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Monday, December 8, 2014

One Dress, Two Holiday Party Looks: The Brigitte

Dobbin dresses are famously versatile. Our clothes are designed to take you from work to happy hour to a fabulous party with style, comfort, and ease. What better time to showcase the many styling options for a Dobbin dress than the season of countless holiday parties? We chose one of our favorite dresses of the moment, the chic, textured fabric Brigitte, and created two outfits guaranteed to stun at any of the holiday celebrations packed into your December calendar. 

First up, a luxe ensemble perfect for swanky soirees, dinner parties, and other holiday gatherings that call for serious glamour:

Outfit number two is a bit more playful, indulging in the bright colors of the season (hot pink, how we adore you!), and ideal for cocktail parties, open houses, or even New Year's Eve:

So there you have it: one dress, two fabulous holiday party outfits. Which look do you prefer? Do you have a signature look that you like to bring out this time of year? Any favorite ways to accessorize your Dobbin dresses? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

8 Perfect Places To Wear A Little Black Lace Dress

The LBD (little black dress) has long been a "must have" item in every woman's wardrobe, but we think it's time the LBD's cousin, the LBLD, had a turn in the spotlight. What does LBLD stand for? The Little Black Lace Dress, of course, and it's just as timeless and versatile as its classic counterpart. To illustrate this fact, we've assembled a list of 8 varied events and situations that the little black lace dress isn't just appropriate attire, but a perfect choice...

1. Date Nights
Black lace is the epitome of "understatedly sexy," which happens to be the description of the ideal date night outfit.  Next time you're unsure what to wear for a romantic night out, reach for your LBLD. Your date will thank you.
How To Style It: Pair with stiletto heels or ankle boots, a studded clutch, and earrings in a shade that makes your eye color POP.

2. Work 
As long as the cut is modest, black lace is totally acceptable for the office. With a classic cardigan and polished accessories, an LBLD strikes a nice balance of ladylike and professional.
How To Style It: Layer with a light jacket or cardigan, opaque tights, and pumps.

3. Traveling
There's a reason our LBLD was inspired by an evening stroll in Paris - it's as chic and romantic as the City of Light, and a perfect dress to pack for trips to any fashionable destination. Dress it down with an anorak, tights, and boots for daytime exploring; dress it up for candle-lit dinners and dancing.
How To Style It: If you'll be doing lots of walking, opt for high quality ballet flats (heels might look amazing, but they are not worth the blisters), and a retro jacket. Don't forget the red lipstick. Tres chic!

4. Weddings
A great-fitting black lace dress is the universal antidote to "What do I wear?" pre-wedding wardrobe paralysis. It transcends multiple formality levels, won't clash with any combination of wedding colors, and looks great in pictures.
How To Style It: Dress it up with strappy sandals, a metallic clutch, and a pashmina.

5. Cocktail Parties
A lacy dress has been a go-to cocktail party option for decades, and it will continue to be for many decades to come. 
How To Style It: This look is all about bold jewelry - add a statement necklace or chandelier earrings (the more sparkle, the better!), and finish things off with playful pumps or ankle boots.

6. Plays/Musical Performances
Looking for a sophisticated, eternally stylish outfit for a night at the symphony or the theater? Look no further than your LBLD. 
How To Style It: Add heels, tights, and a chic cocoon coat in a bold color like cobalt blue.

7. Dinner Parties
Whether you're hosting or attending, a little black lace dress will elicit countless compliments without putting you in the dreaded "overdressed" category.
How To Style It: Stay comfortable (and stylish!) in simple ballet flats and a cozy wrap sweater that lets the lace neckline peek out.

8. Holiday Open Houses
Searching for a holiday party look that's festive and pretty, not cheesy and costume-y? A black lace dress solves all your holiday wardrobe dilemmas. 
How To Style It: Show your festive flair with playful accessories: Red patent red heels; big, sparkly drop earrings; and a jeweled headband. 

