BEST OF: 10 Perfect Autumn Jumpers

I’m not saying summer is over yet – but I am saying that I spent the last weekend wearing jumpers for the first time in what feels like about six months! So, what better than to share my top ten reproduction vintage jumpers, as we reel from the summer sales and think about getting cosy and ready for September to come round?

 

1. Miss Fortune: Bobbie ‘Space Age’ Jumper

Price: £38.49

Sizes: XS-XXL

Blast off into autumn with your own piece of retro spacey cuteness – head to Miss Fortune’s website

 

2. Lindy Bop: ‘Menise’ Black Stripe Cardigan

Black and white striped lindy bop cardigan

Price: £25

Sizes: 6-26

I am obsessed with stripes. OBSESSED. Get yours here.

 

3. Mak: Jennie Cardigan

Top Vintage image of the MAK cardigan

Price: €34.95 (Top Vintage are based overseas, but are currently customs free for UK buyers)

Sizes: S-XL

Top Vintage currently stocks these gorgeous 50s-style cardis in a range of different colours, including this dreamy green Jennie. Check out the range from Top Vintage

 

4. Collectif: Rose Brocade Jumper

Collectif rose brocade jumper

Price: £39

Sizes: 6-22

(How many Collectif jumpers is too many jumpers? Asking for a friend.) I missed out on this green rose brocade jumper last year, so I am over the moon they’ve brought it back for AW18. Shop yours now.

 

5. Heart of Haute: Betty Bolero

Image from Top Vintage - this is the Betty bolero

Price: €44.95 (Top Vintage are based overseas, but are currently customs free for UK buyers)

Sizes: XS-XL

Boleros are perfect as the nights get cooler, but you don’t want anything too heavy. I am ample chested and often find that boleros end up getting stuck in my armpits, so a massive HELL YES to this genius tie-front option. This is currently only available in XS from Top Vintage, but I am praying they restock my size soon.

 

6. Monki: Fine knit cotton top

Price: £20

Sizes: XXS-XL

I recently discovered Monki, and I can’t get enough of them. Their sizing is generous, in tops at least, and I love finding little pieces like this that give me serious 40s/50s vibes. You can buy Monki items online here.

 

7. Voodoo Vixen: Cora ‘Panther’ Cardigan

 

Price: £32

Sizes: S-XXL

I love my fashion to be playful and quirky, and this cardigan ticks both of those boxes! Slightly sock-puppet-esque, this is honestly one of the best novelty jumpers I’ve seen this year. Snap up this purrfect cardi here.

 

8. Banned: Hudson Bolero

Hudson bolero in black from Top Vintage

Price: €29.95

Sizes: S-4XL

This lovely soft bolero comes in such a range of colours, including mint and baby yellow, but I still love a good black wardrobe staple. It also comes in a huge variety of sizes too! Banned Apparel is available from Top Vintage, and you can shop the range of colours here.

 

9. Voodoo Vixen: Julia Cardigan

Red burgundy cardigan from Voodoo Vixen

Price: £37

Sizes: S-XXL

I love the range of 40s knitwear I’ve seen coming out this year, and as a cheaper alternative to some of the other brands out there, this Julia jumper is just the ticket. If red isn’t your colour, there’s also a bright mustard version. Both are available from Voodoo Vixen’s website.

 

10. Hell Bunny: Vamp Jumper

Black jumper with white collar and bat detailing. Hell Bunny knitwear.

Price: £35.99

Sizes: XS-XL

Not that I’m getting excited for Hallowe’en or anything, but I am batsh*t crazy for this! Wing your way over to Hell Bunny’s new (and very fancy) website to get your hands on one of these amazing jumpers.

