When it comes to prints, there’s not many that work year round. Anything nautical suits only good weather, which here in England certainly means it’s meant for only spring and summer, at best. Tropical florals work the same way, feeling odd in the cold, darker parts of the year. Tartan and checks suit cold months best, while pretty pastel florals will always look best in spring. But a rose print? Oh a rose print can work all year round. And this Antonia print by Hell Bunny is ready to represent.
One of the fun things about the vintage inspired world is that the seemingly opposing style types of timeless classic pieces and novelty designs exist side by side. It’s one of the things that confused me a bit when I first became a pinup, and 5 years on I still rarely feel drawn to the novelty elements of vintage fashion. One time of year when I do like to indulge in a little bit of fun in that way is at Christmas. Each year it’s fun to find a new festive dress I can wear in the run up to the big day that will bring joy to the other Christmas lovers I meet.
Whether it’s in the supermarket, running errands, grabbing a drink, or when meeting one of my best friends for dinner, if I can wear an obnoxiously Christmas themed outfit that will make the people I encounter happy, that makes me happy. It’s like the pinup version of a Christmas sweater, I suppose. And this year, just as last year with their Holly print dress, it’s Hell Bunny who’ve brought the Chrimbo joy to vintage dressing with this Nutcracker number!
Oh, what’s this? Mooooore tartan? I don’t mind if I do!
No, but seriously, I know I own a lot of it, but I actually don’t own a single pinafore dress, let alone a tartan one, so this post was practically overdue. Let’s get down to it!
We all know the quote from the movie The Devil Wears Prada; ‘Florals, for spring? Groundbreaking.’ Floral prints in spring and summer may not be innovative, but it does feel nice to sport something reflective of the season you’re enjoying. It would be expected, therefore, that florals are off-limits for autumn and winter, when most leaves even give up the ghost, let alone flowers. It’s definitely possible for a good winter floral to exist; special attention needs to be paid to colour schemes and flower types to create a print that doesn’t feel out of place in colder weather and dimmer lighting. As someone with no experience in fabric and clothing design, I imagine that’s hard to do. If so, congratulations are due to Hell Bunny, because this Blue Bell dress is a winter floral gem.
It’s September and the weather seems to have settled for long enough that I think we can finally call it; it’s Autumn! And while for many that means getting overexcited about Halloween, something I could not care less about, for me it means joyously waiting for the leaves to start changing colours (my absolutely favourite part of the season,) beginning to layer up, and the chance to dig out all my tartans from the back of my wardrobe. Tartans and plaids are my favourite part of autumn and winter dressing, hands down, so I was thrilled to see Hell Bunny offering us more new tartan lovelies this season. Oh Hell Bunny, I can always count on you to make me happy. Today, it’s with Irvine.
In my attitudinal warming towards leopard print in the last year or so I’ve noticed that most of the spotty little items I’ve acquired have felt largely sassy and not at that casual as far as clothing goes. The 50s styles I prefer, admittedly, are simply more dressy, and I don’t lean into the more relaxed rockabilly styles that do read as more laid-back to the styled eye.
Because of that, it was nice to come across this Hell Bunny Panthera dress, as it’s a gorgeous example of leopard print conducted in a truly casual way. That makes it a perfect piece for ladies who find sporting spots a bit too intimidating and who just want a dress that’s easy to wear which doesn’t require them to sport an attitude to go along with it–although the attitude is optional, should you want to partake in it.
There are some specific features that make up a good leopard print, in my opinion. Famously leopard print can either look incredibly expensive or incredibly cheap, and putting aside the impact styling choices can make on a leopard print item, I think the print itself needs to have two things to read as the former; a variation in its depth of background colour, showcasing darker brown and near black patches mixed in with the lighter gold swathes, and a variation in size, shape and openness of the spots.
These things, when done correctly, will make the print look more realistic, and thus, expensive. What irony, then, that one of the best leopard prints I’ve found in our vintage-inspired realm comes from one of our most budget-friendly brands: Hell Bunny. Their Panthera leopard print is luxe and rich, and is available on a range of items that covers everything from capri pants to dresses. So whether your leopard style icon veers more Peggy Bundy or more Jackie O, Hell Bunny is bound to have options to fulfill your heart’s purring desires.
