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skirtfeatured
Retro / Vintage, Sewing & Craft

That Time I Made a Skirt From a Duvet Cover

This month I made a skirt out of a bedspread. I know exactly what you’re thinking…

The Sound of Music

But let me start by saying The Sound of Music is one of my favourite films of all times, so I’m more than happy to take inspiration from the inimitable Maria Von Trapp. There is no shame in home furnishings-turned-outfits.

So to the story behind the skirt. A couple of seasons ago Asda’s George Home started producing affordable bedding sets with pin-up girl prints on. There have been a few iterations, the most popular being a sailor print with stripes and anchors. They look nice enough on a bed (though you may struggle to persuade a boyfriend or husband of that) but a few clever sewists worked out that they’re also perfect for dresses and skirts, and buying these bedspreads for under £15 worked out much cheaper than buying similar fabrics from the likes of Alexander Henry. Thus #ThatsSewGeorge was created!

George bedding and handmade skirt

Recently, George has been challenging bloggers to make clothes, accessories and other exciting things out of their cute and affordable bedding sets. I’m already the proud owner of a palm tree printed duvet cover (see here!) which I think would make a killer maxi dress, but when George offered to send me some more bedding to work my sewing magic on, I had to go with those pin-up girls. I picked a print with a polka dot lining, threw one straight on my bed, then used the other to whip up a modified circle skirt.

Pin Up Skirt and Gingham Shirt

I thought a dress might be tricky with the large print so decided to do a skirt first. The pattern was a bit of a mish-mash. I used the skirt panels from the Gertie for Butterick dress I made a couple of years ago, as I didn’t want to lose all the detail in a gathered or pleated skirt. This did mean I had some tricky pattern matching to take into account: in the end I only worried about this on the front of the skirt so it’s not perfect, but it did mean I could easily get the whole thing out of one duvet cover. I made my own wide waistband from the polka dot fabric used on the underside of the duvet, and put in a hand-picked zip at the back. I still love a hand-picked zip, not just because it’s much easier to keep tidy, but also because I like to sew in front of the TV so the less I have to use the machine, the better.

Hand Made Pinup Skirt and Gingham Blouse

The skirt is a little see-through and could do with lining, but other than that, I’m really happy how it turned out. Since I’m an old lady I own a beige slip so I just popped that underneath for a bit of coverage. The gingham blouse is from Mango, and the very old sequinned shoes are from Kurt Geiger. I hope you like my finished look, now if only it would stop raining so I can take it outside!

Disclosure: The bedspreads were a gift from George to allow me to get creative.

kini
Retro / Vintage, Swimwear

This Year’s Retro Swimwear Rundown

My passion for vintage-inspired swimwear has been well documented. When I started sharing my favourite retro styles each year, it was difficult to find more than a handful. Now everyone is embracing high waists, polka dots, vintage florals and halter straps. Obviously this is good news for fans of the look, and since this is still something that people come to this site for frequently, I felt it was time for a 2015 update. Hopefully there’s something here to suit every wannabe pin-up girl, no matter your budget. So let’s just get right into the good stuff, shall we?

lobster-esther

Esther Williams Rock Lobster swimsuit £65 at For Luna

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I discovered that the Esther Williams brand has embraced my love for lobster prints. This literally combines two of my favourite things. These swimsuits are brilliant, and worth the cash if you can afford to splash out. They’re cut to proper vintage patterns and the fabrics are good quality and long-lasting. Be careful with sizing as they can be tricky to wriggle into, if you’re unsure, size up.

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Hollywood gingham bikini top £28 and high-waisted frilled bottoms £20 at Boux Avenue

The red gingham is the most traditional version of this great retro-inspired bikini from Boux Avenue, but they also make a pink gingham version and two different florals. So if this is a shape that you love (and I’m betting with the cute frilled bottoms that it is) you can snap it up in various different colours. The moulded top is available up to a F cup.

