A step back into the 20’s

A friend recently had a birthday party with a 20’s prohibition theme. I was excited and was going to buy a beaded flapper dress for the occasion. Sadly though, funds didn’t work out and I improvised. I opted for a dress from my closet with a 20’s feel (bias cut skirt) and then set to make it an outfit.

The Outfit

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The overall look worked because of the elements involved. The long strands of pearl necklaces, the headband (even though it was a flower and not a bangle I think it worked) and the definite 20’s hair style with the make up.

The hair was really an improvisation. I put my hair in rollers the night before and let it air dry over night Then before the party I brushed out the curls (Yay for 40’s hair styling experience) and with a little teasing, built body away from the scalp. I pinned my curls to the headband and voila! (Not pictured is the t-bar shoes and the art deco manicure. This picture was the trial run of the look. The hair and make up was different on the day)

Make up

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Now the make up was a bit trickier to achieve than I’d expected. I neutralised the colour of my lips so that I could create a deep red “Clara Bow” lip look (the perfect cupid’s bow) but using just the lipstick without a lip brush it got a bit bigger than I’d wanted. The cheeks were done with a different shade of lipstick, applied to the cheeks in a circular pattern (I used my finger to apply as I didn’t want it to be too red). The smoky eye was my struggle. I don’t wear a lot of eye shadow on a daily basis so to do this thick dark look was tough. I lined the eye with the shadow on the upper and lower lids then continued to cover the upper eye lids. Adding the mascara helped complete the look.

Overall it was a great time. Some folks dressed up and they did a great job of their costumes. It was interesting to see the different styles from the era.

How are you exploring your vintage side this month? Reply below and keep in touch.

When geekdom meets vintage obsession

AGENT CARTER On January 6, 2015 Agent Carter burst onto our televisions in prime time TV with a brilliant cast, classic vintage costuming, and fantastic set design. For those that aren’t geeks, Peggy Carter is a part of the Captain America storyline. She is a fierce and intelligent agent of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). I adored the Captain America movies and was eager to see how they would do on the TV series.

If you’re not a comicbook fan, you may find yourself tuning in for the great cast and vintage visual opulence. The cast features well known faces such as Dominic Cooper, Chad Michael Murray, James D’Arcy, Shea Whigham, as well as the likes of Ray Wise which really impresses.

The first episode features classic comicbook plot lines as well as clips from the Captain America: the First Avenger movie. Set in WW2 in the fictional version of the Captain America movie universe, the SSR fights to keep the nation safe starting by hunting down Howard Stark (Father to Tony Stark, aka Ironman) for selling weapons to US enemies. Due to the attitudes of the time, Agent Carter is seen by her team as better suited for the secretarial department due to her sex rather than as the Agent rank she holds. However she manages to exceed their expectations while seeking to clear Howard Stark’s name with the aid of his Butler Jarvis. Action and adventure ensue.

For those of us that are geeks and are familiar with the movies/comics, they have treated us with little details (like his Butler Jarvis, clips from the Captain American movies and of course, the little hints to classic villains). But enough about the geekdom, lets get to the styles!

Style and the modern looks

One of the great things about a show like this coming to prime time is that it inspires the mainstream Uniform style

     For those of us that are fans of vintage 1940’s style, the costuming department has given us great daily styles as well as inspiration for what to wear for an evening out. Her uniform and work attire are fitted, often featuring a tailored pencil skirt and a loose blouse tucked in at the waist. And of course the thigh high stockings held up with garters as every classy lady would. 

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Agent Carter does have a great “going out” style. Pink piping on a black button down dress and always paired with deep red lipstick her style is classic 40’s. Her smooth curls hang loosely to her shoulders (Aside from when she sports a wig).

Day outfit

And of course, we all know that any style would not be complete without accessories. It comes down to the hat, the lipstick, the shoes, the red nail polish and of course every good agent needs a watch to make sure they never miss a blind drop.

Will you tune into Agent Carter and follow her escapades?

Have you been inspired by her style?

I’d love to hear from you.

 

Lauren Bacall, a Farewell

This month we said goodbye to one of the golden age of Hollywood’s greatest talents, Lauren Bacall.
Lauren Bacall

Growing up a lot of girls wanted to be like Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page, oozing sex appeal. They wanted to smile and have flashbulbs burst around them taking in every ounce of their beauty, preserving it for posterity. I wanted to be like Lauren Bacall. She was beautiful and elegant in a way other actresses weren’t. She had class coupled with a certain je ne sais quoi. The biggest attraction is that she was fierce and confident. Her roles were varied but my favorite was her portrayal of Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire because her style and smooth strong personality shone strongly when placed beside Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe’s sexpot styles. That’s not to say she wasn’t a sultry femme fatale in her own right, her role as Marie “Slim” Browning in ‘To have and to have not’ gave us a first glimpse into that subtler sex appeal.

