One of the easiest things for a woman to wear is a wrap dress. The great thing about them is that they’re so well-loved and respected that they’ve never gone out of style, so it’s typically possible to find them on the high street and at your nearest mall as well as online. For me, they weren’t something I appreciated until I began to dress in vintage styles. Ironically, though, one of the things I love most about them is that unlike many of the swing dresses hanging in my wardrobe, I don’t feel like I have to style them up in a vintage fashion to wear them.
On days when I don’t have the motivation to get pinned up, when I need to get out of the house quickly, or when it wouldn’t be fully appropriate where I’m going to turn up in a 50s swing dress and floofy petticoat a-swingin’, a wrap dress is easy to throw on, comfortable to wear, and always makes me feel put together even when the effort sunk into that ‘putting together’ was minimal. They’re chic, they’re timeless, and thanks to this Lotta wrap dress from Joanie Clothing, they’re also totally sassy.
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.
I’ve never been one for wearing a lot of black, but over the last six months or so I’ve found myself becoming increasingly more drawn to wearing black clothing. Even now, the idea of a solid black dress doesn’t really interest me, not unless it’s a wiggle dress, as the sexy screen siren feel of that silhouette overpowers my desire for there to be an aspect of true interest punctuating the black.
With swing dresses, though, I need there to be an element of interest to break up the expanse of black to keep my interest, a layering of different or unusual textures, a contrasting fabric panel or trim. This Vivianne-Lou dress from Miss Candyfloss delivers on that specification with glamorous exactitude, the simple and generally modest cut of the plain black dress elevated by the velvet-touch leopard print in the collar and matching belt, adding a sexy and exotic feel.
I’ve said it more than once here on the blog, but generally I can’t be considered a fan of leopard print. When done well, though, I do appreciate it, and the Troublemaker leopard print dresses by Vixen by Micheline Pitt are definitely leopard done well.
The Troublemaker pencil dress was the first release in this leopard print to catch my eye last fall, a long-sleeved slinky wiggle that was all va-va-voom. I immediately fell in love with it but my infrequent wearing of wiggle dresses meant I knew I couldn’t justify adding it to my wardrobe, where it would likely be under utilised, which would be akin to a crime. This same leopard print is also offered on the Vixen swing dress and Vixen pencil skirt, as well as the long sleeved Troublemaker top. The Troublemaker swing dress, though, is what I was waiting for, a cut that would fit seamlessly into my existing favoured styles but with the added purr and growl of this saucy print.
I’m gonna get this out of my way right at the start: I am not normally a leopard print fan. I once heard someone say that (paraphrased) it is a print that is abundantly used in the fashion industry by the very cheap and the very expensive, and I think that perfectly encapsulates how I feel about the print on the whole. When done well, it’s sexy and chic and luxurious. Done badly, it looks…well, cheap. And while there’s nothing wrong with building a wardrobe in a thrifty manner, I think we all tend to hope our £3 bargain we were excited to snag doesn’t actually scream ‘THIS COST £3!’ We just want to be able to say that in an enthusiastic half-bragging fashion when someone cooes over how gorgeous it is. There’s a difference.
So with leopard print, I feel it’s a fine line. For that reason, I’ve stayed clear of it in the past, overlooking it in favour of prints or patterns that are less difficult to ‘get right.’ In recent months, however, I’ve found myself drawn to the print. Perhaps being in the pinup community means I’ve simply been exposed to a lot of brands who have got it right by leaning on their vintage inspirations to nail the sexy, stylish essence of the print. No matter the reason, lately I’ve been searching around for a leopard print top I can pair with a black pencil skirt and a sassy attitude to feel as slinky as the jungle cat it mimics. Thanks to Miss Fortune, I’ve found that top: the Leopard Polly Blouse.
I was recently very excited to attend the launch party for Atypical-girl.com, a brand new clothing website stocking a selection of carefully curated original vintage and reproduction clothing, aimed at retro loving dolls and girls with a fashion edge. Atypical Girl is different to your typical pinup clothing site because the focus is on finding your own style, whether that be with a truly authentic eye to a classic era or with a modern take on vintage looks you love. So I was very curious to attend to the launch party and see just what Atypical Girl would be about–and of course, it was no surprise that it was a great event held in a funky private member’s club, featuring a variety of excellent retro music, vintage canapes and even some kick-ass Go Go dancers. I was thrilled to meet Atypical Girl’s founder Simone Hadfield, @missturnstiles to you Instagrammers, who, yes, is as gorgeous, chic and lovely in person as you’d expect. I love me some Girl Bosses, and Simone is definitely one of them. Pictures of the event can be found on the Atypical Girl’s Facebook page, which you should go like. Bonus points to the first reader to count up the number of times I’m caught pulling a stupid face while actively engaging in conversation (It is, I’m ashamed to say, many times.)
After attending such a wonderful event it was obvious I needed something from the Atypical Girl range, and at Simone’s own suggestion I couldn’t help but agree that the Joan dress had to join my wardrobe. This green wiggle dress is a true classic, made of knitted twillit’s comfortable as well as flattering, and I love the waist detail of pleats settled beneath a fabric kind-of-belt that crosses at the front then fastens behind with a single button. The dress is truly timeless, and considering how killer it would look on Christina Hendricks’ character in Mad Men it is no surprise at all why this hot little item is named the Joan. All you redheaded ladies definitely need to pick up this colourway as it will be true magic with your ginger hair, but it’s such a universally complimentary colour that I can’t think of a single hair colour or skin tone that wouldn’t wow in this dress.