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Archive for November, 2008

Have A Little ‘Seed’ Money Left After Friday?

By , 29 November, 2008, No Comment

Spend it on cute seed bead purses!

A sweet retro 60’s purse made of white plastic & clear beads over embroidered pink flowers, available at Dandelion Vintage — and there’s 25% off until the night of Sunday, November the 30th, so you might want to take a BIG look around!

White Seed Bead Purse With Pink Roses

White Seed Bead Purse With Pink Roses

This vintage glass seed bead purse with a cosmetics theme is so cute I could kiss it — with those red lip prints, it looks like somebody already did! You can buy it (for me?!) at Vintage In Style.

Make-Up Theme Vintage Seed Bead Purse

Make-Up Theme Vintage Seed Bead Purse

Also at Vintage In Style, this matching vintage glass seed bead wallet and coin purse set by DeLill with strawberries — and look, they’ve never been used!

Vintage Strawberry Wallet And Coin Purse

Vintage Strawberry Wallet And Coin Purse

Little Black Basics For Your Little Black Dress On Black Friday

By , 28 November, 2008, No Comment

If you, like me, would rather stay home & eat leftovers than head to the mall, here are a few basics to get yourself this holiday — a girl can always use these basic black pieces.

For beneath that little black dress — little black slips.

A pretty vintage black nylon slip, from Etsy seller Schmoo1515, which is special enough to wear as the little black dress.

Pretty Vintage Black Slip

Pretty Vintage Black Slip

This vintage full slip from Etsy seller houseofvintage has such pretty ruffles that you may never want to take it off. It could double as a nightie, but I’m betting the lucky guy or gal who sees you in this will want you to take it off… eventually. *wink*

Sexy Vintage Black Slip With Ruffles

Sexy Vintage Black Slip With Ruffles

If you only need a half-slip (and I’m guessing that means you already have a black cami!), then how about this vintage lacy half-slip made by Saramae for Lord & Taylor? It’s available from Etsy seller Sassycatts.

Lacy Hem Of Vintage Black Saramae Half-Slip

Lacy Hem Of Vintage Black Saramae Half-Slip

For your legs…

Super cute and sure to put new life into your little black dress, vintage stockings with a rose pattern. Three pairs available from Etsy seller whyteboots.

1960s RHT Stockings With Rose Pattern

1960s RHT Stockings With Rose Pattern

For your feet…

Platform Oxfords are a staple in vintage dressing; the Nine West Women’s Kimball Platform Oxford is sure to become a classic in your wardrobe as well as give you a lift. (Additional colors available too.)

Platform Oxford Shoes By Nine West

Platform Oxford Shoes By Nine West

To top it all off…

No, not (quite) a top hat, but a stunning black silk velvet Edwardian hat. Derby styling with a rose velvet bow and beaded accents available at (in?) Dorothea’s Closet.

Black Silk Velvet Edwardian Hat

Black Silk Velvet Edwardian Hat

No One Messes With A Femme Fatale’s Purse

By , 27 November, 2008, 1 Comment

In this photo from the 50’s, Marie Windsor carries a clear Lucite purse — which means you can see everything inside it!

Marie Windsor With See-Thru Lucite Box Purse

Marie Windsor With See-Thru Lucite Box Purse

I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do that; would you? But I guess when you’re The Marie Windsor, no one is going to even think of doing anything nasty.

Photo of Windsor (with Jack Hupp) from Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir, by Eddie Muller; a fabulous book

The Not-So Basic Big Black Bracelet

By , 25 November, 2008, 1 Comment

Big, beautiful, bold, bangles make a grand statement all on their own, as seen here being worn by Ruth Chatterton.

Ruth Chatterton In Lilly Turner

Ruth Chatterton In Lilly Turner

Because they are such bold pieces, these big bracelets and bangles are usually worn alone, sometimes balanced with a pair of bracelets on the other arm, as shown here again by Chatterton.

Ruth Chatterton In The Magnificent Lie

Ruth Chatterton In The Magnificent Lie

Such bold bracelets and bangles were made of plastic, Bakelite being quite popular for costume jewelry, often carved and/or with other materials such as metal and rhinestones set in.

Vintage Carved Bakelite Bracelet With Metal Insert

Vintage Carved Bakelite Bracelet With Metal Insert

They came in a wide variety of colors, such as this light colored one (with darker colored ‘stones’ or design of some sort) worn by Ann Harding in Double Harness.

Ann Harding Wearing Big Bangle Bracelet

Ann Harding Wearing Big Bangle Bracelet

There are also amazing bracelets dripping with beads, like the one worn here by Norma Shearer.

Norma Shearer With Fabulous Bracelet Dripping With Beads

Norma Shearer With Fabulous Bracelet Dripping With Beads

While I much prefer vintage costume jewelery, it can be very difficult to find — and at affordable prices. This seems especially true when you are trying to match a particular outfit. Even black can prove difficult to find when you are desperate to find it. So sometimes looking for modern pieces is a better option.

