Saturday, December 25, 2010

"V" is for VICTORY!


This upcoming May, I'm planning a 1940s "Victory" party! Those of you who know me best know that when it comes to vintage style, the 1930s and 1940s are my favorite...But something about the 1940s really wins my heart. The fancy hairstyles, the MUSIC, the movies (film noir!), the more simplified makeup. So, this party is one I am really looking forward to! I'll probably do some ration-inspired food, like a war cake, and there will be other World War Two themes about--lots of red, white, and blue!

I'm hoping some of my male guests will dress in uniforms. :O Ohhhh myyy...

But that reminds me! I need to figure out what I'm going to wear! I want to find a very elegant dress. I really like the beaded gown Rita Hayworth wore in the 1946 film Gilda (one of my favorite noirs).

I would imagine that something like this would be hard to find at a second hand shop, so I do have another option. I have a grape-colored satin and white lace gown I wore for a southern belle Halloween costume, and I'm thinking about cutting the lace off of it. It has a sweetheart neckline, too!

Pictures to come!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Check out UrbanNoir!

Want to see some amazing photography? Check out my friend Ray's blog, UrbanNoir!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Make-Do and Mend Cape" Idea

Another tid-bit from What Every Woman Should Know comes from the reprinted "Answers to Correspondents" section in the back of the book. It's a bit like a little advice column.

Mrs. L. Salter from Birmingham writes, "I have an old evening skirt of very heavy satin in good condition. Is there any way of utilising it?"

The Daily Mail's Women's Bureau responds: "Why not make an evening cape of it, cut with two seams on the shoulders or one down the centre of the back? The neck can have a little upstanding stiff collar, a scarf, or a fur trimming."

What a fabulous idea! You could use a cape for those holiday parties coming up. Christmas fancy dress parties, and New Year's parties.

This is going to be my next project. My next trip to the second-hand store, I am going to look for a nice satin skirt to do this with. But on the other hand, I suppose it wouldn't really have to be satin, would it? I've been thinking of making an evening cape for sometime, and I'm not much at sewing, so this should be simple! I can hardly wait!

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Look

No, I'm not talking about Dior's new look of 1947! ;) I'm curious to know how everyone feels about the new look of the blog. I think it looks more grown up and..."sophisticated" than the last template I had. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Talc-Free Curiosity, Part Two

As mentioned in one of my last posts, I'm thinking about going for talc-free face powder. (I don't use vintage-inspired make up brands, thought that would be neat! Usually I just go for Revlon.) I don't usually wear a lot of foundation and don't feel I need "coverage," just something to tone down shine so I can get that vintage matte face! I love Coty's Airspun, which contains talc, but I don't like how it feels after I have it on for a few hours. Here are some options I have come across:

Palladio Rice Powder, $4.99


Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, $19


Aubrey Organics Silken Earth, $23.95

I have not tried the Palladio Rice Powder, but I have tried the Bare Minerals and the Aubrey Organics powders. The Bare Minerals is mostly corn starch, which is fine, and it's $19. I kept it on for a few hours and I could feel it was there--though it was much, much lighter than any other powder I've used in a while. However, it did feel a little dry; not really like I needed moisturizer, but that's what made me realize it was on my face.

My favorite is the last one, the Aubrey Organics Silken Earth, in Porcelain Beige. I tried it last week, along with their mineral blush in Warmed Rose. This powder contains silk powder, vitamin E, and aloe! I felt I was putting something on my face that was actually beneficial, and I feel that makes it worth the few extra dollars in comparison to the Bare Minerals. Also, this was really light, and did not feel dry at all.

Throughout my life, I have loved talc. It feels soft. When I was a kid and baby powder still contained talc, I used to rub it all over my face! And Coty's Airspun powder seems so vintage and classic, and the smell reminds me of my grandmother. But I have concerns...For one thing, talc's molecular structure consists of sharp edges. What do those sharp edges do to my pores?

