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 Tea Dress, Orchids, and Modern Art Deco

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I’m enamored by the 1940s, but another one of my favorite eras is that in which Art Deco thrived: the 1920s through the 1930s.

Art Deco is a visually enticing style that originated in France during the 1920s and was inspired by Cubism. It was incorporated into various mediums, such as architecture, interior design, fashion, transportation, and my favorite: jewelry.

Art Deco lost it’s popularity at the end of World War II and was replaced by modernism, but today there are classic examples of this stunning style, such as this Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress from Lady V London.

The Tea Dress imitates the most iconic 1950s dress style: the “New Look” full-skirted dress with a signature fitted bodice and voluminous skirt flaring out from the waistline. The skirt is designed to come down to the knee even when wearing a petticoat- a classic staple of the conservative nature of fashion during the 50s.

The neckline of the “New Look” dress could be v-neck, sweetheart, boat-neck, or curved, such as those on Lady V London’s Tea Dresses. The back of the dress dips down into a deep v-shape and the waist can be adjusted using two straps that can be tied in a bow. But the best part about the design is that it has pockets! What is it about having pockets that automatically makes a dress infinitely more enticing?

The Tea Dress is made from stretchable cotton, so not only does it breathe, it also gives which adds to it’s comfort. It’s not lined, which I love because spring and summer can get quite hot here in Boston. Because of the material, its machine washable, on a delicate cycle, and should be air dried (how I’d love to have an actual clothing line to dry gorgeous dresses like this one on).

All of Lady V London’s Tea Dresses come in UK sizes 8-22. Each size chart provides measurements for the exact dress you’re looking at, so be sure to check even if you’ve ordered from them before.

I’m wearing a UK 12, despite normally being a UK 10. My waist is exactly between the two sizes, so I chose the larger just to be safe. Upon retrospect, I probably would have fit the UK 10 considering the way the garment stretches. Fortunately, the ties in the back allowed me to fit the waist perfectly to my body.

The Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress is priced at £50 (about $63 USD), as are all of Lady V London’s Tea Dresses, which is fabulous for the quality.  Shipping starts at £3.95 within the U.K., they ship to over 100 countries worldwide, and offer free shipping to orders over £150.

While I wouldn’t say that this is a true Art Deco print, it certainly captures the more abstract designs of that era with a modern twist, and that’s exactly what I love about it. So if you’re on the hunt for a vintage meets modern dress, look no further than the Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress from Lady V London. And if you want a similar style with a longer skirt, check out their Hepburn collection, you can catch me there staring at the Teal Cupcake print.

Dress: Tea Dress – Art Deco Vintage c/o Lady V London | Hair flower: Double Cymbidium Orchid in Deep Red and Black – Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers | Shoes: Swing Along Heel in Noir – ModCloth
Special thanks to Georgia from Lady V London for this fantastic opportunity.

Teal, Navy, and Spring Daisies

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the glitz and glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The acting was over the top and the fashion was even more dramatic. The way that fabric draped over the female form was even more tantalizing than the most scandalous garments you can think of today, particularly within the 1940s. Some of the most beautiful women were present within this time: Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, and my favorite leading lady, Barbara Stanwyck.

My love for the aesthetics of this era knows no bounds, so you can only imagine my delight when I first put on the Megan Dress in Spring Daisy from Karina Dresses.

Take me back seven decades and make me Orson Welles’ leading lady because that’s how this dress makes me feel. The style is very similar to that of the 1940s working woman’s uniform dress, otherwise known as the cross-front or wrap dresses, and every detail is perfect.

Some wrap dresses wound around the entire figure, while others were only crossed in the front, just like the Megan dress. The sleeves have a slight puff at the shoulder, but slide halfway down the arm into a deep cap design, while the bodice tucks in the waist and slowly curves outward for a signature A-line skirt.

The Spring Daisy print is part of the Karina Signature line of in-house designs, along with five other equally beautiful patterns. The shade of teal used in this dress is positively radiant, and I chose to play off of the navy blue centers of each flower, and the 1940s design, with a navy fascinator hat.

