How are people dressing when in lockdown and isolation situations? How is this different to the way they dressed before? Has it affected their sense of self? This project aims to shine a light on those changes and reveal some of the many and varied personal stories relating to fashion and dress in 2020. Today’s interview is with Oh Golly! Miss Dolly! a pageant queen of the Irish pinup scene. Sparkly, kooky and a little bit spooky, she is a singer, musician, producer, pinup model and burlesque bombshell all rolled into one. Miss Dolly is a former Miss Pinup Ireland, Miss Pinup International and won the very first MX Horror Ireland. When she is not on stage or in front of a camera, she can be found either in her kitchen baking up a storm, crafting or sewing some sort of dazzling delight or attempting to keep her little toddler monster occupied!
1) Can You describe what your personal style was like before lockdown?
My style before lockdown was always influenced by vintage, rockabilly and pinup girl styles, mainly from the 1940s and 1950s. I’m a part of the Irish vintage scene as well as the cabaret and burlesque show scene in Dublin, and so would always have excuses to be very dressed up when going out. My everyday style was a bit more practical because I’m a stay at home mam with a toddler, but still involved a lot of circle skirts, jumpsuits and plenty of red lipstick.
2) How would you describe your style now?
It’s still very much the same, but I’ve been experimenting a lot more with different eras such as the 20s and 30s, and different hair styles, I suppose because I have more time now to do so. Obviously every few days I will just have a pyjama day with my hair tied up in a bun on top of my head, but I’m of the opinion that if I still set my hair and put on makeup, it’ll make me feel a lot better about myself as I try to navigate my mental health issues during these weird times.
3) What were the social situations that you routinely found yourself in before the quarantine? And how did you dress for them?
Being a part of the Irish Burlesque and cabaret scene, there were always shows and events to attend or be a part of, as well as meet ups with my fellow pinup/vintage enthusiasts. I love the glitz and glamour of the 1940s and 1950s, and a big style icon of mine is Dita Von Teese. So whenever I go out, I try to always have my hair perfectly set in a vintage style brush-out , ALWAYS winged eyeliner and red lipstick, glamorous vintage style jewellery and dresses from vintage reproduction companies like Collectif. I’m really fond of velvet so it’d more than likely be a very fitted dress which shows off my curves.
4) Is there anything you feel you can wear now that you couldn’t in ‘normal’ times? Why? And is there anything you miss wearing (and why do you not wear it?)
During this lockdown, I’ve taken to regularly wearing a 1950s style bullet bra. Before I’d only ever wear it for photoshoots, but never felt confident enough to wear it in public because of the shape it gives your chest, obviously pointy! But I do love the shape of it and the authentic vintage look, especially under knitted sweaters so I’m definitely going to start wearing it out more.
I miss getting really dressed up and putting heels on, and wearing a corset with a suspender belt and stockings on nights out at shows. I see a few people on social media getting dressed up to be fancy, even if it’s just to enjoy a few drinks and an online show, and I always feel really jealous. Me, my partner and our two year old live with my mother in law and so I’d just feel embarrassed swanning around the house like that in front of her….but I’d have zero qualms if it was my own place, although I did recently get dressed up for The Irish Vintage Social Club’s online fashion show, which I had to film while my mother in law was at work!
5) Has your self-perception changed in isolation? How so?
It has slightly, in a negative way. Before lockdown, I barely had any time to think about what I do, or why I do it….I just had to do it. But now the only way of communicating with the outside world is through social media and unfortunately this seems to have heightened a sense of imposter syndrome. I don’t feel like I’m a good enough mam, or a good enough pinup girl or vintage enthusiast or a good enough performer. Logically I know people only put their best selves on social media, and that my brain is processing trauma just like everyone else, but right now it seems to be attacking itself. Whereas before lockdown I dressed in the vintage style because it made me feel confident and like my authentic self, now I get anxious that I’m not good enough to dress like this. I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing these feelings right now.
If you’d like to take part in the project yourself, you can find all the information you need in the blog post entitled ‘Lockdown Fashion: an exploration of dressing at home in 2020‘ dated 9th April 2020.