It’s been pretty dreary here in the UK for what feels like an age. It’s been rain, showers, and more rain, but in a shocking twist of fate this Bank Holiday weekend has heralded the return of sunshine. So it was wonderful timing that this glorious The Pretty Dress Company piece turned up this week just in time to enjoy said sunshine in true summer fashion–in gingham!
I’ll tell you what, there is perhaps no other brand as aptly named as The Pretty Dress Company. No muss, no fuss, just pretty dresses all around. Today’s post is plenty evidence enough, I think. Let’s look at Leyla.
One item of clothing I absolutely love but don’t wear that often is a peplum top. Why the disparity between my feelings and my actions? Because as a plus sized woman who carries a lot of weight on her tummy I generally feel self-conscious in clothing that displays it, and the average peplum top you find online or on the high street isn’t long enough to get the full tummy coverage that will leave me feeling my most confident. This peplum though? Oh, this bad Betty was deliberately made at the right length to soothe those of us with a little bit of belly bashfulness, and not only does it come in 6 colours, but it comes with a matching wiggle skirt too!
There are many ways it’s hard to be a small business. Having limited resources, the financial pressure of making it work so you can meet your bills or pay for your kid’s after school clubs, the gamble of stocking a new product you believe in that customers might not ‘get’ at first, trying to build up your return customer base as well as your brand recognition so you can reach new potential customers. And if you’re a small business owner who has bigger dreams, who wants not just to stock and sell but to design, to manufacture, to create, it’s harder still to build up and spend out the cost of fulfilling that dream. To create something that is yours and yours alone to offer your customers, something you made with love and passion and great hope. I’m not sure that kind of vision and bravery is something I would ever find in myself, but the beautiful thing about having my own tiny corner of the internet is that I can share the lovely things made by braver, more imaginative people than I, and today I do just that. Today we’re looking at the first dress made for Cerys’ Closet’s own brand, and it’s a made in UK beauty!
It’s news to no one that I love the Claudia dress by Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female since I already own 5 of them–4 of the bishop sleeve dresses and 1 of the bishop sleeve gowns, in the super luxe and impossibly glamorous navy velvet version. I don’t, however, own any of the flutter sleeves, purely because I could never quite decide which colour would make the most sense for me to purchase, on a practical level. Well, Deadly and Alexandra made that decision real easy for me recently by releasing their first ever printed Claudia dress–this navy polka dot flutter sleeve beauty, made to sway and swish in the way of all your most buttery chiffon dreams.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: I love border prints. I’ve gushed about landscape border prints here on the blog before numerous times, but I come across stand-out floral border prints less often, though I love them no less. Therefore, when I saw this rose border print Sweet Pea dress by Miss Fortune, I had all the love for it. I did my usual of talking myself out of the purchase because I’m saving, but then, a ha, I had to return something more expensive to a different store, so hello Sweet Pea! Welcome to your new garden. Or, rather, corn field.
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.
The Forest Seville fabric from The Pretty Dress Company is just one of those prints that you can’t help but love. It’s a rich, dark green sporting a pretty, colourful floral pattern, destined to look good on every woman of every skin tone because it is sumptuous and classic and just plain lovely. When it first caught my eye it was on the Hepburn dress, though it’s available in three other dress cuts as well, but it’s that same Hepburn dress I kept thinking about months after I first spotted it whenever I rifled through my wardrobe and lamented my lack of dark green clothing.
The print reminds me of English country gardens, of quaint afternoons, of plates of scones and tinkling china and being very proper. It’s elegant and understated, so it only made sense that once I was lucky enough to get my excited little fingers on it that I would take to one of those English country gardens to shoot it for this review. Continue reading
I first discovered the Thea dress by The Pretty Dress Company last September when I donned the red pencil version to model for Deadly Is The Female’s Christmas campaign for Vintage Life magazine. It was love at first slinky wiggle, but as I don’t wear a lot of pencil dresses I spent half the shoot in that dress cooing over the draping of the neckline and half lamenting that I would kill to have it in a swing style instead.
Fast forward a few months and my Thea swing daydreams became a reality. The Thea prom dress features the same gorgeous draped off-the-shoulder neckline and stretch twill fabric as the pencil version, but with a full swing skirt perfect for twirling. All of The Pretty Dress Company’s pieces are designed and made in the UK, so to celebrate that I decided to take my new Thea in this stunning patriotic cobalt blue out for a spot of strawberry picking, as it’s such a great British tradition at this time of year.
There are certain prints that I sometimes daydream about my favourite repro companies using to make a dress or a skirt. Cherry blossom trees, chevrons, bluebells, a world map. If I would only learn to sew, I know, then I wouldn’t have to frustratedly wait for someone else to design what I yearn for. And I mean to, I do. But sewing, designing, pattern making, they’re all hard work, they’re skills you have to learn and hone and improve upon to make something great. I tend to think about that and then bump ‘Learn to sew’ down my To Do list because I’m too busy and impatient to learn to be great. And that’s my own fault. If I’m going to be disheartened and lazy, fine, I don’t get a bluebells skirt. I don’t get a chevron dress with contrasting directional panels. But thanks to Oh My Honey, I can have a map print skirt.
Oh My Honey is a made-to-order vintage inspired clothing company based out of the British seaside city of Brighton. I’ve featured them here on the blog before when I reviewed their gorgeous Candy Cane dress the Christmas before last, a dress so fabulous it was one of their festive best sellers two years in a row. Owned and run by designer Louise O’Mahony, their wedding dresses are so pretty that they almost make me want to find a boy worth locking down–almost. It’s a good thing, then, that they also offer vintage inspired swing dress and skirts.
They offer said vintage inspired dresses in a variety of colours, prints and patterns, all as fun and bold as the next. When I saw the map print added to their proffered fabrics I immediately added it to my wishlist, waiting out the touchy Christmas penny-pinching period and some trouble with my car before I was able to order it as a skirt. Man, it was worth the wait.