It is safe to say that Pinup Girl Clothing is one of the giants of the vintage reproduction/inspired world. Constantly coming up with new incredible designs and patterns, it’s also their classic styles that continue to be a drawcard.
The Ava Dress is one of those styles. A staple on the Pinup Girl Clothing Website since 2010 and now coming in a ever growing colour range, it’s a favourite among fans. Founder and designer Laura Byrnes took inspiration from a promo shot for the TV show Mad Men and thus the Ava dress as we know it came into existence!
My first Ava Dress was the Jade Green version in 2011. Since then, I’ve also bought the Red Rose version and even had my four bridesmaids in the gorgeous purple.
I think what is appealing about the Ava Dress is the subtle bust details- It’s not too low so still appropriate for events like weddings. Also the faux wrap skirt is really flattering and has that slim line to it for those wanting something between the fullness of a swing dress and a tight wiggle dress.
The sash is another lovely detail and really handy for cinching in the waist. Because of my larger hips compared to my waist, I size up to a large in this style. The waist therefore is quite big so the ability to cinch in the excess room is great! There is a particular way to tying the sash, watch Micheline Pitt’s handy video demonstrating the method here-
With my first one, the Jade Green, I had the zip shortened up to the waistband. I found that the bottom of the zip bulged out so had it shortened.
It makes getting it on a little tighter but it’s manageable. However, I think back then I was a little heavier so the bottom area was tighter as I don’t seem to have a problem with the zip on my Red Rose version. The only alteration I had done on the Red Rose was to lift the shoulders up slightly.
Interestingly, the size chart for the Red Rose is quite different than the Jade Green, I didn’t even look at the size chart when ordering the Red Rose, I just got the same size as what I had in the green. The bust and hip measurements for the Red Rose is a good 2-3 inches bigger than what is listed for the Jade. However the waist is only listed as being a inch or so bigger.
I have to say that I didn’t notice a huge amount of difference, although now that I think about it, the hips probably do have more room. But it doesn’t feel like a whole size up which the size chart indicates. My advice when ordering any of the solid satin styles, to pay close attention to the size chart as the fabric doesn’t have stretch- so order by your biggest measurement. For the Red Rose, you might be safe to size down in some places as the fabric has stretch, although I would still be careful with the waist as the stitching limits the stretch.
For reference, my bust measures 36″, waist measures 27″ and hips measure 42″.
Not only does the Ava look great on a lot of different body types (hence why I chose it for my bridesmaids!) but it also works great with pregnant bellies!
With my love for the Ava, I was over the moon to hear that Pinup Girl Clothing were bringing out a swing version! I managed to snag one in the Black Friday sale and saved it for Christmas Day. The swing Ava is made from much different fabric compared to the original Ava- it’s a soft stretch taffeta and meant that even though my measurements fell in between the size small and medium, I could size down to a small.
The swing Ava has the same cross-over V bust, cap sleeves and waistband but with a lovely full skirt and no sash. Coming in Turquoise and Black, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more colourways released- it’s been very popular and sizes sold out very fast after it’s initial release. The soft taffeta is so lovely- I was expecting a crunchier taffeta so the softness was a welcome surprise.
I’d highly recommend wearing a petticoat underneath as the taffeta is quite heavy and hangs quite straight. In the below photos I am wearing my blue Vivien of Holloway petticoat AND my black Hell Bunny one for ultimate poof!
The size small fits me really well- it’s a snug fit but I like it that way! So it is possible to size down, just bear in mind that the waist band under the bust doesn’t have as much stretch as the rest of the dress.
The only fit issue I have with the Swing Ava is that the waist is super long! I’ve never had this problem with any of my Pinup Girl Clothing Dresses before but I definitely need to have it shortened. I didn’t get round to it before wearing it on Christmas Day so I just wore my Deadly Dames Velvet belt to help disguise the issue.
Both the original Ava and the Swing Ava also come in Plus Size and retail for US$114 and US$120. The Ava is a great dress to have in your wardrobe for special occasions and with such a wonderful colour spectrum to choose from, there’s bound to be one to take your fancy! Some ladies even wear them for their wedding- see this post here for inspiration.
x Miss Victory Violet