“Summer” Reading

 Since my husband is at the academy in the evenings, I find myself with a lot of personal time after work.  But I fret not, for I can read!  I have really become quite the book hoarder lately, and I seem to order more books even when I haven’t finished the initial ones I ordered yet.  But I have another 5 months of weekdays of solitude, so I can certainly make some headway into my accumulation of books, no? 😉

 I have really found some gems that I am supremely excited about and/or have enjoyed very much.  Since you are here, I am assuming you are all as much of vintage lovers as I, and should therefore know of such pressing matters.  I’ve never really been a believer in “summer reads” or “winter novels” and what have you; I tend to just leap in to whatever strikes my fancy.  If I am on to something that I am interested in and/or am supremely enjoying, who is it to say that it is “out of season”? Not I!

 And so, I present to you: “summer” reading 🙂

Cary

Cary Grant: A Biography – Marc Eliot

This is a very comprehensive biography on Cary.  I have always loved Mr. Grant, and I find that they just don’t make men as debonair, witty, and handsome as he was anymore (minus my husband, of course of course 😉 ).  I have always been interested in his life and what happened within that time, and I had actually been ruminating over buying this biography each and every time I had gone into a bookstore for the past six months.  During a Saturday out doing errands for my husband’s needs for the academy, I just had to stop at the Barnes & Noble along the way for fear that my air supply would be terminated.  I saw this book, and figured, “I need to – I have to!”  I am very excited to make my way through it and become an ever-so-learned person on the life and times of Mr. Cary Grant.

 

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Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe (Volume I: 1926-1956) – Gary Vitacco-Robles

Anyone who knows me knows I simply adore Marilyn Monroe.  I have a tattoo of her.  I have inhaled every biography I have ever known that was decent (qualifier!) that has ever come out.  I have over 5,000 pictures of her.  I can tell you an exact filmography of all her movies, the years they came out, her character in them, the general story line, and what she thought of said movie and what was going on in her life at the time.  So when I happened to stumble upon a new Marilyn biography that had recently come out this year, I needed it.  It comes in at 788 pages, and it is only volume one.  That excites me more than most human beings should be excited over a book.  I have a feeling that this biography is going to be the biography of Marilyn, usurping even Donald Spoto’s benchmark biography of her.  When volume two comes out later this summer, I do not care how much or how little of the book I have gotten through, I will be throwing my money at Amazon!

 

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The Girls of Atomic City – Denise Kiernan

This is an enthralling and encompassing story of how one “town” (if you can call it that) was built purely for the purpose of ending the war.  How exactly, they did not know.  What they did know, however, was that what they were doing was making a very real difference.  They weren’t aware that they were aiding in making the atomic bomb that would end the war in Japan in August of 1945.  Most of this quickly-built town was occupied by women, many of whom were from any place but this small slice of Appalachia in Tennessee.  They were single and trying to better their lives or married and hoping whatever work they were doing was helping their man fighting for them overseas.  What I love about this book is how it is non-fiction, based on real events and actual history, but reads and plays out exactly like a fictional novel.  It is very interesting, highly entertaining, and certainly a crash course in history that we should all have!

 

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The Garden of Allah Series – Martin Turnbull

I absolutely adore these books.  I can’t even tell you.  I don’t even remember how I found these books on Amazon, but I am ever so grateful I did.  I am only just finishing the first book, but I already bought and received the other two in the series, already knowing I will probably love them just as much as the first (especially from what I see from the reviews, they only get better!).  This novel is historical fiction (which I have found to be my most beloved genre, right beside biography) and deals with the lives of three up-and-comers trying to make it in Hollywood starting in 1927.

The real Garden of Allah hotel

                                                          The real Garden of Allah hotel

Kathryn Massey, Gwendolyn Brick, and Marcus Adler have all made it to Los Angeles for various reasons, but the Garden of Allah brought them together as friends.  A famous and actual hotel owned by the actress Alla Nazimova, it was renowned for fabulous and crazy parties, and had famous stars visit and stay such as Tallulah Bankhead, Ramon Novarro, Ginger Rogers, Tyrone Power, Greta Garbo, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maureen O’Hara, Errol Flynn – I could go on and on!  The interactions the characters have with the stars makes them seem human and real, rather than “above” anyone and untouchable.  I love the situations the characters get in, the stars they meet, the troubles they encounter, and what they do to get past them.  It’s a great read so far, and certainly a series I would recommend to any vintage lover out there…hell, I would recommend it to anyone!

