over £20)! For those of you throughout Europe, shipping is £7.50 and my fellow U.S. ladies will pay £8.50 ($11 USD, which is extremely reasonable).

So ladies, if you’re looking for the perfect summer dress to show off your flirty floral side, look no further than the Charlize Flared 60s Floral Dress from Voodoo Vixen. And be sure to check out the rest of their wares! They have countless beauties available on their website. As for me, I’m off to ogle at their jumpsuits!

Dress: Charlize Flared 60s Floral Dress c/o Voodoo Vixen | Shoes: Primark | Hair Flowers: Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers
Special thanks to Nicki from Voodoo Vixen for this groovy opportunity

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Independence and an Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny Red & White High-Waist Bikini

I’m never fully convinced it’s summer until the 4th of July. Most of the memories I have of this holiday are venturing out to the Hamptons with my Dad, listening to The Beatles or The Police the entire drive. Every year my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins would get together for a big lobster boil and fireworks on the beach, and despite my distaste for seafood, we always had a great time (albeit, I always wanted to release the lobsters from their tanks at the grocery store).

The past few years have been different, however. Anthony and I have stayed in Boston, grilling burgers and hot dogs, gathering with neighbors, eating ice cream and watching the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy, and gazing up at fireworks. This year was our quietest 4th of July yet, but we took some time to head over to Fort Independence where I could show off this stunning high-waist bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear.

Let’s get the obvious out there: I’m not comfortable in bikinis. I never have been and probably never will be. I struggle with my perception of myself, I have some cellulite, I’m neither skinny, nor overweight, which feels like a very awkward place to be, and I either obsessively exercise and eat healthy or give in to my desire for junk food.

But two things happened while wearing this suit. 1. I felt beautiful, which is something I never felt in a bathing suit before. 2. An elderly couple walked by as I was posing for a photo. The husband turned to the wife and said something along the lines of “look at that girl in the high-waisted bathing suit looking beautiful, just as you did in those.” These are the moments I love the most– bringing memories back to those who lived in the era that I try to emulate.

And now for some history. The bikini was invented in 1946 and was similar to what you might see today on a beach in Miami or Brazil: tiny, revealing the entire stomach and bum! These new bikinis were banned by most public beaches until the 1950’s, but they weren’t exactly the type of suit worn by your everyday woman of the 40’s.

For most women, the two-piece swimsuit was the perfect mix of a one-piece and a bikini. It maintained a sense of modesty that was so popular at the time, while revealing just enough skin to be seductive. These two-piece suits looked as if a one-piece has been split directly through the center. The top provided full coverage with either two spaghetti straps or a halter top, while the bottom started at the waistline and continued on to the bum, covering every inch.

Lucky for me, this Bella Red & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear is the modern embodiment of a 1940’s two-piece swimsuit. Every detail is perfect. The top is designed with a gathered center bust and thick straps, providing security and support. The bottom covers both the belly button and the backside, which I’m eternally grateful because I am not one to flaunt what little derriere I have.

If you’re looking for a more traditional pinup vibe, you can have padding sewn into your suit for an additional fee ($6.50), of which my suit contains (and it’s totally worth it!).

Part of Red Dolly Swimwear’s mission is to allow every woman to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable in their suits and boy have they succeeded. Their bathing suits come in sizes S-XL, with plenty of room to stretch. For reference, I’m wearing a L and my measurements are 36″ bust, 28″ waist, and 38″ hips.

And when they say all women, they mean all women, as in little girls and infants! Red Dolly has matching girls and babies swimsuits, so you and your little diva can go to the beach in style. And if their bathing suits alone aren’t enough, owner and designer Heather Stepanik creates matching headbands and swim skirts, which are another staple of the 40’s (and I’ve got my eyes on them).

Red Dolly’s swimsuits range in price from $46-89 and ladies, they’re worth every penny. I have never found a more comfortable bathing suit that I can honestly say I felt confident in. If you’re not into two-pieces, they’ve got gorgeous one-pieces as well. They’re based in the U.S., but ship internationally for around $16.

I can’t drive home this point enough: I am not a bikini person, I am not a bathing suit person, but I would gladly spend $86 for a suit that makes me feel as confident and sexy as this one does. If you’re not a bathing suit girl, either, I encourage you to give Red Dolly Swimwear a chance. As for me, I’ll be stalking that Bella Black & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini for my size and it’s matching swim skirt.

Special thanks to Heather from Red Dolly Swimwear for this tantalizing opportunity.

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A Vintage Picnic Basket & An Art Deco Ring

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a magical place, but not nearly as magical as the events that transpired there on Sunday.

I woke up and immediately began a scavenger hunt that Anthony organized. He surprised me with flowers and a letter with a Hogwarts wax seal on the back of the envelope. This was the first of seven letters. Each letter corresponded to one of the seven Harry Potter books and led me on a search to find the next.

We have several Harry Potter references throughout the house, including a Slytherin pennant (Anthony is a Slytherin), Luna and Snape’s wands, even our car is named Hedwig, and that’s where the fourth letter led me.

