I can’t be the only one who sometimes pictures a certain kind of dress I really want, but can’t find it anywhere. For a couple years now that has been my struggle for a sleeved black swing dress with a white collar. It sounds like something that you’d think multiple brands might produce, so simple but chic is the idea, and so well fitted to the concept of something we could picture Audrey Hepburn wearing. But no, instead, I have been destined to wait, to wait and to hope.
This season, finally, Collectif have answered my wardrobe prayers, and produced that perfect dress. She’s here–the Winona.
I’ve never been a frequent wearer of wiggle dresses, always preferring the comfort and aesthetic of a swing dress or skirt. Still, I do have some lovely pencil dresses hanging in my closet, ready and waiting to for my more confident days. The great thing about this wiggle dress by The House of Foxy is that the peplum feature means this dress requires no confidence summoning; designed specifically with curves in mind, it serves the dual purpose of being incredibly chic whilst also working as a comfort blanket for those of us who struggle a little with our tummies.
If you don’t know by now how I feel about dresses featuring black sheer overlays then I’m sorry, you just can’t be paying attention. I am allll about them. I am in love with them. They are, possibly, my deepest and most romantic love of my life. Like, we’re a thing, okay? You just have to know that and accept it. And looking at Unique Vintage’s Georgia dress, I think you’ll see why.
You know when you really like a thing but you aren’t really aware you especially like that thing until someone points it out to you? Like, you’ve been collecting clothing of a similar style without even realising they’re similar? Yeah, that’s me and black mesh overlay items of clothing, or so I only realised when I sent a picture of this dress to my friend Hope and she said that as soon as she saw it she thought of me. Because apparently I like dresses or accessories with black mesh overlays, which I did not even fully realise until she listed the clothing I had that fell in that category, all of which I had forgotten about.
So, as it turns out I love a sheer black design detail in my vintage inspired clothing, and I also love capelets, so this dress and cape set were, really, basically destined to mine. Still, I held off purchasing it for quite a while because I kept trying to tell myself I need to be an adult. But then, as has happened in the past, I realised Deadly is the Female were stocking this piece, so my resolve dissolved somewhat once the 6000 miles of a Unique Vintage order evaporated as a sensible hurdle. Eh, who needs savings anyway, right? Sure, houses keep you safe and warm and dry, but do they make you look super fabulous for cocktail evenings and dinner party? No, no they do not. The dress won. Meet Luna.
If there’s one thing every woman needs in her closet, regardless of her style preferences, it’s a little black dress. The LBD is the long-accepted perfect option for any smart look, night out or formal event, but the other great thing about LBDs is that they make for wonderful last minute fall-back options. When you weren’t expecting to get a last minute invite, when your carefully selected outfit for the special event meets an unexpected tragic end, when you absentmindedly dropped off your job interview outfit at the dry cleaner’s along with your partners suits and now you have nothing to wear for your interview in an hour–the little black dress is always ready and waiting to help you in your hour of need.
A modest, classic, simple LBD can be dressed up or down to fit almost any event, and the puff sleeved Ellen dress by Zoe Vine is one of those versatile, timeless dresses that can serve as both savior and sinner in your wardrobe. You’ll all know I don’t wear a lot of wiggle dresses, preferring to opt for the fun and frills of a full circle skirt most of the time, but there’s something about how sassy and chic I feel in a black pencil dress that I do crave every once in a while. Trading in my petticoats and often-bright colours for the chance to be a bit moody and slinky, dramatic and daring for a night helps give me a burst of style inspiration that’s essential in keeping my vintage juices flowing.
Last week I featured the gorgeous Lauren wiggle dress from Goldie’s Clothing, classic Spanish repro clothing company. That means this week it’s time to take a look at one of their swing dresses.
Behold the Maria dress, a flared swing dress with a flared full circle skirt and, like the Lauren dress, a superbly flattering sweetheart neckline. It’s sleeveless, has a small gather at the bust, closes with a back zipper, and is designed in such a way that it is seamless at the waist, creating a smooth, elegant transition from bodice to skirt with no waistband to speak of.
Maria comes in several colourways, but in this post I’m wearing the lovely rice dot sheer overlay version to go for a frolic in the golden summer fields–where I made some unexpected new friends you’ll get to see later on in the post.
