I’ll tell you what–there are many ways we Brits are poorly adapted to dealing with hot weather, but for me one of the things I struggle with most is how uncomfortable I find tight seams and waistbands during hot weather. That might sound weird, but just picture it; you throw on one of your favourite dresses in the comfort of your cooled bedroom in the morning, then go out into the sweltering day only to realise a few hours later as you sit sweating at your desk, or on the bus, or waiting for your friend to turn up to your lunch date, that it was a mistake. Because in that moment, while you’re feeling hot and sticky and fed up, you realise that this dress–which was always a bit on the tight side because you were technically between sizes from this brand and you opted for the smaller size because it looked better on, even though you have to wear particular underwear with it–is actually fresh hell.
The waistband, which normally feels like it’s flattering your waist by cinching it in by sheer force of the fabric, is digging in to the clammy skin of your waist, and the bust feels like it’s squeezing your poor boobs, and the whole thing is just too tight and uncomfortable for humidity and summer and oh god why did you do this to yourself, this is not the kind of weather for sucking in and posing and remembering in every moment to be poised. You should have picked out one of your dresses that’s a bit looser, airier, one of those ones you normally have to add a belt to in order to feel it fits properly.
Or, you know, you should have worn one of your dresses that was literally made for you, custom measured in every aspect to fit your body. That, my friends, is what I’ve been doing a lot during our little British heatwave, and thanks to Hearts and Found I’ve been so much more comfortable for it.
I’ve featured Hearts and Found a couple times already here on the blog, as they’re my favourite custom makers for vintage inspired clothing. The variety of fabrics they offer is amazing and constantly updated, meaning it’s very easy to check their Etsy store every few weeks and discover, whoops, you need to order a new dress because whaddayaknow, there’s a new fabric you love.
For me, the fun thing about keeping up to date on their latest selections is that it provides a delightful surprise when I discover a fabric I wouldn’t have expected myself to want and yet absolutely do. For example, as a rule I tend to be really picky about novelty prints as there’s a limit as to just how novelty I’m willing to go, and yet this Tropic Like It’s Hot pineapple print won me over the moment I saw it. Now it’s one of my favourite summer dresses to throw on for a comfortable, bright fun look to go out in the sun and enjoy my day. Continue reading →
I’ve featured eShakti once before here on the blog, back when they only shipped to the USA and Canada. A third of my blog audience is from the USA alone, but for the rest of my readers it was somewhat of a cruelty to tell them of this reasonably priced, fully customisable shopping service that allowed you to order what you liked not just in your perfect size but also in the length, sleeve style and neckline that you wanted. I know, I’m sorry. It was justifiable consider my stats, but it was still a bit mean.
But, fear not, my little vintage crumpets, if you haven’t yet heard the latest eShakti news, I bring it to you with great joy: eShakti have massively expanded the countries to which they now ship. The UK, Singapore, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and UAE have now joined Canada and the USA as eligible for international shipping, and I fully expect further countries to be added to that list in coming months if their recent swift expansion is anything to go by.
So, in celebration of my now being able to order from their website without it necessitating one of my American friends agreeing to act as postal recipient and mail forwarder for me, I ordered myself a delightful new summery dress with one of their many regular promotional discounts on offer.
Hearts and Found is one of those Etsy shops I go through phases of stalking. Because they custom make all their dresses in any of the fabrics they stock, I’ll check it several times a week to see if there’s a new print I absolutely have to have. And then after a few weeks of this, I’ll stop for a while because inevitably I’ll have spent too much money of late and I can’t risk that if I see something I need to own I’ll have to make the tough choice of being a sensible adult who doesn’t overspend again or, you know, having more pretty clothes. Guess which tends to win. Hence, sometimes it’s better that I just don’t look.
They offer skirts, tops, playsuits and dresses in several different styles, and after my first purchase of the Penelope dress last summer I knew my next buy would be the Grace dress. A couple of times I came close to a purchase of this dress style, only to be thwarted by everybody else loving the same fabric as I did and buying it out of stock. Finally, though, a few weeks back I spotted the newly added Livewire Chain link print, available in purple and a dark red, and I knew I’d found my Grace fabric. I ordered during the 20% off Lunar New Year sale and shortly after my pretty new pretty was in my paws.
One of the best things about dressing in a vintage style, I think, is that the clothes, once you know where to find them, are typically of a better quality and fit that the stuff you might find at your usual mall. Yes, in the reproduction world there’s as much difference between brands as there is on the high street, but on the whole I hear time and again from women that have moved their style backwards through the eras is that now they’re able to find clothes that actually fit them properly and make them feel great.
With off-the-rack, ready-to-wear clothing that’s wonderful enough, but the other bonus to living the pinup lifestyle is this: access to vintage-style custom makers. I know if I asked my non-pinup friends where they think they could go to get a dress custom made for them they probably wouldn’t have much of an idea. Thankfully, if I have an exact item in mind that I can’t find for sale anywhere, or I know probably won’t fit my exact body type in a standard measurement garment, there are places I can go–or load, more accurately–online to find what I want. Heart My Closet is the latest custom made clothing company I’ve had the pleasure to try and I’m so pleased it’s another great service I can add to my list. Continue reading →
For a long time, I’ll admit, I didn’t actually know what Hearts and Foundwas. I saw the account tagged on Instagram many times in ladies outfit posts but somehow I never twigged that it was a custom made Etsy maker, probably because their Instagram account is focused on posting collections of 40s and 50s era photos, rather than pictures of their hand made goods. When I finally twigged earlier this summer and took a look at the Etsy store, I immediately saw at least a half dozen items I wanted to buy. All were totally affordable in vintage-style terms, even when delivered to the UK from Vietnam where the maker, Marjorie, is based. I dithered for weeks over what I wanted to order first, changing my mind not just over which item of clothing but also which print, before finally settling on the Sunday Picnic Penelope dress.
Violets In May is an Etsy shop offering custom made vintage inspired pieces. Everything is designed and made in England by mega-babe owner Lola Diamond, pinup model and confetti lucite addict. Her store is perhaps best known for her kick-ass playsuits, offered in a variety of wonderful fun prints, but she also offers slinky lurex pencil dress, voluminous gathered skirts and a selection of beautiful structured tops. I’ve been following the store for a while but somehow had yet to order anything, until noticing a recent post of the Brittany playsuit being offered in a new green tribal print fabric.
When I went to Frome, Somerset, back in September to do a spot of modelling for Deadly Is The Female I was lucky enough to shoot additional outfits for the blog with Deadly team member, Gayle, aka Porcelain Photography, with Deadly H&MU artist Lolita Noir on hand as well to style my hair. All three of us brainstormed what we would shoot and how, wanting to do something fun, and a Snow White inspired suggestion was quickly made then pounced upon.