Cool casual summer outfit toppers: cardigans and boleros!

Heartbreaker Betty Bolero.

Summer’s hot, but that doesn’t mean you’re comfortable baring lots of skin. Whether you dislike your arms, like to maintain modesty, feel like every outfit deserves a finishing touch, or simply want to avoid sun damage, there are ways to top your sleeveless and strapless looks without going all wool crewneck on yourself. Personally, I’m a fan of lightweight cotton cardigans and boleros, but shrugs are another good option for folks looking to maximize ventilation without going sleeveless. Here are some of my favorite options (almost all are available in plus sizes, too!):
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Outfits of the Season: Black & White

 

The Darling Dames dress.

Black and white is (are) in this spring. While I’m not really a trendy person (loving vintage style runs kind of counter to the idea), colors, color combinations, and retro-revivals are trends even I can do!

My response to the Spring, 2013 black and white trend includes the Deadly Dames polka-dot wiggle dress and Unique Vintage’s Lovely Lady in Lace reproduction prom dress.

The Deadly Dames polka-dot wiggle dress is designer Micheline Pitt’s answer to the white-with-black-dots dress worn by Traci Lords in the movie Cry Baby. In my opinion, it’s even better than the piece that inspired it! The removable skull brooch and vinyl patent belt are nice little badass touches to an otherwise elegant midcentury-style cocktail dress. I bought the XL, which is my usual Deadly Dames top size. I’m in between the XL and 2x sizes at the hip, but I can normally squeeze into the smaller size.

Unique Vintage reproduction prom dress.

The Unique Vintage Lovely Lady in Lace dress is kind of a departure for me. I wouldn’t normally spend money on a poofy tulle prom dress, but since this one’s based on a real 1950s prom dress, and it’s on clearance for $48, I figured it was worth a try. I ordered the 2x on the advice of the size chart, and it was a good fit.

Overall, I’m happy with the dress. I love the colors. I love the floof. I love the two layers of tulle and two layers of satin lining. I like how the skirt looks with my white Malco Modes crinoline petticoat. I adore the rows of tulle rufflework on the double-layered bodice.

My measurements are 43-32/33-48.”