Friday, July 11, 2008

Modern Women in Retro Dresses

I've been watching a whole lot of Mad Men lately (amazing show, on AMC, second season starts July 27th!), and it's making me wish I could dress like those women all the time. I mean, how gorgeous is this dress on Betty (the blonde)? That blue sash, that full skirt, that cone bra! I want one to wear to class or the grocery store or what have you. Also, on a side note, the woman on left used to be married to George Clooney! She was once the luckiest woman in the world, and now she's the woman who ruined Clooney for everyone else, since he swore off marriage after their divorce. And she's also married to John Slattery now, who is a silver fox of a slightly lesser quality than Clooney.

Anyway, the show has inspired me to hunt around for some old-fashioned style dresses. I'm not too picky about the era-- I just want to look like I've stepped out of a time machine.

Ben Sherman is celebrating some sort of anniversary, so to celebrate they're selling a dress designed in the last five decades (or something-- I think I deleted the email with all the details). Some of the dresses are fug, but I love the Didi dress, $299. I believe that this dress is supposed to be from the eighties, but it seems way more 40's, screwball comedy, His Girl Friday. The houndstooth skirt is a classic touch, and the tucked in shirt plus pleating will make your waist look tiny. I want to wear this with some badass pointy-toed pumps, and then go in and demand a raise (... at my unpaid internship), because I'm worth it, dammit.

Also from Ben Sherman, the Dunnaway Dress, $94.99, has a fun sixties vibe that I adore. The length and cut is very mod-- if you really wanted to go with the theme, you could rock some go-go boots. But it doesn't have to be costume-y; the grey fabric is more modern, plus it counteracts the sweetness of the plaid bow.

So I recently discovered the site Blue Velvet Vintage, which sells both authentic vintage and vintage-inspired reproductions. Remember Blair's perfect blue sailor dress she wore in the Gossip Girl finale? It's from Blue Velvet.

I think this black and white floral sundress, $119.99, looks like it could be straight out of Betty Draper's closet. I can see her wearing this to a dinner party with her husband's boss, or to her psychiatrist's office, or while trimming the roses... everywhere. I think my favorite thing about these retro-style dresses is their emphasis on the waist. I'm a firm believer that under no circumstances would your waist be obscured, especially if you have the curves to really create an hourglass silhouette. The dress in this photo has a petticoat underneath-- I mean, talk about creating an eye-catching shape. But the overall look of the dress is so classic that I don't think a petticoat would leave you feeling like an extra from Gone with the Wind. The red sash with that swirling pattern? It doesn't get any better than that.

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