Has anyone any thoughts on this subject? Some say talc is bad, some say not. Some say it causes cancer, but the lab rats it has been tested on were exposed to ridiculous amounts, so of course it caused harm. I'm mostly concerned that many talc-based makeups contain mineral oil, which can clog up your skin because your skin can't absorb it. I like the idea of a makeup that will allow my skin to breathe. Also, some say talc can enlarge pores. I'm not really sure what my verdict is on all this, but I do know I have gone for at least two weeks without talc-based makeup, and my skin is the clearest it has been in months. I really would like the best powder for my skin!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hands Up for Winter!

Winter is on its way and, in some areas, has already arrived. I thought this article would be very fitting to help you ladies keep your hands looking lovely through the season. This is one of the articles included in the book, What Every Woman Should Know: Lifestyle Lessons from the 1930s, by Christopher and Kirsty Hudson.

"Hands which during summer keep smooth and white without any trouble have a disconcerting way of developing all sorts of ailments when winter comes."

The article explains that some winter ailments are painful, while others are "just unbeautiful and annoying." Most of the problems hands suffer in winter, however, are due to "faulty circulation"! Here's how to prevent some issues.

"Much can be done by devoting a few moments daily to massage and exercise. The hands should be first generously coated with olive or almond oil, or with lanoline thinned out with one of these oils. 'Wash' the hands (I mean, use the action of washing the hands) with the cream, and then stroke the fingers vigorously as if you were pulling on and off a pair of tight gloves."

The fact that olive and almond oils are good for your skin is nothing new! :D

"Next, stretch the fingers sideways and longways, and open and close the hands, flexing the muscles strongly."

"After washing, a little hand jelly or an emollient should always be rubbed in. Some people use glycerine and wonder why it is not effective. Glycerine should always be applied while the hands are still damp."

"If you dread having red hands in winter, avoid extremes of hot and cold water...To whiten red hands, keep some toilet oatmeal near by, and rub the hands with it occasionally."

To avoid chilblains, "as far as possible keep the hands warm by natural means, and when coming in from the cold never in any circumstances warm them at the fire or on a radiator."

So, be sure to keep your hands warm and moisturized this winter, so they stay beautiful! As the last paragraph recommends:

"Before going out on a cold winter's morning, instead of bemoaning your lot, clap your hands and jump for joy for five minutes--even if you do feel depressed! Make that sluggish circulation get to work and keep you warm through the day."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Every Woman Should Know

A few days ago I came home to a mysterious package from my lovely friend Heli. Inside, for my birthday, was this marvelous book!

I seriously felt like hollering and jumping up and down. I have always wanted a book like this! Unfortunately, I cannot ever seem to find such delightful books here in America. So many Americans seem too concerned with the up-and-coming to appreciate elegant looks of days gone by. Perhaps I should move to Europe. ;D

It makes me want to have another 1930s-themed party!

It is full of real newspaper clippings from a 1930s English newspaper, the Daily Mail. It has recipes, makeup and beauty advice, helpful household hints, and some exercises.

I'll have to include more about it in a later post, as this is all I have time for now!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halloween and Talc-Free Curiosity

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had planned to go as Helen of Troy for Halloween. This is how it turned out!

As you can see, I paired a short dress with a long, pleated skirt. The belt somewhat hides that fact, apart from the fact that the sheer skirt reveals the dress! The dress and skirt were second hand, the scarf is from Ecuador (ha, but I bought it at a shop downtown), the belt, Target. And the magenta cape is just a scrap of old satin fabric.

I always figured Helen of Troy was probably a redhead, not a blonde as she is portrayed in the movies... ;)

My crown was homemade; I glued bay leaves to a piece of flexible plastic sheeting (the kind that some toy boxes have on them), and spray painted that gold! It was fun, and gave quite a feeling of accomplishment.

I tried to keep my make up natural, with a '40s twist, of course, of eyeliner on the top lid. :D I don't know if it stayed on very well...Anyway, a friend of mine accurately said that to be going as "the most beautiful woman", I would "have to sparkle. So, I wore gold glitter! I really wanted some that was obnoxiously sparkly, but couldn't find any.