 

What books do you recommend for “summer” reading? 

New (Old) Wardrobe!

Sorry I have been MIA for a while – school has been absolutely insane lately, and tests galore. I also had duty last weekend, as well as being caught up with the recent events in Boston as some friends of mine are in the Boston and Cambridge PD. But all is well now, and I feel happy that things turned out the way that they did, both in general and for my friends, that I felt motivated to post something new for all of you!

Over the past few weeks, I have been on an epic spending spree. I just felt like I needed some things to fill in “holes” in my wardrobe (we all have them), and I ended up picking up some other things on the side as collateral damage. I feel like I have a whole new spring and summer wardrobe! I got a few new dresses, but I really upped my game in the separates department. I have a closet of nearly 40 dresses, but not too many separates. I will always prefer a dress to anything else, but one cannot deny the need for a good top or blouse and that perfect pair of pants.

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These are my pants from the UK – two pairs of Freddie’s and one pair of 1940s swing trousers from Vivien of Holloway. Amazing companies with great products! Their prices may seem a little steep at first, but trust me when I say that you are really buying top notch, quality items. These are pieces that will last you for a good many years, and will be vital in your wardrobe. You will wonder what you ever did without them!

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This next bunch are my US bottom separates collection. The Doris Atomic Print skirt is from Pin Up Girl clothing, and I instantly fell in love with the colour as well as the atomic pattern on this. I have a few full circle skirts, but mostly just the basics such as black, grey checkers, and this like. This is certainly a skirt that will make a statement! The high waist pants with the anchor zip are from Sourpuss clothing. I honestly can’t say enough about this company (and no, they are not sponsoring or subsidizing me in any way) – they are very efficient with their shipping, and always have great, high quality items in a wide array of styles and sizes. I go on their site frequently and always find new things I add to my wishlist and plan to purchase soon. Definitely for the rockabilly girl! They are nearby to me, so I applied to model for them – we shall see! The leopard print cigarette pants are from Pin Up Girl, and the anchor button shorts are from Sourpuss as well. The next pair are multi coloured polka dot capris from Bettie Page Clothing. These feel like a regular pair of jean capris with a bit of stretch, but have a cute late 50s/early 60s print on them that is so spunky and fun for the spring and summer. The black pencil skirt is also from Bettie Page, as I needed it since it is a must-have for any vintage or rockabilly girl!

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Next up – dresses! I will always be a dress girl at heart. I tried to refrain from buying too many dresses, as I already have quite a collection, but I just can’t help myself 😉 The first are from Amy from Wildfell Hall on Etsy. I had modelled the brown dress previously, and instantly feel in love; the other I had just seen and loved the piping detail as well as the colours and pattern this dress offered. So cute and something that you can wear all year round. I also bought this vintage 1950s black “bombshell” flower dress from another seller on Etsy, and it comes with a fabulous matching cover! The next few are from Pin Up Girl Clothing: the red sailor circle dress and the banana tiki twist dress. I must say that PUG has high quality items to offer, and you can just feel it in the item as soon as you take the item out of the bag. I have other opinions on their shipping and customer service…but I will keep my mouth shut on that for now LOL. As you could probably tell by now, I really have a thing for the nautical/sailor look, and I keep finding myself drawn to them and compelled to purchase these style items. Like I said, I try to keep my wardrobe from veering sharply in one direction, but sometimes one can’t help but make a few exceptions for greatness 😉 The others are from Bettie Page Clothing; the boomerang halter top dress, the caramel black polka dot pencil dress, hunter green jumper, and the multi coloured dotted pencil dress. The dresses from Bettie Page are of an amazing quality and fit your womanly curves in just the perfect way. I was determined to get myself some more pieces from Bettie Page, and these do not disappoint!

