How can you get the look? If you are a seamstress, Decades of Style is actually the name of a pattern company in Berkley, CA. I enjoyed the pleasure of modeling one of their aprons several years ago in a fashion show. Wonderful resource they are, McCalls and Simplicity also resurrect vintage patterns. Then there are gems such as Laurie Tavan, seamstresses and creators of enormous talent you can hire to commission garments of you dreams.
Many girls can achieve a pinup photo outfit by simply raiding the swimwear or underwear selections presently possessed. Tight fitting garments such as these readily create timeless appeal. Want a more modest look to be worn on the street? Shop afoot and find pieces everywhere: thrift shops, discount mega stores, malls and department stores can offer many options. High-waist designs, button-up blouses, circle skirts and wiggle dresses, as long as you know for what to look then no formula is required to dress yourself. Follow The Vintage Doll on Facebook for more ideas building your pinup wardrobe. You can do it! Even on a lean budget.
Those of us who want a wardrobe now without all the legwork, online shopping can be your best friend. But even with limitless designs at your fingertips, there is that issue of fit. This is where brand allegiance, something I previously never understood, comes to the table. Find your size in a brand, and now you have a clue to key in the search engine. Where to start finding the brands that work for your bod? Allow me to indulge my online brand shopping experience.
Vintage reproduction clothing first hit my radar thanks to a Unique Vintage email from my sister-in-law. Three years of eying their wears, I finally made my first purchase just in time to discover our second pregnancy. Another year later, and I went hog wild. The brands I have encountered thus far include:
Unique Vintage house brand – Measuring a 28″ waist I originally ordered a Medium which was way too large for my 34″ bust. Not thinking the 26″ waist would zip up, I ordered some dresses 50% off and was sent to the moon when they zipped up like a glove. Measuring your waist can be tricky, and I tend to get a different measurement each time. 26″ is the smallest I have measured, but my clothes look good so I don’t mind them being a bit tight. Many items made in USA, many are also imported from China if you care.
Bernie Dexter – According to her size chart, these dresses are also a bit small and are a tight fit, but look amazing. I like the bust to waist ratio. Highly recommended for gals with smaller bust sizes. Pricey, but designed by Bernie Dexter the pinup model and made in USA
Rock Steady Clothing – Disappointingly inconsistent in sizing and cheaper quality materials used. You may see this one on the rack a Ross? I totally love my high waist pants and shorts from these guys and also have a lovely dress, but there was no way their capris made in the same size were going to even have the zipper touch. I phoned customer service and learned that inconsistent sizing is a regular experience. Made in USA
Stop Staring – Highly recommend! These dresses lend a hand to tuck in your tummy, as long as you get the materials that stretch. Some garments are noted to have no stretch, which in my case means I order one size up. I am thrilled with the rompers I have from this company in the size up and they are so comfy! The dress I have one size up, however, is far too large in the chest which leads me to conclude that busty women will be thrilled with this brand. Designed and made in USA
Voodoo Vixen – I am between sizes and had difficulty making this brand work. Imported, from China if I recall?
Grace Karen – Search “50s Housewife Dress” on ebay, and a slew of Chinese made adorable dresses will pop up who may not say Grace Karen, but chances are…. I was very disappointment but only because it did not fit me! The quality is equal to if not better than American made garments hanging in my closet. The design of the halter dresses provide generous ways to grow and shrink. The price cannot be beat. Most of the other clothes I ordered were dry clean only and I am pretty sure these dresses can be washed at home. The good news is, fit my sister like a glove! These dresses run very large and if you’re ordering the halter dress I recommend getting one size smaller.
Lindy Bop – About the only vintage dress seller we could find on Amazon. Super cute and varied styles, the target price is also lower than many others. Imported from China via the UK. Update: LindyBopUSA
Hell Bunny – Found at Hot Topic, Amazon and eBay, I have no outer garments but only a slip. Its pretty, but for the $70 price tag I was disappointed to learn it was made in China
Malco Modes – AMAZING slips! We ordered petticoats from all sorts of companies on eBay and WOW! Malco Modes beats all the others out of the water for variety and quality. Their factory is in Tennessee so they are made in USA and have been for decades!
Bettie Page Clothing Company – IMO top quality designs and product. I have two jumpers and a dress and am oh so pleased. If we weren’t out of money, I would visit a store in SF and try this stuff on in real life. Online ordering, I found the size up from my measurement looks as great as the size down which is snug. Choose your look and comfort level! Made in USA
Pinup Girl Clothing – I found this company after our buying binge. Hurt by that monthly credit card bill, it may be a year or more before we can gamble on a new mail-order brand. I cannot testify or vouch for sizing, but they are made in USA
Bear Flag Republic – I dig their name, and some of the brands mentioned here were purchased from this store site
OFABZ – LOVE this swimwear! Designed and made in USA