In other news, I am considering giving up talc-based face powder. I used to not think anything was wrong with talc, but I found out that it has a crystalline structure that could be harmful to the pores. I love my Coty's Airspun powder, but--! If there is something better for my skin out there, I would rather use it! I am considering Palladio rice powder.

The art on the box itself is enough to make me want to buy it!

Does anyone have any talc-free suggestions?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Suit

Last year I found a great red suit at Goodwill for $7.99, and didn't wear it at all. Monday we had summery temperatures, so I decided to try it out! It's 100% silk, something I did not realize until I got it home (love it when that happens). I paired it with an interesting yellow and black feathered hat I bought for a few dollars at a garage sale years ago.

*Ahem*...Please excuse the clutter next to me! I think I was going for a late '30s, or very early '40s look. Great hat+nice suit+vintage hairstyle=a vintage look!

Wore my hair in "victory rolls"; they're a bit difficult to see.

Inside of the hat: "Adolfo II"..."100% WOOL, 'Excello' "

I love the black feathers in the back of the hat.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Art Deco Engagement Ring

No, I'm not planning to get married soon. But someday I will, right?...So there's no harm in looking up vintage engagement rings! ;)

I love sapphires, but they're a bit pricey. Here is a tanzanite ring...I don't know if tanzanite is any more affordable than sapphires, though!
I love the step-design of the diamonds. So art deco! Now I just have to find a fiancee!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vintage Watch Pendant

My latest vintage-inspired fashion statement!

My grandmother gave me some of her old watches; one of them, she said, was a graduation present from her father. She graduated in 1940, so it's pretty exciting to think that the watch, which was missing a band, was probably made in 1939 or 1940. Of course, it no longer works, but it is so beautiful...What to do?

I slipped a chain through the loop at the top of the watch face, where the band was once attached. And now...It's a pendant!

A fashionable way to wear beautiful vintage watches you may find at antique malls.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ancient Vintage?

Ha ha...So, my blog focuses mostly on vintage style and fashion from 1900-1950s...But with Halloween coming up, I'm planning to go as Helen of Troy. So! How about going extremely vintage for a little bit?--Ancient-Greece-and-Troy-vintage...

Rossana Podesta in the title roll of the 1956 film, Helen of Troy

I dressed as Helen of Troy in 4th grade, and it was hilarious...It's time for a pretty, grown-up version! Helen of Troy (who was actually queen of Greece, but ran away to Troy with the Trojan prince Paris) is usually portrayed as a blonde in the movies. Since I was ten, I always pictured her as a redhead. (Or maybe I just always wanted red hair?)

Well, my costume probably won't look quite that amazing, but I did make a very crafty crown out of bay leaves, painted gold, last year that I didn't get to wear. I'll have to post pictures of it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Adventure in Matte

(Veronica Lake)

For years I'd heard about matte lipstick--magazines described it as a daring, "not-for-everyone" look. Naturally, that made me want to give it a try. But either I wasn't into the vintage scene at that time or I was still intimidated by red lipstick, as I forgot about it nearly all together.

And then Revlon introduced a line of matte lipsticks. Revlon--my favorite lipstick brand! Buying red lipsticks can be risky; often the color on your lips is far from the color of the sticker on the bottom of a tube. So it wasn't until recently that a local drugstore had a sale on Revlon lipsticks that i decided to take the plunge. At $4.99 a tube, how could I go wrong?

(Revlon Matte lipstick, "In The Red")

Even the black-and-silver tube is matte! I adore it; it's matte without feeling dry, and the color wears well.

I bought "In The Red." I think it's a great red (the lighting of the photo doesn't do it justice); it works well with my hair color. I like the matte so much, I think I might buy a darker shade.

I really don't think matte lipstick is as risky as some makeup "experts" claim--and I disagree that it is exclusive only to certain women. If you're someone who has wanted to try matte lipstick but you're apprehensive due to all the hype--go ahead and give it a try. You won't know if you like it until you do. There's nothing to be intimidated by!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Perfect Red

(the lovely Rita Hayworth wearing with ideally red lips)

I've been looking for the perfect red lipstick for a long time; the ideal "classic" '40s red, not the pinkish red that is sometimes recommended (that's more '50s). I found a great one made by Revlon, "Mulled Wine," but it has recently been discontinued, so I'm on the search for another!