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Yellow lemon print longline bikini top £16.99 and high waisted bottoms £16.99 at New Look

I love the combo of retro and modern in this bikini, with the strappy cutouts on the high waisted briefs that give it a bit of modern sexiness to go with the full-coverage vintage shape. The strappy detail is a lot more flattering than you think, but only if you buy the right size. Bikini briefs always come up small, and there is nothing worse than a woman in a bikini that’s a bit too tight!

ginghamtoppers

Contrast gingham swimsuit with black bottom £36 at Topshop

Three cheers for Toppers for combining one of the season’s best retro trends (gingham) with a really wearable shape. I’m basically recommending this swimsuit (or New Look’s £26 chevron version) to anyone, but particularly those who say they won’t wear a bikini because they’re conscious of their tummy. Who said a classic swimsuit had to be boring?

floozie

Floozie Green flamingos underwired top £26.50 and skirted bottoms £20 at Debenhams

The Floozie by FrostFrench brand at Debenhams is an absolute goldmine of gorgeous retro bikinis, and picking just one to feature was tricky…but it had to be the flamingos. As a bonus, this range comes in cup sizes, and while that range only goes from 32A to 38E, it’s a lot better than being forced to buy a ‘one cup fits all’ top by dress size. Debenhams cups always run big, so F cup ladies shouldn’t overlook this range either. You might get lucky!

boden

Navy polka dot vintage boyleg swimsuit £53 at Boden

They don’t come much more classic than Boden’s polka dot vintage boyleg swimsuit. It’s the simple approach to retro swimwear, with none of the frills, ruching, or skirting that you see on some of the more dramatic looks, but the classic shape and print make for a tried-and-tested winner. If the idea of putting a swimsuit on fills you with dread, invest in one of these. Boden doesn’t scrimp on quality, meaning you’ll get plenty of wear out of it before it begins to sag or go thin, provided it’s rinsed and dried properly between wears.

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Retro high waisted bikini, from around £3 at AliExpress

If you’re willing to order from China and wait a while for delivery, this baby (which a lot of retro retailers also stock) is floating around both AliExpress and eBay at the moment from a whole host of sellers. I took a punt to see what it was like, and I was pleasantly surprised. The top is not the greatest fit and probably works better for someone with a wider back and smaller bust, but the briefs are a really nice fit and will go with plenty of my other bikini tops. If you’re new to this style and want to test it out without spending a fortune, here’s your naughty bargain!

asosmarilyn

Fuller bust Marilyn Caribbean floral print bikini £34 at ASOS

I’ve become a huge fan of ASOS’s brilliant trend-led swimwear, and surprised by the quality and fit of their fuller bust range. This is one of the best retro-inspired styles for this year; if nothing else I love the name! I love the extended band under the bust that gives it a longline appearance, and the classic high waisted briefs are full on 1050s. That said, if you prefer a lower-cut brief (which can actually look a lot better on someone who’s pear-shaped like me) there are options for that in the same range too.

playsuit

Resort diamante belt playsuit swimsuit £29 at Very

This style works really well on athletic body types or those with straight torsos, as it instantly adds (or enhances) curves. Full coverage shorts are often recommended for pear shapes, but I actually find they look worse (at least on me) than a higher cut style because the straight line across the bottom stops at the widest part, emphasising it. That said, this is a look that deserves a try by everyone, if only so you can dance around your bedroom pretending you’re in a Beyonce music video!

dollydaggerfeat
Clothing, Dresses, Events & Launches, Retro / Vintage

VIP vintage style fashion at Dollydagger in Brighton

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A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to the gorgeous Dollydagger boutique in Brighton for a taste of their VIP shopping experience. I’ve been a fan of the brand for years so I was very excited for an excuse to head down to the seaside for the evening. The event is all about the full-on retro experience. Think vintage-inspired shopping with a personal touch – small groups (hen dos, birthday parties etc) can book in with the store for a night of bubbly, pampering (hair and makeup to complete your retro look) and plenty of retro fashion fun, with a goodie bag at the end of the night. The shop specialises in 1950s dresses (own brand and hard-to-find labels like Bettie Page Clothing), rockabilly style and quirky gift ideas, so it’s perfect for a retro fan like me!

