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6 articles found for: "pencil skirt"

There Are Pencil Skirts & Then There Are Pencil Skirts That Get To The Point!

By , 27 October, 2009, No Comment

Women with curves will often find their hips and bottoms more exaggerated by the narrow lines and confine of pencil skirts — butt but this more hourglass image is exactly what many dreamily envision when the phrase “pencil skirt” comes to mind.

While many of the original pencil skirts were more tubular, modern makers of vintage inspired fashions have sharpened the pencil skirt (turning the point of such feminine fashions into an exclamation point!) by narrowing along the way to the hemline. Beautiful examples of this are the Retro Pencil Skirts, in Basic Black, by Pinup Girl Clothing. Bonus, ladies, this sexy fashion staple is also available in plus sizes!

Retro Pencil Skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing

Retro Pencil Skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing

Pencil Skirt Sale

By , 23 October, 2009, 1 Comment

Dolce & Gabbana has a linen blend pencil skirt, on sale at Revolve for $195 (sale discovered via my Sale Mail alert.)

Dolce and Gabbana Linen Blend Pencil Skirt

Dolce and Gabbana Linen Blend Pencil Skirt

At first glance the D&G pencil skirt is not as pointed a message as the vintage pencil skirts you envision — but then we must take into account that the model is likely far less amply proportioned; translation, your own rounded hips probably will provide the prettier contrast.

D&G Black Pencil Skirt, Bottom Hugging Side View

D&G Black Pencil Skirt, Bottom Hugging Side View

Getting To The Point Of Pencil Skirts & Their Popularity

By , 22 October, 2009, No Comment

Christian Dior created the pencil skirt in the early 1950’s, as part of his H-Line collection.

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

The narrow and long (past the knee, originally) design of pencil skirts was reminiscent of the long skirts worn in the 1900s — right down to the similar hobbling effects of the 1910’s hobble skirts.

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

Note where the hobble skirt narrows around the knees, much like the narrowness of pencil skirts. This is why, even when pencil skirts have a slit or pleat in the back, pencil skirts still require some practice to walk in, some experience in elegant wearing.

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

The earliest pencil skirts were parts of suits, worn with jackets and tunics which covered the waist; this somewhat tended to minimize the hips while lengthening the legs.

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

But eventually, pencils skirts were worn with more fitted fashions, further accentuating the rounding of hips and behinds beneath nipped-in waists. (And would eventually evolve into the more flower-like full skirted fashions, and, on the other side, the wiggle dress, which we think of when we think of New Look fashions.)

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

In any case, wearing pencil skirts was far less practical in terms of ease of movement. This impracticality had, in fact, much to do with the success of the new skirts.

The lack of ease in movement may not have been part of Dior’s “Big Design” but his designs, and the many others who followed suit, certainly were able to capitalize by simultaneously a-dressing several post WWII cultural movements.

Pencil skirts were not only a new fashion silhouette — which women, tired of the more functional (and repaired, recycled) wartime clothing would of course be nearly giddy to have — but these skirts were also a more traditional and feminine style. Eager to be beautiful again, women loved them.

And men loved these skirts which highlighted and celebrated the female form too.

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

No one can blame either men or women for celebrating their reunions, the return of couples and families, but the physical restrictions of pencil skirts encouraged the hobbling of women.

Such fashions, with their physical restrictions, helped move women away from their wartime work (making room for the returning men) and placed women upon their pedestals as domestic goddesses, objects of desire and housewives. Female.

Feeding this return to gender roles via fashion were the recently available mass production advances made during the second World War and the post-war prosperity; ready-to-wear was affordable and most everyone had the the ability to afford the luxuries of lots of new clothing. The vintage popularity of pencil skirts remains with us today, making the pencil skirt more than a fashion classic, but a fashion basic.