Recently I found this advice on a makeup site: "ivory skin tones should save red lipstick for only those special occasions calling for some extra drama. " I followed that advice for too long and was really timid about trying to wear red on my lips. The truth is, red looks great with ivory skin; it adds a color and classiness that can't be beaten.

Could any of my readers possibly help me by recommending some great red colors? :D

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Other Time?


I had the party; it was lots of fun! There was a password to get into the party (as it was speakeasy themed): "hotsy-totsy!" Everybody did great in remembering it. We laughed a lot while trying to make up sentences with the 1920s slang dictionary I found online, and we drank gin and tonics and ate cookies, and tried to dance the Charleston. I regret that I did not take more photos, but the few that I did take, I will try to post soon. This is the only photo I have, of me, taken by a friend:

I made the headband myself (see the post on how to make a flapper headband to find out how!); I'm wearing a strand of plain plastic "pearls," knotted, with vintage pearl earrings (also fake!), and a second-hand bracelet that must weigh three pounds. The dress I bought a while back at a sidewalk sale, only $5! It was beaded and sequined, and felt more '20s than I expected.

Sometime I will continue on my '20s posts, but I had to return all my resources to the library, so I haven't a whole lot right now.

I'm planning to do my next post on matte lipstick, as I tried it a few months ago and really liked it. Matte was in during the '40s. Exciting!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So Much to Blog--Not Enough Time!

I have been away too long!

Good news: Postponed the '20s party, so I thought I would have more time to post all the fashion pictures I wanted to.

More good news (though not so good for blogging!): Started a writing group, a new book, and working on a book I want to have published within the next couple of years. Then stomach flu, or something like it (that was not good news). Oh my!

Lots to catch up on! The party is one week from now, and there is so much I want to blog about when it comes to 1920s fashion:

-The popularity of sunbathing! (After all, it is summer!)
-Long strands of beads, and easy way to flapper-ize your look.
-Oriental influence on clothing.
-Men's fashion!

Hopefully I can get something done this week!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ancient Egyptian Influence

With the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter, styles of ancient Egypt swept over the fashion world. Women not only rimmed their eyes with kohl (eye pencils became available later), but hints of Egypt were suffused in evening and day wear, as well. I looked through some books about 20th century fashion, and found some examples of its influence on fashion for the rest of the decade:

From a book entitled In Vogue, by Georgina Howell, which includes photos from over 60 years of British Vogue. Left to right, top, designs by Jenny, Doucet, Drecoll. Bottom left, Cathleen Nesbitt in an Egyptian brocade gown "with a Nile green georgette underskirt." Bottom right, a blouse with hieroglyphic-inspired patterns.

An advertisement from October 1929, British Vogue.

A scarab brooch; German silver and cloissone.

Egyptian-inspired accessories: combs, compact, cigarette case, pendant.

This flowing, pleated gown seemed Egyptian-inspired to me, but I was wrong. Actually, it's supposed to be Greek-inspired. This is a blue-gray satin gown by Mariano Fortuny. Anyhow, it's ancient-inspired!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Something Shocking

Hosiery of the 1920s

Here is a cute 1925 song about a man who has lost his flapper girlfriend:

"Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue"

I feel I should make a note before I continue with my '20s posts: Not all women of the 1920s were flappers. The flapper style is what we think of most readily when speaking of women's fashion of the decade, but flapper fashion was a "sub-style," if you will, and not all women chose to wear as short skirts, or as flashy, flamboyant clothing, as the flapper.

As the song by Cole Porter says, "In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking." But with the shorter hemlines of the 1920s, women began to show off their hosiery in ways never before. Different colors became available, some were patterned or embroidered.

Society girl Miss Kitty Lee, of Baltimore, Maryland, with her boyfriend's portrait on her stockings.

