When readers email me and ask for advice, I’m more than happy to give my opinion. More often than not, it’ll turn into a post of some sort: my favorite crinolines or my makeup must-haves. Well, lately the running theme seems to be: where can I get the vintage look in modern sizes? And whether you love vintage but want a few vintage-inspired pieces to mix in to your wardrobe, or you love the look but don’t have the time to put into the care true vintage requires, or you’ve become a bit frustrated with your favorite vintage-inspired retailers: this is the post for you.
In my own evolution of style, I’ve found a few key things have changed: I have started to invest much more in quality over quantity. My hemlines have lengthened, my appreciation for novelty prints have skyrocketed, and my desire to stand behind a retailer (and their business practices) that I hand over my hard-earned dollars to has increased ten fold. So, it’s no surprise that I have found myself frequenting the site Unique Vintage more and more over the years.
Unique Vintage was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Katie Echeverry and is based out of Burbank, CA. Although they have a brick and mortar shop on Magnolia Blvd that opened in 2008, I’ve only ever been a visitor to their website, which is home to a bevy of beautiful vintage-inspired clothing at a range of price points (even some true vintage!). I’ve been shopping on their site for years (case in point here & here) and was really proud to take part in their #iamunique campaign awhile back – celebrating body positivity and self-expression. Despite my many moves over land and sea, they could always find me thanks to their international shipping option. Year after year, I was always excited when a UV parcel would land on my doorstep.
As a blogger, it’s always exciting when you get to work with a company you really love. And I was beside myself with excitement when I had the chance to collaborate with Unique Vintage on this post – to give you all a bit of insight into their clothing line and some of the amazing pieces currently spilling forth from their website.
The funny thing is – although my first purchase with Unique Vintage was back in 2007, it took me a good 5 years before I didn’t just pop by to scoop up the latest Bernie Dexter dress or order a new petticoat, but started to pay attention to their in-house brand. Much to my surprise, they aren’t just a go-to for a lot of cult favorite vintage-inspired pieces, but over the years have created a name for themselves with some swoon worthy, amazing garments they design themselves.
If you hadn’t heard about it until now, Unique Vintage carries its own private UV label, with designs ranging everywhere from frothy prom gowns to saucy wiggle dresses. Personally, I was really excited to take their home-grown clothing for a whirl and share with you guys my thoughts on overall quality and craftsmanship.
So, they sent me four amazing pieces to try to get a full sense of their product range: The Navy blue anchor print Delores swing dress, the Pink flamingo flock high waist swing skirt, and White & border floral Darcy swing dress, plus this adorable Cream & red cherry leatherette round shoulder bag. According to the UV size chart, a size M is roughly a 36 bust, 28 waist, which suits me perfectly (I’m a 35″ bust and 27-28″ waist), so I went with a medium in everything. Then, I decided to go for broke and style them with the many beauties I’ve scooped up from UV over the years, reviewed below in terms of fit, fabric, and fabulousness.
Look #1: Anchors Away!
The first dress I took for a test drive was the the Navy blue anchor print Delores swing dress, which paired perfectly with this adorable Cream & red cherry leatherette round shoulder bag. The first thing I noticed was how comfortable this dress was. Made out of a cotton/polyamide/spandex blend, this dress was probably my favorite in terms of fit. She comes in sizes xs-xl and 2x-4x, and will hug your curves like nobodies business.
As above, I went with the medium in this piece, which corresponds to a 36″ bust and a 28″ waist on the size chart. I measured my dress when it arrived, which was 36″ bust, 26″ waist (unstretched) but could stretch to 30.” Because of the stretch, this one fit me like a glove. I loved the fact that I felt cinched in, but knew it would be comfortable for a full day of running around.
There were also some cuter than cute details on this dress – I loved the button detail on the sleeves and the adorable anchor print, but loved even more the little splashes of red. It’s hard to see from the product shots on the website, but each anchor has a miniature red bow on it, which really popped against my red accessories. She fell 25.5″ waist-hem, which falls just below the knee on me at 5’9, and took two crinolines with aplomb. This dress is a also dream for the long waisted! It has a wide waistband and measured 16.5-17″ shoulder-waist. Because of this, this particular style may be a bit trickier on shorter-waisted frames.
The bodice is a gathered v-neck, which dipped daringly low. Personally, it was a bit bodacious on me for work, as my bust sometimes has a life of its own and tries to roam free. But, I found that a small safety pin about an inch or two up from the bustline would keep it modest for work, and then pin begone when I head out on the town! I haven’t tried it yet, but a lace cami would also be a good solution if you need a bit more coverage.
We also need to talk about this bag for a second – how amazing are these appliquéd cherries? I am someone who is over-the-moon excited about round handbags in general, but the cherries with touches of red glitter on the outside quite literally put the cherry on the sundae. It’s made of vegan-friendly leatherette, is lined in the cutest pink polka dot fabric, and holds its adorable round shape really well. Sometimes with round bags they can collapse on themselves when you remove the stuffing, but this had a solid frame. It’s a smaller bag (7.5”W x 3”D), but was able to hold my smaller wallet, phone, keys, and lip gloss. As I’m a small-bag gal generally, this doesn’t bother me, but is something to think about if you like to carry the world around with you.
Overall, I seriously didn’t want to take this outfit off. I love a sailor inspired look, but if it’s not your jam, the Delores also comes in a wide range of other colors and prints.
Look #2: Flamingo Flock
Next up was one of the swing skirts Unique Vintage is kind of famous for. I’ve always admired them from afar, but somehow never took the plunge on one. But when this flamingo skirt flocked across my retinas, all bets were off and I was a goner.