The irony being that she wasn’t that fierce strong character in real life at 19 that she portrayed on the screen. Terrified, she forced herself to hold her chin down giving that bedroom eyed look that she’s known for. While she’s set apart from her contemporaries due to her strong unwavering onscreen confidence, in reality it was all a well developed construct. She became Lauren Bacall through hours of arduous study to lower her voice, drink Jack Daniels without flinching and turn herself into a new type of woman. The sassy, worldly young woman was the perfect onscreen companion to Humphrey Bogart’s hard drinking, gruff but lovable persona. Their chemistry was undeniable and is easy to see in “The Big Sleep”.

Lauren Bacall’s legacy of strong worldy women will never be forgotten.

You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve?

 

Always loved and never forgotten.

The rise and fall of the well meaning blogger

It’s be almost 7 months since my last post and I feel like a confession is in order.

goldenI have not been a great vintage enthusiast of late. I thought I’d write today about my failure in maintaining my vintage life.

It started off with moving back to a small town and having HORRIBLY COLD weather. Now, being a Canadian living in the wilds of the Saskatchewan prairies, when I say it was cold, I mean it was freezing. We had -60 weather. It was so cold my car laughed at me at one point when I tried to start it. Then there was the 2 snow banks that I ended up stuck in,… granted one was in my own driveway but still. It was a cold bitter winter/spring. You may think that this would mean I had more time to work on blogging but between the power outages and trying to stay warm my thoughts were elsewhere.

Finally we got some heat in our frozen lands which shortly translated into drastic flooding. How drastic you ask? Well, drastic enough to have a state of emergency declared and prompted a visit from the Provincial Minister.

In the midst of all this the most frustrating part of my vintage life is that I went blonde. That in itself isn’t a bad thing but in doing so I’ve made my hair hateful to curling and it’s been a little on the damaged side. I tried pin curls with my new hood dryer (post on that to come soon) and my hair looked like I was part french poodle. Pin curls looked terrible. *sigh*

So without the hair, the make up looks so so and the dresses look nice but not vintage.

However, the flood waters are almost dried up and the warm weather is here so be prepared for some summer vintage posts about whatever my little brain comes up with. :)

I’m off to say 10 hail Dior, and 6 our Coco Channel’s and will report back soon.

How has your spring been?

Happy New Year!

Farewell 2013, you were an interesting friend.

Welcome into the world 2014, I hope that our acquaintance is a mutually beneficial one.

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My 2013 went out with less of a bang but more of an amusing whoot. With my current situation being what it is, I opted not to go for a NYE party but rather to sit and have a few drinks while watching movies with a friend. No fancy dress, hair or makeup required. I’m not sure what 2014 will hold but I’m hopeful.

How about you, did you ring in the new year with a bang or did you ease into the new year? Are there any traditions that you follow?

Holiday Inn

My Day at the Movies: Holiday Inn

At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.

At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.

With the holidays amping up and my personal world less than settled, I’m feeling a little less than jolly this season. To cheer myself up I headed to the one place that has always been magical for me, the movies. There’s something healing about the silver screen. Which is why I was delighted to find that Holiday Inn was playing at our local theatre in it’s original black and white.

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This movie has become one of my holiday must see’s over the years. Watching the smooth Fred Astaire glide his way across the dance floor with masterful movements while playing the heel instantly makes me smile. And Bing’s voice is one of the few that can bring a tear to my eye. Match that with some masterful dancing and singing from the female leads, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale and it’s no surprise why this classic has such a key place in my heart.

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Back to the magical part of it all, more than what you see on screen, there’s something amazing about going to the theatre. You join with dozens of others to share in a passive experience together laughing and crying while being told a tale. In that darkened climate controlled room you can allow the concerns and stress of the day slip away and for a short while immerse yourself into another world. When that movie is in it’s original black and white, from a time when WW2 was in full swing, you can easily forget that you are in the 21st century.

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The storyline centers around a crooner (played by Bing Crosby) and his hoofer partner (played by Fred Astaire). It opens with them falling out over their other costar (played by Virginia Dale). After losing his girl to his partner, Bing’s character decides to open an Inn that is solely open during the holidays, which gives him the added bonus of only working 15 days a year. Sounds ideal doesn’t it. It would be until he falls in love with his new co-star and his hoofer partner loses his girl and in a twist of fate falls in love with the same girl as the crooner.

