August 12, 2014

I don't always wear shoulder pads, but when I do...




Outfit details

Dark green snood: eBay seller tina.g-2008
Faux pearl stud earrings: eBay
Circa 1950s maple leaf scatter pins: Antique store in Vernon
1940s style Tea Dress Denim Dark Blue: Vivien of Holloway
Green vintage Bakelite bangles: Carved = wonderful gift & thin marble spacer = thrifted
White vintage bangle: Probably thrifted or from a yard sale
Camel hued faux leather cross body purse: eBay
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Brown leather peep toe wedges: Yard sale
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano
 





















































...They're inevitably part of 1940s ensemble.

As I couldn't track down The Most Interesting Man in The World from the Dos Equis beer commercials - he was probably off teaching hippos how to hang glide while knitting an afghan, learning to speak Mongolian, and juggling ten mini potted cactuses at the same time or something equally OTT and amazing - to do a sound bite for that title and opening line, you'll just have to read it in his voice in your head. :D

And for that matter, it's rather rare for me to wear dresses or shirts that don't reach past my elbows out in public, but sometimes one hits upon a garment that is so sublime, so well tailored, so expertly crafted and terrifically flattering on them that their usual fashion rules go out the window faster TMMITW could do a triple back flip. The next thing you know, you're standing in front of a camera in your brand new Vivien of Holloway Dark Denim Blue Dress, complete with shoulder pads and above-the-elbow sleeves and wondering how on earth your wardrobe ever got by without this timeless workhorse of a frock.

I'm very fortunate to have received this beautiful denim dress as a review gift from Vivien of Holloway (thank you so much for it!), who I will be collaborating with on at least two posts this year, plus you can see me wearing this very dress in one of my latest YouTube videos as well (and no doubt others to follow in the future). For this first outfit, the fine folks at VOH asked me to style it in a casual sort of way that would be redolent of both the 1940s and a good example of how busy ladies on the go these days could sport it (the second outfit post featuring this dress, to appear here next month, will take this same vintage reproduction frock in a bit more of a dressed up direction).

I flat out love the fashions of the war years, which relied so heavily on ingenuity, a make do and mend mentality, becoming tailoring, and stylish accessories to help pull an outfit all together, and it was those things that I kept in mind as styling my own ensemble here.

A classic snood, trio of vintage scatter brooches, Bakelite (and newer plastic, in the case of the white one) bangles, nude seamed stockings, brown leather wedge sandals, and a timeless cross body camel hued purse are all it takes to jazz up this lovely tea dress, as Vivien of Holloway describes this style, which really, objectively, is sensational all on its own.

Usually, as started in the title, I don't wear shoulder pages. I have small, sloping shoulders and find that they generally do my petite height and hourglass figure zero favours, but these ones - which could easily be removed if so desired, as they're not sandwiched between layers of fabric or otherwise tricky to do away with - are fairly modest size and in the over all context of this dress, even on my figure, they work. For the time being, I've left them in place and in fact, I rather like them and the way that they add a very important (further) note of 1940s appropriate style to this vintage reproduction garment.

Sure, I could have tossed a cardigan or jacket over top, but when you're doing a photo shoot and the temperature is about 36C/97F with little breeze and an arid desert-like landscape around you, one tends not to go running for layers - and, thanks actually, I believe to those aforementioned shoulder pads, I don't mind the sleeve length here at all and have been sporting this dress without anything atop it every few days since it arrived.

Made of quality, soft denim fabric that I'd describe as being of a flexible medium weight with a little hint of stretch to it, this dress is so incredibly comfortable. Like, wear it on a plane if you were flying from Canada to Australia kind of comfortable (which I'm not planning to in the near future, but if I ever do...). Don it for work, to pick up the kids, to run errand in, on a road trip, on a leisurely nature walk, to play golf in, while gardening, you name it! This dress is designed with practical daytime wear in mind, but it can also  be - as I'll be showing in my second post featuring it in September - guised up a bit too, if you need/want to take it in a slightly more formal/office appropriate direction.