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Basics Tips For Shopping For Vintage Fashions

By , 27 April, 2009, No Comment

There’s been a lot of press given to shopping for vintage fashions in this economy. Like Twolia’s Deanna, guest blogging at Shop It To Me, I’m not sure that all that many fashionista’s are jumping onto the vintage bandwagon… And if they are, I’m not sure they’re all finding their bliss — shopping for vintage fashions is a lot different than heading to the mall. If you’ve been thinking of giving vintage fashion shopping a try — or if you have tried, and were stymied — read Deanna’s article for some guidance regarding the realities, and then check out some of these basic tips.

1960s Polka-Dot Dress

1960s Polka-Dot Dress

When it comes to shopping for vintage fashion and accessories, we’re basically talking “used clothing.” (“Vintage” or “retro” sounds much better, doesn’t it? *giggle*) No matter what you call it, here are a few tips to help you when shopping for vintage fashions.

Most of these tips boil down to basic wardrobe building, judging quality pieces worthy of buying, and creativity.

Wardrobe Building With Vintage Fashions & Accessories

Like any clothing shopping, you shouldn’t waste your money on anything you won’t really wear. So no matter how fabulous that New Look ball gown is, if you don’t ever go to a place where you can wear it, don’t get it. Even if it’s a fraction of what a new gown would cost. You don’t need a ball gown, remember? (Of course, if it’s for your “collection,” well then, all these wardrobe rules simply don’t apply!)

Look for vintage pieces which will work with what you have. As a general rule, I find it easier to purchase the basics & classic pieces, such as black pencil skirts and ivory ruffled blouses (oh and the ivory camisoles that you must wear beneath them!), from modern makers at modern stores. This makes it easier to ensure you have the basics — and then you can go crazy with colorful vintage suits, wild mod minis, cute retro dresses etc. to build your own unique wardrobe.

Groovy Hanging Poodles

Groovy Hanging Poodles

If you’re just looking to add some oomph and individuality to your wardrobe, try to confine your vintage shopping to accessories. Vintage jewelry, scarves, handbags, belts, hats, and shoes can take “off the rack” to “out of this world” easily and really inexpensively. Other women may have the same YSL suit as you, but who else will have the outrageous retro poodle pins? Or vintage chocolate brown suede & carmel leather striped shoes? Nobody but you, darling!

Finding Quality Vintage Fashions

When you find stunning pieces it’s tempting to overlook flaws; but poor fit, spots, tears and needed repairs will likely mean the purchase will just take up closet or drawer space.

When you spot an appealing vintage item, inspect it all over. You’re looking for spots & stains, holes & tears, signs of alterations & repairs, and working closures (buttons, snaps, zippers, hook and eyes, etc.). Vintage pieces & classic designer clothing were generally made with much higher quality than most of today’s off the rack pieces and have solid construction, but because they’ve typically been warn you need to look for signs of wear that may make wearing the garment improbable if not impossible. There are some cases of NOS, “New Old Stock,” and NOSWT, “New Old Stock With Tags,” but even then you want to see if the old inventory had snags or spots.

To avoid problems with fit use the fitting room whenever possible. And always know your measurements & compare them to the garment’s measurements.

Problem areas often overlooked in proper fit are across the shoulders and sleeve length. (I can’t tell you the number of times that I, as a vintage buying newbie, was so in love with a dress that I ignored the tight shoulders and short sleeves — it was fine for a fitting room experience, but in real life, the range of daily body motion was impossible &/or threatened to bust the seams.)

Unless you are an excellent seamstress, or know and can afford an experienced seamstress who specializes in vintage fashions, don’t buy pieces which require anything above button replacement, minimal hem or seam fixes, or other easy sewing fix. (And don’t kid yourself, vintage zipper replacement is not an easy fix for most of us.)

1940s Suede Shoes

1940s Suede Shoes

There are tips on the specific issues of repairs and quality issues with vintage jewelry pieces and vintage shoes (also pretty good advice for purses too) to help you with evaluating those purchases.

When in doubt, consult with store staff (online and in physical stores) and if they can’t provide the information you seek, discount the item to have the price reflect the cost of repair, or otherwise provide a satisfactory solution, I suggest that you walk away — or risk buyer’s remorse.

