August 6, 2013

Brag Vintage online shop and product review





Outfit details

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












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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.

44 comments:

  1. The hat is gorgeous Jessica :)
    http://balearaitzart.blogspot.com.au/

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  2. It's such a beautiful dress. What a pity it's too large for you!

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  3. Sorry to hear you are feeling bad. You look lovely, as always. And you are so great at styling. I adore the green necklace. ... on to reading backwards. My job takes too much of my time. ;)

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  4. Beautiful colors. Love your gloves. You evoke a vintage vibe better 'an anyone.

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  5. I think it would be well worth having it altered, because it is a very pretty pattern, the colours are lovely. I really like those gloves you are wearing, so elegant, as are your earrings.

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  6. Love the outfit, especially all the accessories - they really do help detract from the dress's '80s vibe. As I'm in the UK I'm always interested to hear about new UK vintage sellers. I just followed the link to the tea dress and it does look lovely - but I would like to have the age of a garment posted as well as the measurements. Thanks for the review though.

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  7. Loving all the accessories shots in this post! Shame the dress is a bit big but I think it works pretty well anyway.

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  8. Dear,
    have you changed your makeup a bit?
    It looks nice. Really nice.... and in case you haven't changed a thing - you look refreshed.

    LOVE, love, love your 1950's straw hat.

    Marija

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    1. Thank you very much, darling Marija! No, save for the fact that I'm wearing pink lipstick (my go-to pink, Raspberry Glace from Clinique) here instead of red or burgundy, as I often do, nothing has changed from my usual "face". I think the gentle late afternoon lighting (something of a rarity for this time of year) and pale grey brick wall behind me gave a soft, almost dreamy quality to some of these shots and can totally see why you thought I might have altered my make-up because of these elements.

      Big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. The dress looks great on you - the purple really suits you! Shame that you say it's too big though you've done a good job in making it fit! I'm always really careful now in making sure the dresses I buy are the right measurements as some styles are more difficult to either adjust or alter completely.

    I hope the website adds some mid century items too as I will be keen to check it out, especially as it is based in the UK.

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  10. Loving the close up pictures of the hat. It really give the dress a more older vintage vibe, you styled it great! It looks like it should be fairly easy to take in most 80's dresses were more simply sewn than older pieces making them easier to alter. I checked out the site I really should order more vintage online I don't have much luck in person! Lovely outfit post as always.

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  11. Its tricky business ordering online. I feel like its the risk you take, some are winners and others not so much. Like I have purchased dresses with my measurements exactly but the cut and length weren't good for me. I love the colors on you though. You def need to do a post on colors. You and Brittany are so flippin good about colors-I need a Colors 101 class hehehe xox

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    1. Hello dear Bunny, it certainly can be, but fortunately most of the time I have fairly decent luck. This dress was a lovely review product and I'm not as crushed that it's too large as I would have been if I purchased it out of pocket. Of course, ideally, one wants their clothing to fit no matter how it comes to live in their closet, but perhaps I was slated to own this dress for a little while, share it here, and then pass it on to the next wearer. We'll see!

      Awww, thank you deeply. I've actually got two posts planned for the fall all about colour (and how it pertains to one's wardrobe), so I'm extra happy that you said what you (so sweetly!) did. Thank you!

      ♥ Jessica

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  12. You look absolutely lovely. I am so very sorry you weren't feeling well. I so hope that you are feeling better now!
    Thank you for this honest and informative review. I'm headed over to check out their shop now!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn

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  13. I love the flower pattern of the dress and the colors of the outfit ♥

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  14. I think that altering the dress would be worthwhile, the print is very pretty.
    I am so drawn to those gorgeous earrings... they seem to be carved-

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    1. Hello sweet Lorena, thank you very much. The earrings are raised floral cameos, just like the type that would be set in a brooch. I often make my own jewelry, and to create these similar, yet elegant, earrings, I merely used some sturdy glue to attach them to nickel-free earring posts. If you'd ever like me to make you a similar pair (as a gift of course; I say similar because I'm not sure off the top of my head if I have two more floral cameos like this in my crafting supply stash at the moment), just zip an email my way and I'll happy send some to you, dear gal.

      ♥ Jessica

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  15. Wow, this is gorgeous!
    I will admit, I'm kind of judgmental with 80s and 90s clothes...... but I'm going to have to open my mind! This looks beautiful!

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Emileigh. Unless I'm intentionally going for such a look (which is uber rare), I don't wear 80s fashions to channel an 80s style look, but I do enjoy utilizing those "1980s does 1940s or 50s" or truly classic pieces of the era to create the kind of mid-century looks that I so adore. In fact, this is a topic I'm planning a blog post on in the near future, because I really believe that taking advantage of (such) 80s garments is something just about all vintage fans can benefit from.

      ♥ Jessica

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  16. I'm glad you got the owners to make the site work for you. More importantly: You are wearing purple gloves! You are truly living your life!

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  17. Those colours look lovely on you! Very beautiful, Jessica! Pity about the sizing though!

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  18. I love that color on you! I do see though, that the dress looks a bit too blouse-y. I really love your hat!

    Abbi

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  19. Cuuuute outfit! I love the hat :) Too bad about the sizing though!

    heyniki.wordpress.com

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  20. I do love how you accessorized this dress (the necklace and gloves really brought out the pattern colours); too bad about the sizing!