I was invited along with a few fellow bloggers, and we had an amazing time working our way through all the frocks on offer and getting some makeup tips from amazing makeup artist Alessia Mancini. Here I am modelling just a few of my favourite frocks…which you can save 10% on until next Thursday (4th April) with the code WELOVEGEMMA (awwww).

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In the Midnight Rose Scarlet DressThis one is in the sale at the moment at £89, so grab it quickly! I’m wearing the Large which runs smaller than other larges in the Dolly Dagger range. It’s listed as a 12 – 14 and that’s pretty bang on – it only just fit me!

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The Dita dress (£149) was probably my favourite – this baby looked amazing on everyone who tried it. There’s really clever gathering and seaming around the hips and waist to shape it to the body, and the sweetheart neckline is really pretty and a favourite of mine. The red was definitely my favourite, but I’m holding out for green before I invest. A little birdie told me that might be a possibility in the future, but in the meantime there’s another amazing green dress coming to Dolly Dagger – more on that soon!

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I tried the Greta dress (£159) in two colours, but the fit just wasn’t quite right on me. I adore the leopard collar and 3/4 sleeves, but the shape just isn’t as nice on me as the Dita. This dress is made for Caroline, though! It’s really amazing for those with bigger busts.

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And finally, a bit of Bettie Page. I’ve got a few Bettie Page dresses already that I bought from the store in Vegas, but they can be hard to find in the UK so knowing Dollydagger is a stockist is great. Unfortunately, the Rita (£89.99) is not my perfect Bettie Page partner. I love the colour and the huge collar, but it doesn’t do anything for my upper half – making me look quite straight-up-and-down and pushing my boobs downwards (not to mention the tight sleeves). This is less of a curve-enhancer for size 14s like me, and is perhaps better as a curve creator on slimmer figures!

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Thanks so much to Dollydagger for inviting me to play with all the gorgeous dresses and take a look at the beautiful shop. As I mentioned above, as a special treat, they’re offering all you lovely lot 10% off a purchase at Dollydagger for the next week. Place your order now using the code WELOVEGEMMA to take advantage of the deal. And don’t forget to comment and let me know what you chose!

bikinis
Retro / Vintage, Swimwear

More retro swimsuits: because the Summer’s not over yet

We may be coming to end of the Summer, but with temperatures set to hit 32° in London today, and with my ‘Summer’ holiday not taking place until the end of September, I’m very much still in a sunshine mood and still obsessing over all the retro inspired bikinis and swimsuits I can’t have.

My love affair with vintage style swimwear began, almost accidentally, when I was about 12 years old. I saw a denim-look one-piece with shorts style bottoms and a halter neck in a copy of Clothes Show Magazine, and promptly hunted it down in my local C&A (yeah, remember C&A). It probably looked terrible on me (even then I was a size 14, but I was more tummy and less waist than I am now) but I loved the style and ever since that moment I’ve been all about the skirted bottoms, high-waisted styles, polka dots and vintage touches. I already have my new bikini for the season (hello, Freya Venetian) but that doesn’t stop me swooning over these amazing offerings…

Fraulein Annie ‘Ahoy Sailor’ bikini shorts £49 and Balcony bikini top £79 at Hepburn and Leigh – Ever since I discovered this bikini I’ve been dreaming about it. I simply can’t justify over £100 for a bikini I know I would ruin with SPF cream and salt water within a year or two, but I can at least enjoy it from afar. It’s reversible (the other side is blue and white slim stripes) so you’re really getting two bikinis for your money, but it’s still a bit investment. I just can’t get over that amazing cut and gorgeous print though. Oh, for a bigger budget!

Hibiscus print 1950s swimsuit £35 at ASOS – Oh, the one that got away! I’m gutted that this bargain swimsuit is sold out in my size or it would definitely be travelling to Vegas with me. I love the hawaiian inspired print, the cute buttons, the black trim and the low-cut shorts which would hide any stretchmarks! Sadly this is now only available in small sizes (8 – 10) but I’m crossing my fingers ASOS may restock the 14 – 18s so more of us can get our hands on the gorgeous cossie.