I love the perky row of good sized white plastic buttons, too. They're sweet and fun and make accessorizing a cinch, as white and denim both go with darn near every colour under the sun. I like to pull to colours from my garments for my accessories a lot of the time, so in this case, I brought white into the picture again via one of my vintage bangle bracelets and also care of my pearl earrings (themselves as timeless as the day is long).

For some other styling options when it comes to Vivien of Holloway's terrific day dresses (seriously, I can't, and as always I say this without a lick of bias, praise these classic 1940s style dress highly enough), here are some images from the company themselves of the Tea Dress in different colours, as well as their similar, casual styles the Kitty (some versions of which are currently on sale), Run Around Sue, and Anna Sundresses, respectively (please click on an image to be taken to its VOH page).



























While Vivien of Holloway asked me to put together two outfit posts featuring this great dark denim tea dress, I'm so madly in love with it and its ability to instantly set the tone for an early to mid-1940s ensemble, that I'm sure you'll see it many a time again in the months and years to come, both here on my blog and on YouTube. It's my new favourite repro day dress and the first garment in a very, very long time to get me excited about wearing shoulder pads - which, I promise you, is no small feat! :)

45 comments:

  1. Wow these dresses are so cute. I love that they are above the elbows, because a lot of shirt dresses i have worn previously are 3/4 sleeves which either get stuck on my elbows (probably because of my long skinny arms) or feel really tight at the bottom of the sleeves (which makes no sense because long skinny arms...). I love how you styled this with the green accessories. It looks great with your hair! I am also really starting to like the forties. It's not an era that I have ever really thought too much about before, but the forties and the thirties fashions i am seeing on pinterest lately are just gorgeous!

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  2. Your heading made me laugh and your pretty photos made me smile. That's a home-run in my book.

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  3. I <3 this outfit! I've looked at their tea dresses before, but didn't really love them *that* much, but you just might have convinced me to give this version a go! I'm a little fussy about how in-set short sleeves make me feel, but oh how lovely you look with the hunter green accents! You really can't go wrong with a basic navy blue dress. I forsee lots of layering possibilities!

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  4. Amo esses vestidos, e você linda como sempre, vestido perfeito <3
    Beijos

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  5. I LOVE this dress! You look amazing in it! :)

    I rarely ever buy repro. Real Deal vintage is so affordable in Winnipeg I often can't justify paying three times the price for a new piece of clothing.

    Lisa.

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    1. Thank you very much, lovely Lisa! I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Winnipeg is Canada's hidden vintage gem and you are so fortunate to be able to live there and avail of its reasonably priced vintage offerings. I hope that one day, when I finally (!) make it out there, the prices will still be wonderfully wallet friendly.

      ♥ Jessica

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  6. Just gorgeous! I ADORE this outfit. The green accessories mixed with the denim are lovely. They do have some absolutely perfect dresses, and I'm fond of the other ones you've featured here, too. Stop tempting me--I'm supposed to be on a clothing drought! ;)

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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  7. ahh!!! fantastic dress!!!!
    and gorgeous styling with the green and tan! i can totally see why you love this dress - i would too! you look wonderful in it!
    can´t wait to see the other look!!!!!
    <3

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  8. Pretty dresses! I only have two outfits with shoulder pads - they are both blazers. I love wearing them though, I feel like I am so much more powerful somehow! I love your green hairnet. I really want one!

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    1. Thank you very much, lovely Holly. Snoods are the bee's knees and then some! I can't recommend trying them out highly enough. I'd suggest starting with some neutral hues and/or colours you wear a lot of, so as to ensure they go with the largest number of outfits, and then expanding out from there. This particular one comes from a lady in your homeland (I link to her shop in the outfit details area above), who has really reasonable prices for handmade snoods. I've gotten nearly all of mine from her over the years and am totally satisfied with each and every one so far.

      ♥ Jessica

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  9. Love the Most Interesting Man in the world reference, that really made me laugh. And that dress is utterly fabulous on you! I feel like I say that about a lot of your outfits, but I think this is one of my favorite looks that you've ever done. Perfectly cute and casual and 40s. I really wish Vivien of Holloway was more available here in the US, I would love to get my hands on some of their pieces.
    <3<3
    Jessica, cakesandcakesvintage.blogspot.com

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  10. This is so gorgeous and such a lovely silhouette! Love the denim accented with dark green (especially with your hair color)! :-)
    -Melissa

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  11. Love the dress and the snood is perfect!

