Monday, 28 October 2013

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun!

It's typical to hear people exclaim, "We don't celebrate Hallowe'en here in Australia." Nevertheless, this spooky season I feel that something wicked this way comes.

Last year I tried my hand at pumpkin carving (and successfully too, for a newbie!).

My Jack Skellington impersonation.

This year I am injecting a little bit of creepy into my closet in honour of Hallowe'en. I've always been interested in the macabre and all things grim. It's nice to finally have some threads that channel this fascination of mine. The best part is that the spooktacular details of these garments are somewhat subtle, helping to avoid that, "Hey, I'm wearing a costume!" feeling. 

Here comes trouble: Although no longer available in this terrifically terrifying colour way (I mean, who doesn't love Frankenstein meets Leopard?!), the Deadly Dames Troublemaker dress comes in a ghostly white and blood-red gingham. The skully brooch just adds an extra morbid dimension and the glossy black belt helps to cinch in the waist. Retailing for $102 USD, the Troublemaker dress is available here. I recommend following the size chart closely as there is minimal stretch. I'm wearing my standard medium.

Man-eater: The Kinky Box skirt by Deadly Dames is a killer in every sense of the word.  Every gal needs to experience a 'Little Shop of Horrors' moment, and one can do so in this scary skirt. The colour is more of a vibrant, royal purple with a slight sheen to the fabric. I'm wearing a medium here, but given that the waist band sits so high, it's a little loose. The Kinky Box skirt comes in a range of spooky and sexy prints. Available here for $84. I've paired this skirt with the super sweet Bonsai Kitten pussy bow top. I'm wearing a size 10 to fit my 28 inch waist and 37 inch bust. This top is made from super comfortable jersey in a range of solid colours and prints, short and long sleeves. It now also comes in bolero form. Available here from $55 AUD. 

Along came a spider: The Heidi dress in a wicked web print. You grab this frightfully fabulous frock here (part of Pinup Girl Clothing's Goth Capsule Collection) for $98 USD, but beware: it's a limited edition print. The fit of this dress is a little tighter than my other Heidi dresses - I can't step into it like my others. I have to pull it over my head and even then, it's a contortion act to get it over my bust! Worth it, though. The details are divine and the cut is very flattering for many body shapes. 

Haunted house: My great-great Grandmother's run-down, abandoned house provided a perfect and eerie backdrop for my Spider Heidi photographs, plus it was nice to delve into a little family history.


Stay spooooky and Happy Hallowe'en! 
x







Sunday, 4 August 2013

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday

I really should change the title of my blog to 'The Intermittent Dolly's Closet' given the amount of time that lapses between posts. That being said, I have been out of the country, visiting family and friends in Norway and making a short stop in Rome (which will feature in a later post!)

I thought I would share with you some of the items of clothing I packed and how they fared with all the travelling, especially the long haul flights. Then maybe some of the things that didn't. Le sigh!

Despite the fact that, for the last few years running, Norway has not experienced a particularly warm summer, I decided to overload on my nice summer dresses. With the incessant rain, needless to say I did not quite get the wear out of them that I intended. I did, however invest in a sweet pair of purple gumboots. Turns out the weather has been beautiful (35 degrees Celsius in Hokksund - what?!) since we arrived back in Australia. There were a few really warm and beautiful days in between the rain, but I mostly stuck to wearing jeans and jackets!

Mostly, the fabrics that were made from cotton and a thick cotton sateen travelled well. They required very little (if any) ironing, and survived a particularly rigorous rolling in order to fit in my suitcase. I often roll my clothes to pack them as this saves space. My rayon and crepe dresses... not so lucky. If you don't have access to an iron, I suggest leaving the lightweight finery at home. The odd light crease can be removed by hanging the garment in the bathroom area while taking a hot shower and letting the steam do its work (a tip from an aunt of mine), but anything more than that is going to take some work. And let's face it, you'd rather be spending that time sight-seeing, or purchasing some more lovely things for your wardrobe.

Trashy Diva's 'Walk in the Park' dress in the French Quarter print available here. I'm wearing a size 6 and it is comfortable snug. It comes with a thin belt and would suit short-waisted gals best. The Heddal Stave Church in Telemark is simply magnificent. It dates back to the 13th century and was built circa 1250.

