Sunday, 10 January 2010

What I wore on my holidays part one: Hail to Miss Holloway.

Ah, how I've missed having clothes to write about that I didn't hate.

I have a bargain for all you retro-chic acolytes worshipping at the shrine of Mad Men goddess Joan Holloway.  I recently watched all on seasons two and three back-to-back and made a resolution, inspired by that statuesque siren to put myself together a little more elegantly.  Well, having sprained both ankles a while back, I've had to eschew heels, and I did try to wear foundation every day but it made my skin break out... maybe it's a look for occasions...  And I have found a great dress to wear on those red-letter days.

In limited sizes now from Ann Harvey but only £22 in the sale (of course, I paid £40 - sod's law, but still a decent reduction from £80), it's a really interesting piece of tailoring and much more flattering than the photo suggests.  Even if it isn't still available in your size, it's worth having a look at why it works.  The wide, V neckline acts as a frame for your face, while also simultaneously drawing attention to the boobs and making them look less bulky (this dress won't work unless you're fairly buxom - although you needn't have quite my ridiculous proportions). The deep bands of trim that follow the crossover shape of the bodice also detract from the obvious shape of the boobs.  This gives a more sophisticated, tailored look.  The vertical darts at the front avoid excess bulk without the need for a stretch fabric, but aren't so tight as to make the dress cling to the tummy: always a problem with 'pencil' skirts and dresses.  The sleeves are an absolutely optimum length for flattery.  They cover all the worst, widest parts, the length balances them out beautifully and is right for that retro look, where short-short sleeves are rare.  I'm not so keen on the length on me, and the colour isn't easy to wear, but it's a fantastic example of this kind of frock.

Where else can you look for this kind of dress?  Well, there are many sites in the states, of which Pin Up Girl Clothing is my favourite - an absolute Aladdin's cave of hourglass frockery.  To buy in the UK without incurring prohibitive postage charges and running the risk of customs fees, I recommend Pin Up Parade.  The owner of the site imports the frocks from America in low numbers, so it's a bit luck of the draw.  At the moment she has this curvetastic number in an XXXL only (size 20, nominally, but check the detailed size chart) - £80.

This has a high neckline, so be aware that it will make your boobs look bigger.  Both the dresses so far have really been for the girl who already has something of an hourglass shape.  This look is a little different on ladies with less waist definition, but still very classy.  You need to look for something with a high neckline, and pleated tailoring either side of the waist.  This frock (below, £65) is really classy, has wonderful sleeves and reminds me of sixties air hostesses.  It'd look sexy as hell with a pair of scarlet heels, too.


Keep belts thin and stockings sheer for this look.  Heels and lipstick must be worn. This is high maintenance dressing, but in a really good way.


  1. Absolutely awesome dresses. I really want... well... all of them, actually.

    Great taste as ever.

    Glad to have you back!

  2. Lovely dress, and you look divine in it. Good to have you back

  3. I wear clothes from the pin up parade and have been a customer from day one! The service is amazing and Helen does a fab job getting frocks in every size she can!


Thanks for commenting - always nice to know I'm not talking to myself...