Seafolly La Vita skirted bikini £79 Beach Cafe – Seafolly does a brilliant line in retro styles, and though they’re expensive, they still often come in a bit cheaper than the pricey US imports. Right now I’m loving the classic black polka dot La Vita bikini, with its lovely skirted bottoms with cute buttons. This is available all over the place, so if Beach Cafe doesn’t have your size, try Cocobay or Simply Beach.

Fables by Barrie ‘Perfecting My Formalwear’ swimsuit $86.99 ModCloth – Fables by Barrie was one of the first retro swimwear brands I discovered, and its Etsy shop has featured on my much-loved retro shopping guide for years. The brand is also available at ModCloth, where I fell in love with this tuxedo-style retro swimsuit. I think this would look just as amazing tucked into a high-waisted pencil skirt as it would do poolside!

Beach to Beach chevron bikini top £18 and briefs £12 at Simply Yours – I’m amazed this is available in any sizes now after it made waves when Gabi wore it on holiday and it them became the inspiration for the much talked-about xojane ‘fatkini’ gallery. But there are a few sizes available and there’s no denying this is a seriously gorgeous bikini that says ‘screw you’ to traditional ‘rules’ about swimwear for plus sizes and looks bloody brilliant as a result.

Tropical kitten bikini top £42 and bottoms £42 at Kiss Me Deadly – this is the first year Kiss Me Deadly has done swimwear, and they’ve definitely hit the market with a bang, offering up a small collection based on customer requests, beautifully modelled, pirate-style, by long term Kiss Me Deadly model Morgana, and former Britain’s Next Top Model contestant Jessica Etonye. My favourite is the high-waisted tropical bikini, which just needs tiki shoes and a hibiscus in the hair to top it off!

Resort shapewear minimiser bikini top £18 and August 19, 2012 by

retro1
Dresses, Retro / Vintage

Ten more 1950s style dresses (you know you love ’em)

Oh, you predictable bunch! It comes as no surprise to me that my posts on 1950s style dresses are, by far, the most popular pieces on this blog. And who am I to complain that one of my favourite looks is also one of yours? As far as I’m concerned, any excuse to spend a few hours hunting down yet more fabulous frocks with those trademark nipped-in waists, full skirts and fabulous prints is good enough. Though I am going to bankrupt myself soon enough if I keep buying things as I do ‘research’. This round-up of another ten great Summer dresses includes a few old faithful brands, a couple of new ones, and hopefully some styles to suit all budgets and bodies. I hope you enjoy!

Scene and Believed dress by Bernie Dexter $139 Modcloth – Vintage rockabilly model Bernie Dexter’s range of dresses has some amazing bold prints, and this one is my favourite. The cherry blossoms are really distinctive, and you can see from Modcloth’s customer reviews how well the dress works on a variety of body shapes.

Yellow floral vintage rose dress £45 (was £85) Oasis – I loved the ‘floral frocks’ range from Oasis this season, but the prices were pretty crazy – upwards of £80 for a cotton frock? Luckily, they’re all now being put into the sale, so those of us on a budget can possibly afford to splash out. This yellow would look amazing with dark hair.

Silver grey and pink floral swing dress £40 Lady Vintage – My favourite discovery of 2012, Lady Vintage, has just released a range of Summer prints, including this lovely pink and silver floral. Remember these swing dresses come up big – I easily fit into a 12 in Lady Vintage styles.

Kelly Brook bardot scenic print dress £39.99 New Look – Retro 50s fan Kelly Brook has extended her collaboration with New Look to clothing this season, and there are lots of Summery florals and polka dots on offer. This off-the-shoulder dress is my fave, but there are plenty of others on offer. Amanda has done a great in-depth review of the whole range if you want more info.

So Fabulous printed prom dress £45 Very.co.uk – Going up into plus sizes, this 50s floral frock has a bit more coverage across the bust than some of the sweetheart neckline designs, plus the dark print will last into Autumn with tights or seamed stockings.

Blue tapework prom dress with sheer top £90 Warehouse – I love this pretty pastel shade, the dress reminds me of something that one of the hideous but very well-dress Junior League girls in The Help might wear. I’d wear it with silver accessories and a beehive hairdo.

