I always get excited about two features of Autumn-Winter fashion every year when the season comes around and those are plaid and tartan. I suppose there must be people out there who don’t buy new colours of plaid every winter but really, who are these people, and can we really even trust them? Personally I suspect anyone who isn’t tempted by a new shade of tartan come September might just be a pod person–or, I guess, just very self restrained. I am neither of those things.
Every year I’m excited to pull out all my old winter prints from their summer storage and every year I go on a thirsty hunt to acquire more, because never is there enough. Nevermind that also every year I ask at least one person ‘what’s the difference between tartan and plaid?’ in a sort of curious but redundant way, because the answer is somewhat unimportant, given my equal love and ceaseless hunger for them both.
Well with this post I get to cleverly avoid the baffled and reproachful queries of my friends and family who wonder whether, surely, I have enough of both, because technically, technically, this piece is neither a plaid nor a tartan. This is a buffalo gingham. That’s what Heart of Haute say, anyway, so that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
For most of my pinup life I have been an adamant, ardent and stubborn petticoat wearer. It would not be a rare finding to search back through my history to find double stacked petticoats utilised to get the maximum puff factor for a special outfit. Generally speaking, the notion of going without a petticoat has been both laughable and off-putting to me, like suggesting I spend my life barefoot despite all that I would consequently find myself stepping in. Despite that, I’ve had some experience in recent months going petticoat-free occasionally when this little island of ours suffered through a couple of heatwaves. Having to forego the fluff to minimise my layers during those hot patches, did not, you will not be shocked to hear, convert to the other side. I still am and suspect I forever will be a petticoat lover.
As such, I have a not-insubstantial amount of experience with petticoats. I’ve tried the stiff ones and the soft ones, the scratchy and the puffy, the more expensive and the downright cheap, and through it all my number one choice, the brand to which I keep returning time and again, is Malco Modes. Made in Tennessee for decades and utilising only the best quality materials for their creations, their chiffon petticoats provide the maximum softness and promised volume for your buck. Their Jennifer petticoat, measuring 22-23 inches long, is my standard go-to petticoat for almost every skirt and dress I own. The only times is falls a little short, very literally, is for use with my longer dresses, the 26 inches or longer hems that would display a sad drop-off effect when paired with Jennifer’s shorter length. Well it’s a good thing there’s a Malco Modes solution for problems of that hem-length, and that is Samantha.
Left without a petticoat, right wearing Malco Mode’s Samantha petticoat
Look, I don’t want to be dramatic but: me and this dress have been a long time coming. No, for real. So long.
For those of you who aren’t keeping up to date on Micheline Pitt’s incredible Vixen line you may not be aware that she sometimes posts sneak peeks of upcoming designs in her Facebook Vixen Salon group, wherein she will also ask for feedback on said designs. It was in this group that I first saw the design sketches for this striped glory that is the Dollface dress, many months back. It wasn’t scheduled to be released until SS17, so even back then those of us who were drooling over it knew we would be in for a wait.
I decided I would buy mine through Doll Me Up, a website I love to support when I can, so I mentally committed my purchase to DMU and excitedly awaited the dress’s release with cartoon-like wide fluttery eyes of anticipation. As it happened, this dress was so popular that it sold out through three wholesale pre-ordered phases over the entire spring season before DMU got their original pre-orderfinally fulfilled in July. As those months passed, I watched in the FB Salon and on Instagram as gorgeous pinup after gorgeous pinup got their Dollfaces from other stockists, while I waited, whimpering only a little, wondering if we were ever meant to be. Do you not love me as I love you, Dollface? Did I do something to forsake you before even we had been united? My heart (my closet) ached at the empty space set aside for this beauty, the money saved and sat waiting to be spent on it.
And finally, finally, it has happened! We are one! After a long journey, only a touch of jealousy but a great deal of excitement, I have my Dollface dress and she is just as wonderful as I hoped.
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.
This skirt and I have been a long time in the making. The first time I saw it featured on Lil’ Lou Lou’s Instagram account last summer it danced to the top of my To Buy list. Those zig zags, the adorable tiers, the gold! It was. too. cute. I messaged owner Lily on IG to ask about the release date and she was perfectly lovely and helpful in her replies. As it happened, however, production of the skirt ended up falling back ’til this spring, when Lily sweetly contacted me to let me know the skirt was now available and she would love to send one over for me.
It arrived perfect and shimmering and full of southwestern charm. For those that don’t know, the South West comprises Arizona and New Mexico, with some disagreement between folks as to whether it also includes portions of southern Colorado, Utah, the horn of Texas, a triangle of Nevada and the most desert-y southern areas of California. Think desert and mountains, cacti and scrub, canyons and dry, dry heat. Continue reading →
Malco Modes is America’s oldest and largest maker of quality petticoats, pettipants and crinolines, having been in business for over 50 years with each piece hand-sewn in their eastern Tennessee facility. Their Jennifer petticoat was my first ever good quality petticoat as a pinup, and a year and a half later it’s still in perfect condition despite regular use. It’s the softest, fluffiest petticoat I’ve ever touched, and I do make a habit of touch testing as many petticoats as I can to compare–you know, not to sound creepy or anything.
The Jennifer is a great everyday petticoat because it’s got medium volume and isn’t too long or too short, meaning it works well for the average pinup. I, though, am a queen of puff. A master of fluff. I love my skirts big and bold and a little bit obnoxious, even. I’ve yearned to try the Malco Modes Michelle petticoat since I first got my Jennifer, recognising it as the superlative among petticoats in circumference, but I’ve been told by the helpful lovelies at Malco Modes that the Michelle is so full it will only fit under skirts with a minimum of 140 inches hem circumference, which excludes a lot of your average repro pieces. Being sensible, I perused the Malco Modes range of fuller pieces and decided the Madeline seemed like an excellent comprise between hem-busting volume and daily pinup practicality. Continue reading →
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.
Molly. Oh Molly. Y’all know I love a Pinup Girl Clothing dress–PUG simply fits me like no other brand does, which means at any given time I inevitably have 10-20 items on my wishlist waiting to one day join my fairly extensive collection. The Molly dress is one of those wishlist items that has been chilling in my virtual One Day closet ever since she was released last summer. She comes in 4 colourways–navy with white polka dots, yellow with white polka dots, black cherry print and white cherry print–and I’ve been lusting equally over both the navy and yellow versions for months, never quite sure which one to choose until PUG graciously offered to send me a Molly of my own. It came down to little more than a mental flip of a coin, but I opted for the navy, my love of nautical colourways winning out.