 

* Please note: All product images are from the product links as seen here, I do not own any of these images. These are NOT ads or affiliate links, I just love these jumpers! x

Out At Sea: A Coastal-Inspired Summer Look

There are two things I love in life (other than Norman, my long-suffering plant buddy) and they are both patterns – tartan, and stripes. I live in tartan through winter, and most staples in my wardrobe do share a theme. Stripes are catching up though – and is it no wonder when Collectif bring out beauties like their lovely gathered Jasmine skirts in a vertical navy and white stripe?! From the very second I saw this skirt, I knew I needed it. I hope you agree that the purchase was entirely justified – it’s beautiful!

standing in front of mural with sun hat wearing collectif skirt

The weather was forecast to be sunny and somewhere between 25 and 27 degrees, so I actually started with my silly oversized sun hat, and thought I’d build an outfit around it. I felt as though it was sending me beachy coastal vibes, so I naturally reached for my striped Jasmine skirt, and dressed entirely in navy and white to match. My bag adds a little subtle colour, and I think softens the look a little – and last I checked, this was in the Asos sale so you might be able to get hold of it for a bargain price!

I’m not going to review the hat, as it was just an Accessorize one I got in an airport…maybe six years ago? I can’t remember where I was going but it was definitely hot enough that I felt compelled to buy the largest and silliest hat on offer. Or maybe it was the cheapest – either way, this was in the pre-Instagram days, and before now I don’t actually think I’ve ever been pictured in it. I thought I’d take it out of retirement and try to make it part of a summery nautical outfit – and I think it works!

The real star of this outfit though is the Jasmine skirt. She’s a gathered skirt with a matching fabric waistband and navy and white stripes. I’m wearing her with a Malco Modes ‘Jennifer’ petticoat, which helps give it fullness and that gorgeous 50s silhouette. Length-wise, this skirt is longer than the other Jasmine skirts at 26” long. If it helps, I am just over 5’8” and when wearing her at my natural waist, it sits at about 1.5” below the knee. I imagine it might be too long for those ladies lucky enough to be shorter than me and might need to be hemmed to sit just right.

sunglasses side view of Asos bag

As with all my Collectif items, it washes well. I’m so tired of buying the perfect item, only to find marked in tiny words on the label the dreaded words ‘DRY CLEAN ONLY’. No problem with this striped beauty! I wash all my items on a 30 degrees wash, and this has washed perfectly with no colour bleeding. (Though it’s worth saying that I do always throw in a colour catcher, just in case, if i’m washing anything with white in it!)

The skirt has my favourite feature – a hidden back zip, but best of all a hook-and-eye at the top. This means the zip doesn’t run the risk of undoing itself and adds extra fit and security. And if the item is a tiny bit big at the waist, I can always unpick the hook and eye and move them so it fits a bit more snugly.

To me, the fabric has less of a stretch cotton feel and more of a slight woven linen feel – it definitely seems to have less stretch than other Collectif Jasmine skirts. The Collectif website says it is 97% cotton and 3% spandex though, so it should stretch a little. It just feels less generous to me. I sized up from my normal size 10 to a size 12 and whilst it is slightly loose, I think it would have felt uncomfortable in a size 10 so I’m glad I did. For comparison, I’m currently waist 29”- the 10 is 28” and the 12 is 30” so I would say this is pretty true to the size chart. That said, I do have cotton Jasmine’s in a 10 that fit me well with my 29” waist – I honestly feel like the fabric of them alters their fit and for me, this one is on the ‘less stretch but true to size’ side of things. I also notice that the price point is different for them too – this striped one is currently £40.50, whereas the fruit print skirts are £45.50. (The fruit skirts are also just over 25” long rather than 26”, so the cuts seem inconsistent too!)

So, to summarise, I would wholeheartedly recommend trying on your Jasmine for fit beforehand as you may find yourself – like me – buying the same skirt style in two different sizes if the fabric is a little different.

wearing floppy sun hat with arm on top of head

 

I wore my skirt with a navy vest top from Next, in a size 10. I love these vest tops and I have about ten of them in all sorts of colours. Why? Well, firstly they’re cheap – I think they’re 3 for £12.99. They’re long enough in the body for me to be able to tuck them in and hold them in place, and they fit my 30G boobs without showing all of my bra and without drowning my waist in fabric. They also wash superbly. Ample-chested friends? These might just be the vest tops of your dreams. You’re welcome.