In the market for an LBLD of your own? Check out our Delphine Dress, a gorgeous black lace dress with sheer cap sleeves, a bit of stretch, and the most flattering fit you'll find anywhere. As always, made with love and care with the highest quality fabric, right here in the USA. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

3 Must Haves For Your Fall Work Wardrobe

To us, Fall is the best time of year. The weather is mild and breezy, the leaves are changing, and the crisp air is uniquely energizing, but when it comes to getting dressed for work, this gorgeous seasonal transition can be challenging. If keeping up with changing weather and a slew of new fashion trends is making your head spin, take a peek at our simple guide to an updated fall work wardrobe. Adding just three new pieces to your office outfit mix will make getting ready in the morning - and looking fabulous - as easy as, well, pumpkin pie...

Fall Must Have #1: A Light Jacket

Between chilly temperatures outside and air-conditioned office buildings, a stylish light jacket is a staple you'll reach for again and again this season. The ideal fall jacket should be able to function as a layering piece, worn comfortably on your commute and then either taken off at work or left on all day, depending on temperature fluctuations and what activities are on your schedule for the day. To get the most use out of it, make sure your jacket is light enough to layer under a heavier coat when temperatures really start to drop. Here are two great options from our fall collection:

Our Martine jacket, which is comfortable, flattering, effortlessly stylish, and versatile (wear it inside, outside, over dresses, under coats - the possibilities are endless!). 

And our Alix jacket, which combines the comfort of a sweater (it's made of knit boucle and trimmed with stretch ponte) with the professional polish and fashion-forward style of a high-end designer jacket. It's the perfect layering piece that will bring your whole work wardrobe together. 

Fall Must Have #2: A Great Pair Of Pants

It's time to pack up the paper-thin slacks of summer and move on to weightier fabrics and more seasonally appropriate textures. We are crazy about the Stanton Slim Pants in black stretch corduroy because they can easily take you from work to errands to holiday parties in comfort and style:

Made of luxe Italian stretch corduroy, which has a velvet-like sheen, these pants are subtly festive and perfect for the season, but also surprisingly versatile. Wear with a tucked-in white tunic, belt, and pumps for a clean, modern workday look, or try a printed blouse to add some color and interest to your outfit. Either way, we guarantee you'll stay comfortable all day, thanks to the stretch fabric and our signature back elastic adjustable waistband. 

Fall Must Have #3: A Sleeveless Dress

In fall and winter, a sleeveless sheath is actually your most versatile option. You can take it from day to night easily, change up the look with different cardigans, wraps and jackets, and of course with accessories.  Sleeved dresses are great, but when you pair them with a cardigan, blazer, or light jacket, the fabric tends to bunch up. A sleeveless dress ensures your layers lay smoothly and don't add any extra bulk. Stay tuned for more tips on layering sleeveless dresses, but for now, let's gaze at our favorite sleeveless dress of the season, the Gabriella:

Available in either crimson or black, with an asymmetrical neckline that's flattering and unique, this dress will be a wardrobe staple from the day it arrives on your doorstep. Designed to be fitted but not tight, the Italian ponte fabric creates a sleek shape on any body type, perfect for the office, and easy to dress up for post-work parties and happy hours.

With these three pieces, you'll be able to assemble countless outfits that are comfortable, stylish, and office-appropriate. Fall is the perfect time to give your work wardrobe a promotion. And hey, according to that classic piece of advice about dressing for the job you want, who's to say a real promotion won't follow?

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 "Old School" Fashion Tips For Modern Women

Here at Dobbin, we often talk about doing things the "old school" way when it comes to fit, quality, craftsmanship, and customer service. As the global garment industry has evolved toward cookie-cutter design and faster and faster production schedules, standards have been lowered, quality has been forgotten and, sadly, much of the magic of the fashion world has been lost. We're working every day to bring some of that magic back, and you can help. Here are 7 ways modern women can infuse some "old school" sensibility into their shopping habits, wardrobes, and personal style.

