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The Complete Countdown of My Most Worn Vintage Brands: Part I

Welcome to the end of 2016!  Because it's the season for traveling and being busy, this will be my second to last post of the year.  But this one is a MEGA jam packed one, so fear not!  This is the first installment of a two part series that will be counting down my most worn vintage inspired brands from the past year.  I decided to do a post like this because getting into the vintage and retro world can be so overwhelming, so I thought I'd do some real talk and explain which brands I reach for the most and why in hopes of helping anyone new to this style of dressing--or anyone curious in general!

Honest to goodness, this was a hard countdown to calculate!  Some of my favorite pieces don't get worn as much and some beloved brands do get neglected.  Make no mistake: I love ALL of these brands!  I also love many brands that weren't featured.  This post is solely demystifying how and why I wear retro clothing, which brands are super practical, which ones sometimes need to be benched, and shopping tips on all of them!  If you're in the vintage style world too, please comment in the comments on the points you agree and disagree with!  Without further ado, let's get started!
10. Unique Vintage
This yellow jumper was featured HERE on the blog earlier in the year.

Admittedly I didn't know how to factor Unique Vintage into this post!  I do purchase several things from UV, but they're often brands that I'm featuring in this countdown (specifically in the next installment involving Folter and Bernie Dexter dresses...ahem).  But I couldn't not include Unique Vintage as they are such a staple store, and since they have their own house brand and some exclusives I decided to only count those items.  I truly love such pieces from UV, but as they are newer to my closet I haven't gotten too much mileage out of them just yet for them to rank higher.  But the yellow jumper (above) and it's twin navy one (not pictured) are amongst some of my all-time favorite purchases.  They're so practical and fun at once and can lend themselves to a quirky or classic look.  UV has gotten into the novelty print skirt game in a big way this year (which as you know is basically my favorite kind of clothing piece EVER) and I've been thoroughly enjoying the skirts I do own from them (below).

This haunted mansion skirt was featured HERE on the blog earlier this year.

Shopping Tips: Unique Vintage has huge sales, but they are sporadic and occasionally unpredictable.  I believe they're changing their business model too as some things have changed, i.e.: last year they did at least two 50% off already-on-sale items and this year I don't believe they've done any in 2016, including on Black Friday week.  That said, they had 30% site wide this Black Friday and I don't believe they've ever taken that much off before.  There's also a points system when you purchase from UV, but I haven't quite mastered how that works totally so I can't pass along too much intel.  Shipping is $7 flat right unless you spend $150, making shopping here for smaller ticket items sometimes a little frustrating.  Most items are other brands on UV, but they recently released their own house brand and I know at least Doll Me Up carries some of their items.

9. Pinup Girl Clothing
If we're ONLY counting this Commuter's skirt, PUG would be #1 as it's one of my all-time favorites.  To read more about this skirt, click HERE!

This is a fan and somewhat cultish favorite of women who dress in a retro style.  If I did this count down last year Pinup Girl Clothing (or PUG for short) would be in the top 5.  I'm insanely in love with the pieces that I own, but somehow I reached for PUG items less this year.  I think there's a few reasons for this:
  1. As lovely as the garments are, (some) pieces feel a little costume-y to me.  I like dressing in a way that's an homage to mid-century fashion, as opposed to being on the nose.  While I do modernize these looks and I (think) I succeed at doing so, sometimes it is a taller order than not to do it that way so I opt for different pieces from different brands.
  2. There's a LOT of fabric from some of these clothes.  I tend to go for lighter fabrics in the summer, so despite that I only own dresses and skirts from PUG they get left behind on hotter days because the fabric is kind of heavy.
I missed out on this Cabana stripes skirt when it first came out because I was a very new PUG customer when it sold out.  I tracked it down this summer and wore it a fair amount since, but had yet to get it properly photographed until this post!!

Shopping Tips: There are occasional sales.  The sales usually happen around holidays, although occasionally random departments of PUG will be some % off.  I HIGHLY recommend following them on Instagram or joining the Facebook group: Pinup Girl Clothing Customer Lounge.  Early access to sales and new styles coming to the site are favored over other ways of announcing these things.  Joining their email list is a good ideas too ;)  Shipping isn't obscene, but the minimum required for free shipping has changed a few times within the past year alone.  There's a 10% off repeat customer code (CCthanks10).  The brand is sold elsewhere at boutique stores, but they are somewhat few and far between.

