Sunday, 31 August 2014

Outfit post: looks very 1950s, is actually 2014!

A large woman in a park in a 1950s-style Boden dress
Woohoo, new dress! I got asked earlier this week if it was 1950s, and got quite a startled look when I said it was new. Yesterday I forced Mr Robot to take some pictures of me around Trowbridge



Splashing out on a brand-new frock feels a bit extravagant, but I fell in love with Boden's 'Nancy' dress as soon as I saw it. I originally wanted one in the seaside print based on a vintage washbag, but over time the more restrained, but still quite midcentury-looking, blue print became my favourite. Being a skinflint, I waited for the sale to buy it. I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to paying £70 for a day dress! £50 felt more reasonable – and it's down to £35 in some prints and sizes now.

That said, the dress would have been worth £70. It's made of cotton. It's also lined, so while it feels wonderfully floaty, there's no risk to your modesty. It has lingerie loops in the shoulders, so you can snap the straps of the dress over your bra straps. Even my chunky old bustenhalter is safely hidden underneath. The waist is perfectly placed on me (I'm five foot five, and wearing a size 16), and it actually makes me look curvy rather than blocky. The length is ideal. In an age when it's often hard to tell whether something is a dress or a tunic, this reaches my knees – a proper dress length.

Nice floaty skirt, but the whole dress is lined so not flimsy.
I'm funny about prints. I don't know what it is about them, but I'm really not keen on many of the prints on garments I see on the High Street. Possibly it's that there are too many colours and a lot of modern prints are very large, but to me an awful lot of them simply look cheap, as though an attempt to cram as many colours as possible onto the fabric was made without much attention to the shape those colours were making. There are exceptions; Oasis are usually reliable for nice prints (but not in fatlass sizes, grr), and Seasalt and Laura Ashley both have appealing ones.

Boden's print designs are often quite retro, with a midcentury aesthetic that I like, and while they do use very bright colours, they don't try to use every shade in the paintbox on one bolt of cloth, and there's enough regularity within the print to feel orderly. Does that make sense to you? There needs to be some cohesion and clear repetition or structure within a print, for me, it can't just be some scattergun thing splurged all over a garment in such a way that it's hard for the eye to make sense of it. The more I look at the pattern on this dress, the more I like it. It's geometric, but the shapes are not too perfect, being rough two-tone blue circles and scratchy black squares.

Here I've paired the dress with my me-made late 40s/early 50s navy cardigan, my grey pearl jewellery, and Hush Puppies 'Freya' shoes. A vintage 1960s MacLaren handbag completes the look. I love this outfit!
Boden 1950s style dress plus size
Chimping away on my phone - but you can see
how nice the print is.

Want more?
I don't do outfit posts often, but you can see a couple of my favourites in my Burgh Island oufit post (one 1960s lace dress suit, one repro 1930s dress) and my writeup of this year's Vintage Nostalgia show.

17 comments :

  1. Gorgeous dress on you! I love these photos, I want to see more of you in your everyday getup. By the way, as you work in publishing in the South West can I guess that you work for Future Publishing?? I have a friend who works there.... P x

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    1. Yup, I'm on one of the photography magazines. Which bit does your friend work in?

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  2. Oh, what a gorgeous dress! It looks lovely on you, and I really like the whole outfit. I really like to mix and match old and new to get the look I like - I would happily wear your entire outfit.

    I love that you've had your photo taken in the park - we're so lovely to have it, and the remaining avenue of trees is one of my favourite parts of it.

    Great post!

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    1. Isn't it a super park? I should take more time to show off the lovely bits of Trowbridge on the blog. Maybe they'll let me pose around the Town Hall...

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  3. You look positively graceful using your phone (I tend to hold mine to my nose, and squint a lot). The dress is so beautiful, and the blue/black combination is easy to work with (green, yellow, orange).

    I enjoy your outfit posts.

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    1. Thank you! I spend far too much time chimping away with it...

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  4. I know what you mean, I find myself looking at things and thinking they look vilely patterned.
    I had lusted after a certain Boden dress a few years ago, sent for it in the sale, but was bitterly disappointed in the reality. The waist was nowhere near mine, it made me look square. Heaven knows where it must have sat on someone who was average to tall!
    This suits you well.

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    1. Oh, that must have been gutting. I have a wrap dress from Boden that I have to wear vests under as it seems to hang open far too much, but that's the only one with a fit problem.

      So many modern patterns are just too much. Too large in scale, too random in colour. But I guess it's what most people want!

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  5. As gorgeous as I expected :) I love it.

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    1. They sometimes bring styles back the following year - I'm hoping they do this cut in a few more prints next year.

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  6. Very pretty, timelessly lovely look. I adore green modern vintage appropriate pieces like these. I just stocked up on several (thanks to a gift certificate) at a local consignment store. No dresses or skirts (or pants) unfortunately for today, but plenty of tops, shirts and cardigans.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you, Jessica. It is nice to get bits that can be blended in with original pieces, but are less precious.

      You're much better at combining separates than me - one of the reasons I stick to dresses is that I can never get top/bottom combos right.

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  7. You made a great choice there - that dress really suits you.

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    1. Thank you! It's a really nice cut, which helps.

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  8. Lovely dress, it looks great on. I like it paired with your knit and that marvellous bag.

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