showing cropped bag side view from Asos with sunglasses

The white cropped cardigan is a MAK one and I really think it goes with the white/navy theme. They’re available in a number of colours at Deadly Is The Female which is my go-to place for these darling cardigans. They’re the perfect thing to throw over your shoulders as a light cover-up, whether it’s the sun or a light breeze. I imagine I’ll be wearing a rainbow of them over summer! I’m wearing this one in size medium, which fits me perfectly. Medium is equivalent to a size UK 10-12. To match in with the white, I added these fabulous vintage-inspired acrylic showstopper earrings from Oh So Flamingo, whose earrings are outrageously cheap and outstandingly beautiful. These are the ‘Petal’ earrings in white, which I bought from her Etsy shop for a budget-friendly £5.

oh so flamingo earring

To bring everything together, I decided to wear this cute little shell pink scalloped cross body bag, which is the perfect size for a phone, a wallet, and a lip balm. I think it also adds a nice finish to the rest of the outfit! I love Asos for lovely little novelty and cross body bags.

showing cropped bag side view from Asos

Overall, I really love this coastal-inspired look and it was a really comfortable outfit to wear for a day out – even if the wind kept trying to steal away my hat! Is this picture below showing me wistfully staring after my hat as it tumbles away across East London? Um…probably.

jasmine skirt from collectif in front of mural in east london

Floppy sun hat : Accessorize (old)

Navy vest top : Next 

White cropped cardigan : MAK via Deadly Is The Female 

‘Jasmine’ Skirt : Collectif 

Pink scalloped bag : Asos

Earrings : Oh So Flamingo 

Weekly Quirk – Issue 06


Issue 06 : 08 May 2018


Welcome to my weekly digest, covering things I’ve been reading, and interesting fact, my favourite posts on Instagram and a few things I’ve spotted that are on my shopping list. 

I feel like I’ve walked out of a dark room after being trapped inside for about 6 months – finally, the sun is peeping through my window at about 6:30, and the city feels more…alive. It’s amazing how just a little taste of summer makes everyone that much nicer.

I’m really sad that the bank holiday weekend is over, as it has been absolute perfection. We’ve been spoiled by the blue skies and the unusually warm weather, and I’ve eaten ALL.THE.FOOD. On Sunday, I had two ice creams in one day.

This is the time of the year that I suddenly go from being miserable to briefly relaxed, as the sunshine is a novelty. I haven’t endured days of sticky tube journeys where Londoners are irritable and shouting profanities at each other for little more reason than the fact that it’s over 40 degrees and we all just want to go home. At the moment we’re unzipping our summer wardrobes and ambling around in awe of the weather, as though we can scarcely believe our luck. We’re planning trips to the beach. We’re laughing because the sun is in our eyes – isn’t that strange? The sun, in our eyes? Almost as if it’s summer! – and we’re not yet crying because we’re squinting hopelessly at our computer screens as the deadlines loom and the salty stench of summer is just sitting in the room, pressing down on our motivation and telling us to go put our face in the fridge.

For now, I’m enjoying this novel weather though. Perhaps I’ll plan a trip to the beach. Perhaps I’ll put my face in the fridge instead.

 


Susan Pinker/Brian Gallagher : ‘Why women choose differently at work’

Which came first, orange the fruit, or orange the colour? Apparently the word orange was originally used to describe the tree the fruit grew on – a fruit that actually doesn’t exist in the wild, it was a hybrid between two other fruits created in South-East Asia. Only as language evolved did it come to describe the fruit itself – which wasn’t actually orange! In fact, in many areas across South-East Asia, oranges are bright green on the outside. This is because oranges are sub-tropical, and in cooler climates they turn orange on the outside – in hotter countries, the chlorophyll is preserved in the skin and so they remain green.

The word orange was first used to describe the colour in English in 1542 – weirdly enough, the first recorded example of the word appears in a will!

More here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)


I can’t say I’ve been pumping out the summer tunes this week, but here are three albums I listened to, in no particular order!

