Classic Necklines, 1940s Slang, and a Dolled Up Dame

To me, there is nothing more beautiful than the draping of a 1940’s dress over the female form. Designers at that time seem to have catered their gowns towards women of all shapes and sizes, ensuring that every dame could feel dolled up. This philosophy has persisted through the ages within the vintage-reproduction world, particularly within one of my favorite online boutiques: Doll Me Up.

Doll Me Up is a one-stop shop for some of the most popular 1940’s and 1950’s reproduction clothing brands, such as Hell Bunny, Voodoo Vixen and Lindy Bop. They’re wide selection makes it easy for gals to explore styles from different decades and find what they like best. Being completely enamored by the 1940’s, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Ashcroft Dress.

The most eye-catching feature of the Ashcroft is the keyhole neckline that’s iconic of the 1940’s. The signature keyhole was made by cutting a triangular piece of fabric from the chest-area, ensuring that the point of the triangle was facing up. The remaining fabric, just below the neck, was fitted against the collarbones and either secured by a string or left loose. The Ashcroft took a more modern spin and secured the two pieces of fabric with an adorably detailed button.

The sleeves showcase another classic 1940’s design: the length of a straight sleeve with the flow of a cap sleeve. The bodice secures around each curve with seven gorgeous buttons, while the skirt flows out into the quintessential A-line. Tie the whole look together with a vibrant coral sash that matches perfectly with the tiny floral detail decorating the fabric.

The Ashcroft is made from a light-weight polyester that’s machine washable. While the bodice is lined, the skirt is not which gives the dress the ability to flow flawlessly in the breeze (one of my favorite traits of the dress).

Doll Me Up refers to any size above a medium as “lovely,” which plays into their theme of size-inclusive beauty. The Ashcroft is available from US XS to 4X Lovely. I’m wearing a size M, which is my normal size, and it fits like a glove.

The Ashcroft retails for $87.99 and comes in two prints: the one pictured and the Ivory Beauty Print, each one more beautiful than the last. Shipping starts at $5.99 within the U.S., $8.99 internationally, and free for orders over $150.

The Ashcroft incorporates all of the most popular styles of the 1940’s into one stunning piece. It’s gorgeous design makes it perfect for any occasion and work appropriate with some pinup flare. So if, like me, you’re keen on becoming a 1940’s dreamboat, then look no further than the Ashcroft from Doll Me Up.

Dress: Ashcroft Dress c/o Doll Me Up | Shoes: Brown Leather Lace Up Oxfords- Office
Special thanks to Krista from Doll Me Up for this swinging opportunity.

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Red, Blue and Yellow Florals and the Vintage “New Look”

When I first ventured into the world of vintage fashion, I was completely lost. I had no idea where to find true vintage, or even reproductions, other than Etsy or my local Goodwill. Through hours of searching the internet, which can either be productive or utterly unsuccessful, I happened to stumble across Lindy Bop and I’ve never looked back since.

Lindy Bop offers a wide array of reproduction styles at budget-friendly prices. Their collection includes 1940s silhouettes, 1950s novelty prints, and 1960s twin sets, making it the perfect one-stop shop for all your favorite midcentury styles. So when offered the chance to review a piece from their newest release, and spread more knowledge of this fabulous brand, I jumped at it.

I own several pieces from Lindy Bop, many of them I’ve featured in previous posts, but nothing has caught my eye quite like the Francine Blue Rose Stripe Swing Dress. It is the quintessential 1950s “New Look” full-skirted dress. As noted in a previous post (here), the “New Look” dress had several variations that designers could play with: different necklines, sleeves, collars, fabrics, etc. The Francine incorporates a gorgeous sweetheart neckline with ruched sleeves that go half-way down the arm. Although the ruching is more of a modern design, the length of the sleeves is a classic staple of the 1950s.

Like any good “New Look” dress, the Francine has a cinched waist, that can be emphasized with it’s signature red belt, and a full circle skirt that balloons out from the waistline. The skirt comes down to the knee and contains pockets (any dress or skirt with pockets is a winner in my book)!

