Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kellys for All!

It's only a slight exaggeration to say that the Kelly dress from Bernie Dexter broke the retro-style internet. (Ok, it's a large exaggeration. Bear with me!) When the Kelly in the Kitchen dress first popped up for preorder on Bernie's site, it inspired quite a lot of excitement, for several obvious reasons:

1) It's a shirtwaist dress with no buttons!
2) The print is absolute genius, and just look at the colors!
3) A culinary-themed dress with a full, gathered skirt and classic 1950s silhouette is almost too perfect.

When these dresses started to make their way to their new homes, the reaction on social media and blogs was instant, near-unanimous love. I've written before about what makes the Kelly my favorite Bernie Dexter cut of all time, and if you look in my closet, you'll see four of them. For now.

It seems that Bernie knows how perfect her creation is, since she's released the Kelly in numerous other colors and patterns. And after seeing so many people rocking the living daylights out of their Kellys, I've come to a surprising conclusion: this dress looks good on everyone! To prove this point, I asked Sara Lily, the epic mind behind In a Nutshell…, to help me put together a post showcasing the OG Kelly In the Kitchen dress on ladies of all heights and sizes. Without further ado, here are just a few lovely ladies (and me!) totally slaying in their Kellys!
Sara (@inanutshellblog and In a Nutshell...), 5'2"
Check out Sara's post on the Kitchen Kelly over at her blog!

When Bernie Dexter released the Kelly style, I literally gasped. It was super duper adorably cute but it was also very different for her. While I love most Bernie Dexter dresses, most of hers are very pinup-esque with thin straps, low cut necklines, and sexy cuts. While I love to dress like a pinup when I go out or am on vacation, I prefer to be a retro housewife for work and other day things. So when the Kelly came out, it was a dream come true! Bernie prints on a more housewife-y style? Yes, please!
The kitchen print is my favorite so far (although I did just order the red Kelly covered in kittens as well as the paint palette Kelly and they’re both just so sweet). I feel so good in it - and if a dress does that, you know it’s a great dress. So often these days, as women, we are made to feel this pressure to look like movie stars and celebrities with unrealistic expectations of how our bodies should look. It doesn’t MATTER what size my breasts are (I’m a b cup, FYI) or that my bootie is a bit like a grannie (it’s got dimples and cellulite all over - woo!). What matters is how I feel about myself.

In my opinion, that comes from a good dress. The Kelly style flatters many shapes it seems, hence this blog post I helped Emily put together! (Editor's note: <3!! THANK YOU!) I have gained weight in the last year or two and even though my weight is still healthy, it has been hard adjusting to this rounder belly, thicker thighs, and wider hips. I don’t feel ugly but I have to get used to the new version of me. For reference, my measurements these days are roughly 36” bust, 29.5” waist, and 39” hips.

In the Kelly, I feel awesome. The cut is flattering and the zipper front eliminates the worry that comes with buttons. Buttons will gape over almost any chest no matter what size you get. Sometimes it’s just because of the fabric and other times it’s just poor quality. No worries there with the Kelly! I am so in love with the zipper.

The full skirt rocks and fits a full petticoat (I love them puffy!) and the cut of the bodice creates some great cleavage. Many gals I know with larger chests size up in this style to accommodate their fuller chests but for me, I’ve kept to my true size. The medium is a snug fit but it gives my B cups a little boost - and I totally dig it!

Jen (@latenightnurse), 5'5.5" tall
I'm having serious #hairenvy right now - Emily

I feel so 1950s pretty housewife in this Kelly in the Kitchen Bernie! This dress is a small, which is my go-to size in Bernie's; cinched in at the waist for that classic look. I was initially hesitant with a front-zipper, I was worried I'd zip up my belly! No worries necessary! The zip lays flat, and with my small bust, I didn't feel like I had to "lift the gals" to fill the dress. The fabric is light weight and breathable, and the print is to die for! The kitchen print allows multiple options for accessorizing. Today I added some sunshine by wearing my Erstwilder Sumptuous Sunflower brooch and cherry-red cat-eye sunnies. Shoes are B.A.I.T. Footwear, the red belt was included with the dress.

This Kelly-style Bernie is easily my favorite cut of all my Bernie Dexter dresses!

Haley (@hbetabel), 5'1" tall
38DD/E, 40" waist

That hair scarf! So perfect! I need one. - Emily

Once again, I'm having severe hair envy! - Emily
Let me sing the praises of the Bernie Dexter Kelly dress! Not only is Kelly the quintessential 1950s day dress (especially in this kitchen pattern), it’s comfortable and easy to wear. Like the shirtwaists of yesteryear, this fabulous dress is a zipper front, so I can get dressed in approximately .7 seconds. I also love the colors in the print; I can accessorize with yellow, green, red, or black. As a plus-sized woman, Bernie Dresses don’t always work on me, but I now own this cut in 4 prints and I’m confident more will come.

