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Blogs/sites/shops for 50s-ish style? General advice on dressing well?
March 21, 2014 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to acquirerevamp my style to something a little more sophisticated. I find myself drawn to some of the stuff Elizabeth Taylor used to wear back in the 50s --- something that looks flattering and feminine on a more broad-shouldered torso. But I'm a novice at this and would welcome advice as well as recommendations on how to pick cuts as well as on shops/sites/blogs. Snowflake details inside.

So....I've lost a lot of weight in the past year, after being fairly heavy most of my adult life. Yay, etc. I have a bit more to go, but my progress has been pretty steady and I anticipate I'll be shifting into maintenance in a few months. Which means it's going to be time to buy a shit load of clothes pretty soon. Not super-surprisingly, I used to dread clothes shopping and did it pretty rarely, and I feel like I'm basically starting from scratch here trying to develop some actual adult style. Also, my body is now a different shape, and I'm trying to figure out how to make it look good.

So I've been looking around, trying to sort of get some inspiration of body types that sort of match what I'm working with here so I can figure out how to dress it, and so far what I've landed on is old-school Taylor. I don't have her waist, but the shoulder/neckline I think is kind of similar. It's a bit pointless to give any measurements at the moment, but basically I've got a medium sized rack (C-cup, I think? a proper bra fitting is on the list), fairly broad shoulders and a long torso and stumpy legs. Average height. I'm in my 30s.

I tend to be drawn toward more structured, detail-y things, and dislike the flowery, the frilly and the fro-fou. But like I said, broad shoulders; I don't want to look mannish, either. So I'm trying to find sources for clothes that have some of that classic profile/cut, but aren't the full on house-wifey style. More Joan Holloway than Betty Draper, and more modern than either. Suggestions? Anyone out there who can tell me what sorts of necklines/hemlines etc. to avoid and which to favor? Or have sources for blogs and things that can help the hapless with that stuff?
posted by maggiepolitt to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you look up "pin-up clothing" online you'll get a ton of 50's style clothing and dresses from places like http://www.unique-vintage.com for instance.

I love this style of clothing as well, but in my experience too often the materials they are made of are a bit too cheap for my taste. Not always though.

My boobs have shrunk over the past few years without me losing weight elsewhere so I don't wear this stuff anymore. lol.
posted by manderin at 5:12 PM on March 21


I think you might really like Shabby Apple. They've got a lot of retro-inspired clothes that don't look costumey; some of the styles are a little too precious, but most are pretty wearable.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:28 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Re bras, check out /r/abrathatfits -- many in-store fitters leave much to be desired. Cup size without band size is meaningless (a 34C has the same cup volume as a 30DD or a 38A). This is just one of the many things to learn about bras! Check out the bra band project for images of women in properly fitted bras.

I see you've already found Modcloth; they sell the aesthetic you're looking for, but are on the lower end quality-wise. For higher-end items (or at least inspiration), you might want to check out Elie Tahari, Reiss, or Rachel Roy. Some Kate Spade or Trina Turk may also fit your tastes (though they have a tendency to get flowery). Words to look for: structured, sheath, a-line, shirtwaist/shirtdress, house dress. Words to avoid: bodycon (unless you have no rolls whatsoever, these are not forgiving), shift, wrap, bias, empire, drop waist, tunic.

Don't be afraid of alterations -- it is very unlikely that anything will fit perfectly off the rack. Something like nipping in a waist or shortening a hem is simple, but something like restructuring an armscye or jacket shoulders is difficult (i.e. expensive).
posted by melissasaurus at 5:32 PM on March 21


Trashy Diva out of New Orleans. Everything made in USA, good quality. A bit pricey but worth it.
posted by matildaben at 5:39 PM on March 21


Seconding melissasaurus for keywords, and the importance of alterations. For another '50s fitted silhouette/"New Look"/hourglass-y inspirational icon, one with proportions more similar to yours (broad shoulders, long torso with shortish-to-average length legs), you might want to look to Ava Gardner.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:38 PM on March 21


You want eshakti - they have tons of dresses that match what you're looking for. As a bonus, you can have the dresses made to your measurements and/or have things changed (sleeves added, necklines altered) on many items.
posted by leitmotif at 8:32 PM on March 21


Also, the custom-clothing Etsy shop HeartMyCloset, and the Stop Staring Clothing company.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:42 PM on March 21


My wife tends to like vintage-style dresses and goes nuts for Modcloth stuff. I mean if you want Joan Holloway, this red dress is pretty holy shit Joan.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:56 PM on March 21


Thanks, everyone, these are pretty great. Ghostride, I had my eye on the blue version of that dress...
posted by maggiepolitt at 2:22 PM on March 22


Eshakti has some of what you're looking for.
posted by cnc at 11:30 AM on March 24


One of my favorite sources for retro-inspired clothing is Heart of Haute (formerly Heartbreaker Fashion).
posted by LaurenIpsum at 7:17 AM on March 25


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