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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Of Pugs and Poodle Skirts-A Vintage Outfit Post

About four years ago when I started getting heavily into wearing vintage I remember a few people asking me if I'd every wear a poodle skirt, my response: an emphatic "no!"  At the time I was pretty much into 1920s, 30s, and 40s looks exclusively so I just was interested in sporting 50s fashions.  Plus, I viewed the poodle skirt as overly costumey.  Whenever I did online vintage fashion searches the only poodle skirts I saw where in repro shots of people pretending to be 1950s teens.  The poodle skirt, it seemed, was the ultimate 1950s Halloween costume, but not really an authentic vintage look.   I started to wonder if many girls in the 1950s had actually worn poodle skirts, or if the prevalence of the trend had been greatly exaggerated in memory. 

The reality is 1950s girls did wear poodle skirts, though perhaps not as often as people today might think they did.

  The real 1950s trend wasn't just for poodle skirts, it was for fun circle skirts with a wide range of cute and kitschy apliques. The genius behind the design was Julie Lynne Charlot  

a model, actress and singer.  In the late 1940s she designed her fun, easy to make  skirts from one giant piece of cloth and started adding one of a kind adornments.  Initially Charlot made skirts for herself, but they came out well she took them to a boutique and was soon selling them.  Her skirts where easy to make, as Charlot was not an accomplished seamstress, and she was immediately copied by home sewers and other designers.  The novelty skirt craze was born.    Teenage girls loved the playful french poodle, incidentally one of the most popular breeds in the 1950s, but there where many other appliques  from to choose from:

The point was for the skirts to be fun, comfortable, twilrly, and unique.  Charlot's creations were all slightly different so that no two  ladies had an identical skirt.

Charlot's modern counterpart is Girl in a Whirl, a dog loving designer who sells her wares on face book, and the lady who made me re-think my no poodle skirt stance.  I was first shown one of her skirts over a year ago by a fellow vintage lover who sent me a link to her creations.  I thought hmmm that is interesting and forgot about it.  Gradually, though I started getting more into 1950s looks.  I took another look at Girl in A Whirl's page and realized that she doesn't just make poodle skirts, she makes everything skirts!  This woman can seriously put anything you imagine onto a gorgeous 1950s style circle skirt and all of her skirts are unique!  Dogs are one of her most popular choices and she has made skirts featuring many breeds.  In fact  pug skirts  seem to be her biggest seller.   

After I got Mr. Tuvok last year I really wanted a pug and poodle skirt so I contacted Girl in A Whirl and we started chatting.  We decided on a simple grey skirt with a fawn pug and a black toy poodle.  In no time at all I had my perfect skirt.  So cute and comfy and not too costumey at all, in fact I wear this skirt to work very often, its become one of my staples.  The sturdy cotton fabric means it works in warm and cold weather, which I love.  Its very full so you can wear a petticoat underneath, as I did in these pictures, but if petticoats aren't your thing you don't need one.  I find they really complete the 1950s look though.

 Like my darling pets this skirt, just couldn't be cuter.

I particularly love the red ribbon detail she used on the leashes.  Just like Juli Lynne Charlot's creations, this skirt of one of a kind.  

I paired my skirt with an old navy cardigan, a swell dame 1950s style sleeveless blouse, my 1950s poodle purse,  some gold tone poodle pins, and a poodle pendant that the lovely Jessica from Chronically vintage sent me when I purchased another item from her etsy shop.  

Maybe it is a costumey outfit, but its a costume I love wearing.   Lesson learned, never say never!

In fact I loved my skirt so much that I ordered another, non-dog themed, circle skirt from Girl In A Whirl for my birthday this year.   I'll share pictures soon!  

Outfit Details:
Novelty Circle Skirt: Girl In A Whirl
1950s Style Blouse: Swell Dame
Cardigan: Old Navy
Bakelite Bangle: Thrifted
Gold Tone Poodle Pins: Thrifted
Poodle Purse: Etsy, but I can't remember the seller
Shoes: Crocs Ballet Flats from Amazon
Petticoat: Amazon
Tights: Amazon

More reading on poodle skirts:

Chronically Vintage Fear Not The Poodle Skirt
Poodle Skirts: Their Origin and Influence The Poodle and Dog Blog
1950s Skirt History: Vintage Dancer
Interview with Juli Lynne-Charlotte The Vintage Traveler


  1. Pawsome!!!! Not only does the skirt look great on you butt…well…that is the most pawfect skirt evers!!!!!
    I luffs the red leads and bows, poodles and pugs, a pawsome combination!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  2. Very, very, nice! And the entire outfit looks easy to wear!

  3. Poodle skirts were the first fashion that was for young girls only, they looked silly on their mothers and grandmothers. This gave rise to a lot of designers gearing their clothes to young girls like mini shirts and boots,

  4. I totally agree I think I was anti poodle skirt because Im in my late 30s but since this is an intepretation I think it works

  5. Please tell me someone somewhere made a wire fox terrier skirt. They must have!

    1. Im sure they did as WFT where very popular during the 50s, though I think they where at peack popularity in the 30s, and today girl in a whirl makes any skirt so she may have done a WFT

  6. Oh my, this is so cute! I really, really want a circle skirt with rabbits on but it never occurred to get my bunnies featured x

  7. Wow, that's such a cute skirt! I agree, it can't get any's perfect and you look fantastic wearing it!

  8. That has got to be the cutest skirt ever!
    Lynne x

  9. We LOVE that skirt!!!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  10. Love this outfit! That skirt is so awesome! I love the detail on it and it's so perfect on you! Thank you for all the information too about poodle skirts! It was awesome getting to know the real history behind poodle skirts!

  11. Oh wow, that skirt is AWESOME! I love how the leashes twist up to the top.


  12. ahhh your skirt turned out so well! when I first stumbled up on Girl in a Whirl I thought about you and wondered if you had commissioned a special skirt to show your dog love and you did! Great little bit of history on the poodle skirt. I actually just purchased a vintage "Poodle skirt" but it has an accordion on it with music instead of the dog and I plan on wearing it very soon.

    Liz :)

  13. You look wonderful and that is a great skirt! I now need to check out the custom skirt options :-)

  14. OMD, that is SO cute! I love the red ribbon detail too. How fun!

  15. i LOVE that skirt. it is perfect.
    i have lots of photos of me as a little girl in a poodle skirt. it was my favorite halloween costume.

  16. Ooohhh Kate, I'm in love with every last element of this post and your fabulously pretty poodle + pug skirt filled outfit. Thank you so much for the wonderfully sweet shout out - I truly appreciate it.

    Tons of (p)hugs to you, my friend!
    ♥ Jessica

  17. Perfect outfit. The skirt is just brilliant!

  18. Such a cute skirt, and I think it's great to learn more about the history of the iconic poodle skirt. ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  19. Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic. moved here about Mastiffs


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