An advertisement from the Saturday Evening Post, 1928. The colors include "Tea-time," (gray-beige), "RoseMorn" (deep nude, "for both day and evening"), "Honey Beige" (golden), "Boulevard" (brown with a hint of gray-- "a favorite for wear with winter's furs"), "Spanish Brown" (golden-bronze). There is a glimpse of a few different skirt styles of the period.

A postcard by Donald McGill. The caption read, "That frock's so short you can see your garters!" I love the appalled look of the male, and the amused expression on the woman's face. The object of many flapper women of the era was, of course, to shock! In the mid-twenties, skirts became shorter (they still covered the knee!), so it was a bit difficult to hide stocking tops.


Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s by Jacqueline Herald

Decades of Beauty: The Changing Image of Women 1890s-1990s by Kate Mulvey & Melissa Richards

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1920s Speakeasy Party

Clara Bow, the 1920s "it" girl

I am pretty certain I am going to have a 1920s Speakeasy party in July. I have this green beaded dress that I have never worn which might be just right for it, though it is a bit scandalous by '20s standards (it's backless). I also dressed as a flapper for Halloween years ago, and I still have my homemade feathered headband to go with that (see my last post on how to make your own). To get me in the mood for the party, and to help out my guests with what to wear (and anyone else out there who may be attending a similar party), my posts throughout the next few weeks will be focused on 1920s fashion.

I thought it would be funny to buy thigh-high black nylons and keep a little flask in the top of the stockings. Ha ha! I'm also considering the addition of some black fringe for the hemline of my dress, and I should look around for a gaudy bracelet or two.

I'm pretty excited. Being speakeasy themed, it will be a cocktail party. A friend had an idea for some people dressed as police to do a "raid" on our speakeasy sometime during the party. Cute! I read about using an old-style bathtub as a punch bowl, that sounded funny, but a little difficult. I hope I'll be able to afford some good "hooch" for this gathering!

Here is a link for a 1920s slang dictionary that I got a good laugh out of.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Make Your Own Flapper Headband!

Want a 1920s look for a flapper costume or theme party? Following are simple instructions on how to create a glistening, stylish headband that will catch everyone's eye.

Items you will need:

-Measuring tape.
-Length of stretch sequin band, of your choice of color and width.
-Large feathers, such as peacock or ostrich. You can aim to match them or contrast them with the sequin band you chose.
-Needle and thread, and pins to hold the sequin band in place while you sew.

(All of the above should be available at your local sewing supply store or arts and crafts shop.)


1. With the measuring tape, measure the circumference of your head, across your forehead and just above the ears.

2. Cut a length of the stretch sequin band to the size of your head.

3. Pin the sequin band, end-to-end; try to hide the ends by folding them in a bit when you pin them.

4. Sew the ends of the sequin band where you pinned them.

5. Remove all pins, and try on the band to make sure it fits your head.

6. Decide where you want to place the feathers on your band; on the side, or the front. Sew them on carefully, taking care not to bend or break them.

7. Enjoy your new creation! You can add glue-on or sew-on jewels, if desired, to accent your new headpiece.

Hope this is comprehensive and helpful! Photos of my own headband to come!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Low Batteries, Low Posting


It has been a while.

There are so many things I want to post about concerning vintage fashion; but I want great pictures to go along with my posts, and the batteries are currently dead in my camera. But I do have some post ideas planned out:

-The return of '40s-style matte lipstick. I know it has been out for a while, but I just tried it!

-Wide-legged slacks; so relaxed, so versatile! That one may have to wait until fall.

-I may do a post on how to make your own flapper headpiece, as I have a '20s-themed party planned soon.

So keep your peepers peeled for some great posts in the future!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Other Eras, Other Scents

I never thought I would be too interested in what women of the past have found fashionable as far as perfumes go. Recently I bought some essential oils to make an imitation of a perfume I wanted to try, and after I like that so much, I became curious about trying other types of perfumes. One from the 1930s intrigued me, and I had a lot of oils to imitate it, but not all of them. I thought I would add them as I bought them, but the result I got the first time was so wonderful that I have kept the formula just as it was. The perfume I had been planning to imitate was called "Fleurs de Rocaille," and since this one so reminded me of my grandmother, I decided to name it "Fleurs de Belle," as Belle was her middle name.

