April Showers Bring May Flowers and 1950s Summer Dresses

It’s finally starting to feel like spring here in Boston and nothing means spring more than florals. I’ve been slowly building my botanical wardrobe in preparation and couldn’t pass up this gorgeous vibrant floral ‘Audrey’ swing dress from Lindy Bop.

I’ve featured Lindy Bop in several of my previous posts (you can find the most recent one here) and there’s a very simple reason: they’re fabulous! Lindy Bop offers one of the widest arrays of vintage reproductions for budget-conscious pinups. Their collection includes flattering 40s frocks, eye-catching 50s novelty prints, and sophisticated 60s suits, making it the perfect one-stop shop for all of your midcentury needs.

My favorite style from Lindy Bop is called the ‘Audrey’ Swing Dress, which closely mimics the classic 1950s summer dress. One of the defining features of the summer dress was bare shoulders, exposing more arm than ever before. Patterns consisted of Hawaiian prints, or images of sunny vacations, solidifying the “tiki print” as a 1950s design staple.

The ‘Audrey’ showcases the boatneck neckline, figure hugging bodice and full circle skirt of the original 50s summer dress. The skirt comes down just below the knee, even with a thin petticoat underneath, making it work appropriate (as are most, if not all of Lindy Bop’s garments). The belt is thinner than what you would find on a vintage summer dress, which would probably measure about 2″ in width, but I prefer thinner belts.

The Audrey comes in several fabrics, but the vibrant floral swing dress is made from a  stretchy, light-weight cotton that’s machine washable on cold. The dress is fully lined, which is typical of a Lindy Bop gown- a small detail, but one that goes a long way in my book.

Being extremely size inclusive, Lindy Bop garments come in US sizes XS-6XL and UK sizes 8-26. For reference, I’m wearing a US S, which is my typical size for Lindy Bop dresses, although I’m generally a M in other brands (my measurements are 36-28-38). Their clothing tends to range in size, and they’ve recently begun adding measurements specific to each garment, so I highly recommend checking the size chart before ordering.

I just so happened to grab this floral beauty on sale for $16, but Lindy Bop’s Audrey swing dresses generally range in price from $39 to $46 (insert shocked emoji here). Like I said, they’re perfect for the pinup gal on a budget. Shipping within the U.S. is $7 and free when you spend over $125. For those of you across the pond, Lindy Bop has a U.K. site that offers £3 shipping within the U.K. and free shipping when you spend over £70.

Over the past year and a half I have purchased at least 10 dresses from Lindy Bop, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. They offer the most wallet-friendly pinup clothes on the market and consistently impress with their unique patterns. Be on the look out for their sales, which they hold quite often, because when they have a sale it’s even more of a bargain than you could imagine. They offer up to 70% off of their already affordable pieces, so be sure to snag all of your favorites before someone else does (trust me, their dresses go fast). As for me, I’ll be stalking their site on a regular basis.

Dress: ‘Audrey” Vibrant Floral Print 50’s Style Swing Dress- Lindy Bop | Shoes: Swing Along Heel in Noir- Modcloth

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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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The BBRBF Book Club: An Antique Scarf, Golden Age Hoops, and Bette Davis

Hello and welcome to another edition of The BBRBF Book Club! Our book this month is The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter and just like Bette Davis herself, it’s full of sass and drama.

Here is a plot summary from Goodreads:

The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.

When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancé, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.

If you’ve been following my BBRBF Book Club reviews, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not hard to please. I have a tendency to find a connection with at least one character, or at least one trait of one character, perhaps a bit too easily.

On that note, I chose this book initially based off of the title. Bette Davis has been one of my favorite actresses for as long as I can remember. My mom introduced me to her films at a young age and I grew to admire the combination of strength and vulnerability within the characters she played, particularly when I was going through the tumultuous teenage years in which strength and vulnerability are constantly at war. For that reason I felt a connection to her, and consequently a connection to Margo Just.

Margo has been handed the short end of the stick in several ways: being shipped off to an English boarding school as a girl when her father passed, never obtaining an inheritance because she was the product of another woman, falling in love with a man twice her age who’s sexuality is questionable, continuing to dedicate her life to him even after she abandoned him at the alter, and solidifying her membership in the Bette Davis club- described as a club for those hopelessly enamored by unobtainable romantic interests, as most of Bette Davis’ characters were.