The Heddal Stave Church. One of my favourite places in Norway. The beauty of the architecture always floors me. It's truly amazing how these old wooden structures have withstood the test of time. They are highly intricate and the craftsmanship of the artisans is breathtaking!

This dress required some ironing, but nothing major. It is the 'Revere Pleat' dress by Limb Clothing and it is available here. I received many compliments whilst wearing this dress. It's very flattering with the wide, folded collar and tie sash. The colours are super vivid. It also helps that this dress has sleeves - to help one brave the Norwegian summer!  I'm wearing a size 10 (uk sizing, probably equivalent to a US 6 or an Australian small) and it is a great fit. Here I am at Fossesholm Manor in Vestfossen. I believe it was built in the 1600s.



This is what I spent most of my Norwegian summer holiday wearing, thanks to the rain and cool weather:



Kidding. It was more like this:

Super duper cardis by Wheels and Dollbaby available here. Paired with jeans. Good ol' jeans - they never let me down!


Until next time, my fellow travellers!
Happy Sunday x

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Enter the Dragon (Dress)

Summer may be gone here in the Great Southern Land, but the sunshine still lingers! After torrents of rain and flooding, the sun has broken through and it is a balmy (humid) 27 degrees. I can finally say, "See ya, sucker!" to the clouds and don an oriental-inspired dress (or three!).

I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to Asian prints. Oriental-inspired fashion was very popular in the past; particularly in the 1940s and 1950s. Many fashion designers incorporated this look into their clothing, through elements such as frog clasps, mandarin collars, Asian-inspired prints and the much-loved cheongsam dress.  In a tale of East meets West, I would like to share some of my favourite summer dresses with an oriental flavour.


The truly amazing Trixie dress in Pearl Harbour print from Trashy Diva. This dress is made from a silky rayon fabric with a red halter tie and a full circle skirt to boot! The fabric is deliciously cool and lightweight: perfect for those sultry summer days. The fusion of Hawaiian and Asian designs in the print is nothing short of magnificent. This dress is discontinued on the Trashy Diva site, but eventually I found it here at Miss Bamboo (UK). Miss Bamboo is a great store for finding some culturally diverse, vintage-inspired gems! This dress has elasticised smocking at the back for comfort. I was able to size down from medium to small for this one. The Trixie dress has been released in a variety of prints and fabrics. Be sure to check out Trashy Diva to see the new colour ways.

Here we have the Garden Party dress in Vintage Dragon print by Dixiefried. This was an impulse purchase that I got here.  At first, I was concerned about the crossover straps at the front and elasticised neckline, but when the straps have been adjusted (much like bra straps), it fits comfortably and securely. There is very little stretch in this dress, so follow the size chart carefully! I believe (but could be wrong) that the crossover style of this dress was based on a dress Marilyn Monroe wore in 'The Seven Year Itch'. This dress also comes in white like Marilyn's and a cute bandanna print. The dragon print appeals to my Asian heritage, I guess. I'm wearing a size medium and it is a fairly snug, but not uncomfortable fit. It's made from a luxurious, heavyweight sateen.

Last, but not least, is the Frenchie Dress in a sweet oriental flower print. The dress has a gathered shelf bust and halter ties. Hidden lipstick pockets and a full circle skirt make this dress extra sweet. The colours are vibrant and contrast well with the metallic gold pattern throughout the print. Whilst this particular print is discontinued, the style is not, and it can be found on Bernie Dexter's website. There are also a few L and XL sizes left at Miss Bamboo on sale at present. I'm wearing a size medium and it is very fitted in the waist and bust. This dress is cotton and has zero stretch, so make sure you follow the size guide!

A back view of my Trashy Diva Trixie dress in Pearl Harbour print.
If you're thinking of incorporating a little Asian influence into your wardrobe, I'd say, "subukan ninyo!" (that's give it a go in Tagalog).

Happy Sunday x

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Deadliest of Dames

Tired of looking a little ho-hum? Are the Peter Pan collars not channelling your inner badass? Need something that will make your cleavage pop? Then Deadly Dames, the vampy and super sexy clothing line designed by ├╝ber-babe Micheline Pitt, is just what you need!