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

This self-titled album is a rare dip into post 2000s music for me. I heard the single New Rules a number of times, and I loved how catchy but confident it was. I looked up the album, and there are just so many strong and emotional tracks on here – apparently she leans into hip-hop, which I can hear, but I’d classify this as pretty pop. This has been my go-to “I had a difficult day and I need something to make me strong again” album recently. (You can check out the album here)

 

Rubber Soul (UK release) – The Beatles

On Sunday evening, as the hot sun rolled behind the houses opposite and the temperature dipped a bit and the sky began to get darker, I put some candles out, popped this album on my record player and sat on the balcony to write for a bit. It was great, until I had to get up halfway through to turn the record over (I really need to upgrade to a record player that automatically flips the LP over) but I have one of those cosy mermaid tail blankets and my legs were somewhat trapped in. Wriggling out of it every 20 minutes was a bit of a pain, but it’s okay, because this album is so fun and energetic and happy that I didn’t mind too much at all. This is such an upbeat and happy album – well, unless you start listening to the lyrics. Any song that refers to grown women as girls kind of infuriates me, and Nowhere Man makes me cry a bit if I start thinking about the lyrics too much. Anyone else…? (You can check out the album here)

 

Aja – Steely Dan

I love how peculiar yet immediately familiar this album is to me. Each track feels like it has been etched somewhere in my memory but my brain doesn’t quite recall where. This was released in 1977 and although it has really split opinion, it is an album that I keep coming back to when I need something peaceful, uplifting, but at the same time with enough urgency that I still get the little things done. (You can check out the album here)


Basically the entirety of Collectifs SS18 collection, if you wanted to know. I mean, have you seen it?! A cracking mix of pastels and tropical fruits. And one jacket that I NEED.

1. ‘Outlaw’ Holographic Biker Jacket (COLLECTIF)

 Collectif Holographic Biker Jacket image

Sadly for me and perhaps thankfully for my wallet, this is a little bit steep for an instant buy – I guess I’ll agonise over it for a while before making the plunge! What is there to dislike? Holographic rainbow 80s feels that I can mix and match with my pastel-inspired spring wardrobe? Hell yes. Postage with Collectif is £5.50 if you’re in the UK. I tend to save up for a few bits and buy them altogether, or look out for the free postage events that they have every month or so. I’m praying this beauty won’t have sold out before then. (£67.50)

> Available from Collectif’s website in sizes 6 to 22

2. ‘Camilla’ Candy Stripes Skirt (COLLECTIF)

image of camilla skirt from collectif

This skirt just screams neapolitan ice cream to me. I’m a big fan of stripes, but the navy and pastel combo here (yes, that is navy and not black!) is really unique. I can see her matched with ruffly white peasant tops, or a vest top for days where you’re going to don a pair of sunnies and make a dash to the shops. The 97% cotton and 3% spandex is also screaming neapolitan ice cream – maybe even second helpings. And the best thing about it? It’s machine washable too, for when I drop that second helping of ice cream all down myself.  (£52.50)

> This skirt is available in sizes 4 to 22 from Collectif, but is currently sold out in some sizes

3. ‘Joyce’ Plain Swing Dress (COLLECTIF)

Joyce plain swing dress collectif image

If I asked you to describe a dress that looked like summer, could it look any more like summer than this? As you might already know, I am a member of the squeaky “It has pockets!?!” club, and these pockets look roomy enough for your wallet and your phone. I’m almost going off the pockets that are sewn (or should I say hidden?) in the side seam as I’ve nearly washed my debit card too many times to count now. It’s nice to have pockets where you can see them. I feel like you can match this piece of sunshine with a pair of wedges and a floppy straw hat, and you are BEACH READY. Or park ready. Or shop ready. Or wherever the hell you want to go, it’s your choice, ready. (£65)

>You can get your hands on Joyce by heading here – available in sizes 6 to 22

4. Hawaiian Circle Skirt (VIVIEN OF HOLLOWAY)

image of vivien of holloway hawaiian skirt

I was just having a peek at the Vivien of Holloway spring sale when I saw this tropical darling pop up. It’s a shame she isn’t discounted and she is very similar to the birds of paradise pattern (which I believe IS on sale!) – but on this one the colours are more muted and the pattern larger. It feels like the more serious skirt – those dusky red flowers and the dark background really contrast against the leafy greens. It feels like the kind of skirt I’d either dress down with cork heels and a white halter neck, or I’d wear a a long-sleeved black wrap top and a pair of heels – and make her fabulous print the absolute centre of attention. (£59)

The Hawaiian skirt is currently available from waist size 24 to 38


The London Marathon was a few weekends ago, so here’s the oldest entrant in the race crossing the finish line. And some happiness from the Happy Newspaper, because it’s nice to remember that there is some good in the world.