Margo has obtained a failing architectural salvage company from her former fiance, one in which she refuses to sell anything due to it’s emotional connection to Finn. She’s a borderline alcoholic who picked up smoking after years of quitting. She’s stuck in the past, is a virtual mess, and all of this is brought even further into the light when she flies to California for her niece’s wedding at what was once her former home/father’s estate.

When her niece, Georgia, runs away, Margo is asked by her half-sister, Charlotte (who inherited everything from their Hollywood screen-writing father) to retrieve her spoiled daughter, and the two scripts written by their father that she stole, for a considerable sum of money. Having lost her apartment in New York and accruing considerable debt from her business, Margo has no choice but to accept.

Her adventure begins in her father’s 1955 red MG roadster, one of the few of her father’s belongings that Margo truly admires (and had no idea still existed). She longs to drive it, but does not have a license, so the abandoned groom, Tully-who is old enough to be Georgia’s father- goes along for the ride. Throughout their journey you see their relationship evolve from one of disdain to one of romance.

The events that unfold are quite unbelievable ranging from purchasing Georgia’s hocked wedding dress for $25,000, entering a predominantly lesbian dancing contest in order to break into Georgia’s hotel room, visiting a dollhouse exhibit in Chicago for research pertaining to Tully’s upcoming book, and almost getting run off the road by the drug smuggling finance of Georgia’s best friend for stealing the scripts from their apartment.

I mean, if you want adventure, this book has got adventure.

But it also provides some insight into human behavior. Specifically, human behaviors that we all exhibit in some way or another. For me, the most relevant behavior was Margo’s obsession with the past. This is something I’ve struggled with it since college. I even have a tattoo (from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, no less) that states “it does not to to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

And yet, I do it all the time. I harbor over the idea that if I had just told someone about my depression in high school, and not passed it off as if it were just a phase, or if I had tried harder to overcome it, maybe I could have done better in school, gotten into a better college, not have had to rely on scholarships from the music department and actually majored in something else. Maybe if I had stopped focusing on the negative aspects of my college- which, in retrospect, there were none- I would have realized that I could handle a double major, focused on biology and set myself up for success as a prospective veterinarian.

Like Margo, I occasionally allow my regret to sneak up and take hold.

While in Chicago, Tully is faced with the prospect of his relationship with Georgia being over. This fear is confirmed by the fact that he has not heard from her since the night before the wedding. As he accepts his defeat, after almost being pummeled on the highway, he and Margo decide to head to New York.

With the screenplays in hand, Margo confers with her friends Dottie and Veronica on the value of the works. It is determined that one of the scripts, a television show finale, is worth millions while the other, co-written by the Orson Welles (another one of my favorite actors), is worth maybe a few thousand.

As Margo contemplates the monetary value versus the emotional value of her father’s screenplay, Georgia knocks on her door. It turns out that she and her mother are communicating once more, she plans on marrying an English rock star, and has come to acquire her wedding dress.

In the end, which felt kind of rushed, Margo goes to AA, her and Charlotte finally connect, Tully makes arrangements to sell the profitable screenplay and he and Margo fall in love.

Despite this extremely stereotypical ending, I loved the book, and am apparently a complete sucker for romance.

For my inspired outfit, I wanted to capture the look of Margo in her father’s 1955 MG. I wanted to stick to the theme of red, white and black, so I chose this Lindy Bop ‘Audrey’ Red Check Swing Dress with my B.A.I.T. Footwear Emmie in Black. To capture that classic 1950’s look, I accessorized with my Hollywood Golden Age Glamour Girl 1950s Style Drop Hoop Earrings by Luxulite and a vintage head scarf from my local antiques shop: Streamline Antiques.

We’ve welcomed two new members to the book club, so don’t foget to check out what all the gals thought of The Bette Davis Club: Kristina (The Eyre Effect), Sara (In a Nutshell), Kat (The Miss Information Blog), Noelle (The Classy Junk), Laci (Laci Fay), and Justyna (Hazel & Honey).

Stay tuned next month for our review of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach.

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