Although it can be worn without a petticoat, if you’re looking for the classic silhouette of the 1950s, then I recommend pairing it with a 26″ or 28″ petticoat (which you can also find here on Lindy Bop’s website).

The Francine is made from machine-washable cotton, so it breathes during those hot spring and summer days, and is fully lined. The fabric is one of the most beautiful prints I’ve seen on a reproduction dress. Within each yellow section of the dress are large blue flowers accompanied by smaller red and white ones. Each layer of yellow is separated from each blue layer by a delicate and feminine swirling line that goes around the entire dress. And the cherry on top is the red belt that ties the whole thing together.

On the U.K. site, the size range is UK8-26, while on the U.S. site it is XS-6XL, which emphasizes their philosophy of creating vintage-inspired pieces for pinups of all sizes. I’m wearing a UK12, despite normally being a UK10 (or US Small). They happened to be out of UK10 for this design and I came to the conclusion that I could manage with a UK12 (yes, I love the dress that much). Fortunately, Lindy Bop provides measurements for each piece, which helped in my decision. The waist is a bit big, but the belt eliminated that problem and while the sleeves felt a little loose, you can’t tell when looking at them.

The Francine retails for £34 or $44 on the U.S. site, which I would pay any day for a dress this beautiful. They have sales fairly frequently and signing up for their newsletter will inform you of them. If you see something on sale, snag it fast because it’ll be gone before you know it! Delivery within the U.K. starts at £3 and $7 within the U.S with free delivery over £85 or $125.

I was taken with this dress from the moment I saw it, but I had no idea how much more beautiful it would be in person. On top of it all, I can’t help but feel like Snow White in this dress, and who doesn’t love feeling like a princess.

So if you’re searching for an absolutely stunning floral Easter or spring dress, look no further than the Francine from Lindy Bop. Be sure to check out their “New In” section  for their latest styles. As for me, I’ll be drooling over this perfect reproduction of a 1950s “Bell Dress.”

Dress: ‘Francine’ Blue Rose Stripe Swing Dress c/o Lindy Bop | Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Special thanks to Natasha from Lindy Bop for this breathtaking opportunity.

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A Yellow Dress, Enchanted Rose, and Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere

As a little girl, I had a hard time choosing my favorite Disney princess. I jumped around from Ariel to Jasmine to Mulan. As I grew older, I realized that my childhood role models were all strong-willed women who did things in their own way. And even though I loved them all, I couldn’t help, and still can’t help, but feel the strongest connection to Belle. Thus, you can only imagine how magical I felt when I first put on the Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow from Dolly and Dotty.

The Cindy Dress combines the simplicity of a mid-1950s summer dress with the boldness of a shawl collar, which was coined a “fancy collar” when it first arrived on the scene. Most collars during this time were white in contrast with the rest of the dress, and Dolly and Dotty nailed this vintage design to a tee, but with one modern improvement: the collar comes around the shoulders and meets as a deep-v in the center of the back. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been considered scandalous back in the day, but in today’s world it’s the type of detail that I love.

The bodice, like most mid-century style dresses, is fitted from the bust to the waist, at which point you can choose to pair one of two belts with this gorgeous gown: a solid white belt (as I’m wearing), or one that matches the fabric of the dress itself (who doesn’t love options!).

The skirt flares out into a perfectly full circle skirt that can be worn with or without a petticoat (but I rarely step out of the house without at least a single layer petticoat on).

The Cindy, like most of Dolly and Dotty’s fabulous frocks, is made from lightweight cotton with a little bit of stretch, making it perfect for spring and summer when you may be eating a little bit too much ice cream (maybe that’s just me), or sitting in the car on a long road trip to the beach. The dress is not lined, which allows the fabric to breathe and keeps you feeling fabulous.

Like all of Dotty and Dolly’s garments, the Cindy comes in UK sizes 8-22, providing a wide range for gorgeous pinups of all sizes. For reference, I’m wearing a UK 10, which is my normal UK size. If you’re unsure, or not accustomed to UK sizing, check their size chart and review their length measurements provided for every dress.

