Rebel With a Cause


With Only A Wink Dress: Modcloth

Shoes: Chie Mihara

The first time I spotted this dress on the Bettie Page Clothing website I dismissed it outright. I liked the shape, but the cage shoulders put me in mind of those terrible mesh tank tops of the 80’s.

The next time I saw it it was being worn to devastating effect by the Rebel Wilson at the 2011 premier of “Paul”. Just like that the dress hit my lust list.

By the time it showed up on Tanesha Aswhati of Girl With Curves it was a full-on dress-crush, so when I finally visited the Bettie Pages Clothing store in New York it was the first thing to go into the change room with me.

It’s made of the familiar stretch bengaline that a lot of the “vintage” dresses from both Bettie Page and Stop Staring use. A mid-weight, but super stretchy fabric that looks like cotton but is perfect for wiggle-dresses and super-fitted silhouettes. The fabric doesn’t crush, and it doesn’t feel too synthetic-y.

 The skirt has the perfect amount of weight and fullness to flatter my figure without overwhelming it, and I love the little bow at the waist. The bodice is just a touch too long for my short waisted torso, which means that the bodice doesn’t sit quite a tidily as it des on Tanesha (though it looks like Rebel has a similar issue. Short-waisted Aussies represent!).

The zipper at the back just goes up as far as the mesh, and then the dress fastens the rest of the way with those bloody annoying hook-and-eye whatsits that never seem to stay fastened but catch every strand of hair that ventures near them. I’m inclined to whip them off and replace them with little buttons, but I just haven’t managed to build up the motivation yet.

The band around the arms have a bit of stretch, which is good news for the well-bicepped as they neither cut in, nor ride up.

I hate strapless bras with a burning passion, and by rights this dress needs one. When I’m wearing it for special occasions I’ll suck it up and wear one, but for every day wear I’ll just wear a nude bra and deal with the fact that my straps are showing:

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To be honest, the dress is such a showstopper that I don’t think anyone notices the fashion faux-pas of the exposed bra straps.

It retails on the Bettie Page Clothing website for $150, but if you wanted to try one of the other colours (it also comes in red, navy, a lovely mossy green, and ivory) Modcloth actually sells it under the name “With Only a Wink” for $10 less.

A New Vintage Obsession

Dress & Belt: Bettie Page Clothing

Cardigan: Crossroads

Shoes: Chie Mihara

I’ve had sweater clips and shoe clips, and now I have a new obsession… dress clips.

A few weeks ago The Sophisticate and I were trawling the antique shops in Melbourne for wedding bands and I spotted these little beauties in a shop in Armadale. At first glance it appeared to be a pretty marcasite brooch, but on closer inspection they revealed themselves to be like the dress clips I’d admired on one of my booksellers earlier in the month.

They’re actually a bit of both.

Cunningly, the little clips can be attached to a frame that turns them into a brooch, or you can wear them separately like I did today.

I was wearing them when dropped in to one of my favourite antique jewelers and he was telling me that most dress clips were designed to multi-task this way, although over time the clips themselves tend to become orphaned.

There are so many different ways I’ve found to wear dress clips: You can use them to accent a dress, to adjust a neckline, to secure your cardigan or decorate your collar. You can use them as hair clips, as shoe clips or even as a pendant by clipping one over a necklace or a bit of ribbon.

These came from one of the swankier (i.e. expensive) antique shops in Melbourne, and they still cost me less than $50 – A quick look on Etsy reveals hundreds… and unlike sweater guards they don’t seem to have hit a resurgence in popularity (yet) meaning that they’re all pretty affordable and easy to find.

I don’t know about you, but I’m buying up now!