The rest of the story gives you laughs, tears and of course it has out of date scenes. Black face is used and Marjorie Reynold’s character is dressed up in a poor black face disguise. That same routine also has his house maid (not to be confused as a slave) singing to her children about how Abe Lincoln set the darkies free.

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Aside from that and the flippant attitude towards engagements, the movie was a delight and gave us the memorable scene where Bing’s character introduces Linda (played by Marjorie Reynolds) to the now infamous song White Christmas.

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Overall, the movie and experience was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon and left me hoping they do more classic movies. White Christmas would be a fantastic follow up film.

Until next time, make do and mend.

Monsieur Poirot

I’m going to let you in on a guilty pleasure of mine, watching Hercule Poirot. I have developed an entire ritual around watching the show. I brew a pot of tea, make up a plate finger sandwiches and an array of sweets (laid out on the good china of course), don my a period style dress complete with hose, pearls, shoes and makeup then settle onto the couch for an immersion into the world of the past. For all my efforts, I am richly rewarded by a trip into the past and a creative dynamic murder mystery. How fantastic is it to be able to step into the past even if it’s just for an hour and a half?

As my reward for my devotion, the episodes offer a brilliant array of fashion, set design and attention to detail.

Hercule Poirot

For all his years of portraying this brilliant sleuth, David Suchet has never once disappointed. He remains the pinnacle of precision style to me. It’s more than his waxed moustache or the costumer’s focus on details such as the pin on his lapel or the perfectly knotted bowtie but also his focus on the character’s reaction to the vulgarity of changing fashion. The recent episode featured two girls travelling and staying in a hostel. Both wore “short shorts” which in modern times would be seen as rather long. The wince on David’s face at seeing this atrociously blatant flaunting of the female form is priceless. The character of Poirot can be seen to be stuck in the formalities of the past and yet, I think that’s one of the things I adore about him.

Do you have a fictional character who’s style you admire? Feel free to let me know in comments.

 

Perfection and the Vintage Gal

I look at the stunning pictures of flawless vintage women and I wonder if I’m up to the challenge sometimes.

LIFE

One of the most appealing parts of sporting a vintage style is the part of “Getting Dressed”. I wouldn’t necessarily say I get dressed for most occasions. Sure, I get ready but getting dressed is something entirely different.

For me, “Getting Dressed” means taking your time and focusing on the movements of preparing your style for the day. It starts off with a shower, feeling clean and fresh for the day. Then comes the fun part of “getting dressed”. Selecting the outfit you’ll wear that day, laying out each item of your clothing carefully, donning your shape wear with purpose,working your hair into the perfect coif, smoothing your curls and eliminating the flyaways. To sum it up, it means a heightened level of attention to detail in your appearance. You wouldn’t purposely wear a pair of hose with a run in them or a scuffed dirty shoe.

With Christmas Parties just around the corner it’s getting to be that time where people have an occasion to get dressed rather than just daily life. Our modern world has made it seem unusual to truly take the time in our appearance for anything less than a major holiday. We no longer dress for Supper. Often we come home and change into sweats rather than putting on a house dress. Its these social behaviours of style that the vintage community bring back by their dedication to the past.

What vintage style behaviour do you miss most?

How do you feel about getting dressed? Do you feel it’s become a lost art?

Starting off vintage, a post for Maura.

A former coworker saw a pic I posted of me in my vintage style and asked, “Can you show me how to get my vintage on?” Immediately I emailed back and said I’d love to, follow my page and blog and that should help… But does it really? To start dressing/being a vintager I find that you need a direction. Now others might not agree with this but in my world, I’ve always loved the 20’s – 50’s. So much so that in high school I wore poodle skirts and sweaters. When I consciously decided that I wanted to start being a vintage vixen, I knew the eras I wanted to go for and focused on learning whatever I could. But it didn’t start then. It took a divorce, name change and desire to emerge as something different before I made my transformation.

First came make up. In my world it’s all about the hair and face so I learned that the staple of any good 1940’s woman was her black eyeliner and red lipstick. Once I had those, I had to learn how to do the perfect cat eye flick with the eyeliner and then choose a red lipstick that didn’t make me look like a drag queen. Now for that I was truly fortunate as I discovered Rockalily. Her various shades of red lippy were this girl’s joyful find. So now that I had the face it was time to tackle the hair.

