They're dead wrong. (And more likely than not no fun at cocktail parties, picnics, or church.)
I love circle skirts. Granted, they do make me think of the 50s - but they're also comfortable, feminine, and awfully fun to wear (just be cautious on windy days - I should do a whole post on the importance of slips and half-slips, as it's skirt season). Dressed up or down, with a sweater or cami, with dressy heels or ballet flats, you really can't go wrong with a circle skirt (although some curvier girls prefer half- or 3/4-circle skirts; the name comes really more from the fabric cut than it does the shape of the skirt, but true circle skirts are pretty much unmatched when it comes to twirly goodness). I often start the day with a button-up sweater over a camisole and my skirt, removing the sweater to drape around my shoulders or on my chair when the inevitable overheating begins (there's no way someone my age should be experiencing hot flashes, but that's life). It's always a comfy, pretty outfit that allows me to feel at ease without looking like...well...a gym rat. Or worse.
A few ladies have asked that I start featuring larger garments. This can be difficult to do: vintage sizes tend to be small because women wore some truly incredible undergarments, they were smaller because of the physical things they did (walking to the market, cleaning house without the aid of all our little toys, etc.) and food they ate (food back then wasn't nearly as heavily salted or over-horomoned as it is today). Additionally, remaining vintage apparel is often still around because the dress or skirt was important - a prom or formal dress, wedding dress, debutante dress - all things worn when the women were young. With such wonderful memories attached to them, such dresses were saved and loved long after they were too small to wear, so...they're still around. When we factor in the average age of marriage back then, which was pretty young, it's a little easier to understand why vintage tends to run smaller. That's a small part of the beauty in vintage pattern-hunting, of course, but anyhow...
I do try to feature larger sizes, I really do. Trust me: having battled and overcome anorexia - nearly at the cost of my life - nearly ten years ago, I loathe the iron maiden of supermodel airbrushed "What is...ice cream?" skinniness as much as any other sensible woman. Still, if you're not accustomed to vintage duds-hunting, you might be surprised (horrified?) at the number of drool-worthy dresses and other treats with 22-inch and 24-inch waists. However, I shall redouble my efforts to find beautiful, modest apparel for plus-sized ladies!
(I hate that phrase. What about my favourite - "curvalicious", a word I actually invented, in its full incarnation "cuddle-ily curvalicious"?)
Both of these skirts come not only in standard sizes but plus sizes as well, which is why I am really happy to be featuring an actual larger-sized goodie! The checked circle skirt and pink cotton circle skirt, both from the wonderfully fun Hey Viv! are vintage-inspired but true to form, and come in waist sizes 26" - 38". In fact, the skirts are custom-made for you when you order: you can order a cinch belt, peasant top that also comes in plus size, a scarf, and even your own crinoline for the pink cotton skirt (the black check comes with its own). The check is 32-33" long (depending on the size of the skirt), while the solid cotton, which also comes in black, is 26-27" long.
The black check is $36.99 - $39.99, while the cotton skirts are from $22.99 - $24.99, all depending on size. All of Hey Viv!'s accessories and clothing are very reasonably and fairly priced, especially when you consider the skirts and crinolines are custom made to your size.
No doubt in part to the reasons listed above, Hey Viv! specializes in plus-size, wearable vintage and vintage-inspired apparel, so if this is your style, Hey Viv! is a fine place to start building your wardrobe. You can also get all sorts of fab 50s accessories there, from repro to real cateye shades, jewelry (like this sweater guard), cinch belts, and appliques. Enjoy!