The Cindy is sold through Dolly and Dotty‘s website and is priced at £34.99 (roughly $43), which is phenomenal for such gorgeous dresses, especially one that makes you feel like your favorite princess.

Shipping within the UK starts at as little as £3.50, while delivery to mainland Europe or the US ranges from £12.99-18.99 (about $23). Fortunately for us gals across the pond, they provide free shipping for orders over £50 ($62), so it’s definitely worth ordering more than one dress (wouldn’t you anyway? I mean, look at them!).

I could go on and on about why Belle is my favorite princess: she loves books, she’s fearless, smart, beautiful, but my favorite characteristic of hers is her ambition. She wants nothing more than an adventure in the great wide somewhere, and I, too, want that more than I can tell. I’ve always felt like I’m destined for something great, that I could never settle into a desk job or the corporate world, that I meant for so much more than a provincial life.

Maybe my aspirations are too big, maybe being a woman in science– being a vet–  is too big of an adventure, but when I put on this dress I embrace my inner Belle and feel like I can accomplish this goal as long as I hold onto my ambition.

Dress: Cindy Polka Dot Vintage Dress in Yellow c/o Dolly and Dotty | Shoes: Patent Leather Oxford in Cream – American Apparel | Enchanted Rose Tumbler- Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant c/o the best boyfriend on earth
Special thanks to Katie from Dolly and Dotty for this magical opportunity.

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Foam Rollers, Pomade, and Middy Cuts

I’ve been talking about cutting my hair for about a month, and on Saturday I finally did it. I wasn’t taking this transformation lightly, either. I drove 45 minutes to Providence, RI for an appointment with the owner of a small, but award winning salon called Suite Tart.

Upon arriving, I knew I had picked the right place. The salon is filled with vintage clocks, photographs, luggage and furniture and the owner, Lulu Locks, is everything I hoped she’d be. Not only was she ecstatic to partake in a vintage haircut, but she knew all of the pinup happenings around New England and happily shared them with me.

Now, on to the haircut (which I could not be happier with)! Lulu and I were on the exact same page: a femme fatale middy cut with a slightly modern twist, for those days that I’m too lazy to set it. As for my set, the first one was a complete failure, but I’m quite proud of my second attempt.

I decided to go with a dry set as my first one was wet and a bit uncontrollable. I used Suavecita Grooming Spray before rolling in order to make sure that my curls actually took shape. The grooming spray smells fantastic, having the same scent as their pomade, and made my hair just wet enough to set within a few hours.

Since I have Bettie bangs, I don’t roll the crown of my head like most gals do. I simply roll along the sides of my head, tie it all up in a vintage scarf and call it a day.

When removing foam rollers, I untwist the hair instead of just pulling the roller out. This ensures that my hair stays in smooth ringlets with tamed ends. With my rollers out, I reached for my Suavecita Teasing Brush. The bristles are soft, yet firm, so they don’t hurt while teasing. I run through all of my curls, from base to tip, making sure that I achieve lots of volume.

Once I look like I’ve been electrocuted, I start applying a small amount of Suavecita Pomade (clearly I have an obsession with Suavecita). When I say a small amount, I mean the size of a pea. A little bit of this goes a long way! I use this to smooth down my hair and help shape my curls.

In order to create those iconic curls in the front, I used an old Denman paddle brush that I’ve had since high school. Yes, it’s so good that I kept it for almost a decade. Perhaps I should get a new one, though. The paddle brush has around 12 rows of bristles, but ideally you want somewhere between 7-9 for your brush out, such as this brush.

After finishing my brush out and obtaining the shape I wanted, I placed two alligator clips above each of my ears for about 20 minutes to make sure the sides  of my hair stay down.

And here we have the final look. I’m no expert, but I’m very happy with this set. If you have any questions, or tips for me, feel free to reach out! I would love to learn new techniques to perfect my middy!

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