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
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.
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-order finally 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 am all about stripes. If they’re white and navy? I could not be any more about stripes, no way, no how. A striped vintage style dress is so chic and classic that it literally never goes out of style. Add in how easy it is to style a dress like that and you’re laughing. It’s surprising to no one, then, that I’m pretty loved up with this Dolly & Dotty offering that’s new in their summer range.
Give me tie shoulder straps or give me death.
Okay, maybe I’m not quite dramatic about my sundresses, but still, I like a bow feature, which this Kelly dress by Hearts and Found offers. Generally speaking, I like everything from Hearts and Found, because come on; customisable dresses in cute prints, perfect cuts and always of pockets? What isn’t there to like about this wonderful woman-owned business? If there are any the Kelly dress isn’t one of them.
It’s no secret that I like a bit of gingham. Or, more accurately, a lot of gingham. I’m also a vocal fan of yellow, so this Margita dress by Miss Candyfloss isn’t exactly an out-of-left-field choice for me. And once I saw how good it looked on Miss Victory Violet and Scarlett Luxe, who had each snagged it from stockists, I was chomping at the bit waiting for it to go up for sale on Miss Candyfloss’s own website. Once it did I placed my order immediately, and now here we are, united, happy little sunshine daisy yellow dress on a happy little Amy.
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.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I’m scared of spiders. I can handle the almost transparent wispy ones, or tiny little ones. Once you get into the long legged, large bodied, dark coloured realm of arachnids though, I am, more often than not, outtie. No. Nope. Nuh uh!
And yet, weirdly, I noticed this winter I started to react with surprised appreciation at the jewelled vintage spider brooches I saw some of my fellow pinups wearing, rather than confused horror. I didn’t immediately count out a pretty print I may have run across if it had a bit of webbed detailing among the artwork. And by the time this Oblong Box Shop original Charlotte’s web collection came out, with the stunning colour combination of coral and rich petrol blue, I was actually sold.
Yes, in all honesty, I am slightly concerned that one day while wearing this sweater the spider in the artwork will catch my attention from the corner of my eye and I might drop whatever I’m holding in my eagerness to free both hands to frantically bat at my own shoulder in fear, but, you know, we’ll just have to wait and see on that. In the meantime, I think we all have to agree these colours alone are worth that risk.
Y’all, I’m sure you know this already because when it happens we Brits can do nothing but complain about it, weak as we are, but it’s been hot here. Like, doesn’t happen in England very often kind of hot. (Aka, around 30°C.) I know that’s nothing compared to what some other countries have to deal with but it’s a rarity for us; some summers it doesn’t reach that heat at all, or perhaps for one day. We are much more used to damp summers, chilly springs, and frosty winters. When it gets hot here, with our humidity levels tending towards the downright rude, we kind of don’t know what to do except stand around moaning while we get all pink and clammy.
As such, it’s been a fairly simple style month. When it’s been hot the pincurls have been ditched in favour of buns, I’ve had little mental effort left to figure out how to tie together an outfit when my standard cropped cardigans haven’t been required, and honestly some days I haven’t felt like putting in any effort at all. Thankfully the heatwave is over and fingers crossed that will be it for this summer. Bring me sunny days with cool breezes.
I’ll tell you what–there are many ways we Brits are poorly adapted to dealing with hot weather, but for me one of the things I struggle with most is how uncomfortable I find tight seams and waistbands during hot weather. That might sound weird, but just picture it; you throw on one of your favourite dresses in the comfort of your cooled bedroom in the morning, then go out into the sweltering day only to realise a few hours later as you sit sweating at your desk, or on the bus, or waiting for your friend to turn up to your lunch date, that it was a mistake. Because in that moment, while you’re feeling hot and sticky and fed up, you realise that this dress–which was always a bit on the tight side because you were technically between sizes from this brand and you opted for the smaller size because it looked better on, even though you have to wear particular underwear with it–is actually fresh hell.
The waistband, which normally feels like it’s flattering your waist by cinching it in by sheer force of the fabric, is digging in to the clammy skin of your waist, and the bust feels like it’s squeezing your poor boobs, and the whole thing is just too tight and uncomfortable for humidity and summer and oh god why did you do this to yourself, this is not the kind of weather for sucking in and posing and remembering in every moment to be poised. You should have picked out one of your dresses that’s a bit looser, airier, one of those ones you normally have to add a belt to in order to feel it fits properly.
Or, you know, you should have worn one of your dresses that was literally made for you, custom measured in every aspect to fit your body. That, my friends, is what I’ve been doing a lot during our little British heatwave, and thanks to Hearts and Found I’ve been so much more comfortable for it.