Wrap It Up [Unique Vintage]

It’s not often I reach for anything other than a full-skirted 50s dress. Even all the beautiful gathered border print skirts I own get massively overlooked, because wearing a dress is just so much easier than pairing together separates. Dresses always come across as effort intensive and fancy to people who don’t often wear them, but those of us with a closet full of dresses know the secret truth: they are the laziest, easiest way to look put together with almost no effort. With my 50s style swing dresses, that just means zipping one up and tugging on a fluffy petticoat underneath.

Wiggle dresses, admittedly, are more effort intensive for me, because then I’ve got to think about shapewear and smooth lines and blah blah blah, hey, are you eating fries right now? Oh man, can I have one please?

Yeah, you get it. So you’d think, realistically, that I would make time for dresses that occupy that vintage-style middleground instead to give me more variety, the dresses that don’t cling to you but also don’t puff away from you, sucking up everyone else’s personal space. The dresses that fall in swishy, neat pleats, that float gently about the knees, that fall rather than poof. You would think. Somehow, I just forget about them. I think I’m so used to bold prints, bright colours and drastic silhouettes that I just overlook the softer, sleeker, gentler side of vintage fashion. But each time I do opt for something more in that vein, perhaps a 40s style dress, the people I encounter seem to adore it.

‘Oh my God, I love this look on you!’ they say, as I wrinkle my brow quizzically, smoothing the material out over my body, asking ‘Really?’ in almost self-conscious confusion. The first time, I figured maybe it was that specific dress. But each time it happened, in a new dress no less, I begun to wonder if maybe that silhouette simply suited me more than I realised. And as I appraised those styles more closely I realised one thing; y’all, they are the most lazily easy to wear dresses of all. Jackpot!

Wrap dresses have to win in this category, hands down. Any dress that emphasises your waist, embraces your bust and floats gracefully down from your hips is going to be a winner on pretty much every body type, and the most beautiful thing of all is that wrap dresses are usually pretty stretchy. Hello comfort, hello bangin’ bod! And hello Unique Vintage, with this Kelsie wrap dress that finally brought me to these most beautiful realisations once and for all.

Unique Vintage Kelsie Wrap Dress Unique Vintage Kelsie Wrap Dress Unique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap DressUnique Vintage Kelsie Wrap Dress Unique Vintage Kelsie Wrap Dress

Dress: Navy Polka Dot Kelsie dress C/O Unique Vintage
Shoes: Daffodil Whiskey shoes by Restricted
Bag: Erin wicker bag by Dancing Days/Banned

This dress is definitely a One Dress That Does It All piece. It’s flattering but also modest, stylish but also simple, vintage inspired but also modern passing, so it’s easy to wear almost anywhere for that perfectly balanced level of ‘I look great!’ without screaming ‘look at me!’–unless you want it to. Work appropriate, this style can still just as easily be dressed up for dinner out, worn simply for a day running errands, donned for meeting your partner’s parents, worn to pop to the farmers market, flaunted for–well, you get the point. It’s simple enough you can style it up or down just by considering a few accessories, and in addition to all that it’s so stupidly comfortable. Given it’s made from a soft quality stretch knit blend that’s no surprise, but still, it makes me intensely happy each time I sit down while wearing it and realise ‘oh yeah, this doesn’t make me feel like the waistband is cutting my stomach in half. Awesome!‘ The fabric isn’t a thin flimsy knit either, with enough weight to the material that it feels reassuring while wearing it, another plus.

The dress features three quarter length sleeves, the most universally flattering length, and has a pleated, lined V-neck crossover bust. Being a wrap dress, the waist obviously ties with an attached fabric belt, but I appreciate that it has a slim tie on the inner wrap that allows you to secure it in place, much like dressing gowns do, before you then wrap over the front layer and tie up the belt fully. My fear with wrap dresses is always that I might at some point come undone somehow and end up flashing everyone, well, everything, but in this style I feel thankfully safe and secure. The unlined skirt floats around your knees as you walk, but there is room for a slim volume petticoat if you want just a little lift away from your legs, as I’ve shown in the pictures above.

