Continuing on with my recent resolution to review some of my dresses that feel most summery to me, today I’m reviewing my Sailor Swing dress by Pinup Girl Clothing. One of my favourite things about this dress is that it was one of those dresses that actually sparked my transition into pinup style.
At the start of 2013 I began to pincurl and wetset my hair to achieve heat-free curls after a bad experience with heat styling that left ruined my natural curls. I had always liked the fashions from the 50s but had never considered it something a modern woman could fully adopt, so as I began to tinker with my makeup to reflect a more 50s look I also began to search online for clothing options that might feel a bit 50s without being over the top. I didn’t feel confident enough then to wear the kind of outfits I do now, and as I was so tentative about the style change I also didn’t want to drop big bucks on clothing. I found this picture of the navy Sailor Swing dress on Tumblr and became obsessed.
I’m a nautical lover when it comes to style themes, big time, so this dress spoke to me. At the time, though, $108 seemed a crazy amount to drop on a dress; I had become used to shopping at Primark, where dresses regularly cost £13 and tended to top out at perhaps £20. That kind of fast fashion had become my benchmark for what I typically wanted to spend, and $108–plus shipping–was way out of my uncertain budget. I looked instead for cheaper nautical style swing dresses, and for a while I was happy with the cheap alternative I bought instead.
By the end of 2013 I had made my first Pinup Girl Clothing purchase, and it changed everything. I couldn’t afford to splurge on PUG all the time in the same way it’s so easy to splurge in a fast fashion shop, but the difference in the quality, fit, and unique style of the PUG pieces I owned was so apparent it changed how I shopped for good. I began to build up my PUG wardrobe as quickly as my bank balance allowed and became excited about clothes and getting dressed in a way I didn’t before.
Somehow it took until the middle of 2014, when I had a $50 giftcard from PUG as an Honorable mention prize from their #PUGChangedMyLife Instagram contest, for me to finally buy the dress that had first brought me to PUG. I love navy and that was my first choice of the two colourways, but I already had that shoddy navy cheap dress I had bought a year earlier, so I reasoned it was sensible to buy the red version instead so that maybe, maybe, I might still wear that other navy dress–pah! Haven’t worn that once since I first bought PUG.
I bought the red and it is just lovely.
I’m a big fan of red dresses and a firm believer that it’s much too hard to find a red dress that isn’t a slinky evening number. A bold red day dress, whether plain or with style or print details, is confident, classic, sexy and casual all at once. I think this dress is easily a dress that exudes all those characteristics. The flared but (gasp!) not full circle skirt keeps the style looking more casual than it would with a full, puffy swing skirt, and the bodice on this dress is one of the most flattering not only that I own but also that I have ever seen.
Give me a white bow bust detail any day anyway, but damn if this isn’t the sexiest bow I’ve ever rocked. The halterneck straps combined with the shaping of the bust, with the lightly padded cups, show off your chestly-assets to their best advantage without you even feeling pushed up, strapped in or squashed down. I’m only a 36B, but this dress makes my boobs look amazing (or so I’ve been told,) and that’s always something that doesn’t hurt.
The Sailor Swing dress is made from high quality stretch bengaline, so it’s super comfortable–I mean it, really, really goddamn comfortable. A lot of PUG dresses are well structured and featured gathered skirts, which can form a rather rigid waistline, but this dress is all over comfort and softness. The bengaline skims over lumps and bumps, and gives where you need it to, and the matching belt is a slide belt, so it doesn’t leave you feeling halved like some notch belts can.
It’s a great summer dress not just because it looks the part worn on the beach, out in the sun, or even on a picnic, but also because it doesn’t leave you feeling sweaty or restrained like some dresses can do after too long in heat. Plus, it would make an excellent 4th of July dress. Just sayin’. Not that I’m enabling you to shop for clothes under the guise of it being for national holiday. Not at all.
Available as mentioned in both navy and red, this dress comes in sizes XS-4X, covering waistlines from 25″ to 43″. It’s $108, is maternity friendly, and available worldwide from Pinupgirlclothing.com. If you’ve never ordered direct from PUG and have any questions, I’ve got you covered with my Beginner’s Guide To: Pinup Girl Clothing.