There are very few fashion icons that despite their short time on this earth inspire generation after generation like the ever so timeless Marilyn Monroe. Her classic beauty and unique sense of style has inspired endless recreations of her most spectacular fashions. Marilyn was not only a trend setter in her time; five decades later she is the muse for many vintage reproduction companies. Blue Velvet Vintage newly released the Monroe Dress, inspired by one of her most darling blue polka summer dresses seen in photos taken with her husband Arthur Miller in 1957 by Sam Shaw. The Powder Blue & White Polka Dot Monroe Dress is from their in-house label Classic Dame, produced locally in the USA with limited quantities.
Seeing as this was my very first garment from Classic Dame, I relied heavily on their individual size chart for each style and colourway. Based on my current measurements (bust 35/36” waist 27”) I selected their size 6, which would be considered a size Small. When my Monroe Dress arrived, I was so excited that the fit was perfect right out of the package; sizing was spot on with their size charts. Since the spaghetti straps are an adjustable tie, it was a cinch to modify them to the right length for my short torso. Woohoo, no alterations needed! The Monroe Dress features a delicate ruched bust area trimmed with white piping, a fitted waist with gathered skirt (length 26”) with hidden pockets and back metal zipper. At 5’-4’ tall, the skirt falls just below the knees with a petticoat.
With all new brands of clothing, one of the first things I take a close look at is the quality and construction to determine if the price point is worth our investment. In this case, the Monroe Dress seemed to be well fabricated and much attention made to the little details. The Medium weight pima cotton felt a little light in comparison to many of my other cotton dresses but I suspect this “may” have been intentional to recreate the softness of Marilyn’s dress. Bearing in mind, since the Classic Dame Line is made in the USA it will not be as economical to those made overseas as they are paying fair wages and ensuring a stringent quality control over their designs. As a consumer, I want to ensure my hard earn dollars aren’t being wasted on something that will fall apart in under a year and is suitable for my busy lifestyle. Luckily for us, Blue Velvet Vintage has occasional sales for 20% off when you sign up to their newsletter. If you’re anything like me, I prefer to buy ALL my clothing on sale & will patiently wait for one to come along before paying full price.
All that seriousness aside, now let’s take about this darling dress. After loving all things with polka dots when I first got into pinup, I now have a HUGE aversion to them simply because I seriously overdosed on dots. That’s not to say, I can’t be swayed by timeless designs inspired by the lovely Marilyn Monroe. The powder blue is so subtle with the white dots, it didn’t send up my instant warning signs to steer clear. The delicate features make it the most darling of summer dresses, versatile to wear for any occasion. It’s super lightweight and unquestionably comfortable. The one detail that I really wish would have been recreated in the Monroe Dress are the gathers and piping in the skirt. Mind you, this would likely raise the cost of production and the retail price considerably so I can see why they chose a simple full skirt instead.
When it comes to accessorizing the Monroe Dress, I chose to play up the white dots for a subtle contrast with the powder blue. I paired mine with a vintage beaded necklace, thin belt, basic canvas wedges, and a petticoat for added fullness to the skirt. For cooler days or to wear the Monroe Dress to work, I would add a cropped cardigan for a little more coverage. This is definitely a dress that can go from day to evening with a few slight changes to your accessories.
Initially, I was a little hesitant to try the Classic Dame line simply because all of their current designs had halter straps and I find they are not comfortable for so many ladies for various reasons. When they released the Monroe Dress this past month, I instantly knew it was time to give them a chance and they did not disappoint. Many companies have reproduced different varieties of Marilyn’s infamous fashions but luckily for us, Blue Velvet Vintage offers it at a fair price while not sacrificing quality and it is actually fabricated in the USA.