Dealing With Boo-Boo Buys Creatively

OK, so what happens when you come home with that grand vintage fashion and discover that there’s a boo-boo or two that you missed?

Dealing with small spots holes: Some garments can easily be dyed a darker or deeper shade, hiding the spots. If you’ve got just one spot or small tear to deal with, a quick fix is to apply vintage jewelry to hide it. (Vintage jewelry is quite often substantial enough to hide it completely — an authentically.)

If the spot is on a skirt or someplace you wouldn’t put a pin, or you have multiple places to hide, consider cute appliqués and creative patches. (Even if there’s just one spot, multiple appliqués scattered about help disguise the repair!)

If the piece is a great find but is beyond your skills, consider having it repaired by a seamstress experienced in vintage. Many good seamstresses will give you an accurate appraisal of cost which will help you decide if it’s worth the investment.

Upcycled Slip With Appliques

Upcycled Slip With Appliques

Should you discover that the vintage piece is so riddled with problems that repairs will render it more new than old, don’t be blue! Consider having the skirting of the dress salvaged from the stained top of the dress, or vice versa. Maybe having the sleeves shortened to three-quarter length will save the coat — and send you shopping for opera length gloves. *wink* Removing the sleeves entirely may be the creative solution to badly worn or stained armpits & sleeves. Maybe just the fabric can be recycled (sometimes referred to as “upcycled”) into another garment altogether. It may not be cheap to do, and it might even be outside your abilities — but someone out there probably sees value in your vintage item, so don’t throw it out without consulting someone else about salvaging options. (You might just find that you can trade your “useless” vintage dress for a recycled or upcycled vintage piece!)

PS Don’t forget to enter my The Get Fab-U-Lush Eyelashes Contest!

Vintage That’s Not For The Birds

By , 26 January, 2009, 1 Comment

Here’s a nifty vintage two-piece set that’s so Tippi Hedren —

Tippi Hedren in The Birds

Tippi Hedren in The Birds

But it’s certainly not for the birds! *wink*

Nifty Two-Piece Herringbone Suit

Nifty Two-Piece Herringbone Suit

This is a Tippy Hedren set. Part dippy sexpot, part smart sophistication with elegant details and a no-nonsense suiting fabric. Tightly-shaped top. Pencil skirt. Flirty wiggle-waggle of coins at the hips.

Textile is a bird’s-eye plaid — black, bone, and primary-red. Blouson tailoring details include a high neck, elbow-length dolman sleeves with gusseting, deep dart-shaping and the bust, and a skinny, cinched-in waistband. Bodice buttons closed at the back. The skirt has a nipped-in waist and slender shape — it’s lined at the back.

Know what else isn’t for the birds? Vintage Roadshow links!  Here’s this week’s edition:

Couture Allure offers a full week look at the style of Jacqueline Kennedy, including her inauguration fashion.

Debutante Clothing strikes a pose in her vintage plaid pencil skirt.

Freudian Slips Vintage showcases new year vintage dresses.

Glamoursplash looks at vintage swimwear in advertising.

iKonic Vintage does Vintage Cheap But Chic and asks for more Pleats Please.

Ride Bacall’s Shirttails

By , 24 November, 2008, No Comment

More of Lauren Bacall in To Have And Have Not; this time in vertical stripes.

Lauren Bacall In Striped Shirtdress

Lauren Bacall In Striped Shirtdress

Lauren Bacall In Stripes

Lauren Bacall In Stripes

While Lauren is wearing a shirtwaist dress, you can see how lovely a simple blouse with vertical stripes can be.

Simple Vertical Striped Blouse

Simple Vertical Striped Blouse

Pair it with pants or a pencil skirt, tucked in and belted properly is a must. You might also like to insert a pair of shoulder pads to help with the silhouette. Keep it simply elegant, crisp and classic by keeping the accessories to a minimum.

If you adore the shirtwaist look (and who doesn’t?) but not the stripes (it could happen!), here’s a vintage dress from the 1940’s in that style.

1940s Shirtwaist

1940s Shirtwaist