 

 


 

Thank you for making it all the way to the end! You, my friend, are very special to me. I hope you’re having the loveliest of weeks.

Let me know if any of these items are on your wish list too, and if not, what is? And what are you listening to at the moment? (I feel like people used to ask that all the time when I was a teenager!) I love discovering new artists and albums so please spam me with all your music recommendations! The only thing I’m afraid I really can’t listen to is heavy metal, but I’m all ears to anything else.

image of my signature

Hot Tramp, I Love You So! (Review: Vixen by Micheline Pitt, Collectif and Noisy May)

As a kid, I grew up listening to the best kind of music: REM, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and my favourite rock-star chameleon, David Bowie. I think I might know every lyric to Life On Mars (and I would be happy to demonstrate this at your local karaoke bar). I think it’s worth pointing out to those who aren’t so familiar with Bowie’s works that I don’t really think I am a hot tramp, this is a quote from his song Rebel, Rebel. Because this slogan tee really made me think of the song, and I feel it compliments my new-to-me Micheline Pitt skirt gloriously.

Caz leaning against a wall in her outfit

Let’s talk about tees. I rarely see them worn within the vintage communities unless as part of a rockabilly look, usually in those cases with worn or muted colours, 50s patterns and southern-style typography. Most of the beautiful women I see on Instagram wear blouses or long-sleeved tops – or just ditch separates altogether and wear 50s dresses, which I think are far easier to find. However I’ve seen a few t-shirts being worn with vintage styling recently, and I thought the summery weather was the perfect excuse to try out a bit of a new look. And you know? I think I kind of love it. I know slogan t-shirts are quite popular at the moment, and they’re flying off the shelves at H&M, New Look, Topshop, Missguided – you know, all those mainstream stores that I don’t really delve into anymore because their sizing seems to be geared towards women with a very different figure from mine.

Caz looking down wearing her Rebel Noisy May t-shirt © Quirk and Folly

I’m not sure Noisy May really intended this t-shirt to be an homage to Bowie, but part of fashion isn’t how you see it, it’s how you feel in it. And wearing this, I feel like that chameleon rock star whose image changed so much over the years. It feels like a nice change. It doesn’t mean I’ll be binning all my vintage fashion (hell no) but it does mean I’ll be more comfortable experimenting a bit. And that’s what fashion is, really – it’s the adult version of going through the dressing up box and throwing on something that feels different, maybe reflects a part of you that you didn’t even know existed.

In terms of fit, Asos describe this t-shirt as ‘standard fit’ but I can see from the image that it is intended to be quite loose, it has dropped shoulders and a scoop neck which means that it’s comfortable to wear, and doesn’t cling. I did my hair and makeup before I put it on and had a moment of panic when I thought that I’d have to pull it over my freshly hair-sprayed hair and in the process not only ruin my fringe but also smear my foundation all over the collar. Imagine my relief when I realised that it was scooped enough to not be a problem at all. Phew!

Quirky lady sitting in a cafe drinking a cappuccino

The fabric is a nice soft jersey cotton and is thick enough that even though its white you can’t really see the underwear I’m wearing (my favourite peach-coloured satin bra from Bravissimo). The only qualm I have is that the word ‘Rebel’ isn’t always clear, if my hands are slightly in front of me all you can see is ‘EBEI’ which sounds like it could be the name of my cat. I imagine this is because of my enormous bust – I’m a 30G – which means that it’s pulling the fabric in a way to obscure the R and the L. Other than this, I think it’s a perfect fit. I’m wearing a size medium (listed as size 10 on Asos, but I think it’s more generously sized than they suggest) which is slightly loose on me even with my generous bust. The fabric doesn’t bunch in the back either, which is often an issue I come across – if I need to size up because of my cup size, it’s almost always too large around the band size (I’m only a 30!) which can mean I get lots and lots of fabric hanging out above my waist at the back. In this t-shirt, not a problem. If I believed in such things, I might say that it is a miracle.

