The BBRBF Book Club: Red, Blue, and the Lasso of Truth

Hello and welcome to another edition of the BBRBF Book Club! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review and the reason is because I couldn’t quite bring myself to write about our last book; in fact, it was a struggle to even finish the book. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, it just hit too close to home in regards to medical conditions.

Fortunately, this month’s book focuses on one of my favorite comic book characters: Wonder Woman. Here is the plot summary of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by  Jill Lepore:

A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.

If there’s one thing that I can say I’m without a doubt passionate about, it’s women’s rights, so when I saw the opportunity to read about one of the most historically powerful, albeit fictional, women I was overjoyed. Wonder Woman was inspired by several influential figures throughout the women’s suffrage movement, including Sadie Holloway and Margaret Sanger, a famous birth control activist.

Interestingly enough, the creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston, was a bit of a misogynist despite being a committed feminist (weird, I know). He simultaneously lived and fathered children with two women, while participating in “cult of female sexual power” sex parties that were organized by his aunt. Perhaps misogynist isn’t the correct word, because his wife and lovers all willing participated in these sorts of events, instead let’s just emphasize the fact that he believed in “free love” outside of the restrictions of marriage (as did his wife, Sadie Holloway).

Marston’s exposure to suffragist culture led him to depict Wonder Woman as bound by chains in many editions of the comic; this being a common theme throughout suffragist imagery and publications. His goal was to make her the heroine of a new age in which women ruled. He, in fact, believed that the day would come when women would lead, as opposed to men (I, myself, wouldn’t mind seeing this some day).

After Marston’s death, at the young age of 54, his publishers ignored his original intent of keeping her as a “Progressive Era feminist” and began depicting Wonder Woman as a traditional housewife. Having been turned over to a new writer, she would be characterized as a babysitter or even a fashion model.

Despite these later depictions of her after Marston’s death, Wonder Woman has remained the greatest female superhero of all time. She’s extremely strong and agile, beautiful, cunning and intelligent and a symbol of empowerment to women everywhere. I highly recommend reading this book, as it goes into much further detail as to the people and events that inspired her. As for me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the new Wonder Woman film coming out this summer.

And, as always, don’t forget to check out all of the other fabulous book clubbers’ opinions and inspired outfits: Sara (In a Nutshell), Kat (The Miss Information Blog), Kristina (The Eyre Effect), Noelle (The Classy Junk), Laci (Laci Fay), and Justyna (Hazel & Honey)!

Next month we will be reviewing Caraval by  Stephanie Garber, so stick around!

blog-signature

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.

blog-signature

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.

blog-signature

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.

blog-signature

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.

blog-signature

A Touch of Pink, Tropical Tiki Print, and a Modern Day Pill Box Purse

It’s been vastly dreary here in Boston this week, so I thought I’d liven things up with a bit with some bright colors and tropical vibes.

I’ve had this outfit for some time now and have been dying to show it off, but I’ve always felt that something was missing from it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was until I came across Lola Von Rose.

I discovered Lola Von Rose’s gorgeous handbags through their Instagram and immediately fell in love. Their design is unique and meant to mimic mid-century pill box purses. Made out of acrylic, their handbags are lighter than their original counterparts, which were usually made from lucite. The gorgeously curved handle folds down for easy storage, and almost encourages stacking, if you’re the type to showcase your wares.

Lola Von Rose provides measurements for all of their handbags, and even though they look elegant and petite, they certainly are sturdy and spacious. The length of each bag is 9.25″ while the height (not including the handle) measures 3.25″ and the width is 4.75″.

For some perspective, I was able to fit my phone, cardholder, keys, sunglasses and lipstick inside, and the sliver latch on the front kept them securely tucked away.

These vintage inspired handbags retail for $64 and currently come in five colorways: pink, white, black, red, and lilac, each of which will compliment any outfit conceivable. For those of you who are a little more budget conscious, Lola Von Rose offers sample sale items for $29.99, on which minor scratches or glue marks may be present. Since these are bulky items, shipping costs $12 within the U.S. and $23-25 elsewhere, but the time it takes to arrive is faster than expected.

So if you’re searching for the perfect handbag for a stroll in the park or a night out on the town, be sure to check out Lola Von Rose. And be on the lookout for their newest colorway, seafoam green, coming soon! You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be stalking their site until it’s release.

Handbag: Pink Vintage Inspired Purse c/o Lola Von Rose | Top: Pinup Couture Peasant Top in Pink – Pinup Girl Clothing | Skirt: Laura Byrnes California High Waisted Pencil Skirt in Green Palm Springs Tiki – Pinup Girl Clothing | Shoes: Ione in Fairy Pink– B.A.I.T. Footwear
Special thanks to Lola Von Rose for this incredible collaborative opportunity.

blog-signature