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  12. I really love this look, the dress looks fabulous on your figure! When someone mentions shoulder pads one can't help but immediately conjure images of the oversized '80s variety but these really are so flattering and really set the '40s tone. I love how you've styled the dress with the green accessories, particularly the lovely snood.

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  13. Wonderful dress! i really need to buy a snood like that.. So sweet!

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  14. oh, i could ogle over VOH dresses/clothing in general all day long. i'd love to own a pair of their denim swing trousers as well as the bright black and pink floral dress you featured in the last part of your post. i do have to say that a denim/chambray dress really does come in handy. much like a pair of jeans it is versatile and comfy. and you can never go wrong with denim. :)

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    1. That is precisely how a see a great denim dress like this, too, and why I opted for it from amongst the different styles that VOH proposed for a review piece. I have a couple of 80s denim dresses, which are lovely and fun, but they don't look quite as old school as this fab VOH one. This has become my new go-to daywear dress, even venturing to the dog park some days, and is so worth purchasing, if one is in the market for a denim repro frock (it's well made, sturdy, comfy, versatile and gorgeous!).

      ♥ Jessica

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  15. You can definitely pull off shoulder pads. I actually think they look good on smaller shouldered people (like us) as long as they are not too large, and these aren't, and I agree a denim dress is super practical for daily life while still being that bit more glamourous than jeans. I have to share that I wore quite large shoulder pads in the late 80's (blush) on business suits and dresses, nowhere near as pretty as this one!

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    1. Size definitely matters when it comes to shoulder pads, I agree. Anything bigger than this and I doubt I would have left them in place, as I'd all too quickly look like a linebacker. :D

      Thank you for the lovely comment, dear Philippa!
      ♥ Jessica

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  16. The snood looks great on you!
    I have one in red somewhere. Since my hair is short now no point wearing it!
    http://balearaitzart.blogspot.com.au/

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  17. Shoulder pads carry the 80s power suit stigma, but they can really make or break an authentic 40s silhouette! These ones are perfect, staying away from the linebacker chic look! Not to mention, for denim it sure looks breezy and comfortable!

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  18. BEAUTIFUL dress! I was actually eyeing the pink striped version of it not too recently! This dress looks absolutely lovely on you, I love how 40s shirtwaist dresses have a strong authoritarian look to them (but in the best way!!), whereas 50s shirtwaists are girlier and more "princessy" hehe. I love both styles of shirtwaist dresses so much! Looking forward to your next VoH posts :D

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  19. Everything about this outfit is brilliant!! You accessorized this dress perfectly. I love to add color to an otherwise chromatically challenged garment with great accessories and you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for sharing your take on this great garment. P.S. a great snood IS a fabulous thing, I have made 5 or 6 so far and love wearing them.

    Knitting in Pearls

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  20. Loving the navy and green!
    (And if you DO ever decide to come to Australia.... :D)

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    1. It's a date, dear Bex!!! I really, massively want to make it that far from home someday, so you never know. :)

      ♥ Jessica

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  21. I've been known to cut the shoulder pads out of a few items that have made their way into my wardrobe...they can definitely be a little overwhelming on a petite frame, but they definitely fit well with the nature of this dress!

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  22. ...but when you do... you look absolutely fabulous! i'm absolutely in love with this 1940s wartime look. it has such a great silhouette and i just can't get enough of that dress!
    another great outfit full of inspiration, thank you!
    -Abigail

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  23. Fantastic dress, I was hoping we'd hear about it after I watched your YouTube video! I love how you accented it with green accessories!

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  24. I hear you on the shoulder pads, but as I've uh...er...*grown (cough) wiser* I find that my shoulders ain't what they used to be and can look kinda er...uh...*bony*. So hang onto them in a bag somewhere because twenty years from now you may want all those discarded shoulder pads ;) If not, they're useful for constructing wings on puppets!