I mentioned last week that I recently bought the Black Evening dress from Doll Me Up Darling in the same order in which I bought two of their Vixen Vondetta tops. I was torn between buying the black version of this dress or the red, as I want both, really, but I took the totally practical route of ordering this one because it was currently in stock. It’s a very simple dress and that’s a great thing, because it can be styled in whichever way takes your fancy. I like it so much that the red is definitely going on my wishlist now.
Queen of Heartz is a retro clothing brand established in 2001 by owner and designer, Letty Tennant, a lover of fine textiles and classic prints that harken back to the authentic silhouettes and stylings of bygone eras as clothes used to be made. All their clothes are handmade in LA and Orange county, offering quality American-made products crafted with care, and the company even offers a custom made atelier section on their site, Letty’s own favourite part of her business.
For a while I owned a Queen of Heartz piece without even realising I did, as I had bought the navy polka dot QoH Olivia dress through Unique Vintage over a year ago, not paying attention at first to which brand made it. This dress is one of my favourites, not merely because the nautical combination of navy and white is one of my favourite colour themes, but because it just fits so well. Every time I wear it people tell me it looks like it was made for me, and I feel so good in it I begin to believe it myself. The entire dress fits me flatteringly on every conceivable body contour and the skirt perfectly encompasses my infamous double petticoats with ease and grace, something which is sure to win me over fast.
Given that I am so smitten with this full skirted QoH piece, I wanted to give one of their gorgeous wiggle dresses a try. Enter, the Vamp dress! This dress is gothic, chic, sexy and classy all at once. Considering that special dark and sultry vibe this dress oozes, I layered on the black lace and tulle to take some vampish shots especially for this post.
Fear not! I haven’t forgotten about this Pinup in Sleeves series. One of the dresses I wanted to add to this list that I’ve been lusting over for a couple months now is the Lindybop Ramona dress, but for a long time it was out of stock in my size. I placed it on my Christmas list a few months back thinking if it happened to come back into stock before Christmas maybe one of my family members could get it for me, but otherwise it would just sit on my list as a reminder to snap it up when it did come back into stock.
Mid-December Ramona reappeared and I not-so-subtly asked my mum whether it would be best for me to buy it then for myself in case no one noticed it being restocked and I missed the buying window. My mumma told me to send her a link to the dress and we both pretended I didn’t know what I would be getting for Christmas. The day came! My present was opened. Hello Ramona, you darling! Which means I’m able to add her to this sleeved dress series for you lovely ladies who are, like me, searching for warmer pieces to add to your pinup wardrobe during winter.
The Ramona dress is the most affordable dress in the series of dresses I’ll be reviewing, though other Lindybop dresses at a similar price point will appear on the final wishlist I’ll be sharing at the end of the series showcasing other dresses I like but don’t own in order to give a full review. As it’s currently out of stock I can’t find the price listed anywhere and because it was a gift I don’t have an invoice I can check, but I know it would have been between £27.99-£34.99. Lindybop ships at a flat shipping rate of £1.99 in the UK, no matter how many dresses you order, which is kind of incredible. It regularly goes out of stock on the Lindybop site as well as many others that carry it, so if you decide it’s a must own for you you might have to sign up to some stock notifications to wait it out.
When I was but a newbie pinup–when I was tentatively attempting to craft a retro look out of cheap dancewear circle skirts and still scared of red lipstick–there were 3 dresses I saw in my online wanderings that made me swoon and sigh with want and desire: the Pinup Girl Clothing Monica dress, their Sailor Swing dress, and the Tatyana (then Bettie Page) Alika dress. The Alika dress runs for $150 in the US and in the UK around £120, sadly out of my typical budget, so at the time I yearned and gurned and craved, stored it in the not-so-little part of my brain that houses my dream ‘one day’ wardrobe, and moved on with my life.
Until this summer, when I happened to have an upcoming wedding to attend, and the Alika dress was marked down to $120 in a sale. Our time had come! This would be the perfect opportunity to treat myself to this dress. The Alika, that black elegant goddess of glamour and style, was going to be my lady.
Now that we’re together I am so glad our time finally did come, because we were meant to be. Alika and I went for a little stroll together in the woods to share with you our love.