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Jill! I think of you whenever I wear this (recently acquired) necklace, as it's c. 1930s. The same goes for another (c.1920s) moulded Czech glass bead necklace that I bought at the same time from a darling elderly jewelry seller in Okanagan Falls around the start of this summer. I don't own many things from either the 20s or 30s (much as I love them both), so the few that I do always make me think of you and your passion for these two decades.

      ♥ Jessica

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  21. Oh, that hat! And those gloves! Both are items I really ought to start wearing more this fall. You'll keep me inspired! Anyway, I love that dress on you. Although it's from the 80s, it definitely has that sweet, old-fashioned vibe.

    May the Force be with you.
    Emily

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  22. i love that you have purple gloves to match your dress, i feel like they're not something that's easy to come by so it's great that you have them! and i love your hate too, i've been thinking about buying some pretty vintage hats but i just don't know if i'd get enough wear out of them in everyday life. they really add so much extra to an outfit though! you look lovely as you always do. :)

    little henry lee

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  23. J√°dore those colours on you! Those gloves are such a wonderful shade of lilac (often the lilac purple gloves I see are a bit faded)and the print is electric back with those green beads. Sorry that it's too big...I know that experience. Hopefully someone can run it in artfully for you. I bought a dress that was a few inches too big in the bust and hip (seller measured incorrectly) recently and was able to re-set the back zip and run in the sides a smidge. Now it fits quite well. Sorry I've been absent for a bit...lots and lots on with family at the moment. xx Shauna

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    1. Hello dearest Shauna, thank you very much! I love this palette, too. It combines my colour of this year (green) with what I highly suspect will become 2014's, purple. I love purple but own relatively little of it and want to work on changing that in the coming year (and beyond).

      How wonderful that you were able to have that dress reset to fit properly. Interestingly, when I buy online and something doesn't fit as per the measurements given, it's more often too big than too small - which don't get wrong, is my preference of the two anytime. It's almost always easier to make something smaller than it is to increase its size.

      Please don't worry for the tiniest of moments, I know immensely busy this time of the year can be (no matter what hemisphere one lives in). It seems like a lot of folks are blogging and visiting blogs less at the moment. I know that if my health would let me, I'd be out and about a lot more while the sun is shinning these days, too. I really appreciate your lovely comment and visit, and hope that things are well on your end, my sweet friend.

      ♥ Jessica

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  24. Dress looks really nice, print is amazing and I'm sorry to hesr that it doesn't fit you :/
    Oh, and details - hat, necklace, earrings... gorgeous :)

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  25. So sorry u have not been feeling well 80s dresses r hard to pull off but u manage it often by looser things n winch the waist
    Urban hounds

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    1. Oh my spelling I meant to say I often buy looser things and cinch the waist, eek must blame phone typing

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    2. No worries at all, dear Kate, I knew what you were trying to say. It's totally okay :)

      I'll almost always take something that is too large over something that's too small anyday. Reigning in fabric or tailoring a garment to make it smaller is typically much easier than expanding it.

      Big hugs and many thanks for all of your great blog comments,
      ♥ Jessica

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  26. I really hope you're feeling a bit better dear Jessica, and anyway, you look absolutely beautiful! This dress is lovely and I love that hat with the beautiful rose, very pretty and cute colors!
    Much love dear girl!
    Melodie
    http://sevenlivesandmore.blogspot.fr/

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  27. I also am going to have to change my mind ... I never thought that a 80s dress work so well to get a 40s look! It's a shame that the size is big on you .... and it´s a shame that you and I live so far, hehe. (wink)

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  28. It does look large on your very small frame. However the print is very pretty. What about washing it in hot water and then drying it? Sometimes that shrinks things so fast and will fit much better. I find I I have to do that quite often with my garments.

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  29. Love your blog, Jessica -- I'm so happy I found it and now I'm your newest follower! The dress, hat & gloves look great together.
    Hope you're feeling better...
    Anne
    http://kitschy-vintage.blogspot.com

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  30. Hey,
    this dress is lovely - just as the rest of your outfit :)
    Love it
    Tabea

    http://wolkedrei.blogspot.de/

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  31. You trooper! Getting dolled up for blog photos on a bad health day. I commend you my dear friend!

    I also commend you for writing an honest review. It can be difficult give constructive criticism. I often sit for long periods of time when writing shop reviews when something was not to my liking. I never want to out and out bash the shop, but somehow tell it like it is in way that is straight forward and honest. I also try to find some things that I found positive and buffer the negative with those. You did a great job reviewing!

    Hope you're feeling better! :)
    Lisa.

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    1. Thank you deeply, dear Lisa, that means a great deal to me. ♥

      I'm exactly the same way (especially because I have an incredibly strong lifelong fear of confrontation, and let's face it, if you're not saying 100% positive things about someone/something, you can elicit confrontational situations). I love being honest but would never go out of my way to bash or be unnecessarily negative about anyone or anything. Nothing in life is perfect, but it's always better to focus on the good, IMO, and that is a principle I try to adhere to in posts such as this.

      ♥ Jessica

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  32. Your dress looks lovely on you even if it is a bit big and that might be one of the cutest hats I've seen in awhile!

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  33. How wonderful you are in these photos!! I think that the colour of your dress really suits you. And the hat, the gloves, the bag... you are a real lady, so elegant and chic!!

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  34. I like this color scheme a lot - and really admire your talent for mixing shades of colors, I'd love to get better at this myself (-:

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  35. A rare color to see on you and it suits you so well! Goodness, purple and greens, and pinks, and reds...okay all the colors seem to look pretty fantastic on you!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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