The medium is listed as 28-29″ waist on the size chart. This one was very true to size, and mine measured 28 1/4″ waist. Like most of the UV line, this skirt comes in sizes xs-xl and 2x-4x. The fabric was a lovely weighty cotton – it felt light, but held its shape really beautifully. It’s also listed as machine washable (score!) and they seriously didn’t scrimp on fabric – it was luscious and full and I could layer petticoats to my hearts content. At 25 1/2″ from waist hem, she also hit just below my knees (which is kind of my own personal “magic length” to be honest).
I am no stranger to color, and I love how bright and vibrant this skirt is! The bright pink flamingos are set against a beautiful white and azure blue sky. I love that from afar you can’t really tell they’re flamingos – they look like an abstract border print from far away, and it’s only when you get a closer look that you can really appreciate its fabulousness. Despite the loudness of the print, I feel like there are actually a lot of styling options. I went with bringing out the black in this particular look, but I also think it would be adorable with a white top and bright yellow accessories.
This skirt comes complete with pockets (!), and zips up the back with a covered zipper and a large button at the waistband. One thing I really liked was the fact that the button was covered in the same fabric. Instead of a basic plastic button, this one had a bit more thought and care and blended in perfectly to the waistband of the skirt. I’m telling you, it’s the little details….
Look #3: Floral Explosion
The dress I was really excited to get my hands on was the White & border floral Darcy swing dress, because I love me a floral border print! And this one didn’t disappoint – the white was a crisp white and the colors in the print was super vibrant. I felt like I was standing hip deep in a field of abstract wildflowers exploding in color. The fabric was like a polished cotton, with some stretch. The dress was unlined, which I think will be incredibly helpful when we start to hit those ungodly temperatures NC is known for this summer.
I also took a medium in this beauty, but found this to run slightly larger in the waist than the other two. Mine measured 36-37″ bust and 29″ waist, so if you’re in-between sizes or have a proportionally smaller waist, you may be able to size down in this piece. I was able to easily cinch mine with a belt for these photos, but may take it in a smidge at one point. What can I say, I’m a gal who likes it seriously cinched. As with the rest of their line, this dress comes in xs-xl and 2x-4x, and seems to be a cut that would look uber fabulous on everyone.
The skirt on this dress is the kind dreams are made of – I had women stopping me on the street asking me where I got it, and the kaleidoscope of colors meant I could pair it with pretty much anything. To let the dress really sing, I kept my accessories neutral, but you could pretty much pick any color from the print and run with it in terms of shoes and accessories. This dress also fell 25″ from waist to hem, which was only a smidge shorter than the other two. She also has pockets – which, let’s be honest, just makes every dress better.
In addition to the beautiful border print, probably my favorite feature of the Darcy dress was the bodice. Ruched at the front and an oh-so-flattering slight sweetheart neckline, but it still managed to be modest without too much cleavage. I am also IN LOVE with the fact that the straps are adjustable. This feature is a godsend if you struggle with bodice length (as I always do).
I think one of my favorite features of each of these dresses is how quickly they can go from day to night. A bit of sparkly jewelry and some stilettos, and I’d be completely comfortable all three looks for a night out. Each piece was really different, but fit seamlessly into my wardrobe and I can already see endless styling options.
In terms of cost, I find the prices on the UV site to be incredibly reasonable. The Delores dress retails for $88, the Flamingo skirt for $78, the Darcy dress for $98, and the cherry bag for $48 (which also comes in black). The price point for these beauties is in the mid-range, but I personally believe the quality is outstanding and they are totally worth the price (and far less pricey than some of the other quality vintage-inspired brands out there). In addition to in-house designed dresses, they also now have a UV swim and a kid’s line – I may have to take advantage of an ‘Auntie & me’ look for my niece one of these days!
They ship all over the world, with free shipping within the US for orders over $150. I find their shipping to be really fast – a recent order I placed took only 7 days from purchase to doorstep, and when I lived overseas it would only take ~2 weeks to arrive. Whenever there’s been an issue, customer service has always been great and really responsive.
I know a lot of my readers are getting increasingly concerned about the business practices behind the companies they shop with. This is the time to pay attention to where our dollars are going and make choices on the companies we support. Personally, I was really happy to see that Unique Vintage had a page on their site dedicated to transparency – you can read about their Corporate Responsibility Policy, both from their vendors and within the company itself. Although I am certainly not perfect, I’m trying to be more aware of where my clothing comes from. We have a powerful voice with our business dollars.
To help you take one (or all) of these beauties home for yourself, Unique Vintage is offering a coupon code exclusive to my readers! From now until 23 June, you can use code DRESSED20 to get 20% off any full-priced purchase from the Unique Vintage website (excludes Sale items, Dress of the Month Club, Catch of the Day, Gift Cards and Flapper Dresses). You can also follow Unique Vintage on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay in the know about new collections and sales.
Do you have any UV brand items? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Outfit 1 Details:
Dress: Delores swing dress in navy blue anchor print c/o Unique Vintage
Necklace: Unique Vintage (similar)
Handbag: Cream & red cherry leatherette round shoulder bag c/o Unique Vintage
Shoes: Seychelles (similar here & here)
Lip Color: Schiap
Lip Color: Retrofuturist
Outfit 3 Details:
Dress: Darcy swing dress in White & border floral c/o Unique Vintage
Necklace: Sora Designs
Belt: gift, Alannah Hill (similar)
Handbag: Unique Vintage, sold out (similar)
Shoes: Moschino, thrifted (similar)
Lip Color: Centrifuchsia