I’ve been aware of Retrospec’d for some time. It’s a vintage-inspired Australian brand founded and run by two sisters, with all their pieces made in Australia, largely from fabrics designed in-house. They pride themselves on making their garments to the highest standard, and lover that I am of high-quality vintage style pieces, I don’t know why I never really sought them out before now. I think I must have confused them with other Australian brands that aren’t available to order internationally and thus wrote them off as unattainable to me. Recently, a few different pinups I follow all mentioned them at a similar time and it spurred me to seek them out, curious to at least see what their full range looks like on the whole. Spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous.
Retrospec’d do ship internationally, for a really reasonable flat rate price, no less, so as soon as I realised that I began to peruse their online shop in earnest. I think there are some pieces that are only available in their Newtown NSW brick and mortar store, judging by items I’ve seen on their Facebook that I can’t find on their website. Still, there were at least half a dozen items that leapt immediately onto my most fervent wishlist. Since I would be ordering from Australia to England and dealing with customs charges, I decided to be sensible and pick my favourite item from the sale section as my first taste of the brand. I loved the cut of the Norma Jean dresses, so I opted for the Sunday Rose print.
Lord o’ lord. I’m not sure I could have chosen a better dress to be my Retrospec’d introduction.
Dress: Sunday Rose Norma Jean by Retrospec’d
Hat: Old season Select
Woven Bamboo Bangles: Splendette
Thin Coloured Bangles: Red Bangle & Teal Bangle by Splendette
Bamboo Bangle: Bamboo 8 pack from Pinup Girl Clothing
Chunky Red Bangle: Old season New Look
Wedges: Red Wrap Up Your Look Wedges from Pinup Girl Clothing
My sister Sarah had fun telling me during this shoot that I looked a bit like a vintage Boo Peep in this outfit, which I find both funny and pretty cute, because it’s true. That description touches upon the main thing I love about this dress, which is that it’s incredibly sweet and wholesome with the combination of the ruched bust, the mixed polka dot and floral print, and the full, full gathered skirt. Judging by the name, I’m inclined to think it’s inspired by the below polka dot powder blue dress famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, a dress style I’ve wanted for a while because it manages to be effortlessly sexy and womanly in a really subdued, almost-innocent way.
There are elements of the above dress that I definitely see encapsulated in the Norma Jean that makes it a wonderful re-imagination of the style. The Norma Jean certainly has thicker shoulder straps, which offer good support, as well as my very favourite feature–pockets! The waist cinches, making it especially flattering beneath the voluminous ruching of the modest bust and above the full, fluffy skirt, which easily houses a petticoat of sizable puff powers. The dress really is made to incredible quality, just as the brand aim to do: the bodice is fully lined and the dress as a whole feels very substantially made, not flimsy or lightweight, made from high quality cotton sateen.
Retrospec’d use Australian dress sizing to size their pieces, but each item has it’s own size chart so be sure to check it for each piece you’re interested in to make sure it doesn’t run large or small. I ordered this Sunday Rose Norma Jean in the size 16 and it’s a perfect fit. The waist flat measures 34 inches, and while there’s a little stretch to the cotton sateen, it’s not a lot, to just under 36 inches, so trust the size charts for this piece.
For my first Retrospec’d dress, this has really assured me they produce beautiful, quality made pieces that are worth the price tag, and I’m eager to pick out my next piece from my ever-growing lust list. It won’t be an easy decision to make, because I’m obsessed with 3 different pieces in their Red Oriental Tea House print as well as their Dyann dress.
The Sunday Rose Norma Jean is on sale for $99AUD in limited sizes and for the same price in the Stripe version, also in limited sizes. There are 6 other Norma Jean colourways on offer in sizes 6-18 at their full retail of $190AUD. Retrospec’d ship internationally for a flat-rate of $25AUD, but remember that you may have to pay import taxes and fees in your country when ordering from abroad. With the £8 automatic handling fee included that Royal Mail adds to any item that requires a customs payment, I had to pay almost £22 in fees to receive my parcel, which took 11 days to be delivered from Australia to the UK.