We chat with Deadly is the Female’s owner Claudia, on what it means to be a Deadly Female…

Tell us a little bit about starting Deadly is the Female and what drove you to start selling vintage-inspired clothing?
I opened the shop in 2008, and launched the website very quickly afterwards. My personal tastes evolved through rockabilly style to a dedicated love of vintage style. However, while I adore the vintage aesthetic, I am a modern woman at heart and I am often impatient or frustrated that a beautiful dress is the wrong size or if it is in the right size, the proportions don’t always work for me. Moreover I like to be comfortable and to be able to wear things whenever I feel like it. Often older pieces are fragile and of course stretch wasn’t an option. I discovered a few brands in the USA, who on a basic level were using vintage as an inspiration and adding stretch fabric and modern proportions – I was in love! Around the same time I visited Frome in Somerset and found Catherine Hill; a cobbled street lined with independent businesses, with an empty shop perched at the top of the hill. Almost out of nowhere I decided that I should open a shop and make the wonderful clothes I adored from the Unites States easily available to more people in the UK. That was really how Deadly is the Female started.

Describe Deadly’s style – What makes Deadly Females different?Almost unbelievably now, when we opened Deadly, vintage wasn’t really fashionable, certainly not in the mainstream. People would come into our shop and ask, “What is this?” or “Are you a fancy-dress shop?” Now, vintage style is everywhere and people ‘get’ it. Its influence can be seen on the catwalks and the high street, on TV, in magazines, blogs – anywhere and everywhere. As a result, there is a lot of choice. Deadly has always had quite a strong identity and I think that has become better defined in our attempts not to blend in with the rest of the vintage loving crowds. As our name suggests, our inspiration is film noir and femme fatales. Deadly is about celebrating the power of the feminine, embracing and enhancing our curves and feeling confident about ourselves. We stock sizes from a UK 6 through to a 22 when possible. We adore seeing how fabulous people look and more importantly how they feel when they try things on. All of our items are hand picked, we don’t blindly follow trends or jump on band wagons, we carefully select the best faux vintage and pinup items available worldwide and while you might be able to find vintage style clothing that is cheaper, you won’t find better quality. After working as a designer I am fierce about copies and cheap imitations, at Deadly you know the items we stock have been painstakingly designed to make you look and feel wonderful, as well as being made to last for years.


Tell us more about the brands that you carry.
We are proud of our curated collections from American brands like Pinup Couture, Stop Staring!, Trashy Diva and Tatyana. We ship them over and cover all the customs charges so that when you buy from us, you pay a flat price with no surprise charges and we offer next day shipping on all mainland UK orders so you don’t have to wait too long! We adore these brands’ dedication to quality and design, each item has been considered from every angle and they just make you feel like a million dollars! While dresses are what we are best known for we also stock a full range of accessories from tip-to-toe, including the beautiful Bésame Cosmetics through to Lola Ramona and Melissa Shoes. We are also thrilled to carry a large range of UK designed and made dresses from The Pretty Dress Company, including the occasional exclusive piece, just for us. My staff and I are just as excited as our customers when new pieces arrive. We try things on and wear them ourselves. Our excuse is that it is research, and as a result we can offer detailed info on the fit and feel of most items, but really we just adore our stock!

What do you look for in faux vintage fashion?
As I mentioned, everything we stock has been hand selected to fit in with the Deadly style. I look for items with a bit of an edge, things that are a little bit different. That could be a bespoke print, a fresh take on a classic vintage cut or a silhouette that I know is going to turn heads while being comfortable! Quality is very high on my shopping list; if your dress is a classic then you want it to last for years! Above everything I try to choose pieces that are timeless, things that won’t go out of fashion and styles that will flatter. It is a cliché but if you feel good then you look good and what could be better than helping people feel good?

What do you love most about Deadly’s style?
The thing I am most proud of is that you can come to Deadly with the body issues most of us carry around, and have a chat and a browse and we will almost always be able to help you find something to try on, that you will feel fabulous in. We try to do the same on the website too – our models are ‘normal’ women, friends and sometimes customers who love the clothes as much as we do. We use models that are a range of ages, body shapes and sizes to show people that these truly are clothes designed for everyone. If you have curves we can help you show them off, if you don’t have curves but have always wanted them, we can find an outfit to give you them. We try to capture that old fashioned feminine ideal and make it a comfortable reality in the modern world. We’ve had people buy their first dress in years because they didn’t think designers were making clothes with them in mind, but at Deadly we are lucky enough to stock some amazing brands who do just that.

Top Tips for standing out from the crowd this winter?
Work with what you’ve got! Try not to have to worry about what’s fashionable; dress for your body and you will always look good.

Step outside your comfort zone; don’t decide wiggle dresses aren’t for you. Grab your best undies (historically foundation garments were always a wardrobe essential) and have a go! Stand up straight, in heels if you like, and spend a bit of time in the dress, getting used to it.

Remember, when most people look in the mirror they check their least liked body parts first, but when you look at other people you are looking at the whole picture. So take a deep breath, hold your head high and believe you look fabulous!

How do we shop at Deadly?
You can visit our boutique in Frome, Somerset or visit the website at www.DeadlyistheFemale.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@deadlyfemale) so if you see something you like there you can call the shop on 01373 469914 or email info@deadlyisthefemale.com to order and ask any questions. We are almost as passionate about good old-fashioned service as we are about faux vintage clothing, so feel free to ask questions and we will always do our best to help in any way we can.

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!