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Next category – tops! The peach tank, red Doris top, and “Team Pinup” blue tee are all from PUG. The leopard print halter and cherry print v-neck top are from Sourpuss. I realized I needed more cherry print in my wardrobe and that shirt from Pinky Pinups brand was just the ticket! The tops that are printed are all from Lucky 13 – I love their shirts, so badass and awesome! The others that are not printed (minus the black with the birds on it) are all from ModCloth. I had an issue with an order, and they immediately sent out my actual order and gave me 10% off my next order with free two day shipping. Customer service at its best! The tattoo halter top is from a seller on eBay, and it is made by Heartbreaker. I love halter tops, since they make your boobs look amazing and make your waist appear smaller. The flash of your back isn’t pornographic, but there is just something so sexy about it 🙂

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Next are the mentionable unmentionables! I am a hardcore Rago fan, and as such, I had to get more items from them for a wide variety of circumstances. The first I bought from PUG, but is a Rago full body firm shaper, and will go well under any dress or tighter items. It will just streamline your body shape and emphasize those womanly curves! I also bought a beige extra firm waist cincher, as well as a mocha lace firm waist cincher. It’s always good to have options, n’est-ce pas? The bullet bra I actually bought on Amazon believe it or not, and it was only $12. Janey from the Atomic Redhead had recommended it for a traditional ’40s silhouette (slight bullet, but not super pointy like the ’50s). The black and nude lace lingerie set you see is from Dollhouse Bettie. SUPER sexy and only $48!

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Shoes are next up on the list. I didn’t have a wide range of shoes, but I certainly changed that! The first group are from Iron Fist – I love almost every design from them I see! The white flats are from eBay, and the carved tiki heels are from Pinup Couture. I loved them, and they go perfectly with a few of the dresses I have! The tie up wedges are from Bettie Page (NOT the clothing company), and those amazing saddle shoes are from a seller on eBay. I just had to grab myself a pair! They are super comfortable and you can just see that these are a quality pair – not costume-y at all 🙂 The wingtip flats are also from a seller on eBay. So I think I’ve upped my shoe collection, yes? 😉

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Last but not least are the assorted odds and ends. The root beer Bakelite bracelet is from eBay, while the cherry dice necklace is from Aloha Lounge Designs on Etsy. The “Loose Lips” necklace is from PUG. And I simply adore this pocket watch necklace from ModCloth – it works and just has a great vintage look to it that will go swimmingly with a wide variety of outfits. The cigarette holder is from Etsy as well, from a woman in my old hometown of Las Vegas! It is true vintage, with some added crystals for additional style and glamour. I feel so classy when I smoke now! I know it’s bad for you, but hey – I might as well look like a classy broad if I’m going to do it, right? 😛 I also managed to nab myself one of the last few Bésame Masterliner Lip Pencils, as they seem to have discontinued it for god knows what reason. These liners were fab an I was heartbroken to see it wasn’t available any longer! So I turned to the trusty eBay and found a pencil with pink and rose. I had the cerise and red colours, but I just can’t find it anywhere at all. The pink/rose colours are similar and should work fine with my red lipsticks. I also nabbed myself my first issue of Pinup America! It is the issue with Bernie & Levi Dexter from Jan/Fed 2013. It is awesome so far, and this girl may need to subscribe soon! And check out that black vintage Olga nightgown – super sexy and with a 170″ sweep – so glamourous! I just happened upon it after the auction ended, when the seller gave me a second chance offer since the original buyer never paid. These normally go for about $50 – the bigger the sweep, the more it brings. But my second chance offer was only $25! Quite a deal if I say so myself 🙂 I also nabbed myself a pocketwatch necklace (that yes, actually works) from ModCloth that has a true Art Deco flair! And that lovely mint sparkle handbag is one of two Lux de Ville purses I managed to get my hands on. My friend Yvette, the owner of Lux, is super awesome and simply just makes the most divine bags, does she not?!