1. Invest in quality. Past generations knew that quality clothing was a worthy investment, so they spent more money on each piece, and bought fewer items overall. These days, we've become accustomed to buying many, many more garments of much lower quality. It's time we stop settling for cheap, shoddily made clothing. Nothing beats the feeling of saving up for an amazing, high quality garment you will wear for years to come.

2. Educate yourself about clothing. You don't have to get a degree in fashion design to be a more educated consumer. A simple way to start is just by noticing how different fabrics feel against your skin, how different seams flatter your body, how long certain pieces of clothing tend to last. Take a look at the construction of a well-made garment that you've owned for years, and compare it to a cheaper, low quality garment from a fast fashion store. Once you train yourself to spot these differences, you'll be able to quickly identify quality garments and make better choices whenever you go shopping!

3. Prioritize great fit. Have you noticed how many modern day trends include flowy, shapeless garments, often in flimsy fabrics? As comfortable as this type of clothing might be, it's not particularly flattering and it rarely lasts more than a month or two. If you want to add a dose of vintage polish to your look, treat yourself to clothing that actually fits. Look for pieces with thicker fabrics and more structure, clothes that are designed to fit and flatter a woman's body rather than swallow it whole.

4. Befriend your tailor. Speaking of fit, the best way to ensure a truly perfect fit is to have your clothing tailored. Tailoring and alterations used to be a given - clothing wasn't brought home directly from the store, it was taken straight to the tailor! - and the difference between an off-the-rack garment and a tailored garment is often worthy of a double take. Here at Dobbin, we design our clothes to fit beautifully right off the rack (or out of the box, to be more specific), but we also keep tailoring in mind when constructing our garments, making them easy to alter as desired.
5. Take good care of your clothes. Over the past decade or so, consumers have been trained to view clothing as a disposable resource. After all, when you pay $5 for a t-shirt, you don't really expect it to last, and you know you can always go out and buy a few more to replace it. But back in the day, clothing was valued and cared for with the respect it deserved. Keep this in mind as you launder your clothes, wear them, and store them. Treat them like beautiful investment pieces, because they are!

6. Repair instead of throwing away. Even when you take great care of your clothes, after awhile, wear and tear can take a toll. When a button falls off or a small rip appears, don't toss that dress in the garbage! Repair it yourself or take it to that aforementioned tailor of yours (this is why you befriended her, remember?) and have it fixed up. Getting in the habit of repairing clothing instead of tossing it is good for your wallet and good for the earth - textile waste is a growing problem in landfills. Turns out our grandmothers were right: a needle and thread can save the world.

7. Buy American-made. As little as 20 years ago, "made in USA" clothing tags far outnumbered "made in China" labels. The United States garment industry was once a thriving system that employed thousands of people and manufactured high quality clothing. Alas, thanks to changing trade agreements and the rise of fast fashion, now the vast majority of clothing on American store shelves is imported (and usually cheaply made). Companies like Dobbin are committed to manufacturing their clothing in the USA, and you can show your support by buying American-made garments whenever possible.

So there you have it. From looking fabulous to helping the environment and the economy, there are tons of reasons to do things the "old school" way, at least when it comes to clothing. We'll be keeping it old school here at Dobbin. Won't you join us?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The List

Image via

And just in case you missed it, be sure to read all about our new fall collection. Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a gorgeous new dress, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our New Collection

We're thrilled to unveil our new collection!  We've been buzzing with excitement behind the scenes here at Dobbin for many months as we've worked to bring this new line to fruition. The end result is a collection we are really proud to offer, and you'll be proud to wear. As ever, you'll find the same high level of quality, impeccable fit, and timeless style that you've come to expect from Dobbin. This season, the collection is imbued with a new ladylike edge that resides in unexpected details: leather-covered buttons, textured fabric, and black lace.

