I love fifties vintage retro fashion for a number of reasons. I love how it suits my body shape, I love the cut of the styles, the femininity associated with it and because it reminds me of a simpler time. When I come home angry after a day of battling corporate politics and relax through baking, writing or art, my other half often comments ‘sometimes I think you were born in the wrong bloody decade’.
Lots of people tell me ‘oh I love the retro look but don’t know where to start’ so I thought I would write something to help. You can start pretty cheaply and easily as so many high street shops offer great easy to wear styles that suit most body shapes. One thing to remember is that being a lover of a certain style doesn’t mean you have to 100% commit to it. I wear lots of rockabilly styles but I tend to keep my hair and make up quite modern and often mix up my retro and present day look, such as a circle skirt with t shirt and converse to keep things a bit different. Just play with it and see what you like.
I do own some bonafide vintage pieces but the reality is, material these days is much nicer than some of the nylons of yesteryear so I usually opt for vintage retro. No shame in that! One great thing about all the vintage brands I love is that they don’t discriminate – all the brands I talk about fit up to at least a size 20 and down to a 6 so get shopping
My favourite brands:
- www.collectif.co.uk (40’s, 50’s and 60’s) is one of my favourite brands. I intend to do a challenge this year ’30 days in Collectif’ as I could easily wear a different outfit each day. My favourite dress is the simple Delorus pencil dress. It has perfect stretch and comes in basic colours and some wilder prints depending on season. I came close to getting married in the Sophie occasion dress as it’s so beautiful but instead opted for a different style – I still have it though and may renew vows next year. What I would say is that Collectif have monumental sales where things go to at least 50% off and then 75% so register to their site and make sure you stay informed! From a size point of view, they run true and the stretch material is so flattering. Decent quality for the money.
2. Lindy Bop (50’s 60’s) www.lindybop.co.uk are another repro brand that I enjoy. Their basic costs (non sale) are much more reasonable than Collectif but the quality can and does vary. Lindy Bop are great for weddings (bridesmaid) and formal occasions. I’ve bought a gorgeous sixties style going away outfit that I’ll be wearing a Lindy Bop suit as my going away outfit. Their Audrey dress is their go-to style; a classic slash neck circle dress that suits anyone. I find some of the pencil dresses to be a size smaller than what I am normally but the circle dresses in a stretch are true to size. Clothes hold their value and can be resold easily on eBay.
3. Stop Staring (40s 50s) are my OMG brand. stopstaringclothing.com are a USA brand of gorgeous stretch pencil dress loveliness. As a curvy girl their dresses are RIDICULOUS and I don’t know why Kim Kardashian doesn’t wear them every day. The Billion Dollar Baby is the most incredible fit and will make people aghast with jaw dropping pleasure when they see you in the street. The dresses are mainly wiggle style and pack a certain va va voom that other styles lack. I adore them.
4. Pin Up Girl Clothing (40s 50s) are another american brand. Again we are talking around twice the price of Lindy Bop and Collectif (similar to Stop Staring) but the quality of fit and fabric is amazing. PUG offer a great range including maternity and plus size. The dresses will make you feel a million dollars.
5. Diva Catwalk www.divacatwalk.com aren’t ever mentioned as a vintage brand. This is my go to wardrobe for work as they offer incredible pencil dresses that make me feel smart and sophisticated. I own around 20 Diva dresses and I have tackled some formidable challenges wearing them from job interviews to facing off to our CEO. Diva boast a stretch material that is like no other and I love it. Even at a size 12 I can still fit into my size small Diva (8/10) as the material is so forgiving. Try them! If you’re nervous then look on eBay as Diva Catwalk often sell for around £20 a dress (compared to a steep £95 new) and you won’t look back!
6. Pretty Dress Company – www.theprettydresscompany.com are much like diva catwalk in that I use them for beautiful work and formal wear. Their dresses hug curves and make even my skinny friends look like Jessica Rabbit! Be warned though, for a new outfit we are talking around £195 for a dress. OUCH!
7. H & M www2.hnm.com A few years ago H&M launched two new collections – a trend and conscious collection that change the way I shopped. Never before had a high street store mixed high fashion and a vintage style so successfully. I’ve always been someone that loves the environment so to be able to embrace high fashion and retro AND help the planet was a dream come true. I ADORE this range and spend most of my time either investing in it or waiting for sale. Some of the styles make me cry as they are better for the tall and skinny but the circle skirts, maxi 70s dresses and pussy bow blouses I lap up like a hungry cat. The quality is AMAZING and wipes the floor with any other brand. Look out for special offers and invest!
8. Lady V Vintage www.ladyvlondon.com One of my favourite bloggers models for Lady V who celebrates ladies of any size wearing wonderful fashion. My lady V dresses are beautiful and wash well, wash after wash after wash (oh I sound lie an advert). The Ursual dress gives va va voom and the circle dresses are great for every day beauty or evening wear. For those with little ones, little lady v is lush and would make your little ladies look utterly gorgeous!
9. Kelly Brook Clothing – New Look or SimplyBe.com Now Kelly Brook still does vintage underwear for New Look but used to do an amazing cheap range of 50s style clothing for them which can still be found on eBay. Fear not, Kelly now does a similar range for Simply Be! A really affordable range of pencil and circle dresses, Kelly finally puts her name to curvy girls.
10. Pretty Kitty www.prettykitty.co.uk are much like Lindy Bop in price and style. They offer some incredible dresses at under £30. I was bridesmaid in PK and though not the best quality, the dress looked fab!
So I cannot sign off without mentioning dresses from China on eBay. Lots of my friends have successfully purchase cheap as chips dresses straight from a supplier via ebay but others have failed. Things like fifties dresses are easier to buy than say a maxi dress as often chinese made dresses are cut based on shorter and skinnier models, however like anything, check sizes and remember that you get what you pay for!