Didn't that sound like a 30 second commercial? Maybe, but I stand by the above statement.

The Deadly Dames line has been through many evolutions, each season more different (although equally fabulous) than the last. Micheline states that her clothing: "is what happens when you mix doll clothes with 50's sex kittens and, well, possibly John Waters" and are clothes for "girls who want to be their own Barbie doll, but with an EDGE!"

Micheline's first season teamed the rockabilly/psychobilly style with cool cuts and prints. Here are a few of my favourite pieces from the beginning of Deadly Dames:
Left to right: discontinued Green Leopard Babydoll swing with added collar for cuteness and re-designed Malibu Tiki dress.  I'm normally a sound size medium in Deadly Dames, but I can get away with a small in the Green Leopard Babydoll. At first, the fit of the Malibu Tiki was a little snug, but after a bit of wear (and maybe a small tug on the fabric at the waist) everything hugged the body perfectly. Because of the well-structured and padded cups, this dress doesn't necessarily require a bra. Malibu Tiki available here.

The Deadly Dames Polka Dot Wiggle dress - a classic. This dress is very form fitted and requires nude undergarments. I believe this garment was in Micheline's first collection and it is a big seller. I find this frock very true to size with just the perfect amount of stretch. It's available here.

One of her later seasons was inspired by Marie Antoinette. This line featured floral motifs and lingerie-inspired silhouettes. Muted palettes in satin, lace and velvet came together to produce a very decadent line. Girls were falling over themselves to get their hands on the beautiful blue Victorian numbers. Ooh la la!

Victorian Courtesan Swing Dress. The thick sateen of this dress has a slight sheen and the Victorian rose print is delightful! The lingerie-inspired bodice adds an element of burlesque for a bit of fun. I'm wearing my normal size medium in this dress. Available here.

The latest Deadly Dames line is called 'Fetish Folly' - a culmination of the kinky teamed with vintage flair. The Victorian print will make a new comeback in a new colourway - red and pink floral! I particularly look forward to the special edition Haunted Housewife dress in this revamped print.
From the latest Deadly Dames line comes the Tie-Me-Up dress in fetish print - yes it's really as  flirty as the  name suggests. The print includes women with whips, bondage, corsets, high-heeled boots and a general dominatrix feel. Not for the faint-hearted, particularly with the cleavage aspect. I was able to size down to a small in this dress. The tie straps cater for a range  of bust sizes and sateen always has some give. This whip-crackin' wonder is available here

Each and every Deadly Dames piece I own features clever construction and asset-enhancing design. I often find myself being asked where I buy my clothes from whenever I wear one of these garments. I look forward to seeing what daring designs the future holds for Deadly Dames!

Happy Sunday x

Saturday, 28 July 2012

My Prints Charming

Yes, I have been swept off my feet by vintage inspired prints. Is there anything sweeter than a swing dress that hearkens back to a bygone era? Hardly. Novelty, atomic, floral... all these prints are reminiscent of simpler, more easy-going (and dare I say, happier?) times.

I  purchased a few dresses recently that reminded me of my grandma's fabulous fabric collections! The fabric of these dresses really have a retro feel to them, particularly the circus print Zooey by pinupgirlclothing.com. As usual, the fit and quality are superb!

The Ginger halter dress in turquoise atomic print is available from pinupgirlclothing.com. This dress came with a thin, black, poplin-covered belt, but I think that it detracted from the overall look of the dress. Sometimes, belts can shorten the look of your torso by giving your body the appearance of two "halves" - I find the belt that came with my Ginger had this effect on me.  This dress also comes in a myriad of stunning prints and colours.
The Zooey pink circus print dress is available from pinupgirlclothing.com. This is fast becoming my favourite summer dress. The stretch cotton sateen feels luxurious and the bust is lined for a little bit of modesty ;) The vintage-inspired print on this darling dress is rather quaint, with animals in outfits, a man on stilts and pretty pin ups. This dress also comes in a red 'tablecloth' print and grey birdcage print.
This dress is the Netti in Tiki print. The Netti dress comes in so many fabulous prints, but this one is my favourite by far!  I feel like hosting a luau party, BYO ukulele! I can picture a vintage Hawaiian shirt in this eye-catching print. Again, available from pinupgirlclothing.com. Be sure to jump onto the website and check out their wide range of precious prints!