We've also incorporated some elegant sexiness into the collection.  Case in point? One of our favorite pieces, the Gabriella dress in crimson:

With an asymmetrical neckline and subtle hourglass shape, it's sleek, interesting, flattering, and still totally professional. Layer with a cardigan, coat or blazer for work, add a pair of fabulous heels for a night out. It's also a perfect dress for holiday parties. ​

Longtime Dobbin fans know that all of our collections have a mod vibe, but since the '60s aesthetic is such a huge trend for this fall, we've introduced some new mod-but-up-to-date pieces that feel particularly fresh. For example, the Alix jacket, and the Chelsea dress:

The perfect blend of vintage inspiration and clean modern design. Made with Italian stretch ponte, which we believe to be the most comfortable, flattering fabric on the planet. As much as we adore vintage style, comfort wasn't exactly a priority back then. We're thrilled to offer beautiful dresses like this that combine the best features of both eras.

Another favorite piece this season? The Alessandra dress:

Made of stretch silk charmeuse with a graphic dark floral print and fit-and-flare shape, slipping into this dress will make you feel like a modern-day Grace Kelly. And thanks to its soft stretch mesh lining, you can stay comfortable while looking glamorous. 

Can you tell by now that we're swooning over rosy shades this season? Another standout piece in a gorgeous dark rose tone is our Martine jacket. Let's just admire it for a moment, shall we:

We are head over heels in love with this color (which is why you'll see a few different incarnations of it in this collection), but we think it's especially stunning in this chic, vintage-inspired jacket. Made of fine Italian wool and as flattering as it is stylish, you'll reach for this topper again and again during the chilly fall months. Wear it to work, parties, dates, even running errands! With a pair of oversized sunglasses, slim ankle pants, and ballet flats, you'll always be the best dressed woman in the room.

Stay tuned for more news about our fall collection, including styling tips, outfit ideas, behind-the-scenes stories, and updates on the latest trends. Be sure to add this page to your bookmarks so you don't miss a post! And remember, if you're new to Dobbin, use the discount code FIRSTTIMEVISITOR for 20% off your first order. We're so proud of these new pieces, and we can't wait for you to see them for yourself!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Timeless Style Icon: Katharine Hepburn

Born: May 12th, 1907

Why We Love Her: She was a rebel at a time where women were supposed to be pretty, soft-spoken, and above all, obedient. Her wit was as sharp as her cheekbones, and she was unapologetically bold in every area of her life - from her nontraditional romantic choices ("If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one," she said, "then go ahead, get married.") to her borrowed-from-the-boys wardrobe.

Signature Looks: Jackets with oversized collars, wide-leg trousers, belts, trench coats, shirt dresses, and the occasional show-stopping gown.

What Makes Her Style Timeless: Hepburn's penchant for menswear might have garnered the most attention, but it was the impeccable tailoring of everything she wore that made her look sharp, polished, understatedly sexy, and eternally stylish. 

Dobbin Garment She'd Wear Today: The Paley Stretch Cotton Popover Blouse

For a thoroughly Hepburn-esque look, pair it with high-waisted trousers and a black leather belt. Then go take over the world, just like Katharine.

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." 
~Katharine Hepburn

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

7 Ways To Squeeze Every Last Drop Out Of Summer

Original image source
And just like that, August is nearly over. How is August nearly over? We have no idea where the past few months have gone, but it seems like this summer flew by especially fast this year, doesn't it? Not to worry, though - even though summer days are dwindling, there's still plenty of time to pack in a ton of summer-centric activities. Here are 7 fun ways to make the most of the last days of this glorious season...

1. Take a day trip to the water. It's a shame to let any summer pass without tipping your toe in the ocean or cannon-balling into the pool. If you haven't made time to soak up (literally) the rejuvenating powers of the water yet, use these next few weeks of sunshine to remedy that. Whether your closest body of water is an ocean, a lake, a river, or your neighbor's pool, be sure to carve out a day (or at least an afternoon) for some good, old-fashioned water worship.

2. Read a "beach book." Again, whether or not you're actually near a beach doesn't matter. If you haven't dived into a silly summer novel yet, now's your chance. Even if your normal reading tastes are more Finnegan's Wake than Bridget Jones, put aside your preconceptions, pick up a frothy paperback with a hot pink cover, make yourself a cocktail, and while away a Sunday afternoon.

