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Domino Dollhouse | Manolo for the Big Girl

Domino Dollhouse

Yesterday we poked some gentle fun at budding hoochie conglomerate Eddy and Bri and used them as an example of a small fashion company geared towards a specific niche market.

I was actually surprised to see several folks defend the bottom two dresses, because I cannot conceive of any situation ever where a grown woman with a job that doesn’t involve picking up dollar bills with body parts other than her hands would think “Yes, what I clearly need is a ruched spandex and polyester tube dress that zips entirely  down the front with one tug.” Whither the dignity, y’all?

Anyhoodle, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathtub gin, because little websites can provide big rewards if you can be bothered to check them regularly.

Case in point is Domino Dollhouse.

Even though I’m not interested in about 85% of what they make, these gals are near and dear to the place medical science says my heart should be and they’re on my “To Be Checked Regularly” list of plus size websites.

Their campy vintage-flavored offerings remind me of what Torrid used to sell six years ago when they had essentially three categories: Rockabilly, Punk and Other.

Basically you’re getting a lot of 1950’s stuff with some 1940’s by way of the 80’s (which, as Karen Walker so accurately said were “Just the 40’s with coke.”) with a smattering of young hipster paraphernalia.

I have a well-documented weak spot for a good midcentury dress, even better if it’s got a tiny twang of Grand Ole Opry and although most of  the stand-out pieces as styled still err a little heavily on the side of Costume not Fashion, thus making them a wee bit unsophisticated for my current look,  there are gems to be found for the girl who is willing to dig.

Even some of the costume-y dresses are awfully tempting and I have to warn my 32 year-old self away from them, reminding myself they are cutesy beyond all redemption and will never be Capital F Fashion no matter how hard I style them (I’d totally go for them were I ten years younger and could still play the naif card).

Is anyone else reminded of the Hefty Hideaway commercial from the original Hairspray movie? I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. Lord knows the early works of Miss John Waters influenced me as much as the later works of Yves Saint Laurent, and seriously, there’s always been a not-so-secret part of me that wants to dress like a John Waters heroine.

Still, for every dozen dresses that make you look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s salute to history’s greatest picnic foods, there’s a jewel like this, the Ava Adorable dress (currently sold out, but was available when I posted about it on the MftBG facebook page).

This is a great dress.

I bought it to wear for New Year’s Eve specifically, which didn’t technically (by which I mean “even remotely”) because that’s the day I emigrated and I spent from 8 o’clock onward studiously examining my eyelids from the inside.

It’s a perfect party dress, especially for girls who don’t like to be too revealing, plus it fits nicely in that little cubbyhole for things like symphonies in the park or any sort of evening event, especially outside, where you want the feel of a picnic dress, but still subtly remind everyone about how much more sophisticated, elegant and all around better dressed than they are.

There’s a matching fabric belt which I’d probably wear it for when I wanted that extra bit of early Givenchy feel, but for contemporary styling I replaced it with a thin, slightly rock and roll Diane Von Furstenburg double wrap natural python belt in a subtle animal print.

Speaking of animals (though not of subtlety) I also brought home this little creature from Domino Dollhouse’s last sale:

Isn’t he divine?

I know a giant alligator isn’t everyone’s idea of a good accessory but I have a great and glorious love for almost all things crocodiliad, and especially this ring, which garners compliments everywhere I go AND looks as if it came from Madame Medusa’s private jewelry collection, always a plus in my book.

A word of caution:

Domino Dollhouse has several pieces that go in and out of stock with some regularity. That means if you don’t see the watermelon dress, the Ava Adorable or whatever strikes your fancy right that minute, it doesn’t mean they’ll never have it again. At the same time, if you see something you love, I wouldn’t suggest waiting for it because if it goes out of stock –and it might, quickly– there’s no telling how long it’ll be before you have the chance to order again.

11 Responses to “Domino Dollhouse”

  1. lu January 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I had to buy that strawberry dress just about the second I first saw it. I don’t normally go for loud things, but it’s ADORABLE and it would make a great ladybug costume, which is the exact use it will be put to this Halloween :D
    I really wanted the Ava Adorable dress, but unfortunately, while I can usually get into a 4x, Domino Dollhouse runs tight on me. The dress has smaller measurements and less forgiving fabric than the strawberry dress, so, no go. Ah, well :(

  2. ChloeMireille January 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    That’s because the Ava Adorable dress was from an outside manufacturer, but the Strawberry dress was made in-house.

  3. Sara A. January 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    The watermelon dress tickles my fancy! I think it’s terribly cute, and that I might have a sick sense of humor. My husband and I have just discovered that I’m pregnant and due in August so I’m terribly amused by the idea that I could while away my summer pregnancy in a watermelon dress! How awesome would it be to do a maternity shoot in that?

  4. Bethany January 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    The purple dress is from Chicstar.com. They sell clothes to boutique stores.

    I love the watermelon dress. I think I’ll make one in the style of the strawberry dress.

  5. dcsurfergirl January 11, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    I am too uptight to wear the fruit dresses but the purple Ava Adorable dress is awesome.

  6. Liz January 11, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    I want those red shoes in the second picture. I want them so much I can’t concentrate on the dresses.

  7. Orora January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Adorable! Yes, some of these verge on the costume-y (or go straight over the verge directly into costume), but one or more of these dresses would make a great outfit for a pin-up photo shoot or burlesque costume. Right up my alley. Thanks for the link!

  8. SarahDances January 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    If that alligator ring came in a size to fit my freakishly small hands, it would totally be mine.

  9. Thea January 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    @Bethany, thanks for the link to chicstar.com!

    I love the Ava dress, and I think the watermelon dress would be adorable as a maternity dress (and congrats Sarah A.!)

    I gloried in being very costumey in my younger years, but I find the majority of these dresses are too busy and badly proportioned – which isn’t great at any age.

  10. retna January 13, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    I’d get the purple dress, looks lovely!

  11. Cinco February 7, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I’m passing on Ava (I prefer dresses with at least cap sleeves), but I bought the Strawberry Dress to use as a Halloween costume last year and got a ton of compliments. I had to alter it down a little despite the stated measurements on the website sounding like a perfect fit, and I thought the quality was a little low for the price. Hearing that Ava is from another company (thanks, Bethany!) made me reconsider passing on it for a minute, but I think I’ll check out their website instead!