Naturally, many reproduction brands have produced their own beautiful vintage inspired prints. Here are a few from a range of different brands that I would love to share with you.

Left to right: Bettie Page Paradise dress available from  https://www.bettiepageclothing.com. Trashy Diva Sweetie dress available from  http://www.trashydiva.com. I have the Sweetie dress and the rayon fabric is simply perfect for a hot summer's day!

Left to right: Hell Bunny May Day dress available from MANY places, including eBay,  http://www.attitudeoz.com.auhttps://www.retroglam.com to name a few... On the right is a Hawaiian halter sun dress available from  http://www.bluevelvetvintage.com.

Left to right: Katrina dress by Australian brand, Retrospec'd ( http://www.retrospecd.com). They have a brick and mortar store at 486 King St, Newtown, Sydney. The Bernie Dexter Pearl in Cherry Tree Lane dress is just that: a pearl. You can pick up this head-turner from  http://www.berniedexter.com/bernie-dexter-dresses.html.

Left to right: The Beverly Cerise cherry print dress available from  http://heartbreakerfashion.com and the Comic inspired dress available at http://www.limb-clothing.com are cute and quirky novelty prints. Although they each have a different feel to them, they are equally awesome.

Do you love a vintage print as much as I do? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic and see some of your personal favourites, reproduction or vintage!

Happy Saturday x

Friday, 6 July 2012

Wiggle or Swing?

Different styles of dresses can have different effects. Lately, I have been wondering whether the wiggle or swing style suits me best, which got me to thinking that each style has its benefits and pitfalls. Some dresses suit particular occasions better than others. I only have one vintage wiggle dress, and that is my glorious Alfred Shaheen sarong dress (oh how I love thee). The rest of my vintage frocks are swing style. I have decided to look to my vintage-inspired collection a la pinupgirlclothing to see which style I'd prefer.

Let's look at wiggle dresses first. Do me a favour and disregard the ridiculous poses - I was just having a bit of a laugh with my poor husband who was wrangled into taking these photos.
Here we have the following dresses, left to right: Pinup Couture's Plum Jayne Glamour dress in satin, Dixiefried's Tiki Twist! in Asian-print brocade, and the Niagara dress in dark fuchsia stretch taffeta (a sample that I scored off a lovely PUGette via PUG Swap/Sell Community). The only one of these dresses that is still available is the Tiki Twist! at pinupgirlclothing.  You can still purchase the Niagara dress in a few different colourways though.
Forgetting the fact that I am obviously no model, wiggle dresses can be really flattering (in my case, when teamed with an awesome bra and shapewear). Not everyone is comfortable with a form fitting dress. Unless I'm wearing hardcore shapewear (Spanx in this case), then I'm not really confident with it myself - I am quite a hippy girl with a tendency to get a little bloated after I eat. I find that these are the kind of dresses that can make a gal feel sexy, but not necessarily like she wants to put away a large meal! A great style for a night out, special event or cocktail party, maybe even a black-tie wedding where you don't feel like wearing a full-length gown, leaving the legs free to party! That being said, I do love the hourglass effect that this style has on me. Pinupgirlclothing makes a super-duper range of wiggle dresses, well-cut from high quality fabrics. In fact, there are so many great choices it's hard to pick just one dress sometimes ;)

 Swing dresses... A different look for me, entirely!
Available from pinupgirlclothing. Left to right: Pinup Couture's Evelyn in rose print, The Courtesan Swing in Victorian Print from the Deadly Dames collection and the Pink Psychobilly Skull swing dress, also by Deadly Dames (no longer available).
I find that swing style dresses have a sweetness about them. I love the flowing fabric and the circle skirts which hearken back to the femininity of the 50's. I get a real kick out of wearing these dresses and I especially love it when old women say, "I used to wear something similar back in..." A swing dress, to me, seems less formal than a wiggle dress and it hides a multitude of sins (a great way of disguising my tummy when I overeat!). I feel comfortable enough to wear one shopping. As a teen, you would NEVER have got me into something like this, but as a young child, I loved that twirly effect that you would get from spinning around in a circle skirt. Well, there you go. I must have reverted back to my childish ways - I love twirling in my swing dresses! Perfect for a garden wedding, high tea, impressing your nanna... the list goes on.