Word to the wise:  Black Friday is the most ideal time to shop for sales at PUG.  The whole site is between 30-35%--including everything on sale!  I only own as many pieces as I do because of Black Friday sales!!
This is my newest piece from Trashy Diva, so I haven't been able to make a post on it yet.  This skirt and their whole Majhong collection is still for sale on TD's site HERE!

I feel like I'm going to get kicked out of all of the online vintage social circles for listing both PUG and Trashy Diva in the bottom half of this countdown, as the fans of both brands are rabid and adoring in a great and loyal way.  I really love Trashy Diva--I promise!  But this list is about the frequency of how much I wear brands and why.  The prints are amazing and the clothes are quality.  Sometimes I get confused as to why I don't wear TD as much as I do.  Because these items sometimes get left behind when I get dressed, I've considered selling some pieces (and boy, could I make a fortune as they go for more than their original retail sticker once they're sold out!).  But then I look at my items and break into a small sweat at the idea of parting from any of them, because I do truly love them.   The skirts are super lightweight and the dresses fit like a dream, so the days I do reach for Trashy Diva I basically leave the house doing the Dumb and Dumber tap dance from when they decided on the orange and blue tuxes. 

I think Trashy Diva is part classic and part novel in regards to their prints, so it's a combination that sometimes loses out.  If I'm in a quirky mood, I have other pieces that are quirkier.  And I have solid color staples, stripes, and polka dots that are more subtle for when I'm in a more classic mood.  Because TD falls somewhere in the middle with nearly all of their prints, I think that's how and why they occasionally get lost in the shuffle of my closet.  I'm going to make it my clothing New Year's resolution to wear TD more in 2017 because I think I'm genuinely missing out!

I was shocked to find that I never dedicated a post to this Trashy Diva skirt (Tropical Sangria collection, which is sadly sold out) as it was in my first ever TD purchase and it's arguably my most worn skirt from TD.  I at least mentioned this skirt in a now defunct series, Weekend Fashion, from the end of 2014 and you can read that HERE.  I have also featured this on my Instagram a few times and I imagine I still will, so please follow me HERE on IG! :)

Shopping Tips: Trashy Diva occasionally does sales for various collections or they do site wide sales.  Occasionally there are 50% off items already on sale codes.  That said, free shipping only happens with a coupon code after a $200 minimum (code=Vintage).  If you buy things at full price, then cool!  But if you are sale shopping and manage to get a few things with a coupon and hit the $200 mark, there's no room for a second coupon to acquire free shipping.  And, shipping is $13!  This is my least favorite shipping site, not just because of the cost but they actually sent a package to a wrong address once from an outdated address file (I checked the invoice to make sure it wasn't my mistake and luckily I was able to track it down).  Trashy Diva is sold elsewhere, but like PUG it is somewhat rare to find TD on other sites, especially since ModCloth doesn't seem to carry them as much as they used to.  That said, PUG is currently carrying a fairly large selection of Trashy Diva so check that out HERE!

7. Tatyana
I wrote about this Nesting Doll dress earlier in the year HERE.

I ebb and flow with Tatyana, with both my wearing and buying habits involving this brand.  I love the quality and the pieces I have.  I only own pieces that I can somewhat modernize, which the site has plenty of as well as very vintage-on-the-nose pieces for girls who are more into that look.  I believe that out of a lot of vintage inspired brands, Tatyana truly has something for everyone regardless of what their personal style may be!!  Once a year I want "all the things" from Tatyana but then I don't touch the site for the rest of the year.  The same can be said with how I grab clothes out of my closet, but I definitely reach for Tatyana more than once a year!!  It's more like some months I wear a lot of pieces from Tatyana and other months I simply don't.  The phrase "cold dead hands" comes to mind with majority of my Tatyana pieces if someone were to ask if I would ever give them up though, so trust me when I state that I truly do love this brand!

I wrote about this red fan skirt earlier in the year HERE!

Shopping Tips: So. Many. Sales.  Honestly!  Ranging from 40-70% off site wide...and even more than that on occasion!  I almost wanted to ask Tatyana if they were doing ok this year, because after a few of those in a row it borderline felt like a Going-Out-Of-Business sale!  They also have stellar customer service (read more about there HERE).  Shipping is fair and is free anyway after $50.  