3. Get fruity. Luckily for us, the bounty of sweet summer fruits is still going strong. Take a trip to your local farmer's market and stock up. If you're feeling like tapping into your inner pioneer woman, make blackberry jam or canned peaches to preserve the fresh tastes of the season. Otherwise, just bite into a cold piece of watermelon on the porch and enjoy that quintessential summer moment. And hey, if you want to follow it up by challenging the neighbor kids to a seed-spitting contest, we won't judge.

4. Eat al fresco. It won't be long before pleasant summer breezes turn chilly enough to force us all inside. In the meantime, pack yourself a picnic (don't forget the champagne!) and head outside for a memorable meal in the fresh air. Or, if you prefer your outdoor dining experiences to include a proper table and chairs (not to mention less bugs), Google the best restaurant patios in your city and make it a personal goal to test out at least 3 of them.

5. Dress the part. Before we know it, the leaves will be changing and we'll be reaching for pumpkin spice lattes and leather boots instead of lemonade and sandals. It might be tempting to break out your new fall purchases early, but we encourage you to make the most of your summer wardrobe now, while you still can! That glamorous, wide-brimmed sun hat you bought in May and haven't gotten around to wearing yet? Throw it on for your next trip to the grocery store. Get a coral pedicure to match your wedge sandals. Leave no sundress unworn, no bikini in storage. Dress for right now, and have fun with it. Your boots and tights will still be there come October.

6. Face the music. What is it about summer and music that create such a perfect pairing? Maybe it's the memories of driving around with friends in high school, blasting the radio with the windows down on summer break. Maybe it's the stellar summer concert lineups or the plethora of music festivals. Whatever it is, it doesn't really count as summer until you've got your arms swaying in the air with a few thousand other people, mouthing the lyrics to a favorite song while enjoying a summer breeze. Aaahhh. Get thee to Ticketmaster and make this moment happen.

7. Do something spontaneous. So much of summer's appeal isn't actually about the weather or the fashion or the vacation time - it's about the feeling of spontaneity and possibility that washes over you in June and doesn't lift until sometime mid-September. Use that momentum to do something unexpected. It could be an unplanned trip to Mexico. A dramatic new haircut. Asking for a raise. Starting a side business. Renting a convertible for a day and taking a long drive. The possibilities are endless, but one thing's for sure: it's your last chance to do something that will make you look back and say, "Ah, 2014, now that was an amazing summer."

Monday, August 18, 2014

6 Pieces Of Style Advice Straight From The Garden

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Here at Dobbin, we love gardening almost as much as we love fashion. When we're not sketching dresses for next season, overseeing production, or filling orders, you can find us with our hands in the dirt (or, at the very least, pinning dreamy landscapes to our Pinterest page). In fact, flower beds, floral shops, and luxe landscape often inform our clothing designs. From color palettes to signature scents, here are a few fashion tips you can glean from the garden:

1. Don't be afraid of color. While the merits of a little black dress can never be overstated, it's a shame that so many women shy away from bold color in their wardrobes. All it takes is one look at a lush, colorful garden to see what we're missing when we fill our closets with nothing but slightly varied shades of ebony. What about watermelon pink? Vivid blue? Kelly green? Adding just one bold color to your closet can wake up your look and re-energize your whole wardrobe. Try playing with unexpected combinations, too: purple and orange. Red and pink. Blue and green. The options are truly endless.

2. Find a signature scent. Gardens aren't just feasts for the eyes - they are bounties for our noses as well. How many times have you leaned over to smell a gardenia, rose, or lilac, knowing exactly what scent to expect but still delighting in the familiar fragrance? We can achieve that same effect by finding a signature scent and wearing it every day. Anyone who gets close enough to detect it will start to associate the scent with you. A signature scent is sexy, classic, and a little mysterious. Bonus garden inspiration points for choosing a floral scent in a bottle that's almost as pretty as a real flower.