So, which one? Choices, choices!
Two stunning women in two different styles. Photography by Laura Byrnes. Dresses (Micheline Pitt in the Vamp Dress - left,  Masuimi Max in the Netti Dress - right) available at  www.pinupgirlclothing.com

I have concluded nothing (must go back to pinupgirlclothing to look again!).
Which do you prefer? I would love to know what YOU think.

Happy Friday x

Monday, 11 June 2012

Suit Up!

It's been a long time between drinks, but today I have a little time on my hands to share with you a trend that went unnoticed by me until recently. Suits. 1940's suits more to the point.

This year I was lucky to attend the 'Love Vintage Show' which travels around Australia and New Zealand. Many vintage exhibitors come from all over Australia and New Zealand to show off their vintage wares and conduct master classes and seminars. One of the free workshops I attended was hosted by The Lindy Charm School For Girls. Sounds like something out of an Enid Blyton novel, right? The workshop was run by the lovely Headmistress Chrissy, who gave us an insight into the 1940's. Besides showing us tricks of the trade to get ourselves looking like a 40's dolly (and scaring us with stories of 40's frugality!), Headmistress Chrissy modelled a fabulous 40's suit. Apparently, in those good ol' days, women had to make do with a couple of garments and sew for themselves. That's right ladies: SEW FOR THEMSELVES. That being said, garments were made to last, and a new dress wasn't easy to come by. Households were money savvy after the war and due to the Great Depression. Having seen Headmistress Chrissy in her stunning suit made up my mind. I had to have one!

This picture was borrowed from the Love Vintage Show Facebook page.  It  shows Headmistress Chrissy in her wonderfully tailored 40's suit. Sweet little checks and a cinched in waist make this look a knock out! There is also the
gorgeous A-line skirt to boot.

I had since been on the hunt for a 1940's suit, in purple no less, and was successful in my search. I encountered the usual problems, few purple garments (and to be honest - I probably wouldn't settle for a different colour, regardless of its social acceptability!), tiny waist bands and poor vintage condition. Eventually, I struck gold! Purple gold!

Before my surprise reveal though, here are a few beauties worth taking a peek at:

Plum Garbadine darling available here for  $160 US

Black Wool Crepe available here for $175 US. Check out the button detail! Wowee!
Powder Blue beauty available here for $78 US

1940's skirt suits are a work of art, without a doubt. So much effort goes into the fine details, whether it be elaborate cuffs, beautiful button detail or an elaborate collar with ornate embellishments. They don't make 'em like they use to - I think think women's 1940's suits are the epitome of this statement.
My suit. From JP Allen Atlanta according to the tag. The label also says that it is a 'Davidow' London, Paris, New York. It is made of a deliciously soft tweed wool; possibly a mohair blend. It's very warm and perfect for winter. The jacket is fully lined with an art deco embellishment applied to the breast and the classic A-lined skirt has a deep kick pleat. And by god, it's purple. Worn here with the lavender vamp top by Deadly Dames available here for $58 US. 

So, some things to look out for when purchasing a vintage suit... Obviously, as you would with any vintage item, inspect the quality. Satin and synthetic lining can pull easily and seems prone to discolouration which might not be too big of an issue for you as this is on the inside. Check the measurements between the skirt waist and jacket waist; you want to be able to shut your jacket! Best to have a difference of about two or so inches. If you can, test the zipper (almost always a metal zipper) to see if will do up the whole way without catching on the fabric or jamming. It's also a good idea to check how secure the buttons are - sometimes threads are loose. If you lose a button, it's almost a certainty that you will have to change EVERY button on your garment to match a new one.

I love how the tailoring of many 1940's skirt suits can cut a sexy silhouette. Another happy purchase for me and one to keep the rest of my vintage collection company :)

Happy Monday x