Vintage Mauve Maxi | Noelle x Kristina

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This gazebo has become my go-to “oops, I procrastinated and now it’s raining” picture taking spot.But, hey. I do not hate it. It works perfectly with the way I interpreted this lovely, vintage mauve maxi from Kristina. When I initially saw the photos of this dress I fell in love with the ethereal quality that speaks to my Pre-Raphaelite tendencies, but once I had it in hand another style came to mind.

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Kristina had already knocked it out of the sartorial park with her boho inspired outfit. The boho look is definitely authentic to the decade that birthed this dress and depending on accessories, I could see it on either an earthy hippie or a glamorous disco queen. It even reminds me of a dress my ever-stylish grandmother wore in the seventies.

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But, when you really look into the history of fashion and the different eras it becomes clear that many style associated with the later half of the 20th century, in fact, have their roots in much earlier decades. While we might associate flutter sleeves and flowing skirts with the hippies of the sixties and the dancing queens of the seventies, the look actually made its modern debut in the 1930’s-1940’s world of Hollywood glamour. As easily as this style could have been worn by Donna Summer, the great Bette Davis could have donned it, as well. The similarities exist in the draping and the pleating, the use of the lightweight, flowing fabrics, and the Grecian inspired cuts. I mean, see? The ancient Greeks even did Old Hollywood before Hollywood did.

So, while I was first drawn to the earthy quality of the dress, when it was my turn to take a crack at it, I decided to pay homage to a whole different decade. An intricate, metallic belt, t-strap shoes, flowing hair, and matte lips take this look to the allure and the romance of the silver screen.

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Sunburst | Noelle x Kristina

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As promised, here is my colorful, retro inspired interpretation of the famous horse print dress! Last time I wore the dress (which you can see here), I brought this crazy print into our century and toned it down with some edgy, black accessories to show how wearable the dress actually was. This time around I’m embracing all it’s nutso, retro vibes and crazy colors because…just look at it’s awesomeness!

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Using the dress as a jumper layered over these billowy sheer sleeves harkens back the era the dress was born in. I feel like a secretary on the later seasons of Mad Men that just decided to go hang out in a field for the fun of it. Obviously, a true to era interpretation and a sunburst color palate isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure as heck is mine!

And now I have to say farewell to the most amazing dress ever so Kristina can be reunited with it. I can’t wait to see what it’s next adventure is going to be.

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Long Sleeved Dress: Thrifted | Horse Print Dress: Kristina | Shoes: Thrifted | Brooch: Antique Store | Lips: Colourpop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Beeper as a base and LA Girl Matte Flat Velvet Lipstick in Oh, La, La on top

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Goodbye green: Mint dress + windowpane check cardigan

I recently did a big closet purge and picked out this mint dress as one to get rid of. So this outfit post is a swan song of sorts. But there’s a good chance you’ll see it here again, because I’m sending it off to Kristina after this — not just for a swap, but for keeps (or for as long as she wants it).

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I have gotten a lot better at getting rid of things that aren’t working for me, but it’s still hard. Hannah posted a great video mini series the other day over at The SITS Girls about thrifting and decluttering, and I loved some of her advice.

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I definitely have the polar opposite of a capsule wardrobe, in many different ways. For one thing, I am not interested in narrowing my style down to one particular “look” or genre of fashion. What thrills me about style is trying new things, experimenting, playing around and having fun.

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This outfit is a great example of how I put things together — I start with a piece and just … keep adding until it feels right. (There is occasionally subtraction, too, but let’s be honest, I’m not a “less is more” kind of person.) Hair and makeup are always afterthoughts, once the outfit is set. And I’m not exactly sure why this outfit read mod to me once I got done — but it was fun to do this faux beehive and take advantage of my hair’s natural volume.

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Much as I love the idea of a full-skirted mint dress, the cut just isn’t one I really like. I’ve learned that if I’m always reaching for thing to wear over or under a dress, it probably means I don’t love the cut of it. And this is a case in point.

