Transitioning With the Seasons

One of the most common question I get asked is: How do you wear the Pin Up look year round? Well I am about to learn with all of you! In previous years, I locked all my beautiful dresses away in the closet during the cold winter months and simply succumbed to wearing pants. This year, I have vowed to transition my retro wardrobe into winter and not give in to taking the easy way out. If some of you don’t already know, I reside in Canada; known to be very cold, with lots of snow during our winter months. With this new mission in place, the first item on the agenda was finding Outerwear. Not just any coat, it has to be designed to flatter our swing dresses and not cost a small fortune. The H & R London Brocade Coat from JBR Clothing fit both of those requirements perfectly.

Available in sizes XS to 2XL ~ MSRP $60USD

IMG_1923It is no secret that H & R London designs run rather small compared to the size charts therefore I always consult with the team at JBR Clothing for direction. To my surprise, they stated the Brocade Coat was running about two sizes small which would mean ordering a XL. With caution, I ordered a size Large since I have rather narrow shoulders and the XL would have been too wide for sure. Outerwear shopping has always been difficult because I have to be cautious of the shoulders being too wide but find a cut that will fit my hourglass shape (aka wide hips). That being said, if you have broad shoulders or are quite busty definitely order up by two sizes. The size Large JUST fits and I would not be able to wear too many layers underneath. I have to say, the photos do not do this coat justice, the brocade fabric is simply stunning in person and no one would guess it was so affordable. The Brocade Coat has a slight Goth inspired design with the corset laced back detail, flared sleeves and rounded hemline detail. Although the corset back is lovely, I found cinching the laces too much was not very flattering. With the flared sleeves, there is ample room for those with large arms like myself. The Brocade Coat is fully lined and ideal for the Fall or Spring like temperatures.

IMG_1934IMG_1938First, I must apologize for not ironing the creases before taking the review photos as I had no idea until we were already out shooting. As I mentioned earlier, the corset laced back is more for looks than function. Mine still requires some minor adjustments; it was in “test mode” as you can see in the photos. The Brocade Coat works fabulously with the fullest swing skirts since the rounded hemline has enough flare and length not to crush your dress. How did it fair on a cool Fall day? Well the answer is…it blocked the cool wind and is perfect for those days where you just need an extra layer or two to keep the chill out. This is by no means a winter warmth type coat, it is perfect for Fall and Spring.

IMG_1931There’s not much to note about accessorizing the Brocade Coat since it is an accessory in itself. The solid black brocade fabric pairs wonderfully with any color and I would even fancy pairing it with jeans for a more casual look.

IMG_1929The H & R London Brocade Coat is not only a great price but a win when it comes to converting your pin up wardrobe for the Fall and Spring months. Be sure to follow the sizing guidelines so you won’t be disappointed!

Understated Beauty

Often times we see a particular item and we instantly all gravitate towards it’s beauty but what about those with an understated beauty? Maybe it’s simply due to the fact of being created by a lesser known brand or lack of marketing that lets these diamonds in the rough slip by unnoticed. The buyers at JBR Clothing seems to have a knack to finding these hidden beauties and allow us the chance to be the first to give these gems the recognition they deserve. So far H & R London has not disappointed and I couldn’t be more smitten with the Vintage Navy Floral 50’s Swing Dress.

Available in sizes XS to XXL ~ MSRP $46USD

IMG_0411The one small downfall with the H & R London dresses, sizing seems to be inconsistent and varies with each style. Thankfully I always have the lovely Rachel at JBR Clothing to give helpful advice and she has never steered me wrong. Upon her recommendation, I ordered the Vintage Navy Floral Dress in a size Large as it seemed to run small in the bust. As soon as it arrived I fell head over heels for the breathtaking floral print and it’s classic feel. The size Large fit well throughout with enough room in the waist for comfort. The design features a soft sweetheart neckline that gathers to the bust with cap sleeves and flared swing skirt. The cap sleeves allow for ample arm movement and do not restrict or cut into your underarms. In my humble opinion, I find the built in bottom hemmed tulle underskirt cheapens the design and choose to remove them from all my H & R London dresses. Don’t let the price point fool you, the Vintage Navy Floral Dress is made from a thick soft cotton material with a slight stretch. As mentioned earlier, the bust runs small and would recommend sizing up based on the size charts. For those of you who do not fancy side zippers, this is the only feature I dislike on this particular design. It appears the bust does pull very slightly to one side and believe it is due to the side zipper. Regardless, it’s quite minor and a quick tug puts everything back into place perfectly.

IMG_0403Quite often I find dresses with sleeves to be too long in the torso and require alterations every time. To my surprise, the Vintage Navy Floral Dress fit perfectly off the rack and so happy to avoid those pesky costs associated with custom fitting garments. I have to admit, this is one dress I’ve worn a lot to work as it’s so comfortable and suitable for both summer and winter due to the contrasting navy background with bold floral print.  If you choose to keep the tulle underskirt trim be weary that it is quite irritating on the skin when sitting if you’re not wearing any tights or stockings. Since I work at a desk job during the day, this was the main reason why it had to be removed.

IMG_0408The Vintage Navy Floral Dress is missing only one thing, a thin white belt to cinch the waist. Luckily I snagged one in my closet from another dress that works wonderfully. The classic feel to the dress pairs perfectly with a single strand pearl necklace. Often times I wear it with white flats for work and my high heel Mary-Janes for more festive occasions. Less is more with this style and wouldn’t suggest too bold of accessories to not take away from the lovely floral print. For a little added volume, a light petticoat or crinoline will do the trick but it’s definitely not necessary.

IMG_0406Marketing can be a great tool for many brands but more importantly are the retailers with a keen buying staff to know what their customers will love. I give big kudos to JBR Clothing for seeking out these new brands and giving their customers something they will truly enjoy. The extra bonus is the fact H & R London is affordable for almost any budget.