Emily, 5'2"
bernie dexter kitchen kelly
I usually wear my Atomic Lucite stand mixer brooch with this dress, but decided to switch it up with my sparkly strawberry brooch.
bernie dexter kelly in the kitchen

The Kelly In the Kitchen dress and I were simply meant to be: cooking is one of my biggest hobbies, and unlike a button-front shirtwaist dress (beautiful but deadly on my bust!), the zip-front of this dress means there is absolutely no chance of a wardrobe malfunction. As a petite (and let's be honest, lazy) woman, the retro styles I love are often too long off the rack, but Bernie's dresses hit right in the sweet spot just below my knee. This has saved me countless imaginary dollars in alterations (since I rarely actually take my clothes to be hemmed), and more importantly, means that I feel like a million bucks in all of my Bernies.

Like many other busty gals, I've found that the Paris isn't my best cut: the underbust seam cuts my bust right in half and I find it rather uncomfortable to have a seam digging into the middle of my bra. The Kelly, however, fits me like a glove, and (bonus!) it's also one of my most work-friendly dresses! I'm a huge fan of the inset waistband, which gives me good waist definition right above the skirt. All of my Kellys are a size large, and with the exception of my new Mums Kelly, which runs larger, they fit my 39"-31"-39" frame with a tiny bit of taco room to spare.

If you've been eyeing any of the Kelly prints: go for it! They're a party in a priority-flat-rate envelope.

Bristol (@bristolelisabeth and Colour Me Bristol), 5'7"
Check out Bristol's post on the Kelly over at her blog!

The accessories game is strong with this one - Emily

The Kelly is my favorite Bernie Dexter style, and Bernie Dexter is one of my very favorite dress brands, so I was more than happy to write about the Kelly for this blog post. I have seven Kellys now. My favorite of the bunch (and my first one), is the kitchen print. I love the zip front of this style; it's rare to find a dress with a zip front. I just love shirt dresses in general; they're my favorite style of dress. I like that this style gives more chest coverage than her other styles. It still does show cleavage on me though, at the top. Wearing a bandeau underneath the Kelly covers me up even more, and makes it work appropriate.

As far as sizing goes, I have a large chest, and usually have issues with dresses (of any brand) fitting my chest. I ordered my first three Kellys in a large, and two of them (the paint palettes and mascara) are VERY tight on my chest. I can't zip them without my husband's help. For some reason, the kitchen one, while it is tight on my chest, I can zip it on my own. I ordered my next four Kellys in a size XL, for some extra chest room. I love the fact that they fit well in the chest, and I can zip them on my own, but they are quite big in the waist. This is very typical for me, that a dress fits well in the bust, but will be quite loose in the waist, so I'm used to that. I just wear a belt with them, and sometimes have my mom take in dresses for me at the waist.

I would highly recommend the Kelly!

Monica (@simplyretroann), 5'7
The Kelly dress is one of my new favorites! It is cute, comfortable and of course has pockets! I first saw this dress on Emily and she looked so amazing in it that I had to give it a try. I now own three Kelly dresses and recently just acquired this one when I saw it up on Zulily for a great deal. The print in person is so darling and I was totally inspired to wear the dress to the giant fork in the road, because kitchen print + giant fork = Awesome!!!!
For sizing I went with an extra small, and it fits like a dream. The waist is fitted and it wasn’t tight in the shoulders, which was something I was afraid of! I love that it zips in the front and I can get dressed in lightning speed. It is very comfy for every day wear and for that reason it is easily becoming my go to dress.

If you don’t own the Kelly dress I highly recommend it!

Sammi (@thesoubrettebrunette and The Soubrette Brunette), 5'7"
Note: Sammi very graciously gave me permission to post a few pics and some text from her review of the Kitchen Kelly. Check out her post on this dress here!

This "Kelly" style dress is a relatively new one, and I was a bit unsure about it at first; I wasn't a fan of the zipper front, but then I realized that it would be the perfect solution to button gaping for well-endowed girls like myself. Because of the way it's designed, there's a bit more room in the bust than in a lot of other Bernie dresses and I felt more covered while wearing it (I love the "Paris" style, but it shows too much cleavage to be appropriate for some situations). If I worked in a more traditional office environment, I'd feel totally comfortable wearing it to work, which is a definite plus. 

What's the most flattering dress that you own?

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  1. When I read this on Saturday, I could have sworn I left a comment but perhaps it was all in my head! Thank you so much for letting me help put this together! It came out so rockin' and we all look like total babes!! It's yet another reminder to me how much I love social media and how I adore the circle of girlies I've met from Instagram and blogging!!! <3

    1. Thank you so much for helping me make this happen <3! It was such an amazing experience and I had a total blast! I'm right there with you on loving the way that social media and blogging has helped me to meet so many amazing ladies -- it was so helpful to make new friends who share my interest in fun pretty things after moving to a brand-new city!

      <3 to you!!

  2. You guys all look SO wonderful! Thanks for asking me to apart of it and sorry I couldn't as I don't have the dress. I did just order this print in the Paris style, but not the same, I know. I do love the Kelly dress though. I have the blue one and it's amazing! XO

    1. Hmm, I have the blue one too…are you pondering what I'm pondering? (sidebar: are you now thinking of Pinky and the Brain? Because I *definitely* am!) You look so amazing in the Paris cut -- can't wait to see the kitchen Paris on you!