The Havana dress by Pinup Girl Clothing is one of those dresses I’ve overlooked for a long time because it is, in no bad way, rather plain and simple. I’ve always assumed the particular neckline would look boxy on me, someone who is bottom heavy, not particularly large of breast nor slim of torso. I figured that without a lower neckline, more delicate straps or a distracting print this dress would probably give me a bit of a trunk torso and highlight my ‘flaws’ rather than flatter them.
The red colourway, the only one that had ever truly tempted me, sold out months ago, and I never wanted the olive, black or purple colourways. This summer a Midnight blue colourway was announced and I found myself reconsidering. Suddenly I came to wonder whether I should try out the cool toned cabana stripes colourway, one of only two printed colourways, because I reasoned that the stripes might be more flattering on me than any of the plain colours, as prints have a camouflaging effect for lumps and bumps. But while I lingered over my decision as to whether even the stripes might make this dress work on me that colourway, too, sold out.
So there it was. It was down to me and the coming soon Midnight Blue. A battle of wills. Who would win? Would I cave? Well obviously. But would Havana be kind to me, flattering and gentle and nice? Or would she throw me and my cake-padded waist into sharp relief and unflattering focus?
Dress: Midnight Blue Havana Dress by Pinup Girl Clothing
Sundae Heels: Made by me, tutorial here
Petticoat: Jennifer Petticoat by Malco Modes
Thank you to Natasha for styling my hair so beautifully for an In Retrospect shoot earlier that day
Of course I shouldn’t have worried. While I know there must be Pinup Girl Clothing dresses that probably wouldn’t flatter or suit me–I suspect Erin and I would not be friends–their swing dresses, at the very least, will probably always be kind to me, because PUG is a lover of impeccable fit for all sizes, supreme quality, and using cotton sateen, a high quality cotton which is a great fabric for holding you in whilst also being a bit kind to you where you need it. So, yes, usually a lower neckline would be more flattering to me, but the Havana is just as generous as any other PUG dress and is designed to work on all body types, which it does.
The Havana dress is modest of neckline, darted of bodice, full of skirt and be pocketed, my very favourite thing. Unlike other PUG pockets in their dresses, which are normally invisible to the eye installed in the side seams of a skirt, these are actually visible pockets, designed with a curved entrance that sits slightly forward of the skirt side seams. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked that visibility, but it definitely makes it easier to find and use the pockets, which I appreciated when I wore this dress to travel to London a couple weekends back, using the pockets to store my train tickets and Oyster card for easy access at stations as I swished across town, lugging my suitcase behind me.
The matching belt is wide enough togive a nice nip to the waist and the skirt is so full and fluffy that it would have easily taken another petticoat in addition to the Malco Modes Jennifer petticoat I was wearing here. When I wore the dress to London I secretly suspected it would turn out to be an uncomfortable choice for 2 hours of sitting on trains, but my worries were unfounded there, too. Havana, I hope you forgive me for all the cynicism I’ve previously held about you. I was so wrong.
Now, sizing. I have a 33 inch waist right now and normally still order an L in PUG even though their L’s are made for 30-31inch waists and their XL’s are designed for 33-34inches. However, I like a snug fit over a loose one, and my torso is squishy, which means it compresses easily and without much discomfort which allows me to size down in well made clothes. I did worry if the L would work for me in this dress since the thicker straps and full back makes for a more ‘solid’ dress than something with summer straps and an elasticated backband, likely allowing less give. This dress is a snug fit for me, if I eat many more cakes over the salads I keep meaning to eat then it won’t fit me for much longer, but it does fit. The first couple of times I tried to do up this dress alone I couldn’t quite manage to get it over the waistband bump, but on the third try it zipped up fine and now after one wear it’s given just enough that it doesn’t wrestle with me anymore on zipping.
In terms of my recommendation for sizing the only specific I can give is that this dress does run true to the size chart, so if you’re a 32 waist and don’t like a loose fit you can size down to the L, but if you’re a 33 waist like me and don’t like anything to be tight on your torso then size up into XL. For ladies with any other measurements you should follow the size charts on this dress on PUG’s site, consider the fabric, the cut, and your own body type in order to determine your size.
The Havana dress costs $130 and is available currently in Midnight Blue and Black in sizes XS-4X. It’s available in store and online from select PUG stockists, or 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.