Finding your dream dress is no easy task. After all, it must be the right shape, style and color — and it has to match that [probably unrealistic] dream dress criteria in your head. We’ve all been there: On that shopping trip to find the perfect dress for that very important event. All of a sudden, you spot a dress in your dream fabric on the other side of the shop: The color is perfect, it’s covered in a wonderful print and you’re already imagining yourself swishing across the dance floor in it. Eyeing the other shoppers suspiciously to make sure no one swipes it from under your nose, you rush over there and gather it lovingly in your arms, only to realize that it’s a weird shape, has a strange cutout, is too short, too small, too much cleavage or is some disaster silhouette that renders it unwearable. Heartbroken, you go home with a dress that is the “perfect shape,” but in a fabric that is just not as pretty as the one in your imagination. I blame Pinterest for making me fall in love with dresses I will never wear!
But what if I told you that you can have your cake and eat it too? That you can choose your dream dress style, and then decide which fabric you would like it in? Sounds fantastic, right?! It gets better: The dresses I speak of are made in high-quality cotton and feel like a fantasy to wear. I should know, considering I have two of them and am saving up for 10 more! This dream come true is facilitated by UK-based retailer Victory Parade. So without further ado, I have selected my favorite dress and fabric combinations to inspire you. Because it’s never too late to start building the perfect vintage-inspired wardrobe. Or, you know, to own the dress you’ve been waiting for your whole life:
1. RETRO FROCK IN COMIC STRIP PRINT
This dress was my first Victory Parade purchase! It’s a retro-inspired frock with a deep pleated skirt and fitted bodice. It also comes with a self-covered belt and buckle for an authentic finishing touch. I am sure the word kitsch has been used to describe my style several times, but this cartoon strip print is fabulously kitsch!
2. DAY DRESS IN COW PRINT
I cannot begin to describe how excited I was when I stumbled upon this dress! It’s covered in realistic cows, which might seem a bit childish, but the beauty of it is that you only realize as much when you get up close: From a distance, it just looks like a black and white dress. And I just love clothes with a secret!
3. POLLY PENCIL DRESS WITH ORIENTAL DRAGONS
This dress is next on my wish list: A pencil dress with a contrast turnback collar and pockets with tailored cap sleeves. Here in a beautiful print featuring oriental dragon motifs with lots of gilt inlays. This one has limited availability, so don’t y’all go buying it before I get my hands on one! Or maybe I’d like a turquoise peacock one better? It’s so hard to choose!
4. HAWAIIAN DRESS WITH FLORAL PRINT
For ladies who like to show a bit of leg, this design is based on a Hawaiian wedding dress, with a wrap skirt and waterfall frill at the front. I’ve never owned a white dress before (I’m far too messy to keep it clean for more than five minutes), but if you’re the same, don’t even worry: You can just choose another Hawaiian dress fabric!
5. NANCY DRESS WITH CROSSING STRIPES
There are two things that I love in dress design: 3/4 length sleeves and a square neckline, and the Nancy dress has them both! A perfect dress for the office, this piece also features a delicate asymmetrical pleat detail across the bust.
6. REVERE PLEAT DRESS IN JAPANESE CRANE PRINT
The contrast collar is another big favorite of mine: It’s so dramatic and wonderfully frames your face. This dress is a perfect example of the huge comeback that vintage fashion is making at the moment.
7. FEVER PLEAT IN TEAL
If you’re not particularly a dress lover, then you can go for the Pencil or Pleat version of the dress skirts.
9. THE BETTY PAGE DRESS
Now you have the dress, so all you have to do is master the vintage hairstyle! What started as a tiny clothing stall at a festival in 1996 has grown to the most fabulous pick-and-mix store that I have have ever seen, and I am delighted to be able to wear these wonderful dresses that no one else has!
First published on Bustle Feb 2015
Images: Author; Victory Parade