Cropped image of Caz leaning against a wall in skirt and t-shirt © Quirk and Folly

The Vixen by Micheline Pitt skirt is one that has been on my wish list ever since it came out, and oh my goodness I am regretting waiting so long to get her! This is the Frisky print skirt, a black background with hot pink and white illustrations all over it. At a distance it looks very cutesy 1950s, a wide band with a generously gathered skirt, and I had a couple of people stop me to compliment my beautiful skirt. If you look closer at the designs though, they are all themed around the subject of BDSM. I adore how this skirt is both sweet and at further glance, a lot more interesting. I love the illustrations, and I think it’s a really fun piece to wear, and I think it teams up perfectly with my t-shirt.

I really struggled with choosing the perfect fit for me though. My waist at the moment is between 29 and 30 inches, which is a couple of inches more than it was last year. I’ve struggled a little bit with my mental health over the past 12 months, and that has really taken its toll on my body. I get into real purge and binge cycles and at the moment, I’m trying really hard to get into a better and healthier mindset. When I went to purchase this skirt – which I spotted on the Deadly Is The Female website for a ridiculously discounted price – I really dithered. Do I buy this skirt for the body I want, or the body I have? And what will the fit be like, will it be generous or will it be a bit snug? I did my research, and found this was on the snugger side but with fabric that relaxes over time, like many of Micheline’s designs. On the Deadly website they also helpfully have a little guide next to the item sizes with accurate measurements taken by the team, another thing I really love about them. I could opt for a skirt that was 28-29 inches at the waist (a Medium) or 30-31 inches at the waist (Large). Ideally, there would be the perfect 29-30” option for me.

Of course, life doesn’t always present us with the perfect option. In the end, I went for the Large, and I’m really glad I did. I’d actually put this at 30”, it has a little bit of room and definitely isn’t a squeeze to get into, which means I don’t have to suck my tummy in and pray as I do the zip up. It also means I can fit in a cheeky cake and not worry too much that I’ll be uncomfortable for the rest of the day. And if I do manage to get my health back under control and my waist magically shrinks again to its former 27-28 inches? Then I can wear a belt, or I can have it taken in. At least with the larger size, I have that option available.

Image of the Collectif Kitty Shoulder bag © Quirk & Folly

And where would i be without Ebei, my cat? I picked up the purrfect outfit accessory in the Collectif sale at Christmas. The body of the bag is a matte black PU leather and is has embroidered details on the front, including mesmerizing green/yellow eyes. I love the gold metal chain with an extra band of the reinforced PU leather fabric all along it, making it feel sturdier. And I adore the expression on his face – truly the Mona Lisa of cats!

The biggest drawback for this bag is that it’s quite tricky to get things in and out of it. The actual body of the bag only goes 2/3 up, so you have to navigate past the flap of fabric on either side that make up Ebei’s little head. It’s just about big enough to fit in your phone, your card, your keys, a small pair of sunglasses at a bit of a push – and maybe a lipstick and a mirror. Once you’ve got all those things in your bag though, do expect to be standing there for about five minutes in front of an increasingly frustrated cashier as you try to find your card in amongst all the other bits you’ve managed to successfully cram in.

Side view of the Collectif cat bag

If you’re just nipping out for a walk though, it’s a great lightweight little bag. A warning though – you might find yourself suddenly surrounded by children whom have surreptitiously sidled up next to you to secretly play with your bag. Try to pretend you haven’t noticed.

Image of Rebel t-shirt with Greenwich in the background © Quirk and Folly

Slogan t-shirt : Noisy May via Asos

Vixen Swing Skirt in Frisky Fetish print : Vixen by Micheline Pitt via Deadly Is The Female

Rose gold hooped earrings : Asos (old season)

Kitty Shoulder Bag : Collectif Clothing (sold out)

Petticoat: Malco Modes ‘Jennifer’

Shoes: George at Asda

My search for the perfect vintage winter coat

Summer in London last year stretched until September, and I managed to kid myself that it was still summer until about mid-October. Realising that the temperatures were plummeting pretty quickly, i reluctantly pulled out my navy trench coat out from the back of the cupboard. But – disaster. It no longer fit me.