Having short hair I didn’t have a clue what to do. I had worn finger waves and pincurls to a party before but they were gelled so hard onto my head that it didn’t sound like a fun plan to wear daily. Then after some research, I settled on pincurls. Period style and all that was needed was bobby pins! But how to do them? (Let me point out that years back I had attempted pincurls in my own with very little instruction only to come away with a frizzy mound of unruly curls. This memory haunted my future endeavours.) The Internet has a ton of resources but the instructions were too plentiful with too many options, So YouTube to the rescue. I watched a few videos and one in particular helped me sort out where I’d gone wrong and how to fix it. So one night while I was bored and listless, I pincurled my hair and went to bed. In the morning I depinned, brushed and was left with a GORGEOUS hairstyle!!

Vintage Hair

This was a victory in my vintage styles, hair and face achieved. But what about clothes? I had a cute black mod cloth dress but going outside would be too cold to wear it as it was only just spring. Needing to show off my style I tore through my wardrobe and pulled out a pair of dark jeans (which I rolled up the hem into a high fold) and a blouse. Adding pearls, earrings and a leather jacket akin to the style sported by WASPs in their day, I felt that I had accomplished the look. It was a pretty good version of 50’s style.

Post walk

That was the day that got me hooked, not only because I had done it but I looked fab and it felt amazing to wear. I went from a jeans and tshirt girl to a styled woman. I still had lots to learn from powders, foundation garments, head scarfs, high waisted trousers and deadstock but that was my journey. And it’s still a fun adventure. So how do you start?

CHOOSE AN ERA

There’s so many great styles in so many decades. Maybe you’re a 70’s gal, or a 20’s maven?

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Find an era that you love and choose something to begin with. If its makeup, then practise your eyeliner and perfect red pout. If its hair, grab a headscarf and try your hand at head wraps. Or, visit YouTube and look up finger waves or pincurls. The clothing is probably the easiest and priciest. For women, check out mod cloth, Eshakti or HeyDay Vintage. All three of my absolutely favourite online stores. You should also look at etsy shops like Adeline’s Attic Vintage, FabGabs, RococoVintage, Lindy Knicks, Salvato Collection or Vavoom Vintage. Most of all, join a forum or facebook group, check out your local thrift shops, or go to the antique festivals. Meet others that do what you want to do and talk to them, ask questions. I have made some fantastic friends by vintage tweet ups and by being online with other vintage folks I’ve even been featured on a vintage blog!!

Here’s some fab links for you you to start on your vintage path:
Vintage makeup

Style inspirations by REAL people

Modern Land Girls

I have random thoughts like most of you. One such thought is, given the money and time, could one live as a Land Girl in modern times. Would farming for a local charity (Food for the poor, the elderly, etc) be a feasible plan? And would forgoing modern conveniences like internet and cell phones be possible? And most of all, could I do it all alone?

It reminds me of Goode Neighbors, a BBC production from the 70’s about a man that gets fed up with work and decide to try living in complete self sufficiency meaning raising their own vegetables and animals for food, sewing their own clothes and selling/trading to acquire goods. Now, in the country side this would be a lot more acceptable but in the suburbs of England, it’s not such an acceptable idea, especially for the ultra conservative neighbors. A great cast plays out the pros, cons and challenges of this idea. It would be interesting but not impossible.

A desire to cut costs, get back to the land, and grow my own food are all driving factors in this ideal. If you were able to find a small plot of land with a well for water, and able to build a small basic home (Small meaning a 10ft x 20ft room at least) I think there’s a huge chance that this would be possible. Once the land and basic home is set up the initial farming wouldn’t be a huge challenge.

What amazes me is how grandiose and extraordinary that this idea seems. People for centuries had done this process over and over again. So why now, with our modern technology do we think it’s extreme? Are we so far removed from our farming roots that we only expect to purchase our food and pay others to perform what were seen as the basics only 70 years ago?

Perhaps one day everything will line up and I’ll be able to try it all out myself. It’s not a fancy life, listening to the radio at night, by candle light, while knitting or sewing clothes or writing/reading.  Goodness it sounds magnificent though. I think it would also be fantastic while raising a child. Imagine a child raised without video games but rather with a host of books and outdoor play. How would that child be as opposed to one with all sorts of modern conveniences?

Like I said, it was a random thought that I felt was worthy of blogging about. I felt that the vintage blog was good seeing as it’s a vintage style life. Working on the farm, in a sweater you knitted yourself and pants you hand sewed, cooking with the produce from your own garden, sounds pretty vintage to me.

Keep up the good works.