TS Wonderful royal style dress $69.99 Light in The Box – I bought this dress when Light in the Box was having a sale (this happens a lot) and was pleasantly surprised with how quickly it arrived and how nice it was. It’s a bit heavy for Summer but I’ll be stashing it away for Autumn / Winter when no doubt I’ll get plenty of wear out of it. The TS brand sold through the site specialises in vintage-inspired pieces, so keep an eye out for bargains.

Black Red Herring cherry print full-skirted day dress £30 Debenhams – Red Herring’s 1950s style sundresses are really good value and I have a couple of them now. They cut quite small on the waist which works for my figure, but the skirts aren’t stupidly short, which is a problem I find with a lot of high street dresses inspired by the 50s.

Taupe spot fit and flare dress £40 Wallis – I love the combo of taupe and cream in polka dot, partly because, like so many girls, I love the dress in the polo scene of Pretty Woman, but also because it’s such a brilliant colour combo for just about every skintone going. This dress would be fab for work or weddings, or just about anything in between.

Coral spot dress with short sleeves £40 Simply Be – Naomi makes this dress look fab, and I’m sure plenty of my readers would too. Coral’s a fab shade for Summer and the simple shape of this dress is a bit more comfy than the super-fitted, structured bodices of some 50s inspired styles. Also, I know a lot of people don’t like dresses without sleeves, and the fluted shape of these is really fab.

bikinis2
Retro / Vintage, Swimwear

Super swimwear for 2012 – my latest bikini and swimsuit picks for all sizes

It’s SUMMER, guys! And you know what that means. Holidays, hot weather, and the possibilty of having to strip off the layers and flash a bit of flesh. Despite not being a willowy size 8, I’ve never really had a huge problem with stripping down to swimwear in the Summer. To be honest, I’m less bothered about the amount of flesh on show and more worried about the inevitable “you’re so PALE!” comments. Perhaps being such an English rose (ha!) helps to detract from the cellulite…but it also helps to have a killer swimsuit or bikini to draw the eye in. I tend to favour very feminine, vintage-inspired designs and anything with frills or spots. My favourites this year are a mix of frilled swimsuits, cool modern styles and bikinis that make the most of a voluptuous figure. Here are just some of my favourites…

Red or Dead ‘maps’ two piece bikini £36.50 at Amazon – I’m so sad this is yellow (one of the colours that just looks terrible on me) because not only do I love the frilled skirt for hiding that diggy-in hip thing anyone with a bit of flesh will always get with a bikini, but also because I absolutely adore the London map print. So cute, and so apt for a Londoner on tour! Red or Dead make some of the best retro-inspired swimwear on the market right now, and this is my fave for 2012.


Skirted swimsuit with piping detail £38 ASOS
– I have the plan black version of this swimsuit from last year, but I’m really excited to see they’ve bought the shape back this year with added white piping. It is without a doubt the most striking swimsuit I’ve tried – I truly believe it looks better on a curvier figure than on a slim one, so I’m sad ASOS only make it up to a size 16. Hopefully a Curve version is coming soon, because this deserves to be worn!

Curvy Kate Caribbean bikini top £32 and briefs £17 at Simply Yours – Let’s talk about how excited I am that Curvy Kate have branched out into swimwear! I’m a huge fan of their lingerie; it’s comfy, stylish, affordable and available in a good range of sizes, so getting all that in swimwear too is a big deal. At Simply Be you can get the bottoms up to a size 20 and the top up to a K cup in some band sizes. There’s also a tankini if you prefer a bit more coverage.

Kansas bikini top £34 and frilled brief £28 Freya – I was blown away by the quality of the swimwear at the Freya press day. So often when you get DD+ swimwear, style and trends have been sacrificed in the name of fit. But Freya manage to combine both, and I love their retro-inspired ranges. A lot of pieces have frilled bottoms, high waists or skirted bottoms. For 2012, Kansas is the new kid on the block. The pale blue gingham is a nice change from polka dots, but still has that vintage touch. It hits stores / online in July, so get your reminders set now!