I am still waiting on some more things, like a baby blue vintage Lurex top from the 1950s and an awesome 1960s political donkey belt (since I am a raging Democrat and involved in politics, I HAD to have it!), as well as some Bakelite earrings, Bomber Betty Brow Wow, black espadrilles, head scarves, and another order from Sourpuss…but I think I shall leave that for another day, oui? 🙂

So, what do all of you think of my new purchases? Are there any that appeal in particular to you all? Any new purchases you have made that you would like to share? I hope you all enjoyed my show and tell!

Review: Style Me Vintage: Step-by-Step Retro Look Book

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A little over a week ago, I received an email from the lovely Amelia of IPG about whether I would like to review the upcoming book, Style Me Vintage: Step-by-Tep Retro Look Book. Of course, how could I say no to that?!

Some of you may be familiar with this series, as they have a few books out already. This is a meshing of all of them, which is great for anyone looking for a wonderful all-around foundation to begin your retro, vintage, pinup, or rockabilly style. This guide can help take you from know-nothing novice to a savvy shopper. Mind you, this is not the be all or end all, nor are other books – there are just some things you have to learn and experience yourself based on your body shape and a number of other factours.

Now, when I do reviews, I like to give full disclosure on what I received. My disclosure is this: I have the Style Me Vintage: Hair book that I bought about a year ago, and upon inspection, it seems to be very alike, like this picture tells:

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The top book is just for the hair and the bottom is this book I am reviewing. I just felt the need to let everyone know about this, so there are no surprises when you receive your book.

The makeup section if this book is fabulous. As a makeup artist, a lot of tricks and tips are put into this section that will help many women to achieve their best looks.

You can go from a Marilyn Monroe look here:

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To an eighties Madonna or an extreme Siouxie Sioux look as seen here:

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They provide a variety of looks, starting from a 1920s Clara Bow all the way to the 1980s Madonna look and everything in between. Also, in the back of this book there are more beauty tips about how to get the perfect manicure, including the famous ’40s half moon look, as well as getting your brows perfect and nailing false eyelashes and the cat eye look. All of it is explained very well, and helps you to achieve the best look you can.

My absolute favourite part of the book is all about the clothing. If you were to buy this book, just the clothing section alone is well worth the price! It goes through each decade from the twenties through to the eighties, and lists the must have day and night looks and staples of the period. A history of each period is given to explain and rationalize why the fashion was the way it was during that time. Included in each section are amazing tips to help boost your period look, and some definitions of things you may see in the book or have heard of before, such as what a bias cut is.

This section has incredibly useful extras including a whole portion on shape wear and underwear as well as swimsuits of different periods. The most helpful are the sections dedicated to how to make easy repairs to damaged items, from tears, washing, stains, drying, and storage. This is so important for any vintage lover to know, so you can keep your fabulous frocks in the best shape and to help them get even better if need be.

There is also a great section about how to get into vintage clothes. I know this may sound ridiculous to some, but there are different ways to put on different items without tearing them or thinking they don’t fit when in actuality they will but just need to be put on correctly. This will help so many gals get into those amazing and to die for dresses without being disappointed that they can’t get in it when all it needs is a little battle planning! It also includes a “vintage shopping necessity kit” that you should always bring when shopping, such as a tape measure and a wide belt. It also guides you on how to properly inspect items for any flaws and how to get chummy with the sales people to get the first dibs on good items. Another area is a quickie list on how to date vintage, which is helpful to know that what you are pining for is indeed a fifties frock and not an eighties knockoff.

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I found this book to be quite an amazing addition to my collection, and is something I will surely go back to reference from time to time. The layout of the book is gorgeous, as is the cover with its vintage inspired fabric cover. I read this in its entirety, and it just has a wealth of fabulous facts and information on every page that I think will serve all of my readers on numerous levels, from the beginner to the more advanced. It is gorgeous to look at, put together well, and will serve as your go-to reference book quite often!

Style Me Vintage: Step-by-Step Retro Look Book is available for $29.95 (US) or $32.95 (CAN) November 2012 at bookstores everywhere or through Trafalgar Square Publishing. This book is also available on Amazon as well.

