The wide variety of vintage-inspired, retro, rockabilly, and pinup-style fashions available online is both a blessing and a curse, especially if you like to wear dresses. There are literally hundreds of options available at a variety of price points, from slinky and elegant pencil dresses in work-perfect, subdued colors to frothy tulle gowns in bright tones. It’s fun to check out all the pretty clothes, but it’s also really easy to get overwhelmed.
If you’ve never done business with an internet clothing seller, how can you be sure of fit, color, quality, and service? Will the dress that comes to your door be as beautiful as the dress you saw on the web page? And perhaps most importantly, is the sense of dresslust you sate by clicking that order button really worth the money you spend? If you’re wanting to jump into the online vintage-inspired clothing world but you’re afraid of making decisions you’ll regret, Pinup Girl Clothing is a wonderful place to start. In fact, I have six versatile, high-quality, American-made dress choices pulled from the Pinup Girl house brands to get you happily on your way in the world of retro-fabulous fashion!
Pinup Girl Clothing’s house brand pieces come in sizes XS-2x (and in some cases, 3x and 4x), which make them accessible to a wide variety of pretty ladies. As a plus-sized gal myself, I feel its important to promote brands that develop fashions for real plus bodies, and not simply grading up patterns created from smaller fit models. With my first “PUG” buy, I discovered that Pinup Girl Clothing created clothing that made me – a curvy, busty, pear-shaped person – look and feel great!
That first order consisted of the Pinup Couture Evelyn dress in vintage yellow floral fabric and the red satin Ava dress, two instant hits that have remained closet staples.
Evelyn is a true chameleon dress. Her super-comfortable stretch cotton sateen fabric and circle-skirt styling makes it a great dressy-casual piece, while the classy vintage floral print, shirred bodice, and snappy matching bolero make her a candidate for both work and party time! When my mom and aunt – two young ladies who were dressing fabulously in the late 1950s and early 1960s – told me that Evelyn made me look ready for the Junior Prom, I knew I had a winner! Just add pearls and a crinoline, and Evelyn’s ready for a big dance!
Ava’s satin fabric makes her less suitable for daytime pursuits than Evelyn, but she’s one heck of a versatile cocktail piece! Ava is your go-to dress for almost any dressy event, from cocktails to weddings to fancy dinner events. Basically, she works for anything short of long-gown formal gala events.
Based on a vintage design worn by Christina Hendricks as Mad Men’s Joan Harris, Ava’s got enough character to stand apart from other cocktail dresses without looking too “period.” She also comes in ten colors and eight sizes, which makes her perfect for just about everyone. Even better, Ava’s designed to suit most body shapes! The adjustable sash creates a great hourglass look, while the tulip skirt offers a little extra room for pear-shaped peeps like me! The version pictured above is the jade green Ava.
Another great Pinup Couture cocktail option is the Micheline dress, pictured here in a deep, Christmassy green with black lace details. Micheline is an obviously pretty dress, but at first glance she might be a little hard to differentiate from the multitude of other sharp stretch bengaline cocktail dresses available at Pinup Girl Clothing and elsewhere. I held off on this one for months – hell, years! – before I picked her up on a temporary sale last month. When I first tried Micheline on, I was shocked to discover how flattering the style and fit really is! The black stretch lace on the bodice and hem really makes the green of the dress body POP. The other colors (black, red, “Baton Rouge” purple, and Tiffany blue) are just as stunning. In all, this one’s not simply gorgeous, she’s comfortable enough to dress-down a bit with a slim cardigan. What more could you ask of a fancy dress?
For those with more casual needs, the cherry-print Heidi dress is the answer. The cheerful colors, comfy stretch cotton sateen, sleek fabric-covered slide belt, and simple A-line shape makes Heidi super-versatile and easy to wear. I’m planning on wearing her to Disneyland, work, church, dinner, dancing – heck, everywhere! If fruit is too summery (or too much of a rockabilly clichÃ©) for you, the Heidi dress is available in a ton of other colors and prints ranging from elegant to cutesy.
I have this dress in cherry, leopard, red, black with white pindots, and black cat print (a pretty turquoise with black cats), which is a testament to the comfort and character of this dress!
Another pretty printed PUG piece is the Laura Byrnes Lana dress, a comfortable stretch canvas piece that I’ve worn to work and for casual dress up. She’s comfy yet crisp-looking, with a snazzy wide belt and early-1960s sleeveless styling.
This one comes in several colors and prints, including basic black and red. Mine’s the abstract rose garden print version, which would seem at first thought most at home in spring or summer. In reality, the orangey-red and dark green colors make the print seasonless. Further, the thick stretch canvas fabric and complete satin lining makes the dress wearable in cooler months. I wore Lana last month with white tights and a black cardigan and had no trouble staying warm!
The last PUG staple dress on my list is the three-quarter-sleeved Birdie dress in black cotton sateen. This one’s got classic 1950s faux wrap-bodice styling with a sleek black belt and iconic circle skirt. This one’s perfect for work or a day of tea and shopping. Make it fancy with a crinoline petticoat as I have, or wear it without for a less showy look.
For those wanting something with a bit more pop, Birdie also comes in a red stretch satin fabric with a black watercolor print and a shorter-sleeved version in gorgeous white cotton sateen with a red floral print similar to the Evelyn’s yellow rose print pictured above.
Good luck shopping, and always remember to check the individual size charts for each PUG piece! They’re in pop-up boxes at the bottom-left of every Pinup Girl Clothing item page.
For fit reference, my measurements are 42-32/33-48″ and I’m over 5’8.” tall. My usual PUG size is XL.