30 March, 2012

A Stitch in Time: Wear Did I Come From?

Today we are joined by the fabulous Miss Lisa from Atomic Martini Vintage. Having been a vintage fashion afficionado and collector for possibly more years than a lady would care to admit, I'm certain there's nothing this foxy fashionista doesn't know about vintage fashion.

If you're anywhere near Brisbane ever, you simply must visit her darling store! Whether you're a vintage lover yourself or are curious about taking the plunge, Miss Lisa will take your hand and guide you through racks upon racks of glorious vintage glamour. She can even provide professional styling services to help you find the style that suits you and will divulge all her vintage care secrets to keep your treasures in ship shape.

So stay with us and with just a little bit of background and some know-how, you'll be the vintage belle of the ball...


We all know that fashion travels in cycles – one decade referencing something of the past and reinterpreting it for a modern audience. But do you know where your look comes from? In particular, do you know the origins of where the looks that dominate things like the rockabilly scene – that hip hugging, tight fitting number that you love or that huge circle skirt that you twirl in – were born?

Come with me on a walk down memory lane and find out ....

The two styles mentioned above are actually pretty easy to attribute – their introduction into the world of everyday fashion is thanks primarily to the talent of the French designer Christian Dior in the early 1950s. After the rationing and shortages caused by war in the 1940s, glamour and elegance were what women wanted in fashion – and Mr. Dior delivered it! No wonder his designs still influence our tastes in fashion to this day.

Although the House of Dior delivered 10 very distinct and very different silhouettes through the 50s, the two that are most recognisable in the fashions that are most familiar, particularly in the rockabilly scene are:

The Tulip 


A structured tight fitting bodice with a slim skirt that fell just below the knee – this style is sometimes called a “Wiggle” dress as the skirt width (along with the fact that it looks best when worn with stiletto heeled shoes) makes the wearer wiggle when she walks!

The Princess


Also known as the “New Look” it features a nipped in wasp waist and full gathered or circle skirt – a style that boosted the lingerie industry as a nylon corselet was usually needed to pull in the waist and thrust up the bust to create that classic hourglass figure so popular at the time.

Which leads me to a very important point; if you think a “modern” woman can’t wear these shapes or possibly look good in this type of silhouette because we are a “different shape” – you are very wrong!

Here’s a little secret - women in the 1950s weren’t that shape either! Strategic padding and highly structured underwear (foundation garments) were a must to being able to fit a less-than-perfect body into many of 1950s designs.

So the next time you are out in your new (or even better, vintage) dress and someone admires your outfit and asks what style it is, you can confidently tell them that it is Dior-esque darling!


Thanks Miss Lisa! You know that's one of my favourite things about vintage...it's not just an item of clothing, it's a piece of history and each one has it's own providence. Even though plenty of the lovely reproduction garments that are available continue to preserve these style principles, there's just something special about vintage.

If you want to feel the magic for yourself, all of the stunning dresses pictured are available at Atomic Martini Vintage along with hundreds (literally!) of other frocks and there's even a whole section dedicated to you gentlemen!

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