“I Ain’t Nobody, Dork.”

Last night Patrick and I went to the 99W drive-in (yet again! Seriously, it’s the best part of having a car!) to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 and, the biggest reason, American Graffiti. I was super excited that we were first in line too, so we were for sure able to snag my favorite spot.

The drive-in skirt was a rare new purchase for me at Buffalo Exchange . While Buffalo likes to boast itself as a buy-sell-trade joint made up of recycled goods, it does sell new items, you can tell as usually there is more than one of the item, but also these new items bare yellow tags, while all used goods have white tags. While it’s made of jersey, and features an elastic waistband, I just couldn’t resist (and thankful to uncover it was made in the USA by the company Mezzanine). I’ll openly admit that I am a sucker for anything that features drive-in imagery…comic books, magazines, signs, etc. In high school I had a had a purse with a drive-in on it. Hmm…I wonder whatever became of that purse…?

Blouse: Buffalo Exchange, Eugene, Oregon
Drive-In Skirt: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
String Tie: Magpie, Portland, Oregon
Shoes: Re-Mix, via a local rummage sale!
Earrings: Don’t recall…

A Visit to The Foundation

In making my Dixie Cousins costume, I came to the realization that the undergarment I was planning on wearing was just not working out, and I felt that a true underbust corset would be better suited towards my needs, as well, as, heck, I just wanted one.  So I returned to The Foundation: From Billie to Bettie, where I purchased my first steel boned corset last year.

I really can’t express how much I not only love this store, but how thankful I am that Portland has such a store.  Tami, the owner, is extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and as sweet as could be.  She’s also a kick! Did you get a load of her fab 1964 Chrysler New Yorker parked out front? Her shop is stocked with bullet bras, modern bras, a-lines, girdles, all-in-ones, garter belts, panties, corsets, flouncy crinolines, and of course, stockings.  Her corsets range from the practical to the fantastic, including some stellar steampunk inspired ones.

The Foundation also has a photo studio! You can work with their photographer, who is exceptional! Her work is scattered throughout the shop.  I greatly admired the work she did of Tami especially.  They have a host of goodies for one to play dress up, and find their inner pin-up.  You can also rent the studio space too! Bring in your own camera equipment and rent for as little as three hours or for the whole day! How fabulous is that?

Sadly, Tami didn’t have my size in the style of corset I wanted, but she was able to order it for me! And it will be here shortly! I can’t wait! But I did find a few treasures to tide me over. I purchased a fabulous Rago six-point girdle, and a pair of Birkshire stockings, a brand I haven’t tried before, and I’m really excited to take them for a test drive.  To top things off, both Rago (who has been in the foundation business since for over 65 years) and Berkshire items are made in the US!

I also heard from a little birdie that The Foundation will be having an amazing Small Business Saturday deal!  Spend $50 and get 10% off your order, spend $100 and get 20% off, or $150 and get 25% off! So it’s time to either splurge for yourself, or get something special for your significant other, or even for that best friend of yours!  For more info, please visit The Foundation’s Facebook page.

A Note on Vintage Repro

Thanks for all of your kind words in my last post.  I’m still sniffly, but I certainly feel like I’m on the up and up and was able to take just two snaps for this post.

Over the time I’ve had this blog I have gotten a lot of questions about plus-size vintage clothing.  So many people complain that vintage is all tiny.  And I’m here to say it’s not.  While plus size vintage may be harder to come by, it isn’t non-existent.  I don’t know about you, but I can flip through plenty of old photos and see some plus size gals – not everyone was tiny back then. However, since it is harder to come by, many retro loving plus size gals turn to vintage repro to fill their closets and I then get questions on which vintage repro/vintage inspired brand is the best.  But that’s a bit of a hard question to answer…until now.  So buckle up and get ready for discussion of vintage repro.

The truth of the matter is I rarely buy new (vintage repro or otherwise) and this is for a combination of reasons. There are a handful of items I do buy from vintage repro sites, because I can’t find very much of certain items in the vintage world, like pants for example. In all honesty I just don’t look at vintage repro sites often because I don’t want or need to.  I like the thrill of the hunt.  I like giving my money to a local shop.  I like having unique items.  I like the quality of real vintage.  And I like sewing my own clothes.  So this leaves me with very little experience in the vintage repro world…until now.  Recently I have been lucky enough to stumble onto some vintage repro second hand and can now give my personal opinion on it.

Stop Staring was one of the first large vintage repro companies to hit the market. Riding the Neo-Swing wave, Stop Staring was established in 1997 and offers up mostly dresses with a tiny selection of separates. All garments are designed by a female designer who wants to give women the chance to embrace their inner femme fatale by providing figure flattering and curve hugging garments.

Some Stop Staring dresses have stretch to their fabric, while others do not.  This dress has an insane amount of stretch to it.  Which I personally don’t care for since it often creates odd bunches (which you can see in the above image) that you’re constantly tugging it back down.  But I like their styles, the fact the garments have back zippers and I also love that their garments are made in the USA.

