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Tag Archives: vintage

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New Store Alert: Beefcake Swimwear

Beefcake Swimwear logo

I am sort of excited to talk to you about this brand because of how different they are. They aren’t completely new, but they only came on my radar a few months ago and I haven’t really heard anything else about them since. Today we are talking about Beefcake Swimwear. They are a company with a unique concept who got their start through Kickstarter.

Beefcake Swimwear logo

What makes them different? Quite a lot actually, but lets start with the most obvious things. First of all their designs are based on vintage styles from the Victorian era. Because they are Victorian era inspired designs, in addition to offering a little more coverage than that of most modern swimwear, it also means the styles are unisex. And before you ask, no I did not make a mistake, they are a completely gender neutral swimwear company.

There are some other pretty great things about this company. They are made in the USA, based out of Portland, OR. And that is manufactured in the USA, not just designed here. And to top off the proverbial sundae they only use 100% recycled polyester and spandex.

They currently offer two suit designs, The Original and The Dreamboat.

The Original Beefcake Swimsuit

The Original

The Dreamboat Beefcake Swimsuit

The Dreamboat

Each style is available in three color options and a wide range of sizes. They are available in sizes XS to 5X. Make sure to check the size chart before ordering as this is unisex sizing, but I found the 2X measurements to be pretty standard for a woman’s plus size 2X.

Beefcake swimwear really seems focused on inclusiveness. It’s written all over their website and Instagram. I love that they are using real people, of all shapes, sizes, and genders, to model their swimsuits. And their plus sizes aren’t model perfect. Their real, with real bodies you see walking down the street every day.

 

I actually got a chance to ask the Beefkcake Swimwear’s owner and creator Mel Wells’ a few questions recently about the swimwear and where she sees the company going. Here is what we talked about:

Me: I see you started out in book publishing and nonprofit administration, what inspired you to start a swimwear line?

Mel Wells: The inspiration for Beefcake Swimwear came from a good friend who identified as female but dressed very masculine. She struggled to find swimwear and mentioned that she wanted a suit like the 1920s one-pieces. Naively, I offered to make her one. I’d sewn a few items of clothes in high school and college (I’ve always been super tall and struggled to find clothes) but sewing a swimsuit is hard. Other people who heard what I was doing thought it was an awesome idea, so I began toying with the idea of starting a small business making these suits. Mostly I needed to find a professional to do the sewing!

Me: The concept of your swimwear is not like the average swimwear line. What made you decide to create something both so vintage looking and unisex?

Mel Wells: Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years now, but a gender-neutral swimsuit didn’t strike me as radical. When I researched one-piece suits from the 1920s and 1930s, men and women are pretty much wearing the same thing. I wanted to stay true to that inspiration, well, except for the little skirt thing some of them had. 🙂

Me: I see you have two patterns available on your website at the moment. Do you have any plans on adding any other patterns?

Mel Wells: I definitely have more patterns and colors in mind! The most challenging part is that with the current choices (2 designs, 3 colors, 10 sizes, and a shelf bra option), we have to stock 120 swimsuits just to have one of each. Not only does this present a storage issue (we’re operating the storage/packaging/shipping part of the business out of a tiny one-bedroom apartment), but it’s pretty expensive to make 120 suits in the first place. So, additional colors and designs will have to be rolled out over time.

Me: What is your dream for the future of Beefcake Swimwear?

Mel Wells: Honestly, my vision is to make the best possible version of these suits and stay alive as a small business manufacturing in the USA. The very best part of running this company is hearing from folks who haven’t gone to the beach or got in the pool in a decade, and who now feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit. The black Original suits are by far our bestsellers, so I can see us making those for a long time. It’s daunting to know that H&M or Forever 21 could do this style of swimsuit tomorrow, and probably do it super cheap, but my hope is that we would still appeal to folks who are concerned about the human beings who do the super labor-intensive and skilled work of sewing receiving fair wages. I’m also really excited about the new Italian-milled recycled polyester we’re launching this spring–environmental responsibility is another big concern of ours.