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How they wore it

I am a little sad to say goodbye to this dress, but, I’m excited to see it on Kristina — and maybe some of the other ladies in this group! To keep up with all of us, be sure to follow us on our brand spankin’ new Instagram, where we’re having fun sharing tidbits of our own lives as well as looks we love from other ladies.

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Teal dress + ruffle top | Emily

Why am I wearing pastels in December? I promise, I’ve got a good reason — two of them, actually.

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Reason No. 1: It’s not winter yet in upstate New York.

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Let the record show that I am NOT complaining. I am a summer-lover; there is not much I like about cold, snowy weather (and typically we get plenty of that here in NY). But it is a tad weird. I didn’t wear a jacket today. In December. In the Northeast. Just sayin’.

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Reason No. 2: I just kicked off a fashion challenge I am co-hosting with a friend, and our first prompt was pastels.

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This was a great challenge for me, because I don’t usually gravitate toward lighter colors, so it was fun to see what I could put together.

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For my first pastel outfit, I chose this mint dress, which is one of my swap items for this group, paired with a blush top with ruffled shoulders. And I couldn’t resist getting all matchy-matchy with a collar necklace I picked up recently at the Salvation Army thrift store. I added dark tights and neutral shoes to bring the whole thing together. I love adding a long-sleeved top under sleeveless dresses to give them new life during the winter (which, usually, in my neck of the woods is like half the year). What are some of your tricks for styling “summery” clothes in colder weather?

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I’m looking forward to sharing this pretty and feminine dress with someone else in this group to see how they style it! If you want to play along with my fashion challenge, check out my Instagram at @breadandrosesvintage.

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Plaid and bows | Kristina x Hannah

Plaid and bows | Kristina x Hannah

Happy Thanksgiving!

We didn’t really plan for holiday posting, so I’ve hopped in with an outfit as usual, styling this adorable plaid dress of Hannah’s. I am excited to be the first to wear it in our group! I can’t resist anything plaid and vintage, so when she put it up for swap I knew I was going to try it. It’s an interesting construction, though, having only one pocket, which makes me think perhaps it was originally made to be a house dress.

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I love that it has a bunch of different colors in it; more and more lately, I’ve been getting matchy-matchy with my colors, trying to keep things all in the same color family instead of color-clashing, and I love the way it looks! It adds just a little more retro flair to my already retro style.

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I hope you all have great plans today! My husband and I are able to visit both sides of our family, as everyone lives no further than 15 minutes away from each other. It’s so wonderful to spend time with everyone, and for us it’s great becuase it means we get two Thanksgiving meals! Which, you know, I am 100% okay with. The more turkey and pumpkin pie, the better. These meals will make three total Thanksgiving meals that I’ve eaten this year, given that our friend hosted a Friendsgiving last weekend.

And no, I am not tired of it. Never enough pumpkin pie.

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Dress, Hannah’s | shoes, brooch, belt, and headscarf, thrifted

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and Happy Thanksgiving if you live in the states!

www.eccentricowl.com

Tips for Buying Vintage for Curvy Women

Today I’m sharing my tips for buying vintage and vintage inspired styles for curvy & plus size women. Like many of the other Shaped by Style members I’ve always loved hunting the thrift stores and estate sales to find that perfect vintage piece to add to my collection. The only issue is that as a plus size woman sometimes it can be hard to find a vintage piece that fits my curves! Any readers have this issue? I hear ya, I do too!

Today I’m sharing my top three tips for buying vintage for curvy women with you. I hope these tips help you find the perfect figure flattering vintage or vintage inspired piece!

I love history as much as I love vintage fashion, so first a little detour explaining why it can be hard for curvy & plus size women to find vintage styles with a that fit. As 1950’s styles are among my favorites I’m going to focus on the top three reasons why I think clothing from this era can be particularly hard for curvy women to fit:

1. Rationing ends with World War Two in 1945
With the end of WWII the American economy experienced an economic boom when supply rationing ended and men returned to work. In contrast to the simple & functional a-line styles of the 1940s (dictated by women in the workforce while men were at war & the lack of fabric/thread) garments from the 1950s were enhanced with newly available synthetic fabrics like tafetta & nylon and featured excess fabric to create details like gatherings and pleats. Not to mention an array of undergarments were created, like petticoats, corsets, girdles and cone bras, to help support the construction of 1950s style dresses and achieve the en vogue hourglass figure.