One brand that has really picked up popularity is Trashy Diva.  I was introduced to the brand by fellow blogger The Fiercest Lilliputian who has a few of their dresses and adores them.  I really loved many of their patterns and the cuts were amazing! Seriously, some of their dresses could be dead ringers for the real deal.  But most of their garments have side zippers (seriously, I could do a whole post on my side zipper problem).  So that and the price forced me to turn away from their items.  But recently I scored one of their dresses for less than half of what it cost new.

When I tried the dress on I was really pleasantly surprised by their side zipper.  Unlike most side zippers that stop an inch or so before the armpit, Trashy Diva zippers go all the through to the sleeve!  This makes the dress ten times easier to get on and off, and doesn’t strain the fabric like other side zipper garments.  (This strain often results in the zipper being pulled loose from the garment and/or causing the fabric to sheer.)

Some of Trashy Diva’s dresses have stretch, others do not, such as this one which is 100% rayon.  And some have linings, but some don’t.  For me, I personally don’t care for linings with the exception of a coat.  I much prefer to wear slips than deal with linings.

I do want to make note of one quality thing that I encountered.  Even though I did buy my Trashy Diva dress second hand, it still had its original tags and replacement button attached.  So I believe the dress was unworn.  However, I noticed that the fabric on the fabric covered buckle was already beginning to show wear.

Second hand or not, I really don’t feel like this should be happening yet and it’s disappointing.  But honestly I don’t care too much for the belt.  Partially because it’s not all that flattering due to the fact that even on the tightest setting the belt was still loose.  Also, the light fabric is applied to a black belt, which causes the whole belt to be a shade darker than the rest of the garment.  I may find myself pairing this dress with a different belt or no belt at all, it looks just dandy without.  With regards to manufacturing location, Trashy Diva garments are made in China.

I found both the Stop Staring and the Trashy Diva dresses to be immensely comfortable as well.  Especially the Trashy Diva one, which was lightweight and soft.  And the stretch in the Stop Staring made it easy to move in.

Furthermore, I find that vintage repro fills a nice, specific niche in my wardrobe – travel.  When traveling you run the risk of losing or ruining your garments. It’s just a sad fact. And I would much rather lose a new garment, that may be easily replaced, as opposed to a vintage, possible one-of-a-kind garment.

Other vintage inspired companies that I have highlighted are Freddies of Pinewood, eShakti (experiences viewable here and here) Collectif and more recently Bettie Page Clothing.

There are so many more vintage repro and vintage inspired companies out there. Here is a small list for you to check out.  I have noted where the garments are made for the companies that I was able to find that information.

Heyday – Made in the UK and New Zealand
Vivian of Holloway
Pin-up Girl Clothing
Boo Boo Kity Couture – Handmade in the UK
Jitterbuggin’ Clothing – Handmade in Portland, Oregon
Shabby Apple
Nicole Katherine
NudeeDudee – Made in Los Angeles, California
Bernie Dexter – Made in the USA

As always, any future vintage repro/vintage inspired garments that I purchase or collaborate with I’ll share my experiences with you.  But I do want to note, I am by no means a clothing quality expert.  I’ve never peeked into a designer garment to look at the stitching, and I don’t go into high-end shops and turn garments inside out.  But I can feel the difference between fabrics and tug at seams and give it my best, but sometimes the true quality of a garment isn’t shown until it’s worn and washed the couple of times, and that’s another reason I love real vintage – it’s been around the block a few times and holding on strong.

Red Apple Lipstick

Recently I was contacted by Red Apple Lipstick, a company that offers up pretty swell products that are gluten free, paraben free, vegan friendly, made in the USA, among a long list of other wonderful things.  Since part of the vintage scene is about being environmentally friendly while also looking glamorous, I felt they were a good fit!

I chose the Rebel for my test drive, loving the red-berry color as well as the name.

Please note, I’m battling a cold right now, so I don’t look the greatest nor do I seem to be able to smile decently.  I adore how soft and luscious this lipstick feels. It’s the smoothest lipstick I’ve ever put on.  It’s like silk velvet for your lips.  No joke.  I’m also crazy in love with the color.  It’s a red, with a hint of berry thrown in, and very, very vibrant.  I love me a red-red, but I also enjoy deeper berry colors too.

While I love the product’s ingredients, feel and color, I wasn’t keen about it’s come-off-ability (for lack of a better word), a problem most lip sticks have.  I blotted and let it sink in for the suggested five minutes, but it still came off on my mug o’ tea…

I am aware that are loads of tips and tricks for making any lipstick stay on and not rub off on drinks and people, but I’m a little impatient to go through that ritual. I want to slap on color and go.  Which is why I’ve been using CoverGirl Outlast. A lip-stain that stays on all day, even through kissing and most foods, but it isn’t without its problems either (that can be a post in itself if y’all are curious?).  However, I think this Red Apple stuff  is pretty swell and I plan to give it another go using some of the stay-on tricks I’ve come across.  Additionally, I was given a sample of their Rallye Balm, which is magnificent!  It’s just as silky and smooth as the lipstick, and leaves my lips feeling super soft.  I think I may have found my new lip balm!