(I make all my own boxes & labels, too!)

After my grandmother died, I inherited an empty Shalimar bottle of hers. I loathed the smell at the time. Interesting how one's perceptions of scents can change! When I smelled it again a few weeks ago, I thought it was quite nice. I made another perfume inspired by that, as well. It has been very interesting to research what fragrances were once popular; they were more floral-based than what seems fashionable today, and more "oriental," with their sandalwood or amber base notes.

So now when I go out dressed in a vintage style, I can smell like a classy vintage lady, too!

If you are interested in my fragrances, my "business" is called "ELIZA Fragrances." Visit on facebook or email me at

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Broken Ring

This is the ring of my grandmother's. I am not sure if it was her wedding ring or engagement ring, as I have seen wedding rings from the 1940s that look just like this, but another ring was with it that looks more like a wedding band (see bottom photo).

Slightly blurred photo, but you can see the art deco design.

The ring is cracked, and see that lip on the top? That's a piece of metal that was bent away... D: My grandmother told me that it caught on the handle of an oven.It's also a little warped, don't know if this photo shows that well enough. What you can't see here is that there is some type of corrosion on the inside of the ring that I'll have to clean off. I'll need some kind of gentle cleanser for that--it's a very delicate piece of jewelry.

Here is the other ring that was with the broken one. This one is intact; it looks more like a wedding band to me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vintage Jewelry Repairs

I looked at my grandmother's wedding ring yesterday. My grandparents were married in 1940, so this ring is really art deco! My grandmother gave me her jewelry box about a year before she died, and the ring was in there. She said that she quit wearing it because it caught on an oven door and it broke. I wasn't always interested in that style of jewelry, so only recently I have decided to try to fix the ring. But, it is quite badly damaged, and I don't want to do more harm. I also don't trust any local jewelers to do this.

Photos to come!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coty's Airspun--Light and Soft Since 1935

If you would like to get that soft, ivory finish to your face that is so often seen on the glamorous stars of the silver screen, Coty's AIRSPUN Powder is one fabulous way to do it. (And it's particularly excellent if you're like me and you dislike the heavy feeling of liquid foundations.) Not to mention that it's pretty accurate for that style, in that it has been in production since 1935. And it has a nice smell, tenderly reminiscent of my grandmother.

This box I bought for $6.34, not bad considering that I have had it for two years, and there is still plenty of powder in it.

It goes on light and soft, you don't have to smear your face too much like you do with a lot of "cake" makeups. It comes in a few shades; I chose "translucent," which is rather pale but it is "translucent," so the color isn't too pronounced.

The box, when empty, is definitely worth keeping. My grandmother used to keep hers, and would use them to put bobby pins, bits of jewelry, and other miscellaneous in.I find it quite admirable that the box hasn't changed much after all these years!

Friday, April 9, 2010

1930s Night

1930s Night was a success! (Note: I have not posted any photos of my guests because I currently do not have their permission.)

I served Kix cereal as an appetizer...

Then I had a big bowl of it when everyone had left! It was still as good as I remember it.

I made vanilla sponge cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. That seemed '30s-ish to me.
Front view of my dress. I bought a simple velvet gown with plunging v-neck at a second hand store for only $5. Velvets were big in the 1930s! And for this party....
I cut the back out of the dress! Since I'm not very good with sewing, I thought this was quite an achievement, but not many guests seemed impressed. Haha... Also, I wore a vintage faux diamond necklace of my grandmother's (probably from the '50s, but it looked the part), and iridescent dangle globe earrings.Shoes I wore. These were also second-hand.After eating delicious potato soup that my father had made from scratch, we played Clue. I also had Monopoly, which was a genuine '30s game, but there were also murder mystery type games then, which are now out of production. Everyone preferred to play Clue.