Monday, 28 January 2013

Let's Talk About Bras!

This is not a sponsored post - I just really love this product!

On New Year's Eve, while wearing this dress, I was approached by a very glamorous lady with the enquiry 'Are you wearing a Doreen?' 

For those of you not in the know, this is a Doreen: 

I didn't really know how to react - partly flattered, partly embarrassed that my bosoms were being scrutinised, and also happy to meet another fan of this fab bra. Made by Triumph, it was launched in 1967 and is apparently the world's best selling bra

I'm a HUGE fan of this bra! All the lacy panels and thick straps give it a granny-ish look - your partner may give you a puzzled look when they see you in it - but it gives the best shape, especially if you wear vintage clothes. Of course there are other great brands of bullet bra available, such as the 'Maitresse' from What Katie Did, but I haven't found one with the firm support of the Doreen.  

Modern underwired bras rely on wiring and padding to support the bust, and give a very rounded, 'cupped' shape to the bust, with little seperation to the breasts. Since the popularity of the Wonderbra, the cut of modern bras increasingly tend towards a squashed together look, to give a deeper cleavage. The Doreen lifts the bust quite a lot when compared to modern bras, and seperates the breasts, giving the 'bullet bra' sillhouette popular in the 50's. I spent years fiddling around with outfits, trying to get them to sit properly over the bust; it turned out all I needed to do was get the right bra. As well as this, the firm construction of the Doreen supports differently to underwired bras - I swear I stand up straighter, and don't experience as much back ache when wearing this bra. And the bras straps almost never fall down.

The only draw back - the front of the bra sits very high, meaning you can't wear it with any deep-v or scooped necklines. 

Enough of my descriptions - pictures speak a 1,000 words - so here are some compare and contrast photos. All in a lovely striped top for emphasis!

On the right is the Doreen - the silhouette is more 'pointy', and the bust is higher. I think it even makes my waist look smaller! In this picture I'm wearing a flesh coloured version in a 34DD (they run a bit small compared to other brands; I'm usually a 32)
 Next, the modern underwired on the left - my bust is more rounded and less seperated, and despite fiddling around with straps it still sits lower. In this picture I'm wearing a Fantasie 32EE.

Side view - underwire

Side view - Doreen
 If you're a fan of vintage clothes a bra like this is definitely worth the investment, and this particular one is easy to find -try John Lewis, House of Fraser, and Triumph's own website. I purchased mine from Figleaves, where they currently retail for £29.00.

Friday, 4 January 2013

It's Always More Fun Playing the Bad Guy (or Girl)

I happened to catch this film a few months ago on BBC2 - 'The Falcon in San Francisco' (1945). 

 I wasn't previously aware of it, but it seems to have been part of a series of 'Falcon' movies, starring Tom Conway (brother of George Sanders) as the Falcon, a private detective who gets into hot water, usually involving a girl in peril who he has to save from some baddies. This particular episode was also directed by Joseph H. Lewis, of 'Gun Crazy' and 'The Big Combo' fame.

I was attracted to this one because it was set in my beloved San Francisco, but also because the hair and costumes were great. The villain of the piece - Doreen Temple as played by Fay Helm (thank you, IMDB!) - had some fabulous outfits: 

Total badass!(source)
 In particular, I became obsessed with the neckline on this dress:

 I love its unusual shape, the way it's deep yet narrow, then rises at the neck. Also, notice the way the fullness of the bust is folded into the neckline - so unusual! I could not stop thinking about this neckline and resolved to re-create it. I figured if I combined this pattern:

With part of the neckline of this one:

I'd come up with something similar.

And here it is!

The neckline isn't exactly the same, but it's a pretty good attempt; if I made it again, I'd bring it closer together at the front and tighter around the neck. The fabric is a lightweight rayon with a soft feel and drape, like a washed silk.

 I added the black cord around the neck to give more emphasis to the shape and add a touch of 1940's detailing:

And to add an extra touch of 1940's, I've worn it with my new Miss LFire shoes, a lovely Christmas present from Mr Needles:

'Bonnie' shoes by Miss L Fire
 And that was my Christmas sewing - a dress inspired by a villain. I'm off to hatch some dastardly plans......

Goodbye to 2012 and all that...

I didn't really feel the Xmas spirit as much as usual this year. My Christmas mostly looked like this:

I made more effort for New Year's, resulting in this:

But I did get up to some festive sewing and knitting.Here's a sneak preview of some partially finished sleeves which will eventually become a jumper for Mr. Needles:

Flaming sleeves!
The colour work got me completely tangled up, as you can see on the reverse:

Back view
And here's a sneak preview of my Christmas dress, the details of which will be in a post to follow:

New dress accessorised with essential wonky party hat!
That's enough for now - I'm off to finish off the last of the mulled wine!