Blue floral frill swimsuit £38 Floozie by Frost French at Debenhams – I know a lot of you will probably turn your nose up at an adults swimsuit that looks just like the ones worn by 5 year olds in the 80s (go on, you know you had some frilled florals). But I love my swimwear cutesy, and this is about as cutesy as you’re going to get. Just add cats eye sunglasses and chunky wedge sandals to complete the look.

Marilyn swimsuits in royal blue $102 Pinup Girl Clothing – If it’s good enough for Dita Von Teese, it’s good enough for me. I’ve spoken a lot about Esther Williams swimsuits on here before (and I own one of the bikinis) but if you fancy a proper 50s inspired swimsuit from elsewhere, Pinup Girl Clothing is the place to go. This royal blue is my absolute favourite, but the Marilyn comes in plenty of other colours too.

Black parrot print Pacha beaded bikini £26 River Island – Though I’m not exactly the Ibiza-dwelling target market, I really love the River Island / Pacha collaboration, mostly because of the immense amount of co-ordinating pieces you can get to go with all the swimwear. Want a strappy beach maxi, or a one-shoulder scarf dress? No probs! And the bikins themselves are pretty cool too. This frilled parrot print one is my personal fave, I love all the beaded frills.

Blue rio print one-piece swimsuit £34 Topshop – This swimsuit is the complete antithesis of my usual style, but for some reason I just love it. So much so I’ve used it in outfit picks before, and I’m sorely tempted to treat myself before they sell out. I love that it could easily be worn as a top in the evening on a beach holiday, tucked into a pair of shorts. The only thing that would make it better is if the print were Las Vegas, not Rio!

Fifties swimsuit £49 Boden – I don’t own a thing from Boden, but I do think their swimwear is really pretty and very good if you want something with a little more coverage than most younger stores give. The fifties swimsuit comes in various prints and has ruching down the sides to streamline and make the most of a good waist. There’s also a lovely polka dot bikini / tankini set that you can mix and match depending on how confident you’re feeling!

Espana ruffle one-shoulder swimsuit $148 Monif C – If you’re plus sized and tired of all swimsuits being ridiculous skirted floral numbers and ugly, frumpy designs, Monif C is the designer for you. The one thing her designs are not is boring! I love the one-shouldered Espana, which has boning and powermesh for a great fit, and ties to adjust for the right fit on the leg. This design also comes in red.

Green floral padded bikini top £16 and frilled bottoms £12 Next – Green is a really great colour both tanned and pale skin, making it a great choice if you’re off to sun yourself, and I love this shape which really makes the most of those ‘assets’. A padded bikini top works for any cup size; it pushes up smaller boobs for a bit of a lift, and it shapes and holds larger ones for a great shape. Next swimwear also has the benefit of being really good quality – this will see you through more than one Summer if you take care of it.

Brown and white leaf-print bikini top £8 and bottoms £4 George at Asda – This is my favourite bargain bikini of the season. Teaming a bit of cool neon with a classic print, it’s a great one for showing off a tan and the shape is very classic and works on a variety of body shapes. I also applaud George for going up to an E/F cup too.

Tummy control scoop neck wrap swimsuit £29.50 Marks & Spencer – Ignoring the ‘tummy control’ element of this, I just love the unusual wrap design and clever colourblocking that make it a bit different to a classic plan swimsuit. I also really like that it comes in a longer length, making it a perfect choice for tall women who want something a bit unusual.

dressesagain
Clothing, Dresses, Retro / Vintage

Ten Fab 40s / 50s inspired sundresses for Summer!

Watching the new Mad Men tonight, I felt a little bit let down at the lack of lovely frocks. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 60s looks – Jane’s amazing maxi and Trudy’s killer swirly Pucci-esque number – but I miss the earlier episodes, with the wiggle dresses, fifties full skirts and Betty’s amazing sundresses and shades. For me, it doesn’t get better than the 40s and 50s when it comes to clothing, so I’ve put together a list of ten fab fifties-inspires Summer dresses for my fellow retro fans. So what if Sterling Cooper has moved on, it doesn’t mean I have to. I’ll be snapping up at least one of these dresses in the next few months…

Multi placement print dress £85 Oasis
– The crazy pottery style print of this dress is like something from a 1950s film. Difficult to pull off, but beautiful if you have the guts!

