Four weeks into my A-Z of vintage girl in a modern world, and it’s the turn of D. That means, dresses and dancing! (Spoiler alert, I have much more experience in one than the other).
Let’s start with my particular expertise. If I was on Mastermind, my specialist subject would probably be reproduction vintage dresses, although the exciting thing is that new dressmakers and brands are popping up all the time, giving lots of potential for me to *ahem* expand my knowledge.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while (thanks guys!) will know that I’ve written before about why I love 1950s fashion. To summarise, I love the flattering lines, the glamour and sophistication, and most of all, the fun!
There are a few brands that I come back to time and again, for a few different reasons. Lady V London has wonderfully elegant dresses, making them great for work, weddings and evenings out, while Lindy Bop is affordable, with lovely prints.
Tatyana makes really flattering vintage-inspired dresses, including this little number. She’s called Judy and I adore her. Apart from the flattering cut, the fabric keeps me lovely and warm, which is unusual in a reproduction dress!
Pin Up Girl Clothing, while on the expensive side (especially when you factor in customs charges living in the UK), is absolutely worth the price. The quality is out of this world, and the prints are unusual and eye-catching. Their Birdie dress is one of my absolute favourites – I have it in a few different colours, and last night, I told three people where it was from and how to go about ordering one.
The House of Foxy offers beautifully made pieces, which are well worth the price. I have two dresses from the range, which is all made in the UK, and they make me feel like a princess. If you have a special occasion coming up, they’re just perfect.
Collectif is another favourite of mine. While my Pearl coat is possibly my favourite thing in my extensive wardrobe (while everyone else is complaining about the weather, I’m secretly hoping it lasts a few more weeks, so I can keep on wearing it), Collectif’s dresses are also up there with my go-to pieces, particularly my red Nadine tea dress. Just something about the shape makes me happy.
And if we’re talking fun prints, we need look no further than Silly Old Sea Dog, maker of my Pac-Man and cat lady dresses. I’ve gotten into a lot of conversations with strangers that have started with, “Oh! Is that Pac-Man on your dress?” Unfortunately I don’t seem to have a full-length photo of me in it, so here’s a photo of me in my crazy cat lady dress instead:
Let’s not forget Bernie Dexter, who has some seriously fun prints, like my winter wonderland dress.
Or the amazing Pigtails and Pirates. These guys are based in Australia, so again, customs charges can be a nightmare, but when they offer prints like AN EXPLODING TARDIS, it’s worth those pesky added costs. I love this dress (photo by Lara Blake Photography).
And that’s before we even get onto true vintage. A more detailed post will come in time (guess which letter…) but I always thought I had the wrong measurements for true vintage dresses. It’s not the case! I have to search a bit harder perhaps, but there are plenty of volup (I’m learning the right words and everything) pieces to be found. Luckily, I’m a member of a few fantastic selling pages on Facebook, and that, combined with etsy and eBay (and last week’s Classic Car Boot Sale) means that my true vintage collection is building nicely.
Of course, one of the reasons why these dresses are so much fun is the big skirts (read: twirling around so the big skirts spin up around your knees). I can spend many happy minutes twirling around the garden, before feeling very sick and needing a lie down (seriously, I don’t know how small children do it). And what better way to get some twirling done than dancing?
There are tonnes and tonnes of different dances you can learn if you’re minded to. I took a few lindy hop lessons this time last year, but to my shame, I gave up quickly, making excuses that I got in from work too late, had to leave too early the next morning for work, etc, but the real reason is that I was too embarrassed. The thing is, with lindy hop and other partner dances, you need to dance with a partner. And that meant I, with my badly coordinated feet and generally poor level of fitness, had to dance with lots of men I didn’t know, and I got embarrassed because I was a bit rubbish, being a beginner, and they were all really good.
But, I want to go back, I really do. It was a lot of fun, and my word it’s a good workout! There’s all manner of jumping around.
If you want to get an idea, there are tonnes of videos on YouTube. I’ll start you off with a few. This one is INSANE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahoJReiCaPk
This is a fun example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf55gHK48VQ
And of course, any post about dancing wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxPgplMujzQ
I know that Twinwood Festival has run dance lessons in previous years, so I’m wondering if I can convince The Boy that we should take advantage this year and learn some steps. Then we can practice in the living room and I can go back to the public lessons, head held high.
Of course, it’s much more likely that we’ll trip over our own feet, end up in a heap, then I’ll sulk because he won’t let me lead, but hey – a girl can dream.
And finally, there are only a few weeks left until voting closes for Miss Vintage UK 2016. As I believe I’ve mentioned before (ok, I’ve definitely mentioned before), I would really, really love to get to the judges’ round. To get there, I need your votes! If you haven’t already, please could you click on this link and like the photo? I’d be ever so grateful.
I’ve had a couple of questions about where the dress is from, so just in case you wanted the outfit details…
Dress – vintage find on eBay
Petticoat (underneath) – Lady V London
Stockings (you can’t see, but they’re seamed and everything) – another eBay bargain
Shoes – eBay again. Thanks to a lovely friend who bought the same ones and shared the link, they are so comfortable, and come in lots of different colours.