Banana Republic has bracelets (now on sale too!) which are reminiscent of the old Bakelite bracelets. This black beaded bracelet is called a Corsage bracelet and this wide black bangle with turquoise ‘stones’ is called a Brooch bangle.

Black and Turquoise Brooch Bangle

Black and Turquoise Brooch Bangle

Black Beaded Plastic Corsage Bracelet

Black Beaded Plastic Corsage Bracelet

The Banana Republic bracelets range, on sale, from $25 to $30, which is less expensive than many vintage bangles made of Bakelite. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a steal on real vintage bangles — sometimes for just $10 or so on eBay. You’ll have to spend some time looking, of course, and you may only find the simpler solid color bangles for such low prices — but isn’t that hunt half the fun anyway?

Keep looking and you may just find yourself getting lucky finding lots of affordable bangles and bracelets. Just be careful not to layer too many or you’ll look like Marilyn in There’s No Business Like Show Business — or just another 80’s chick (but hey, that’s coming back again too!)

Marilyn Monroe Wearing Lots Of Bracelets

Marilyn Monroe Wearing Lots Of Bracelets

Of Gloria Swanson & Gloves

By , 24 November, 2008, No Comment

A photo of Gloria Swanson taken after Sunset Boulevard as part of the film’s promotional buzz.

Gloria Swanson In Gloves

Gloria Swanson In Gloves

This 1950 article by photographer Philippe Halsman explains how Swanson arrived at his studio so nervous and exhausted that she even cried. In his scramble to help her (and get himself some salable photographs), he impulsively gave her the long black leather gloves as a prop. While these gloves weren’t magic all on their own, they did assist with the transformation. Halsman writes:

She wiggled her hands into them, pulled them high on her arms to where her strapless gown left off, and held out her hands for a self-inspection. Then, finally, the miracle happened. I don’t know how. Perhaps it amused her to see her long, white bare arms turn suddenly black.

She leaned over a high box resting her elbows on its surface and began to flirt with the camera, to play with her hands — half-hiding her face behind her spread, black fingers, like a pretty kitten suddenly bemused with the discovery of its own front paws. That quick, she looked twenty years younger. You could not tell she had been crying. Her arms moved in swift pattern, making wonderful black designs against her pale skin and the pale backdrop, and in perhaps ten minutes I had the photographs I had sought.

Such a breathless description! As wonderful as those glamorous photos!

Now I’m not saying that fashion alone can always provide such a transformation; but glamour sure has its own magical allure which can distract us, capture our own interest, as well as amaze and delight others.

These stunning black leather Italian opera length gloves — which go almost-to-the-shoulder! — have a silk lining and black leather covered buttons at wrist shown and are available at Leather Gloves Online.

Italian Black Leather Opera Gloves

Italian Black Leather Opera Gloves

Ride Bacall’s Shirttails

By , 24 November, 2008, No Comment

More of Lauren Bacall in To Have And Have Not; this time in vertical stripes.

Lauren Bacall In Striped Shirtdress

Lauren Bacall In Striped Shirtdress

Lauren Bacall In Stripes

Lauren Bacall In Stripes

While Lauren is wearing a shirtwaist dress, you can see how lovely a simple blouse with vertical stripes can be.

Simple Vertical Striped Blouse

Simple Vertical Striped Blouse

Pair it with pants or a pencil skirt, tucked in and belted properly is a must. You might also like to insert a pair of shoulder pads to help with the silhouette. Keep it simply elegant, crisp and classic by keeping the accessories to a minimum.

If you adore the shirtwaist look (and who doesn’t?) but not the stripes (it could happen!), here’s a vintage dress from the 1940’s in that style.

1940s Shirtwaist

1940s Shirtwaist

High-Five Fridays

By , 21 November, 2008, No Comment

Hairdo Meets Hat

By , 20 November, 2008, 1 Comment

Wondering just how to wear your New Look hats — without having ‘hat hair’ or having your hair compete with your hat? Here are four pages from HairDo, published by Dell (May, 1961) describing just how to style your hair to frame your face and work with your lovely vintage hats. (Click each for a larger scan.)

Hairdo Meets Hat

Hairdo Meets Hat

Hairdo Meets Hat Page Two

Hairdo Meets Hat Page Two

Hairdo Meets Hat Page Three

Hairdo Meets Hat Page Three

Last Page Of When Hairdo Meets Hat

Last Page Of When Hairdo Meets Hat

To Have (And Not Have?) Bacall’s Look

By , 19 November, 2008, No Comment
Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart In To Have And Have Not

Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart In To Have And Have Not

One of my favorite films is To Have And Have Not (1944), starring Bogie and Bacall. The film was (loosely) based on Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel of the same name, and William Faulkner himself helped write the screen play (with Jules Furthman) in order to keep Hemingway’s sharp dialog.