I’ve had this problem quite a lot over the past year and a half; thanks to what seems like as-yet undiagnosed medical complications, I lost a significant amount of weight. Most people might wonder why i wouldn’t feel pleased about that, and my answer is two-fold:

  1. I never set out with any aim to lose weight, my diet hasn’t changed, and I made no efforts to change my figure. I have body dysmorphia, and my changing body has made me less able to rely on the ‘safe’ clothes I wear when i have bad days – even my old safe clothes don’t fit now. I no longer know, or trust, my body, and that causes some level of psychological difficulty. Readjusting is hard, when you spend your life pretending you’ve adjusted.
  2. If you’ve shrunk out of all your clothes, replacing everything gets pretty expensive. Literally nothing fits. I have spent so much money on clothes, and I really need to learn how to sew.

I struggled through November and December layering cardigans underneath a denim jacket, or my favourite jacket (a faux leather bolero I bought in my first ever purchase from American retailer Pinup Girl Clothing!) with a couple of scarves and a pair of gloves, but I got to Christmas and I realised it just wasn’t enough. If i wanted to survive until summer, I needed to find myself something warm to wear.

And here the anxiety starts – I love pinup style clothing, but I find shopping a stress, and I hated the idea of trying on hundreds of coats or panic-buying one that didn’t fit. You can’t really hide if a coat doesn’t fit you. I’d already tried on all the coats in M&S and Next, but the only sizes that fitted my waist were a size 6, and they hardly accommodated for my, um, ‘generous’ curves. They also lacked a vintage aesthetic. It struck me that I could have a look around for some coats I liked online, that accentuated the waist and flowed out across the hips, and try and hook one on the Boxing Day sales – it would mean spending less, and perhaps even justifying buying two and then sending them back if they didn’t fit.

Because I am a little sad and take my research VERY seriously, I drew up a list of requirements:

  • It needed pockets. I am so fed up of coats with pretend pockets in them – if you’re not going to bother putting them in, don’t pretend you thought about it!
  • It needed to be warm; I love the Pearl Collectif coat but i felt it might be too long-waisted for my figure. However, I was in love with the cuffs and the lovely faux-fur neckline!
  • It needed buttons at the front, so I can cocoon myself inside it and button away the cold. None of this zip rubbish, and forget coats that don’t even do up at the front! I’m freezing just thinking about them. Brr.
  • It needed to accentuate my tiniest part, my 27.5” waist, with about an inch to move around in so I can layer with jumpers and cardigans.
  • It needed to be generous enough to accommodate both my bust and my hips (37”, and 39” respectively) and preferably skim over my hips.
  • It needed to have enough of a flare in the skirted part to allow me to wear my ploofiest petticoats underneath, and still close over them!
  • Preferably, it needed to be vintage compatible, so it didn’t look out of place with my 1950s wardrobe.

What a list.

I spent some time (okay, about a week) studying size guides, assessing reviews and generally shortlisting, and came across a number of beautiful coats that seemed to fit the bill:


Collectif: ‘Gina’ coat

image of Gina coat

I saw this one on the Collectif site and absolutely fell in love! The leopard-print cuffs are so perfect, and it ticked all the boxes. I wondered about the skirt though; would it be full enough to manage my gorgeously fluffy Malco Modes petticoat? And the sizing tip suggested sizing up if layering – did that mean it ran small, or would I need to size up? So many unknowns…

  • Price: £116.50 (from Collectif)
  • Pros: Warm cuffs, size guide suggests perfect fit
  • Cons: Unsure about the sizing in reality, and whether this coat could tame the petticoats!

Hell Bunny: ‘Isadora’ (was ‘Elvira’) coat

Image of Isadora coat

 

I saw a review by Miss Amy May and instantly wanted to buy this! The addition of a hood is just too cute for words, and then I saw Miss Victory Violet in it and I knew this was a coat I had to track down. Then I saw the price. Eep.

