Monday, June 30, 2014

Guest Post - The Soubrette Brunette

Hi there, all you faithful readers of small town, BIG SMILE!  It's Sammi from The Soubrette Brunette!  For those who may not know me, I'm a singer and actress with a love for all things retro, kitschy and girly.  I also love cats, teatime and novelty prints and bags.  I absolutely adore Jana and her always-impeccable style, so of course, I said that I would be delighted to do a guest post while she is celebrating her wedding!  Since Jana and I share a love of vintage reproductions, I thought I would share my little collection of dresses by one designer in particular: Bernie Dexter!  I'm sure most of you are probably at least a little familiar with Bernie (or at least with her wonderful dresses), but for those who might not be, Bernie is a gorgeous pin-up model turned designer.  She focuses on 1940's and 1950's-inspired dresses (and has some of the most fantastic novelty prints around, in my opinion!), though she has also designed pants, tops, jumpsuits, skirts and even swimwear.  I have found her dresses to be incredibly flattering and well-made -- and they almost always have hidden lipstick pockets (this is always a plus for me, even if I don't actually use them for anything!).  They are also ideal summer dresses, since they are typically unlined and are made of 100% cotton.  Although Bernie Dexter dresses are a bit of an investment, I've found them to be a solid addition to my wardrobe; they're actually incredibly versatile pieces, and I value quality over quantity.
I have to talk a bit about my absolute favorite Bernie Dexter dress.  It was actually my very first Bernie dress, and it remains a staple for me -- not only because of how flattering it is, but also because the print is of beautiful lilacs (my favorite flower!).  This is the only Bernie dress I have in this particular silhouette (referred to as the "Paris Pin Up" style on her website), but I should make an effort to add another in this style to my collection.  It's the perfect fit-and-flare dress, and hits my frame in all the right places.  Another thing I like about Bernie's dresses is that her size chart is pretty consistent for me; fit varies by silhouette, but I wear the same size in all her dresses, which is very useful when you do a bulk of your shopping online and need to take as much guess work out of the equation as possible!  This dress is on sale on Bernie's website right now, and I can't recommend it more!
As I mentioned before, I think Bernie's dresses have a lot of versatility.  I've worn them both with and without petticoats, and many times, they look equally-good either way!  Although I love the look of a crinoline, it's certainly not always a practical option, so I love that either choice is a possibility.  In addition, there are a couple of her dresses (one that I own, and one that I borrowed from Jana) that look better on me without the addition of a petticoat.  These are usually dresses with a less-full skirt than some of her other designs.  Here are some of her dresses that I opted to style sans petticoat:
This Parisian print dress has a much more 1940's look to it (especially with the knotted sailor collar).
Jana's adorable rocket print Bernie dress seemed a little shorter and less full than others I have,
so I nixed the crinoline for a breezier summer look.
Although I decided not to wear a petticoat with either of these, they work both with and without one!
I've also discovered that her dresses can be great for layering.  Two of my favorite layered looks involve Bernie's dresses.  I love when dresses can magically transform into skirts!  It allows you to get so much more longevity out of your wardrobe, and it's always fun to create a new use for something.  It's also a great way to achieve a more casual look.  I used to get a lot of questions from people, asking why I was so dressed up; although I dress for myself and like dressing up, this can still be a really good option.  It also allows these dresses to get some wear in the cooler seasons, which is always nice!
My favorite layered look with my beloved Clueless sweatshirt!  Very '90s meets '50s.
I loved this as a winter option!  This winter was so drab that I needed a springy reminder.
Although my favorite pieces are Bernie's dresses, I also own a couple of other separate pieces.  Bernie often sells her pieces on eBay when they're being discontinued, and this is a great way to score something you've had your eye on.  I purchased an adorable red gingham playsuit and a lovely off-the-shoulder red top from Bernie's eBay store (I also got one of my dresses this way!), and both pieces definitely live up to her normal standards of construction and cuteness!  I chose to wear the playsuit underneath a skirt I already had, and although I often wear the red top with a pair of high-waisted jeans, I chose here to wear it with a poodle (well, kitten) skirt for a make-shift sock hop Halloween costume!

I've accepted the fact that there will always be a Bernie dress on my wish list!  I've been eyeing these two lovelies for what seems like forever!  Both are available at ModCloth (though the dog print one is currently out of stock).  I'm also eyeing this fox print dress and this bee print one (available on the official Bernie Dexter website)!  What about you?  Are you a fan of Bernie Dexter?  If you own any of her dresses, which ones?  I love living vicariously!  

Thanks so much to Jana for allowing me to (hopefully) entertain you all for the day!  Thanks for checking out my post, and I hope to see you around The Soubrette Brunette sometime!  Have a wonderful Monday!   

1 comment:

  1. I love all of these. I especially love the Paris print one and the adorable clueless outfit you put together. I really want a Bernie Dexter dress!