Do yourself a favour and go for it – it will be worth it, I assure you 🙂

Review: “Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential” by Michelle Morgan

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I recently found out about the existence of this book from reading a recent issue of Vintage Life, and I immediately looked it up on Amazon. It is titled slightly different in the U.K. as “Private and Undisclosed”, while the title is different for the States. I saw all positive reviews, and I bought it thinking that maybe it might possibly come close to my favourite biography of Marilyn entitled “The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe” by J. Randy Taraborelli.

Coming in at 346 pages, it took me less than a week to finish it. This book offers details into Marilyn’s life from all sorts of people, even random acquaintances, that have never been public before for the most part. This is one of the things I enjoyed the most about this book in that you got to see the personal side of Marilyn from others who knew her and met her, and not just the same old facts and stories that are always rehashed in other books. Morgan also does her best to leave her personal spin and opinions out of it, which I appreciate because I would rather use my own brain for that, thank you very much!

The detail that Morgan goes into is really quite a feat and rather impressive. She even manages to dig up an old invoice for what was stated as an “x-ray of the nasal passages” from her gynecologist, and talks to the doctor’s daughter who indeed confirms that the x-ray had nothing to do with her nasal passages, and more likely was a procedure she had done just like many others for her endometriosis and to aid in her long standing desire to have children.

There are also several never before seen photographs included, which is very tare for me to say in that I have seen just about all of them. A few of the photos I did see before, but about half I didn’t, and it was a real treat to get to see them. When you view them over the course of reading the book, you look at her and think about all that she was going through at that particular time. Marilyn had one hell of a life, with tons of ups and tons of downs, and sadly one last down in which she would never recover from. But she always lives on in her films and in her legacy, and will remain the number one film legend of all time. This book does a superb job of helping you get to know who the real Marilyn was – or, more appropriately, who Norma Jean was.

Buy “Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential” on Amazon

Pin Curling Perfection! – A Review of the Sculpture Pin Curler

I never really pin curled my hair before, because it is rather labour intensive and with my bad post operative shoulder it made it very difficult to do it. So basically all I had were foam rollers for wet sets and hot rollers. That was until I had the pleasure of using the Sculpture Pin Curler.

Yuan, who runs the site which sells the Sculpture Pin Curler at Vintage Hair, was so sweet and very helpful. She sent me the Pin Curler and I received it from Australia in a matter of 7 days, which is no small feat, considering! Everything was packaged very well, and it all was very crisp and in good shape.

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The packaging is gorgeous, and it makes it feel like it is straight out of the forties! Even the inserts have a vintage feel, as well as the two gorgeous posters that are included to give you some hair inspiration! This is packaging you will want to keep with the curlers because it is so lovely 🙂

Now, onto the curler! Initially, you may think the contraption is very basic, which it is, but that is what makes it amazing. You don’t have to have an engineering degree to use it. I found it very easy to use despite my bad shoulder and not being able to keep my arm up for more than 5 or 10 minutes. All you do is insert one end of the curler into a section of hair (I have to do small sections, about a half an inch, due to my large amount of thick hair), comb it through to the end as much as you can without it falling out, and roll it up towards your scalp. Now I recommend going only to ear level, as that will give you a more authentic set, and no crazy clown hair 🙂 Then all you need is to bobby pin it in place in an “x” shape or to use pin curl clips, which I used myself.

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I used Lottabody setting lotion, and used an down-up-down curling direction in order to get that perfect retro wave. I let it set overnight (as I tend to like to have my hair get more than enough time to dry and set, with it being thick and all), and awoke the next morning all excited to see what the results were.

What were they? Glorious! My first time really authentically pin curling on myself came out to be magic. I got those perfect ringlets you need in order to brush out to a perfect glam retro look.

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It took me a little while to brush out, as most pin curl sets do, and it is a bit of a practice in patience. But you will get it if you keep at it and keep brushing, don’t despair! Unfortunately, I don’t have an after picture of it all brushed out because I was in a rush to go run an errand that needed to be done ASAP, so I was going to take the picture later. Sadly, my set did not last as I accidentally got caught in the pouring rain walking to where I needed to go, and it made my set fall mostly flat! I was a little disheartened by that, but that had nothing to do with the performance of the pin curler. That would happen no matter what kind of way you set your hair, almost like taking a shower!