Me: I love that you have a pretty inclusive size offerings. If someone were to not fit your sizes, do you do custom pieces?

Mel Wells: Thank you! It’s important to me that our sizing be as inclusive as we can afford. (I already mentioned the challenges of producing and stocking inventory.) I wish we could offer custom suits, but it is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. We’d need to pay the pattern maker to adjust the pattern, the designer to adjust the markers on the printer and dial in the colors and printing, and then custom-print that single suit, all of which would cost hundreds of dollars. This isn’t just me at my kitchen table with scissors and a sewing machine–there is a whole team and process involved in making these suits. Of course, I still package suits at my kitchen table and respond to emails personally, but even that happens on evenings and weekends since I have a day job. Honestly sometimes I wonder if this whole endeavor is bananas, but I’m going to keep doing it for as long as it’s sustainable.

 

I also hope she manages to keep Beefcake Swimwear going. This may not be the swimwear to everyone’s taste, but I definitely think it fills some gaps that needed filling. I can see Beefcake Swimwear appealing to several markets beyond just those looking for gender neutral swimwear. I know you vintage lovers as well those of you into Steampunk will want to get your hands on these. And I think that there is a rising market for modest clothing, and I would assume that would include swimwear. And the conscientious buyers take note of this company as well. Lets all help get the word out about this swimwear line.

Tell me in the comments what you think of Beefcake Swimwear. Would you wear a gender neutral swimsuit?

 

 

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Plus Size Brand Spotlight: City Chic

Collage of City Chic Dresses I own.

I decided to do a series of Plus Size Brand Spotlights because I wanted to start sharing more focused information on plus size brands. I want to show off some of the things I have from the brand as well as some of the things that are currently available for purchase. But I also wanted to go beyond just the clothing and maybe talk about some of the other things that make some of my favorite companies great.

I decided to talk about City Chic for the very first Brand Spotlight. I have talked about how they are one of my favorite brands many times, and I thought it only made sense to talk about them here.

Clothing I Own

Over the last few years I have shown you a lot of great items from City Chic over the last few years. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the items in my closet. So if you have been following me for a while you probably have seen many of these. To see each picture larger, just click on them.

Currently only the Fleetwood Black Chiffon Wrap Maxi Dress and the Hot Summer Days Printed Chiffon Maxi Dress are available. However, City Chic often brings items back, especially if they know their customers want an item. So if you see an item you like, make sure to contact them and know you would like to see them bring it back.

The Fit & Style

For the most part City Chic fits very similarly to the clothing at Torrid. Being an hourglass shape, most of their clothes fits me very well. The one exception is bottoms. Not so much skirts, but anything with leg holes in them.

I have had a hard time finding something with the right fit for me. I have tried jeans, shorts, and pants and a couple were okayish, they just were not good enough of a fit to wear on the regular. That is not to say that I wouldn’t try any more pants, only the ones I have tried were not meant to fit my body shape. Based on what I have tried I would assume their pants were meant more for someone with an apple shape.

I think they do a good job with their sizing and consistency of the clothing being that size. But like anywhere there are occasional items that haven’t been exact. Overall I would say that 95% of the time clothing I order from City Chic fits me as I expect. I typically wear a 20 at Lane Bryant and Torrid, and at City Chic I wear their size L which they say is a 20.

The style available changes a bit season to season. If I had to compare them to other stores I would say take one part Torrid, one part ModCloth, and one part Eloquii. Mix those together and you would have the essentials of what City Chic is. Now if you are for some reason not familiar those other stores either, let me put it in terms of styles. I think City Chic gives you a bit of trendy fast fashion, there is also some elements of vintage, and you have some more unusual pieces that look more fashion forward.

 

What’s Available Now

 

Here are some of my favorite things currently available on City Chic’s website. I actually have a couple of them, I just don’t have pictures of me in them yet. I have the Pink Lulu Wrap Dress, and it is one of the few I would recommend sizing down one on.

 

Beyond The Clothing

In order to become one of my favorite companies, you have to do more than just offer a product I want. Having the product is just the start. Your customer service and how you choose to handle problems when they arise are what can make or break your company, at least in my eyes.

