1940s/50s black straw hat with pink rose: eBay
Purple floral cameo earrings: Handmade by me
1980s floral print dress: Brag Vintage
1930s green beaded necklace: Jewelry seller in Okanagan Falls
1950s light purple gloves: eBay
Black vintage handbag: etsy seller A Vintage Revival
Black faux suede round toe pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
Earlier this summer I received an introductory email from budding UK online vintage seller Brag Vintage, which quickly lead to a few fun back and forths, including the offer to select a piece from their stock to receive and wear here on my blog.
As with an ever larger number of vintage sellers (online and off), Brag's offerings tend to focus on pieces spanning the 1970s to 90s, years that I rarely dress in the styles of. However, I spotted a couple of items that I thought had the potential to be styled in a mid-century direction and decided to select the lovely black, green and purple floral print dress in today's outfit photos as my choice of item to receive from them.
Brag Vintage's website is well laid out and easy to navigate, with clothing being separated into women's and men's categories, and then further broken down by style type (such as jeans, t-shirts, skirts, jackets and coats, knitwear, etc). Their listings are updated frequently and each item features multiple, clearly shot photographs which quickly help you access a given piece in a flash (as well as a brief description of the piece and its condition).
Though a UK size number is provided in many instances, more specific measurements are not listed for most pieces. This point really stood out for me, because it is rare to encounter an online clothing seller that doesn't provide information on measurements such bust, waist, hips and garment length (if applicable). As UK sizing differs from North American, and because most of their pieces are anywhere from ten to thirty-five years old (when sizing was often different from today), I made sure to email and enquire as to the sizing on this dress before I selected it.
I was told it was 20" across the bust and had a 12" waist with stretch to it. Both points are true, and though I own a number of dresses with busts in the 40" range (my own bust is scarcely 35”), I found (once it arrived and I had it on) that this one was so generously cut in the area that it made the garment to big for me. There was also an excess amount of fabric (for my body size) in the hips, so in order to wear it in photos, I had to safety pin several inches of fabric in the back, so as to give the illusion that this dress fit me a bit better than it actually does.
The dress is, as stated on Brag’s site, in excellent condition, which I certainly appreciated. It arrived swiftly from the UK, was securely packaged, and free of any odours. I love the pattern (florals are always a huge hit with me) and suspect that if I was a skilled seamstress, I could revamp it this dress to fit me better, but as it stands now, it's just too large (especially in the bust). That said, I was thinking that I might wear it as a housedress under cardigans and sweaters during the winter, as it is very soft, comfortable and pretty and I wouldn’t want it to languish in my closet.
When I first saw its photo on Brag's website, I thought it would be a snap to style in a 40s direction, as I sometimes do with other dresses I own from the 1980s, however the excess fabric did make that a touch tricky in real life. That said, I plowed ahead and aimed for a sweet forties-esque look, complete with vintage rose adorned black straw hat, classic black handbag, cute lilac hued 1950s gloves, a 1930s necklace, and a pair of floral cameo earrings that I made last year, as well as my beloved bow adorned black faux suede pumps (which are amongst the most comfortable shoes I own).
I'm not going to lie to you, I felt awful from a health standpoint on the day that we took these photos. Like, I was almost passing out between shutter clicks, awful. It was really important to me that I get these pictures though, because (as always) I didn't know when I might have another day out again (they were very few and far between in July) and I'd promised the folks at Brag that I'd post about this dress come August.
In the weeks since I was first introduced to Brag Vintage, I've popped by their website a few times and though they don't appear to be stocking any mid-century offerings (yet?), they do have a wide range of pieces from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and into the 21st century, including (at the time of writing) a few other pretty 1980s dresses that could be styled in a 1940s or 50s direction.
I'm a big fan of such pieces, especially when they're reasonably priced (as Brag's are) and in good shape, so I wouldn't be opposed to ordering from Brag as a paying customer in the future. I do hope though that they start adding measurements to their listings, as I'm sure I'm not the first person to visit their site and wish that handy information was there.
So while this dress wasn't a smash hit from a size standpoint, I do genuinely like it (the pattern is gorgeous) and was completely pleased with the customer service I received from Brag Vintage. I appreciate that they sent this charming 1980s frock my way and have no qualms encouraging one and all to check out their site.
Though their offerings are more on the modern side of the vintage spectrum, with some pieces channeling a hipster vibe, there are also some items (such as this classic floral print tea dress) that are likely to appeal to many mid-century fashion fans the world over.
*Post update* The fine folks at Brag have told me that there is a small tab in the description box on their site that states the measurements for each garment, but for some utterly bizarre and unknown reason, I cannot see it on my computer. I'm using Chrome on Windows 8 with an ad blocker in place, so if you're doing the same or something similar, I'm not sure if you'll be able to see it either, however I just wanted to mention this as I touched on the point in my post and wouldn't want to be unintentionally inaccurate.
*Second update* Between Brag Vintage changing some things on their web design end of things and me disabling my ad blocker for their site, I'm happy to report that I can now see the measurements tab on each listing. If it's not showing up for you, try disabling your ad blocker, too, and that should do the trick.