    I adore this dress on you. I love how you styled it (though you really can't go wrong with green) and I'll repeat what everyone else has noted-that is an excellent snood. I don't buy much repro, but I would consider that dress. I kinda like the ones Fleur is wearing too (on her, not on me). Your snood maker will be busy because I think we're all going to stampede over there now to order now!

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  25. I love this outfit, you have styled it so well. It makes me want to go straight out and copy it! I really like the dress and the colour of the snood suits you so well. Those scatter pins are very pretty and look great sprinkled over the dress. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you very much, splendidly sweet Kate - that is such a high compliment! Please don't hesitate to share a snap or two with me if you to try your hand at this same kind of ensemble anytime. I'd love to see your iteration of it.

      Big hugs & happy Friday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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    2. I will do! I have a snood on order. I have been wanting one for a while since my hair grew long enough to fill one. My crochet skills aren't up to making my own yet so
      I was pleased to see your link to the seller of yours. Thanks!

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    3. How exciting!!! What colour did you pick for your first (I'm making a leap and guessing it's your first) snood? I'd bought some really inexpensive ones on eBay years back and wore them every now and then, but they were so cheap the colours bleed onto my clothes if they got wet in the rain or snow, so that pretty much landed them in the bin on the double!. I didn't get my first really good snood until I won a blog giveaway for one around the start of 2013. It was love at first wearing and since then I've collected over a dozen of them - with no plans to stop anytime soon! :)

      My pleasure, dear Kate - hope you love your new snood!

      ♥ Jessica

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    4. My snoods arrived yesterday! As you read that you will have noticed the plural, I couldn't choose between two colours so ended up treating myself to them both! They are indeed my first and second ventures into snood territory. The first colour that leapt out at me was a teal one as I just adore that colour. But then I kept being drawn back to a glorious emerald one like yours and somehow that ended up in my basket too! I hope you don't mind. I need to get playing with my hair this weekend!

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    5. Gorgeous colour choices!!! I don't mind at all - in fact, I'm really touched that seeing my dark green hued one inspired you to want one of your own. That's such a lovely compliment! Have a blast playing around with your new 40s perfect accessories, my sweet friend.

      ♥ Jessica

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    6. Thanks Jessica, that is lovely of you!

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  26. Of course this dress is a VOH I Love it, I swear one Day i'll own one haha.

    You are beautiful like this, loving the dress but also those green accessories you knew how to combinate With the lot. Bracelet and mostly the snood which I adore ! Its à summer simple look that suits you Well.

    I wish you à happy summer Jessica !
    Love From Paris (yes I havent really been on holidays yet..)

    Lorna

    Http://lornasharp.blogspot.com

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  27. Navy and green! Now that's a color combo I don't think I've tried, but I ADORE it on you! It's darling!!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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    1. Thank you very much, darling Janey! It - with or without burgundy or oxblood involved - was actually one of my favourite and most commonly worn palettes between the ages of about nine and thirteen years of age (thanks in no small part to a fabulous denim shirtwaist dress that I had for a couple of years during that span) and has remained a firm fave to this day. I think it would look breathtaking on you as well!

      ♥ Jessica

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  28. Now that I think of it, its been kind of long since I last wore shoulderpads ;)
    Jessica, you wear that dress perfectly ! I think its one of my favorite dresses on you.
    Not only do i like the dress and how it flatters your figure but the entire outfit..
    The buttons, the matching vintage leaf pins... I am wondering how you put an outfit together. Did you start with the dress ?

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  29. It is really a lovely dress and I love that you have styled it with green accessories, which is not most peoples first choice I suppose. And such a great list of lovely dresses. I fell completely in love with the pink and black with flowers stribed one, but alas too expensive for my purse. But I will add VoH to my DK/UK list, which I have to work on soon. We have lots of bad weather in Denmark to sit in front of the pc and read and write. ;)

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    1. Thank you very much, my darling friend! I've always really, really loved inky blue denim and dark green together. I wore that combo quite a lot as a child and a passion for it has stuck with me ever since (I'll often add burgundy or oxblood to the mix as well).

      Fingers crossed that the weather perks up for you soon - it's too early in the year for winter to start!
      ♥ Jessica

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  30. I like this! The green touch is so lovely!

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