I would highly recommend this product to all of my readers out there, and despite the $35 price tag, it is completely worth it. You will get so many uses out of this little wonder, and it is sturdy and not something that will only last for a few times. It is also available for $15 for just one curler (the other set you get two), and you can let Yuan know you wanted the inserts and she will be glad to email you a PDF. The Sculpture Pin Curler is based on an authentic vintage styling tool, so you will get the most authentic sets that you can possibly get! This tool does everything from setting to styling, and it will soon become the go-to tool in your beauty arsenal for fabulous vintage hair. I plan to use it as much as I can!

My Oh My Miss Marilyn

Hi dolls! I have been noticing a lot of people have been visiting from search engines and have searched for the term “marilyn monroe style/makep” in some way or another. That gave me an idea to write a post about how to achieve her look, both from makeup to clothing to hair.

Let’s start, shall we?

Makeup

Marilyn’s makeup placed an emphasis mainly on her lips and eyebrows, and a subtlety in her eyes and cheeks. Clear skin is imperative, so be sure to use a concealer, foundation, and finishing powder. I use a stippling brush to get that airbrush effect, and it works well!

For the eyes, I always start out with an eyeshadow base. A look this glamourous cannot be ruined by creased eyeshadow! Tap the primer on your entire eyelid, and wait for it to dry. Then apply your base color, which should be a light/nude/bone color, to your entire lid, from eyelash line to brow bone. Next, take a champagne color shadow and use that on your brow bone (which is slightly above your crease). Be sure to blend, blend, blend! You want smooth, natural and gorgeous eyes, and no harsh lines are allowed. After this, take a deeper matte brown color and uses that in your crease. You know what’s next – blend, blend, blend! Next, use some black liquid eyeliner and trace a thing line from the inner corner of your eye to the outer edge. While that dries, use a brow pencil a shade lighter than your natural color and trace a shape that is more pointed at the arch, and gradually tapers in thickness towards the end. Refer to the above picture for a visual. Then take an eyeshadow closer to your natural color and fill in your eyebrows to set and officially shape them. Afterwards, use the liquid liner again, and using the angle of the outer corner of your eye to the tip of your eyebrow, trace a slight cat’s eye, almost like a flick. While that is drying, use some peachy rose blush on the apples of your cheekbones and spreading to the rest of your cheekbones. Add slight color to your nose, as well. Take an eyelash curler and curl your lashes to the count of 10, then add a coat of lengthening mascara. If you have or can get false eyelashes, but them in half, and glue the outer portion of them on the outer ends of your lashes. Coat in lengthening mascara again, and curl to 10 once more. Use a brown eyebrow pencil for your beauty mark (if you wish), and you can choose where you would like it to be – Marilyn moved it several places. Afterwards, set with a finishing powder, and you are all set!

Hair

Unfortunately, I am unable to do any type of hair styling right now due to post-operative restraints on my shoulder, so for now, I will post a video tutorial from one of the girls I learned the most about retro hair and makeup from, Lisa Freemont Street:

It may take a while to get used to doing this look in the way she achieves it, but trust me, this is the authentic way to get Marilyn’s look. The placement, direction, and angle of the curls you are making are all very important to this look, as is with any vintage style. Think you just throw some curlers on haphazardly and go? Think again, sorry! 😛

When I am recovered enough to do so, I will do hair tutorials myself. I will either take pictures of every step along the way, or I will do a video if I have the chance. If any of you out there have a preference, please be sure to let me know, as I like to please my people! 🙂

Style

Marilyn’s style can be best described as classic but sexy at the same time. Look at pictures of her, and take notes of the lines and details of what she wore. Back then, things were more matched together and purposeful than they are today. Keep that in mind as you try to pick out items to wear that are “Marilyn-esque”. But always be sure it is body hugging! PLEASE know the difference between body hugging and tight – tight is something that just plain doesn’t fit; body hugging is something that fits you to a tee, and shows off all of your best assets.