Most pinups find that they often gravitate towards a certain cut of dress. I tend towards strappy swing dresses with a lower neckline because they allow me to stay cool in summer with the option to add layers for warmth in colder months. In winter, though, I do really love a sleeved dress–when I can find one that works for me.
I repeatedly torture myself by seeking out my perfect sleeved specimen; it has to be just the right shape, in the right colour or print, with a skirt that will actually hit me below the knee, and most importantly (and often not the case) with sleeves that will comfortably fit my large upper arms without making me want to cut them off after a couple hours of strained movement or painful digging and pinching. With all that to be considered, sometimes even if I love a sleeved dress I just won’t order it. I’ll feel sure that it won’t live up to my needs, or I’ll be cognizant that at this time of year there’s only so much wear I can get out of a sleeved style before it either A) is so warm it becomes impossible to wear through spring/summer even in England, or B) it looks so wintery in style that it would look silly wearing it in June, even if it is pouring with rain.
Well, finally I’ve found a dress that ticks all my boxes: it’s the right length, there’s no arm abuse involved in wear, it cinches the waist, has pockets, and it’s in a gorgeous vibrant print that will look good literally all year round. Ladies, I give you Darcy.
I think we all do it, buy multiple items of clothing that are similar to items we already own. Without realising it you end up with 5 plain red swing dresses, or 3 red based tartan circle skirts. It’s easy to do because when we love a particular colour or dress cut or pattern or print style all we know when we see a new example of it is that we love it, maybe forgetting that that’s why we already have 4 similar items already hanging in our closet. While I absolutely suffer this, I also do the opposite: sometimes I forget that I’ve grown to love something I didn’t used to.
For me, one such thing is mid-toned blues. It’s not a shade range I’m naturally drawn to for my own wardrobe, but I find people react with ardent appreciation when I wear blues. My best friend Giselle loves me in blues and always praises when I wear them, so much so that I think overtime she unwittingly trained me into loving them as well. Sometimes I forget that I now equally appreciate all blues, not just navy, to the point that when I first saw this Hell Bunny Montana print I almost passed it by, my inactive brain sure that it wasn’t ‘me.’ But wait, a small niggle suggested, quiet there at the back, as if waking up from a sleep. Look at that blue though, it said, reminding me that I now appreciate that tone, and the dashes of yellow and brown that mix together almost like gold. The green of mint peas, the navy and the white and the black. The cross-hatching and smudged quality that makes it feel like midnight. It’s beautiful.
So I looked at it again, and again, and again. I kept coming to the conclusion that deer dashing across a beshrubbed plain just wasn’t my typical Miss Amy May style of print.
Some might say if you can’t decide on something then you probably don’t really want it. Not me. I say if in some way you can think of reasons why you shouldn’t or wouldn’t like it, yet it keeps drawing you in, you should go for it. Sometimes the heart wants what it wants, and so does your closet.
If this dress looks familiar that’s because it is. The Aberdeen dress was first released for AW15, I remember vividly because the first iteration in the green and navy Dublin tartan so enamoured me I ordered it as soon as I first clapped eyes on it online. It came with me to the USA for my October trip to attend a friend’s wedding in Virginia and visit another friend in Texas, and though I massively overpacked for that trip and ordered at least 6 other dresses to greet my arrival at my friend’s house I wore it twice on that 17 day trip. Because that’s the thing about a good dress, one good wear deserves another. And if you’ve got one good dress in a great print or colour, I’m a firm believer that it deserves to be produced in yet another, just so that crazy dress addicts like me can enjoy the same wonderful dress in a second (or third, or fourth!) colour. A colour for every occasion and for every season!
Hell Bunny have humoured me, and every other Aberdeen lover out there, with a new ice blue tartan for our coming winter, so just in case the green/blue Dublin or the white/red Stewart tartans didn’t grab you, this frozen frock can.