Spring Fairy dress in periwinkle blue £55 (was £95) Anami and Janine
– This label is a new discovery of mine, and I’m completely bowled over by their pretty, quirky prints and 1940s inspired dress cuts.

Green rose with bird print swing dress £30 Lady V London
– A massive bargain that comes in a limited run so it’s a really special find. This style comes in loads of other fabrics, too.

Louche Lachelle pleated floral dress £59 Joy
– If you can bear wearing the same frock as Holly Willoughby, this pretty pleated dress is a lovely modern take on a retro classic.

Fifties frock with full skirt in rose print £85 Tara Starlet
– Fab cabbage rose style print and full fifties skirt on this lovely day dress from retro-inspired brand Tara Starlet

Sailboat printed blue prom dress £154 Lowie
– I love the nautical touches of this sailboat printed dress. It’s pricey, yes, but it’s also very pretty!

Pink floral print dress £30 Purple at Dorothy Perkins
– A modern take on a 50s riviera look, I love the idea of teaming this with light coloured wedges and a basket bag!

Conversational print dress £45 South at Very
– The birdcage print on this baby is really gorgeous, and it goes up to a size 24. Score!

Cezanne side lace dress £74.99 Fever
– No rundown of pretty dresses is complete without a Fever dress. They just deliver every time!

Lila floral dress with off-the-shoulder detail £50 Uttam Boutique at Yumi
– If you’re a size 16, I suggest you snap this up quickly before someone else does. That’s the only size left of this cute 50s-meets-90s frock.

greenvoh
Retro / Vintage, Tried & Tested

A date with Vivien of Holloway part 3: The ‘Peggy Lee’ day dress in green

I’m finishing up my Vivien of Holloway dress reviews today with the third and final dress. This is the Peggy Lee day dress in green (£69), a cotton number with an A-line skirt and contrasting white collar and pockets. Of the three I’ve tried, this is probably the most costumey. The other two can easily be modernised, but as far as I’m concerned, you may as well go the whole hog with this one! So I pulled out my retro glasses, put my hair in a mock-bob with some roller curls and hunted down some hair flowers so I could give this dress the 40s style look it deserves!

Of the three dresses I tried, this one is also the most generous when it comes to sizing. Like the Grace and the Jezebel, I tried it in Vivien of Holloway’s vintage size 16 (B38/W30). I think if I bought this dress in the future, I would probably try on the 14 too see if I can get away with it. You can see in the pictures that it creases up a bit around the bodice – the torso section is quite long and I could do with being more snug around my mid-section. That said, it was a good fit on the bust – if I switched to a non-padded bra I hope I could go a size down.

Because the waist wasn’t as snug as I wanted, I tried the dress with an elasticated belt to cinch it in a bit. This did mean it wrinkled and creased a bit around the waist, and looking at the pictures afterwards, I think I prefer it without the belt. If you want the smoother lines you can see in the model pictures on the website, I’d advise a good girdle underneath! Of all the Vivien of Holloway fabrics, I’d say this cotton is actually the least forgiving on fleshy bits so choose your underwear carefully! Fit is vital too so definitely try on at the Holloway Road store if you can. The zip runs up the back (but the collar is fixed so it doesn’t zip all the way up). It is one of those annoyingly flimsy concealed zips I hate, but because it’s up the back, not the side, it’s not so temperamental and worked fine for me without snagging or getting stuck.

I absolutely adore the colour of this dress, if only because it gave me an excuse to wear my green suede shoes (now reduced to £20 at Chockers) and pose in front of some nearby green doors. The pockets are also a big bonus too – these ones are huge, almost like the big pockets on an apron! Of all the Vivien of Holloway dresses I’ve tried it’s probably the most practical despite the bold design details. If you’re a vintage / reproduction fan and want something a bit different to the usual tea dresses and wiggle dresses, this is a total winner. However, dressing it down for a more modern look is more difficult.

The ‘Peggy Lee’ dress is available in various colours and prints for £69 at Vivien of Holloway

Disclosure: The dress was borrowed from Vivien of Holloway. All thoughts are my own and I was not paid to publish them.