Regarding sizing, I knew I would most likely fit in the XL for this piece but I wasn’t certain exactly how stretchy the fabric would be so I decided to play it safe with the 2X. My bust is 45 inches, technically putting in me in the 3X rather than the 2X, but the waist would have swamped me in that size. It was the idea of the dress struggling on my broad shoulders and large upper arms that made me size up from XL to 2X; tight shoulder seams make me hunch my shoulders and flex my back in discomfort all day long, sometimes so badly I actually strain my shoulder muscles, so these days in sleeved dresses I size up for comfort in that area, knowing I can alter the waist if need be for a closer fit. Since this dress is plenty stretchy, even in its medium weight knit, the size chart holds pretty true, with perhaps some additional leeway to nudge it nearer to sizing large. My 45 bust fits it without any problem and I feel a larger bust could probably fit in this size still without there being an issue, though the more you test the measurements in the bust the more cleavage you will find on display. Since it’s a wrap style the waist is adjustable, so to speak, up to a certain point. Overall, I would advise you to buy your usual Unique Vintage size or possibly to size down, depending on what kind of fit you’re looking to achieve in the style.

Since this dress has taught me that wrap styles are the easiest of all dresses to wear, ever, ever, I can tell I’ll be reaching for this dress constantly when I need to get quickly out the door or guarantee my comfort over a long day. It’s nice to know, however, that even after prioritising ease and comfort over style, no one else will be able to tell that the latter wasn’t my number one consideration. Feeling comfy and looking good all at the same time? I’m sold!

The Kelsie wrap dress comes in navy and green polka dot prints and a fun lipstick print in sizes XS-4X for $78. Unique Vintage ship internationally,

Delicate Daffodil [Trashy Diva]

I am typically all about big skirts, cinched waists and a glamorous 50s brush out, but occasionally I think it’s good for us all to try something different. When it comes to your style, stepping out of your comfort zone every once in a while can help you find new things you didn’t realise you might like, add disparate elements into your ensembles and generally shake things up a bit. Sometimes it can even give you an entirely new appreciation for your body or a previously overlooked aspect of it. Trashy Diva offered to send me their Jolene wrap dress from their new Deco Daffodil line, a dress more 40s than my usual 50s fare, so I happily took it as an opportunity to embrace a style I usually overlook.

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Dress: Deco Daffodil Jolene dress C/O Trashy Diva
Bag: Vintage
Shoes: Just Be Cosmopolitan in Citrus by Miss L Fire
Bracelets: Primark gold and wooden bangle stack (currently in stores)
Necklace: Similar

This silhouette is totally new to me but I was pleased to see how slimming it is. I shouldn’t have been surprised by that, as wrap dresses are universally acknowledged as a simple, classic and flattering style on most women, accentuating the waist whilst also skimming and slimming elsewhere. They’re both modest and pretty enough that they can serve triple duty as work-wear, evening attire and comfortable casual wear, which is a huge bonus for ladies who love to seek out versatility in their wardrobe pieces.

Whether you want to dress this piece up or down, the styling options are endless. It’s so easy to embrace the duo-chrome navy and white palette to keep things simple, even if you want to layer on delicate or statement accents. The timeless simplicity of the piece also allows you to add splashes of colour to brighten it up, as I opted to do by adding a pair of yellow suede and glitter-threaded transparent heels in a nod to the daffodils in this print.

In terms of sizing, the Trashy Diva team were really useful in helping me to decide what size would be best in this dress. I own two other Trashy Diva pieces, both in their size 14, but this wrap dress is made of a stretch knit material which gives it much more stretch than the chambray and seersucker pieces I already own so they thought I might be able to size down. They sent a TD team member who was my size-doppleganger to try on the dress for me and assured me I could size down into the 12, or even the 10 if I was happy to wear the dress with a camisole under it. I wanted to wear the dress as it was intended, so we decided my typical size 14 was the safest bet. It’s a perfect fit.

There are no zip or button closures on this dress, obviously, as it’s a true wrap dress, and there really is lots of stretch in it, but personally I feel this dress runs true to the size chart when aiming for a comfortable fit with the dress wrapped for full coverage in the bust and overlay of the skirt. The stretch does mean you can size down if you wish but please be aware that does mean the V of the bust will get bigger and bigger the further down you size, making the addition of a camisole beneath necessary rather than optional. So if you want to wear it without any layers below for modesty then I would recommend sizing true to the size chart or sizing down no more than one size for a guaranteed fit.

I found this dress to be really comfortable for a full day’s wear and I can tell it will be a cool, floaty feeling piece to wear on hot summer days. Plus, it’s just so damn easy to throw on, a real on-and-out-the-door kind of dress that looks put together no matter how much effort you truly put into dressing that day. All in all, it makes for a great wardrobe staple piece for all kinds of body shapes and sizes.

The Deco Daffodil Jolene dress costs $165 and comes available in US sizes 0-22. There are 10 pieces in the Deco Daffodil line in total, including separates, head wear and several other dress styles, all available in the same extensive size range as this Jolene dress. Trashy Diva ship internationally and regularly offer free shipping codes or other promotions, so it’s worth following their social media platforms or signing up to their newsletter to be kept in the know.