It's relatively easy to find this brand at other stores too, or at least it's used to be.  ModCloth used to carry several items from them, but upon checking I only found five Tatyana staple pieces on ModCloth (here).  Unique Vintage has a few more (here) but last I checked they don't carry size XS for some reason, so I've never gotten a Tatyana piece via Unique Vintage :(  Doll Me Up has a few marked down items from Tatyana (here) but to my knowledge these are the only stores I'm aware of that carry Tatyana besides their main site.  Please sound off in the comments if I'm wrong and I will update this!

6. Heart of Haute
This pineapple top was featured both in a blog post HERE and in one of my YouTube videos HERE.

This brand may not have made the list a year ago!  Prior to 2016 I only owned two skirts from Heart of Haute and I was kind of "meh" about them because they fit me kind of awkwardly.  But then I took a chance on their tops and fell in love!  As you may recall I've been trying to broaden my closet with more blouses and printed tops in 2016 after years of being an exclusive basic top and band t-shirts kind of girl.  Heart of Haute has been a really good friend to me in this journey!  I've worn several of their tops in both my videos connected to this blog and my Just Shair YouTube Channel (comedy account).  They're fun prints and can be dressed up or dressed down.  I wear these bad boys a lot!

This Scottie dog shirt is new to me, and therefore I have not been able to do a post on it yet.

Shopping Tips: Heart of Haute has a solid handful of sales, usually ranging from 15-30%  (sometimes higher).  Shipping is a flat rate of $7, which is fine, but when you buy a top for 15% off and then had to add $7 to the total cost it feels a little bit defeating.  However, shipping is SUPER FAST from Heart of Haute!   I've never had to wait more than 72 hours for a piece to arrive in the mail, regardless of when I've ordered.  They also have a sale rack store where things are frequently 40% off an already reduced price.  Get their emails or follow their Instagram to find out when these happen, as most sales don't seem to be super advertised on their site.  Heart of Haute is hit or miss in regards to finding this brand in other online stores, but because I'm newer to being a full fledged fan of the brand I may have not sniffed out as thoroughly where to shop for them, so please comment in the comments if I'm wrong!

So there is the first half of my most worn retro brands of 2016!  Can anybody guess which brands will make the top 5?  I'm planning on posting the second half of this post the first Friday of 2017!  I have one more post coming out this weekend and then I'll be seeing you guys in the new year!  I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!
~Lauren-Blair Donovan



  1. I loooved this post, with so nice brands and I love your outfits! Unique Vintage would be my choice now, although I liked all the other brands, too - but that first yellow-white stripe jumper is soooo amazing! I love your skirts with amazing prints, but today, that is my favorite outfit here! You look beautiful in every picture, and I love this new location! It is interesting to see the contrast, a more industrial-atmosphere, that is so fashionable today, and the vintage-like outfits! I would like to thank you for all the support and beautiful words to me this year and wish you a great 2017 - with health, fun, many music festivals, videos for Just Shair, many vintage-amazing-printed skirts and all that you wish! Happy new year!

  2. You rock vintage like no other! Seriously obsesses with all of these looks, babe!
    Best wishes to you for much joy in 2017!
    xoxo, Vanessa

  3. Wow, Trashy Diva and Unique Vintage are amazing. The print on that skirt!!!! So cool! Love your vintage inspired outfits. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it and happy new year!

    Raindrops of Sapphire

  4. You have the cutest vintage clothes! The bright, fun colors and prints always cheer me up :) As someone who has absolutely no knowledge when it comes to vintage clothing, this post was so fun to read. I may need to pick up my own printed midi skirt soon ;)

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

  5. You thoroughly prove that you can rock any outfit and any color!! Loving your varied looks!!

    All the Cute

  6. You are seriously the cutest person on earth! Ok, so when i first started wearing vintage reproductions, my go-to was Modcloth. It was really the only place I knew about so I solely shopped there for years. Then I found Unique Vintage and some other places and my horizons widened haha. This is such a wonderful post for anyone getting into vintage type clothing though. Different brands have different sizing issues too and it was always a guess for me when choosing something online until I learned how each brand sized their clothing. You do vintage SO well though. Can't wait for the next installment!

  7. You look Beautiful and Fantastic in these photos! These vintage brands have the cutest skirts and they all fit you so well. You do an amazing job of accessorizing them with great choices of bags and shoes. These red platform heels are hot...sizzle!

  8. So interesting to see where brands fall on your list! Looking forward to seeing your top 5!


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