2. Rise of Conformity
Now, I don’t know why the 1950s are synonymous with conformity, but we all know that they are. There was a standard that women were expected to achieve and that standard was a small waist, shapely bust & behind with a delicate bone structure. Did you know that the industry standard for 1950’s dress making was to cut patterns with a waist 10″ smaller than the bust?

3. Changing roles for women
As men returned home from war & went back to work women returned to the home. An increased focus was placed on finding a husband and becoming the perfect homemaker. And that meant clothing served a single function: helping a woman to find the perfect husband and once he was found to keep appearances perfect. Since the ideal body type of the fifties was an hourglass clothing and undergarments were created to support this figure.

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Now where does this leave the liberal, bra burning, 6 foot tall, broad shouldered woman with muscular thighs and calves from road racing in my early 20s coupled with a love of cake that’s caused me to recently gain some weight? Well, since I also happen to love vintage fashion & 1950s styles its left me in quite a lurch.

Luckily for myself, and you- lovely Shaped by Style reader, I’ve developed some tips for buying vintage for curvy women.

Here are my top three tips for buying vintage for curvy & plus size women:
1. Look for princess seams

Princess seams are a type of dart on the inside of a piece of clothing. They are usually sewn into the bust of the garment to give extra support & definition to the figure. They act as a type of built in shape wear without being constricting like shape wear separates.  If you find a piece of clothing with princess seams there is another reason to hold onto it: princess seams are usually, but not always, indicative of  higher quality.

Here is what the princess seams on the inside of my red vintage inspired dress look like:

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vintage inspired plus size red dress
2. Favor ruching, gathering & shirring
Ruching, gathering and shirring are 3D textural effects on clothing. They do an excellent job at smoothing over and disguising any lumps & bumps. They were also commonly used during the 1950s so it isn’t too hard to find pieces from this era or vintage inspired items with these forgiving details.

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3. Look for thick fabrics and do the “quarter test”
Similar to ruching, gathering and shirring a thick fabric will drape nicely over curves and prevent clinging to areas that you are uncomfortable with. Bonus points if there is a textural overlay- like these sequins.

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Remember your plus size vintage buying cheat sheet includes:

– princess seams
– textural details
– the “quarter test”

If you are looking for some vintage and vintage inspired plus size pieces to add to your wardrobe I recommend:
Pinup Girl Clothing– online & in select stores vintage inspired boutique with styles (and models!) from XS to 4X
Owl and the Boy Vintage– an Etsy shop ran by our very own Kristina from Eccentric Owl. She recently added a bunch of plus size vintage styles.
Bread and Roses Vintage– our own Emily from Bread and Roses Vintage has a plus size section in her Etsy shop as well

I hope this post was useful to you! Would you like to see more educational style posts like this? Any style questions you need answered?

Circus Dress of my Dreams | Emily x Skye

Every now and then, clothing surpasses your expectations.

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When I saw this wonderful dress of Skye‘s, I fell in love right away. For some reason (maybe because of the bright colors?) I imagined it would be a thick, heavy, double-knit polyester, and worried that it would be too warm for the hot weather we were having.

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So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bodice was a super soft, comfortable knit, and the skirt was a really lightweight woven fabric — absolutely perfect for warm summer days. Then the challenge for me was: How do you style a “circus dress” in an office-appropriate way?

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I’m a firm believer in the idea that work wear doesn’t have to be dull or bland. What makes something look “professional” in my eyes is the overall tone of the outfit. Accessories can elevate even the most whimsical or unusual garment into something that looks polished and put-together. Blazers are my go-to piece for this, and neutral accessories (ahem, except for the enormous yellow earrings) helped, too.

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I absolutely adore this dress. It is comfortable, cute, flattering and downright fun to wear. I seriously considered hiding it in my closet and telling Skye there had been a terrible accident of some kind, but in the end I did the right thing and sent it back to her. But I have a new sewing goal now …

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How they wore it

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