Rose, bergamot, pink pepper, and that bottle? Yes, please!
3. White, black, gray, and taupe aren't the only neutrals. For the past few years, fashion experts have insisted that it's time to expand our definition of "neutral." What is or isn't a neutral depends more on context than any hard and fast rules. Looking at a photo of a colorful flowerbed really drives this point home. Which colors fade into the background, allowing the others to take center stage? In the case of a garden, the most neutral colors are often shades of green - vivid and lively on their own, but when paired with hot pink or bright purple, suddenly they act more as a subtle backdrop than a bold hue of their own. You'd be surprised which shades can act as neutrals in your wardrobe. Play around with red, green, and yellow pieces (especially accessories) in the context of different outfits, and see what happens!

4. Weed out unnecessary extras to make the truly special things shine. You'd never notice even the brightest, most perfect bloom if it were overrun with weeds and foliage. The same goes for the gorgeous pieces in your closet. Don't get caught up in the pace of fast fashion and fill your wardrobe with cheap pieces you don't truly love. Buy quality pieces that make you feel amazing, and cull your closet of any less-than-amazing extras that are weighing you down. Not only will a well-edited wardrobe make it easier to get dressed in the morning, it helps hone your personal style and create memorable looks that are all your own.

5. Try mixing shades within the same color family. An outfit composed of contrasting, saturated colors will always grab attention, but there's another way to play with color: a limited palette within the same color family. Try pairing a pink dress with a red necklace. Splurge on an ombre scarf in a range of deep purples and barely-there lavenders. Add a light blue ribbon belt to a bright blue dress, like we've done below with our Vivian Dress. You don't need a ton of different colors in your outfit to make an impact -- a couple shades of the same one is often enough.

6. Perfection is overrated. Our favorite yards and gardens aren't the ones that are perfectly symmetrical and immaculately landscaped. They're the ones that have a sense of spontaneity, freedom, and playfulness. The same can be said for our favorite outfits. The fashion choices we make should feel organic, not uptight and prescribed by strict rules and worries. Fashion, at its heart, is about self-expression and joy. When we dress to reflect that fact, we look our best, feel our best, and reflect our best self to the world. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses, and don't forget to have a little fun with fashion. Why shrink into the background when you can bloom?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dobbin Q&A: Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

Hey, that dress looks familiar!
Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen is one of our favorite fashion bloggers for many reasons: she's able to deftly balance her personal style with the more buttoned-up dress code of her corporate job in Washington, DC; she gives great fashion advice; and whether she's talking about trends, music, or a sweet moment with her 5-year-old daughter, she always comes across as smart, funny, and refreshingly real. We asked Allie for her thoughts on appropriate office attire, favorite outfits, and the future of fashion. 

Anyone who follows your blog and Instagram feed knows you work in a corporate environment, but your off-hours wardrobe is decidedly more laid back and bohemian. How do you reconcile your personal fashion sense with your office dress code?

Luckily my office is pretty open-minded with what they consider appropriate business attire, so I can get away with more boho of pieces the days I don’t have in-person meetings or conferences. However, I always shop first for the job as it’s the reason I can afford my weekend wear. I gravitate towards solids which can better dress up and down, and jackets which can look weekend cool with a band tee and boyfriend jeans or appropriate for the office with a blouse and trousers.

Do you have any tips for other women who'd like to infuse a bit of their own style into their work outfits while still looking professional?

The best way is with color. I notice many women stick to dark shades and neutrals in the workplace, but studies have shown people react positively to color. So why not switch it up and wear a blouse in candy pink or a dress in teal green? It’s also a great way to give new life to office wardrobe staples. When done in moderation, accessories can really infuse personal style, but it’s important to remember you’re at an office, not on a runway. Keep the really flashy, jangly, and trendy pieces for the weekend.

How do you define professionalism, in terms of dress and personal presentation?

Respect, be it for the company you work for, the clients who employ you, the staff who you manage, and those who manage and mentor you. We don’t wear white to a wedding out of respect to the bride, we don’t wear a tube top to a place of worship out of respect, a professional shows respect for the job she has by dressing appropriately, for her position and not her self.