Not only is this dress absolutely stunning, it’s unbelievably comfortable, as well. Made from breathable microfiber, this gown is designed for long-term wear and proves that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. The material is machine washable and resistant to wrinkles, which is perfect for us ladies who are constantly on the go.

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 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.

I simply cannot stop gushing over this dress. It’s opened a doorway to a whole new world of affordable styles from the era I love the most. It’s flattering in every sense of the word and comfortable beyond belief. So if you’re looking for a show stopping gown that makes you feel like a 1940s film star, look no further than the Megan dress from Karina Dresses. And don’t forget to check out their new Spring line filled with endless stripes, polka dots, and florals!

Dress: Megan Dress in Spring Daisy c/o Karina Dresses | Shoes: Brown Leather Lace Up Oxfords – Office | Fascinator Hat – eBay
Special thanks to Trudy from Karina Dresses for this incredible collaborative 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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Fairy Pink, Roses & Polka Dots, and the Return of Winter

I’ve apparently been lulled into a false sense of spring, so much so that I pulled my favorite floral frock from the back of my closet, only to have to put away again.

The Emma 1950s Dress from Hell Bunny is a robust mid-century housewife reproduction. The eye-catching design features pink and yellow roses, white polka dots, and several rows of buttons down the front.

The wide collar creates the illusion that the dress wraps around the bodice and secures with the use of the buttons, when in fact, it zips up the back. With the help of the adjustable belt and full, a-line skirt, the dress creates a flatteringly small waist.

Although the skirt itself is quote voluminous, I wanted to add an extra bit of poof, so I made sure to wear a petticoat underneath.

The weather this weekend put me in such a spring-time mindset that I finally wore my Kate Spade Mother of Pearl Clip-On Earrings. I’ve had these sitting in my jewelry dish for months now, but didn’t feel inspired enough to show them off, mainly because winter is positively dreary.

Additionally, I’ve never fully trusted clip-on earrings. My ears have been pierced since I was a little girl, so I’ve never experienced anything other true earrings. I have to say, though, these babies grip your ears. After wearing them for a few hours I have no doubt that they will stay on all day long.

And once again I’m wearing my Ione in Fairy Pink from B.A.I.T. Footwear. I think I need an intervention or possibly just need to buy some more shoes, but look at how perfectly the fairy pink matches the pink roses on the Emma dress! I couldn’t pass up this pairing.

The Emma 1950s Dress is made out of 98% cotton and is machine washable, although you may want to air dry it. It’s available in US XS-XL, but I find that it runs slightly large, so check your measurements before ordering.

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A Cabbage Rose, Vintage Houndstooth, and the Beginning of Spring

It looks like winter is finally coming to an end and what could be more symbolic of the coming of spring than flowers?

My boyfriend, Anthony, bought me this jaw-dropping hair flower for Christmas from Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers, and I can already tell its opened the door to a quick obsession with hair accessories.

That being said, I generally stay away from large accessories, as I’m a bit shy and don’t like drawing too much attention to myself (this coming from someone who dresses like she’s living in a different century is ironic, I know).

But the second I placed this cabbage rose in my hair, I was hooked.

In addition to the eye-catching rose is a white hydrangea, blue millinery berries, and a dark blue rhododendron. This unique mix of berries and flowers, some of which I had never heard of, makes this a stand-out piece that’s sure to draw attention.

This floral masterpiece sits securely in your hair with the help of a large alligator clip attached to it’s base, which only adds to the quality of Sophisticated Lady’s pieces. These are some of the most realistic hair flowers I’ve seen in production, some of which are even made with real silk.

So if you’re looking for ways to welcome in spring, look no further than Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers. The shop contains over 100 different arrangements ranging from orchids to lilies, all of which are drop dead gorgeous.

Prices range from $7 to $22 USD and each item is shipped from Germany.

Blouse: Pinup Girl Clothing Voodoo Vixen Top in White | Skirt: Vintage 1960s Black & White Houndstooth Pencil Skirt from Coldfish Vintage | Shoes: Modcloth Swing Along Heel in Noir | Brooch: Luxulite Blue Baubles 1940s/50s Lucite Christmas Ornament Brooch

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