Look, I love cardigans. Once upon a time, and maybe even still in some people’s eyes, they were considered prim, a bit wet possibly, certainly not high fashion. Over the last decade, though, the humble cardigan has become a staple in almost every woman’s wardrobe, and in many men’s. Whether you like them oversized and slouchy, crew necked or cropped, there’s a cut, colour and even print for everyone.
While I love all checks, plaids and tartans pretty indiscriminately, it’s generally true that within the vintage-inspired world they’re often employed in clothing styles that, by our standards, veer more towards the casual. I do have pieces that can be worn more formally and they are all made by Miss Candyfloss, so it’s no wonder that they’re my go-to favourite brand for autumn and winter styles. What I love about this Norina-Lou dress is that they’ve taken their skill at producing elegant checks and mixed it with the utilisation of another classic winter print which, in my opinion, repro brands don’t use enough–houndstooth.
Behold, a dress that is both check and dogstooth, and both casual and possible to dress up. A winter unicorn!
Sometimes in the vintage-inspired fashion world you get really lucky that a dress you love gets made in multiple colours or prints. Occasionally the same dress style gets made in both a wiggle cut and a swing. Never before, though, have I found a dress I loved that came not only in different colours or fabrics but also as a gown version. Alexandra King for Deadly is the Female’s Claudia dress floored me in that exact way, and about a hundred others. Ready to look upon some true old Hollywood glamour mixed in with mourning widow, deadly goddess vibes? Let’s walk into the fog.
There are millions of feelings, places, eras that clothing can evoke, but never before have I owned a dress that looks like the feeling of dreaming. Until now.
I love sleeved dresses for the colder months but I don’t often buy them because all of my vintage-style shopping is done online, and of course anything that doesn’t fit requires the more testing rigmarole of arranging and posting a return compared to the fairly simple task of walking a hanger back to the clothes rail it came from. When it comes to sleeved dresses it’s the threat of the likelihood of a return that deters me, because my large upper arms regularly determine that long-sleeved dresses which technically fit are, in reality, too uncomfortable to wear.
Nothing bugs me more than a sleeve that’s so tight across the biceps that I can’t move my arms in a normal range of movement, let alone even sit still comfortably without feeling tight compression or pinching. Which is why I am always so grateful that Miss Candyfloss, the verifiable winners of creating the best vintage-inspired Autumn-winter designs, always scale up their sizes beautifully and I have never yet experienced any discomfort when donning one of their sleeved dresses. The fact that all of those dresses are also achingly glamorous and chic almost comes in second to the grand scale of my gratitude and relief.
As much as I love a wonderfully glam dress, these days I think it excites me more to find a dress that can be worn both truly casually, in all the modern ways that that means to me, right through to a vintage inspired look that can morph with the season and my mood. The Perrie shirtdress by Lindy Bop can do both of those things with ease, and in this navy colourway it’s ready to be rocked year round.
One item of clothing I’ve come to love that I would not have believed I would ever even wear, were you to have told me this many years ago, is the pussybow blouse. Even ignoring that my previously-modern wardrobe just would not have had space for such a blouse to fit, sartorially speaking, it’s likely I just would not have believed they would ever suit me. I probably would have thought they were too delicate, too sweet, too girly for me, but back then I simply would have lacked the fashionable imagination to know that, like almost everything else, pussybow blouses are all about how you style them. For me, they work perfectly for layering, especially as a fun neckline feature under pinafore dresses or cardigans. This Heron blouse, though, offers plenty all on its own to be considered the feature piece in an outfit even without layering.
The idea of the Little Black Dress is, I feel, often imaged in the shape of something slinky, well-fitted, possibly even involving glitter. For me, a LBD that will be reached for time and again is definitely a swing dress, something classic and timeless, even somewhat subdued by some people’s standards but easy to style into a knockout look for times I want to shine. The Lacey dress by Collectif more than fits the bill.