We love the way she styled our Simone dress!
Tell us about your favorite outfit. 

It’s very simple, a navy and white striped boatneck from J. Crew Factory, NYDJ’s “Hayden” jeans in a dark rinse, and black riding boots in cold weather and Converse Shorelines in white in the warmer months.  My favorite accessory is a sterling silver cuff I bought for myself in 1997 after my first post-college job interview; I got the job and consider the cuff a lucky charm!

What's the most common style mistake you see women making these days? Any style mistakes from your own past that still make you cringe?

I think a common fashion mistake I regularly see is being too matchy-matchy. Red lipstick, red belt, red shoes, red bag, red headband, red nails. Being too color coordinated cheapens a look. I know it can be scary to mix neutrals; a great way to start is with animal print accessories; a leopard haircalf belt or cheetah print pair of pumps can be a neutral and breaks up the monotony. A colorful belt in patent leather can work with regular leather or suede shoes without looking too disjointed. Chanel is famous for encouraging women to take off one accessory before leaving the house, I encourage women to switch out one matchy matchy accessory for something unexpected!

As for me, I recall a time when I had a pink oversized silk shirt that I wore with shimmery pink shadow, pink lipgloss, and those tiny claw clips (also pink) that held my hair back like a headband. That was a popular combination for me in the late ‘90s!

When it comes to your wardrobe, how do you decide what pieces to invest in and which ones to save on?

I learn from history. It’s easy to assume that “staples” should be what you invest in, but often the unexpected accents to a wardrobe get the most wear and last the longest in your closet and heart.  For me, I find shift and sheath dresses to be a piece I’ll wear season after season and year after year so I don’t feel so bad spending a bit more to have it fit well and last. I also don’t hesitate to spend money on boots; I wear boots almost all fall and winter and find that when I purchase quality, they last longer and usually have a more timeless silhouette. However, for another their investment item may be blazers or handbags, or penny loafers. When it comes to investment pieces, you know better than any style expert or book as to what will provide the best return on investment.

Rocking one of our classic pencil skirts.
After many years of fast fashion dominance, there seems to (finally!) be a renewed interest in quality, with a specific focus on American-made clothing. Any thoughts on this shift, either in regards to your own shopping choices, or the future of fashion in general?

I’m thrilled to see it. We’ve had our heads in the sand for too long but tragedies such as the one in Bangladesh have forced us to be aware of where our clothing comes from and how it is made. I’m trying to feature more American-made independent brands on Wardrobe Oxygen to show you can find quality, style, and fun trends made ethically right in our backyard and there’s been a big change in the brands that take up the most real estate in my closet.

Who are your personal style icons? Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Diane von Furstenberg, she is such an inspiration. I love her personal style, her attitude, her clothing line, her everything. I found a copy of the 1977 Diane von Furstenberg’s Book of Beauty at a thrift store and 90% of that book is still relevant today and a great tool on how to live a quality life. Pardon my French, but DVF is a badass!

Leather accessories add an edge to our Eva dress.
Describe your style in three words.

Classic boho rocker? Hard question, I have multiple personalities in my closet, but all seem to be inspired by music!

OK, we have to ask: what's your favorite Dobbin garment? And why do you love Dobbin?

My favorite Dobbin garment has to be the Jackie Stretch Ponte Dress; I have it in navy and it’s the perfect dress for most anything! I dress it up with pearls and heels, wear it to work with pumps, worn under a blazer, and even worn on the weekend with flats and a cardigan while running errands.

I love Dobbin because I know it’s quality, it’s stylish without becoming dated, it fits my curvy frame, and it’s made in America. But the biggest reason I love Dobbin is because it’s a company run with heart. I’ve seen how Jess and Catherine care about their customers, how well they interact on social media, and how much they want to provide a great line of clothing.

Thanks so much, Allie! 