The next letter led me to believe that we were going on a picnic at the arboretum and that he would photograph me, “complaint-free,” for my blog. Not having set my hair the night before, I scrambled to produce a beehive (unsuccessfully), but ended up using a vintage scarf to hide the mess I created.

We really did sit down for a picnic, during which I finally used my vintage picnic basket that Anthony got me for Christmas. It was absolutely lovely. There was slight overcast, so it wasn’t too hot, families were walking their dogs and teaching their kids how to ride a bike. I didn’t think anything could top this.

Once we finished our meal, we moved on to photographs. The spot that we chose was off the beaten path of the arboretum, secluded, serene and breathtaking. Despite getting bitten by something on my leg, this photo shoot was heavenly and I love almost every picture he captured.

I thought the day was over until we pulled into our parking lot and he handed me another letter, playing as if he was unsure of why Harry got an owl in the first place. I was immediately confused as to why he asked this, explaining that first years at Hogwarts get to bring an animal of their choice and that owls deliver mail. This was when he dropped the letter in my lap.

We proceeded to walk down a path that I take quite often to get to one of my favorite coffee shops, but took a detour and stopped at a local restaurant that we love. We made reservations for later that afternoon and headed back towards our apartment.

As we approached a bridge that I love to cross, I saw a mirror standing in the middle of it. The mirror had words across the top that weren’t easy to decipher at first, being broken up into fragments, but after taking a few moments I realized that it said “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” These are the words on the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Once I figured out what the words meant, Anthony said “you know my heart’s desire” and got on one knee. I didn’t even let him ask me to marry him before slightly hyperventilating and shouting “yes, obviously yes.” To be honest, I don’t even remember not letting him ask me. All I remember is crying with joy as he put the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen on my finger.

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Pillbox Hats, Cap Sleeves & A Tea Garden

While shooting outside of a small-town luncheonette in western Massachusetts, an older couple approached me and asked “1940’s?” I agreed and proceeded to explain that the 40’s was my favorite era for fashion. The gentleman smiled and told me that he was born in 1940 and although he was a child at the time, he could tell that my outfit was a reproduction of what he had seen growing up. In that moment, I felt both proud and validated that I was doing justice to my favorite decade, but I couldn’t have done it without the Carolyn Dress from Karina Dresses.

Karina Dresses was founded on the idea of creating high-quality dresses that allow women of all sizes to feel beautiful in their own skin. On top of that, they’re made right here in the U.S. They provide a wide-array of styles and patterns that dazzle the senses and ensnare the mind’s creativity for curating an outfit.

The Carolyn is the quintessential 1940’s Cap Sleeve Dress. The cap sleeve was popular during the 1930’s, but when combined with some padding it took on a whole new look the following decade. These new-age deep cap sleeves were generally found on afternoon-style dresses and were traditionally cut in one piece with the bodice of the dress, creating an upside down triangular piece of fabric that lead to the waistline. Nowadays, cap sleeves are almost always attached separately, as are the sleeves on this gorgeous Carolyn Dress in Tea Garden.

The neckline of dresses from the 40’s varied from square to keyhole, sweetheart to slit, and v-neck to round. Skirts were generally a-line and used very little fabric which allowed the light-weight design to flow flawlessly with the body. The Carolyn embodies all of these characteristics with a higher v-neck neckline and a simplistic a-line skirt that comes just below the knees.

Karina Dresses is known as “the original easy dress” and for good reason! Not only is this dress the perfect 1940’s replica, it’s also indescribably comfortable, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Their dresses are made from breathable microfiber that provides an incredible amount of stretch and never wrinkles. Yes, you read that right, it never wrinkles (and I put this baby to the test, leaving it crumbled up in an overnight bag). Because of this amazing fabric, the Carolyn is machine washable and can be hung up to dry. Who knew such a gorgeous gown could require so little maintenance!

Karina Dresses come in US sizes XS-XXL. Each size has a range of measurements, for example I’m wearing the S/M, which corresponds to a 34-38 bust and a 27-31 waist. If you’re unsure which size would work for you, try their Best Fit Size Guide!

The Carolyn is priced at $108, as are all of Karina Dresses fabulous frocks, and in my opinion they’re worth every penny. I have never owned such comfortable dresses that require so little care and am consistently blown away by the quality of their products. The prints are beautiful, and the designs are extremely flattering and versatile.

So if you’re looking for that perfect afternoon Hollywood glam gown, look no further than the Carolyn Dress from Karina Dresses. And don’t forget to check out all of their other designs, including their signature line: Karina Signature.

Dress: Carolyn Dress in Tea Garden c/o Karina Dresses | Shoes: Swing Along Heel in Noir- Modcloth | Hat and Bangles: Vintage- Etsy

Dying to get your hands on a gown of your own? I’ve partnered with Karina Dresses to bring you the chance to win one dress of your choice! You can enter the contest here! Best of luck, dolls!

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