  • Price: £167.99 (from Hell Bunny)
  • Pros: Hood! Fluff! Pockets! Ahhhh!
  • Cons: Bloody hell it’s expensive.

Banned Apparel: ‘Vintage Style Leopard Collar’ coat

Image of Banned Apparel leopard trim coat

I spotted this one on Tiger Milly, and loved the cut of the front. I wondered about the sizing though – and it seemed a little shorter than some of the other coats too. I want all the warmth I can get…

  • Price: £99.99 (from Tiger Milly)
  • Pros: Cheaper than the alternatives, lovely fluffy neckline
  • Cons: Sizing guide wasn’t perfect for me, and might have been a problem for my bust, and it also looked a little shorter than I’d like

 

Just before the sales were announced across most of the vintage retailers, I had a long think (about five minutes) – and I decided to go on an online hunt for an Isadora/Elvira coat. The sizing guide for it seemed to fit my figure best, and I loved the generous swing of the skirt. And that hood!!

Hell Bunny were offering 20% off over the festive period, but I felt this still made it a little dear. Collectif generally hold 50% sales in the first days of the New Year, and I knew the Gina was likely to be up for grabs.

Whilst I was perusing the various sites for a third party seller that had an Isadora/Elvira coat, I actually unexpectedly came across this beauty on eBay:


Hell Bunny: Vivien coat

Image of the Vivien coat

It was in a camel and black colouring, rather than the blue and black that are still available on the Hell Bunny website, and it blew my socks off. Not just because it had the pockets, the fluff, but – it was SO CHEAP! I spotted it on eBay, as new, by a seller who clearly hadn’t realised what a vintage repro diamond they had on their hands.

  • Price: £29(!!!)
  • Pros: A lovely fur collar, two horizontal waist buttons, and deep pockets – with a very generous swing skirt
  • Cons: No hood

To be honest, with no hood being the only real con I could find, I wondered whether such a low price would be a con. Despite worrying about whether it was legit, I felt that this was a deal I could NOT leave behind me! I pressed the ‘buy it now button’ and prayed that it would be the miracle coat I hoped it would be – and if it didn’t fit, I could always pop it back up on eBay. For £29, it seemed worth the risk, and a lot better than the £99 retailing price.

Whilst I waited for my coat to be delivered, the Collectif sale arrived. And I spotted the Gina – down to about £40. There was a worry in my head about there being an issue with the Hell Bunny coat, and I pondered for about an hour with the Gina going in and out of my shopping basket. Then I just took the risk – and figured, I could always return it if there was an issue, right?

Let’s fast forwards to April.

Short story: the Hell Bunny coat is the most perfect coat there has ever been. I’ll do a full review later. And the Gina coat arrived too, and the skirt is less generous as I had thought, but it fits like a glove! So…I kept both. Considering that at full price these would have cost me about £220, and I bought them both for less than £70 (a mere 31% of the original price!) it seems worth it to not have to go through the ho-ha of finding the perfect winter coat for another couple of years!

Longer story: luckily, the size guides for Hell Bunny and Collectif are pretty accurate, if not a little generous, and DEFINITELY follow them if you’re unsure on sizing. The other thing I’ve learned is that vintage repro coats are quite rare to find on eBay, despite finding my wildcard Vivien on there, and I recommend waiting for the Collectif sales to pick up one of their gorgeous pieces at a discounted price, and look out for third party sellers for Hell Bunny. You can sometimes pick up some discounts throughout the year, just after New Year, around Easter, in about August, and around Black Friday in November. Definitely save up, and splash out when it comes to sale time, if you are flexible with the pieces you’d like to buy. I heartily recommend that you have a look at Miss Amy May’s blog too, where she often shares discount codes for items.

So – Vivien and Gina are hanging in my hallway, and I have survived the past four months without dying of frostbite. Hurrah! It’s worth noting that my Hell Bunny coat is incredibly warm, and I always get compliments when I wear it, so if you’re thinking about investing in a coat do have a look at their collection. They’ve also just released a line of gorgeous summery skirts I’ve got my beady eye on – like this orange somerset apples skirt!

What has been your go-to vintage coat to get you through the winter months?

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