This was Lauren Bacall’s film debut, at the age of 19. She stunned everyone with her sizzling sexuality and her ability to deliver the stinging dialog. It’s also the film where she and a married Humphrey Bogart met & fell in love. After his divorce from wife number three, the two were married in 1945. She was his forth and last wife.

The film’s plot & construction are much like Casablanca. It’s set in an exotic locale during WWII, with Bogie as an unmarried ex-patriate American (named Captain Morgan — insert giggle over the booze here) who is politically apathetic amidst resistance fighters and the Vichy/Gestapo police captain — until his romantic love (Bacall, of course) interest walks into his regular cafe/bar — complete with resident a piano player (Hoagy Carmichael).

Some say To Have And Have Not is too much like Casablanca — but I adore it for the charming characters (watch it and you can’t forget the ‘being bit by dead bees’ running gag), the clever witty and biting dialog — and for the feisty, sexy Bacall.

This film is most known for two stand-out Bacall moments. The first being the scene where Bacall, with downcast face, using her eyes to sizzling look at him, lights Bogie’s cigarette — earning her the name The Look. The second is the famous, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together – and blow.”

My favorite scene, however, takes place just before that scene. In it, Bogie as Captain Steve Morgan and Bacall as Marie, nicknamed Slim by Morgan, are in Morgan’s room. Slim puts herself in his lap and kisses him…

Steve: What’d you do that for?
Slim: Been wondering whether I’d like it.
Steve: What’s the decision?
Slim: I don’t know yet.
After a brief pause, she kisses him again. Then she stands & says, “It’s even better when you help.”

She proceeds to exit his room, delivering the classic whistle & blow line.

Hot!

See for yourself!

No wonder she ends up with Bogie in this film (and real life!), while Ingrid Bergman, in Casablanca, does not.

I much prefer the biting, feisty, sizzling chemistry of this couple to the weepy ‘romantic’ couple in Casablanca. In fact, this is why I love To Have And Have Not; and don’t care much for Casablanca. (No, it’s not the ‘happy ending’; it’s the sizzle, I tell you!)

You might not be able to pull off all of Bacall’s moves, but you can emulate her look in fabulous checked suits from the 40s’.

A Scene From To Have And Have Not

A Scene From To Have And Have Not

While from the 1950’s, this black & white checked suit would be worthy of Bacall.

Vintage Black And White Checked Suit

Vintage Black And White Checked Suit

This vintage Jaeger worsted check suit is from the 50’s too, but it still has the look.

Vintage Jaeger Checked Suit

Vintage Jaeger Checked Suit

Finding a suit with a peplum, a collar and in checks won’t be easy… Maybe you can sew one, or hire a seamstress to make you one? If you love the silhouette, it’s worth buying a pattern.

Hollywood Pattern Number 172, Two Piece Suit

Hollywood Pattern Number 172, Two Piece Suit

Stockings 101

By , 18 November, 2008, 1 Comment

Of hosiery The Bombshell Manual Of Style says:

It’s no stockings and a naked leg or a garter belt and stockings. These may be silk or nylon, seamed or not. Climate has nothing to do with the Bombshell’s decision to wear stockings or go without them.

Dream stockings are not made of silk, but of nylon. (True vintage glamour girls know this and it’s a glaring sign of ignorance or down-right posing — but not pin-up posing — when they do not.) Ever since nylon stockings were created, they’ve shown-up silk for many reasons, the best of which is their fit: nylon does not ‘pool’ and bag as easily as silk hosiery.

Lily Damita's Stocking Covered Legs

Lily Damita

The best nylon stockings are fully-fashioned. This is not an arbitrary name like ‘best’ or ‘improved’ to flatter a product; fully-fashioned stockings are knit on 3D machines — shaped to fit a lady’s leg. Unfortunately, fully-fashioned stockings are not made in plus sizes for this reason.

Denier is a term to denote size or number of filaments in hosiery, like thread count for sheets. The higher the denier, the more sturdy & opaque the hose; the smaller denier, the more sheer the hose.

RHT is an abbreviation for reinforced heel and toe. Not only practical, there are sexy styles involved — such as the sexy pointed French heel which sure draws the eye to that sexy back-seam.

The welt of the stocking is the top where the garters are attached. Typically this is where the stocking brand, style, color lot, etc. information is printed. Many stockings, especially vintage stockings, also have welts with exquisite detailing.

Vintage Jacques Fath Ad With Pretty Stocking Welt

Vintage Jacques Fath Ad With Pretty Stocking Welt

Once again, sizing may be an issue when shopping for vintage stockings and it’s advised that you begin by measuring your legs. There’s an excellent guide for both measuring your legs and deciphering stocking sizes at eBay — it’s written by Steve of Stocking Showcase, who is as much a fan as an expert. Follow his advice, and you can’t go wrong.

If you’re not sure how to properly & safely put on stockings, you can — and should — read A Slip of a Girl’s Ultimate Guide To Putting On Hose.