A Dress Named Alika

When I was but a newbie pinup–when I was tentatively attempting to craft a retro look out of cheap dancewear circle skirts and still scared of red lipstick–there were 3 dresses I saw in my online wanderings that made me swoon and sigh with want and desire: the Pinup Girl Clothing Monica dress, their Sailor Swing dress, and the Tatyana (then Bettie Page) Alika dress. The Alika dress runs for $150 in the US and in the UK around £120, sadly out of my typical budget, so at the time I yearned and gurned and craved, stored it in the not-so-little part of my brain that houses my dream ‘one day’ wardrobe, and moved on with my life.

Until this summer, when I happened to have an upcoming wedding to attend, and the Alika dress was marked down to $120 in a sale. Our time had come! This would be the perfect opportunity to treat myself to this dress. The Alika, that black elegant goddess of glamour and style, was going to be my lady.

Now that we’re together I am so glad our time finally did come, because we were meant to be. Alika and I went for a little stroll together in the woods to share with you our love.

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Dress:
Tatyana Black Alika Circle Dress
Heels: Bedazzled myself. Read my beginner’s guide to bedazzling here
Lipstick: Makeup Revolution WOW stick in ‘Call Me’

The Alika is a slight departure for me in that I am a girl who loves her skirts even more full than a circle skirt, dirndl skirts made with such an abundance of fabric that they make a regular circle skirt look timid and tame. So the Alika, ‘merely’ a full circle dress, is not a dress that will accommodate my typical two petticoats without looking a bit awkward and stretched. However the great thing is this dress doesn’t need that ‘puff’ power to make a statement. I’ve worn it pictured with one fairly subtle petticoat by my standards, but this dress is eye-catching without the pomp and circumference of a massive skirt. The obvious striking detail of this dress is the neckline. The lattice detail from bust to sleeve is exquisite, truly unique as well as flattering and timeless. It oozes elegance and grace, and everyone who has seen this dress of mine has cooed over how unusual and lovely it is.

There’s a sweet bow detail on the waist which I love because it negates the need for a belt, and it’s made of a comfortable stretch bengaline which is always an easy wear. Technically the size I bought should fit snugly on me or perhaps comfortably, but because of the stretch of the fabric I feel there’s a possibility I could have even sized down to get a snugger fit on my waist, and thus better accentuated it, because as it is there’s a little room in there.

The Alika comes in black, red, navy, white, green and a white black/red polka dot, as well as in a wiggle dress variety that features the same lattice neckline on a pencil dress, available in black and green.

This is a timeless and beautiful piece of clothing, and I’m so thrilled I own it.

The Mix ‘N’ Match Dress

Pinup Girl Clothing make amazing dresses, there is no doubt about that. But I feel sometimes people forget that they have such a wide, versatile range of separates available too–not just tops, pants and skirts, but cardigans and shorts as well. I don’t wear trousers a lot, and never shorts, so it’s largely their tops and skirts that I own. Their Jenny skirts are one of my favourite pieces from any brand, of all time, to the point that I own 5 colourways and want several more still. One of their most popular Jenny skirts is their original harlequin print colourway, a white skirt featuring black, pink, orange and green diamonds across the entire skirt. This spring they launched an additional 3 Harlequin colourways, not just in their Jenny skirts but in their Lauren tops as well.

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The Harlequin print had never been a favourite of mine until the black and turquoise colourway began to grow on me. I wanted it badly in the Jenny dress, but since I own 3 Jenny dresses already and kept telling myself ‘Now isn’t a good time’ each time this item came up in one of their sales the dress continued to elude me. Finally there was a sale at the right time for me to spend, but the black-turquoise Harlequin Jenny dress wasn’t included–the Jenny skirt, however, was. Practicality assured me that buying a skirt in the same gorgeous print was an even better idea because it offered me the versatility of pairing it with multiple tops.

I especially like wearing this print with a white top because I feel it really pops that way, but it wasn’t until recently that I got my hands on a PUG separate that has made me really excited about this skirt–the black and turquoise harlequin Lauren top. Why am I so excited, you wonder. Because now I own what appears to be a full on Harlequin dress. It obviously doesn’t create the cut of the Jenny dress that I coveted, but considering we’re entering true autumn weather this piece provides me an excellent addition to my wardrobe in multiple ways: the longer sleeves of this top are winter-friendly, the colours are darker for autumn but still vibrant enough that I don’t feel excessively sad about packing away my summer wardrobe, it’s yet another top I can add into the mix and match rotation with my skirts, and above all I get to trick people into thinking I am wearing an incredibly fun, super flattering, warm and unique dress.

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Skirt: Black and turquoise Jenny Skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing
Top: Black and turquoise Lauren top from Pinup Girl Clothing
Belt: Primark
Shoes: These from ebay seller Awesome-outlet
Lipstick: Makeup Revolution WOW stick in ‘Maria’

I love this outfit. I feel both classy and sexy in it, the former thanks to the conservative length of the skirt and the great retro design of the collar that can be worn standing or flat, and the latter thanks to the flattering cut of the top hugging my waist and the low bust giving a generous peak at my cleavage while leaving almost my entire chest covered. It’s easy to pair it with black accessories, but if I want to have fun and add more colour I can pick out the turquoise, teal, maroon and pink to play with in my shoes, belts, hair flowers and such.

In terms of fit I find the Lauren tops run true to size on the PUG size charts, and though the Jenny skirts infamously run a little small, this print (and my Castle print, both relatively new additions to the Jenny skirt lines) fit more true to size, so I think the small-running problem might be fixed in their newest prints released this year. Both the Lauren tops and the Jenny skirts are available in sizes XS-4X, and they even do this skirt in a maternity friendly version now too, so this gorgeous print is available to all!

The Jenny skirt cost me $68 on sale (normally $98) and the top was $60, so for less than the cost of the Jenny dress I get a winter-appropriate harlequin dress (or so it appears) as well as the possible dozens of outfits I can make using the 2 separates with other items I already own.

PUG please release more plain coloured Jenny skirts and matching coloured tops so I can make this pairing over and over again! Plain red especially would make my heart stop then kick start in double time, just FYI. I already plan to get the black Jenny so I can bring my Black Lauren and black Doris tops out to play in the same way.

What do you think of the Pinup Girl Clothing Harlequin prints? Do you own any?  Are you, like me, a Jenny fiend? Let me know in the comments.