Be sure to bookmark Wardrobe Oxygen for more insight and inspiration.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Timeless Style Icon: Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve

Born: October 22nd, 1943

Why We Love Her: In the 1960s, she was part of a wave of glamorous French actresses that dazzled on screen and off, inspiring millions of American women (including us) to add "move to Paris and wear hair in a bouffant" to our list of life goals. Throughout her career, she used her position of fame to speak out for social justice and women's rights. She was a muse for Yves Saint Laurent. Over the course of her six decade career, Deneuve seems to have only grown more comfortable in her own skin. Today, she's as poised and radiant as ever.

Signature Looks: Hair bows, trench coats, flared skirts, peter pan collars, floral sundresses, cable knit sweaters - and often, alas, a cigarette dangling from her lips.

Catherine Deneuve

What Makes Her Style Timeless: Catherine played with trends and favored playful, feminine accessories, but like most French women, she knew the key to true style was simplicity and confidence. Her looks were memorable, but never overdone or over-complicated. 

Catherine Deneuve

Dobbin Dress She'd Wear Today: The Vivian. It's chic, simple, and a bit retro. The fit and flare shape captures the essence of feminine glamour that Catherine has always been known for. Plus, we think she'd be smitten with the grosgrain belt tied in - what else? - an oversized bow. 
The Vivian Dress: Deneuve-approved!

"Opportunities are often things you haven't noticed the first time around."
~Catherine Deneuve

Friday, August 1, 2014

The List

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Dobbin Difference: What Quality Means To Us

Here at Dobbin, we don't take the words "high quality" lightly. In fact, those two words guide us every step of the way for every garment we make. To prove it, we thought we'd give you a peek into our design and manufacturing process. 

For every Dobbin piece, we start with the fabric. Our silks, pontes, and poplins are made at the exact same European textile mills that supply fabric to the industry's top designers, and we search endlessly for the right fabrics that are on trend, will drape beautifully, and feel good on. Next, we develop custom colors for each fabric, seeking of-the-moment shades that will flatter various skin tones, and scouting out vintage designs to find inspiration for prints. 

When color and fabric have been chosen, we sketch out a silhouette we think will flatter as many body shapes as possible. That sketch goes to our pattern maker, an expert in the field who has 45 years of experience. The pattern maker has great knowledge about what shapes, seams and zipper placements will look best, and has an incredible ability to create patterns for clothes that are sleek but never tight. She really understands women's bodies and works with us to create the best garments possible. Her pattern is translated into a sample garment, then fit on our fit model, who is also an industry veteran with 25+ years experience in the industry. When we fit the sample on her, she's able to provide incredibly detailed feedback (down to the 1/4") of every seam of the body of a garment. This part of the process involves a lot of back-and-forth between us, the fit model, and the pattern maker. We consider all body types, and fit a few times in order to get the garment right. A sample has to have the right linings, trims, and stitches to make sure it's perfect for production. It can be a long and complicated process, but we're not satisfied until it's exactly right!

Once we have our final pattern in hand, it's time to send it off to get marked, graded, and cut in professional cutting rooms, right alongside the highest-end brands in NYC. Finally, it's delivered to the factory right here in New York City's garment district to be sewn into its finished product. We hand-deliver all the details and trims -- buttons, labels, zippers, etc -- and inspect all of our garments to make sure they're up to the Dobbin standard. Every single part of a garment has to be right. We work with all of our makers every single day to make sure it's perfect. This is part of the reason we keep our production in New York rather than outsourcing: not only does it ensure a higher quality product, it lets us oversee every step of the process. From first sketch to final stitch, it all matters to us. 

So there you have it. When you buy a Dobbin dress, you're paying for expertise, craftsmanship, luxurious fabric, timeless style, and American manufacturing. A true commitment to quality. All for less than $200. 

It takes a lot of hard work to ensure the level of quality we guarantee in every Dobbin garment, but we think it's worth it. And when you slip into one of our perfectly fitting dresses or beautifully draped blouses or comfy-yet-sexy pencil skirts, we think you'll agree.

[Dress shown: Sydney Sleeveless Printed Ponte Dress]

Friday, July 11, 2014


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