The way I look at it, there is no such thing as a company that doesn’t make some sort of mistake or have some sort of accident happen. When those things inevitably happen are you going to treat your customers like they are thieves just trying to take something from you, or are you going to address the problem and treat your customer with total respect and do the best you can to make things right? I have only ever had a couple of small problems when shopping with city chic, and I can honestly say that their customer service department is so great. They are doing it right, and treating customers the way they should be.

Add to that they now offer free shipping both ways(purchases and returns), and a guarantee on their fit. What more could I ask for in a company. They have a loyal customer for life.

 

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried City Chic. What was your experience with them?

 

Now available exclusively online at butter LONDON, the Spring Essentials Set, a $63 value, only $40! Free shipping on all orders. Shop Now and Save!

 

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Its That Voodoo That You Do – Voodoo Vixen That Is

Voodoo Vixen and Nine West

 

Plus Size Voodoo Vixen Dress

If you are into vintage style clothing as a plus size woman, eventually you will be introduced to Voodoo Vixen. This only makes my second dress from them, but I love it just as much as the first one. I bought mine through SimplyBe.com, but I believe they are already sold out of this particular dress. You can also try looking for it at Voodoo Vixens website.

Back of Voodoo Vixen Betsy Dress

Keep in mind that Voodoo Vixen is not true retro style. According to their website they are, “a vintage inspired label which infuses retro, pin-up, and rockabilly styles with classic silhouettes to flatter the modern woman.”

They are based out of the UK and deal with retro inspired styles, and like other brands of their genre sizing is not the average US plus sizing. For reference I typically wear a 2X OR 20W at both Torrid and Lane Bryant. I wear a 3XL in Voodoo Vixen. Their size chart does seem pretty accurate so far. Though, if you have a small bust you could probably size down in this one as the skirt is pretty open.

Plus Size Voodoo Vixen DressMy shoes are a pair of Nine West Sharina Slingbacks. I have actually had mine for well over five years, but they match the dress almost perfectly. The pattern mine are in is no longer available, however they are always releasing new patterns and colors in this shoe style. This is what mine look like:

Nine West Sharina Slingback

If you would like to give voodoo vixen a try, here is some other options you might consider:

Plus Size Paula Dress From Voodoo Vixen

Voodoo Vixen Paula Dress

Voodoo Vixen Seahorse DressVoodoo Vixen Seahorse Print Dress

So let me know in the comments if you have tried Voodoo Vixen? What is your favorite dress from them?

 

 

 

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While I Was Away This Happened……

So this is probably one of many short posts for the blog. I wanted to catch you guys up on something else that happened while I was away. It was a big decision for me, and probably seems really small to most people. But I changed my hair again. I had just went to having the long hair with purple tips back in the summer, and then life happened.

As I mentioned in my last post my husband lost his job, and that was around the time I was going to go get my hair touched up. I put it off for a couple of weeks hoping my husband would find work quickly, but it ended up taking a couple of months. Which don’t get me wrong that is not bad compared to what some people I know have went through in a job search, and I get that. But if you have ever dyed your hair, especially with bold colors, things can start looking funky if you wait too long.

So after much thought and consideration I decided to go with just having my hair all black and going short. It had been about five to six years since I had short hair, well medium hair. Anyway, if you follow me on Pinterest you know that I pin on there a lot. (As a side note, I am sorry for anyone trying to find my social media. My buttons seemed to disappear and I am working on getting them back) So I was looking around for a more retro hairstyle to try and I came across this picture of Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Bardot

I really loved the way this looked, and I thought it would be quite easy to style when I on occasion do vintage style hairdos. So I went and got my hair chopped down.

And here it is right after the first day, before I decided how I really wanted to wear it. But I did have on a one of the 70’s style dresses from Simply Be.

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As I have worn it a bit now, it has naturally just started to part on the right, and I like it that way.

I want to hear from all of you. What is your favorite hairstyle that you have had? What are you rocking now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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