This is too tight:

Notice how her breasts are pressed down upon by the dress, as well as it bunching up at her waist and hips – classic signs of a dress that is a wee bit too tight or perhaps ill-tailored. It makes her look much heavier than she actually is and does no justice to any of her assets.

Let’s a a lesson from Marilyn’s book, both in a formal and casual setting:

Formal

Casual

As you can see, all of the clothing she wears looks like as if it had specifically made just for her. How can you achieve this? The first – and best – way is to get your clothing tailored. It is not as expensive as most may think, and most dry cleaners offer this service in their shops as well as other areas. It is well worth the few extra dollars out of your pocket in order to look like a million, don’t you think? Also, a key is to also be sure to know your true size. I cannot emphasize this enough. I know how most women are – if they can squeeze their hips and butt into a size 8 and barely be able to breathe as opposed to being comfortable and well-fitted in a size 10, you all will do it. Just because you can squeeze into a size 8 doesn’t mean you should! That actually will make you look bigger and more ill proportioned than thin and taut. That girl in the yellow dress was trying to do just this, and it didn’t work out so well for her, did it?

Also, notice the classic lines and styles that Marilyn wears. You will never really see her wearing any of the latest fads or trends at the time. Most of her favorite colors were timeless – khaki, white, black, and red. Nice pedal pushers/cigarette pants with a boat neck 3/4 sleeve shirt or turtleneck is a great way to go casual. Also, a bullet bra will gave you an amazing ’50s look like she had wearing more casual shirts and things. Like I had mentioned a few posts ago, Secrets in Lace has great bullet bras for this, and I just wore the one I have from them yesterday! Some nice flats finish off the look well. You can also wear some mary jane pumps if you would like to sex things up a bit for the daytime.

For more glamourous or formal occasions, Marilyn was known for that being her time to shine (of course, she was known for her great beauty anytime, but particularly at formal events – she would pull out all of the stops!). Dresses the emphasized her hourglass shape were always the go-to – think belted dresses, wrap dresses, or anything along that line. Also note that if she were to expose most of her legs as the center of attention, she would cover up her bust for the most part. If her bust was more front and center, she most often had a longer length gown. Please keep that in mind in order to keep that Marilyn “classic sexiness” from going overboard and becoming too much. And of course, what would a Marilyn evening look be without a great pair of heels?

All in all, it is not that difficult to try to achieve Marilyn Monroe’s look as many think it is. The hair may take some time for those who are not accustomed to doing vintage styles and pin curls already, but with practice comes experience and knowledge. Not only will you gain her look, but surely you will gain her charisma and energy as well. Good luck!

The Importance of Eyebrows

Hi dolls!

My entry this week has to do with something that many ladies overlook nowadays, but can really make  huge difference in the look your are trying to achieve – eyebrows! Many women underestimate how a good and well-shaped brow can really bring your whole vintage look together and really authenticate it. Each decade has its own unique brow shape that defined the time and made its mark on the era. Some were more decadent, some more natural – but all very beautiful!

I decided to break down the eyebrow looks by decade, and give you a visual to show you a good example of the look of the time.

The 1920s

Clara Bow

As you can see from Clara Bow, the eyebrows of the ’20s were rather exaggerated and unnatural. Eyebrows tend to show your expressions the most on your face, and this look shows a more worried or pensive look. You don’t really need to pay attention to the exact shape of the brow, as you just need to make a ever so slightly curved line, pretty much straight from one side to the other. Do note, however, that the end of the brow extends past the natural end to the brow. The thickness pretty much stays the same for the entire length of the brow as well. All you really need to create this look is an eyebrow pencil drawn from end to end.

The 1930s 

Jean Harlow

Eyebrows of the ’30s really made a 180 and changed rather radically from the look a decade prior. No longer were the straight, low eyebrows of the ’20s the look to have – very high and very arched brows were the look to covet now. Jean Harlow is the icon to think of when it comes to this authentic 1930s look. This look almost a perfect half-circle, and I have often used Layrite pomade tubs as a guide in order to get the right look. I don’t do many ’30s looks often, but when I do, it’s helpful to have that as a guide 🙂 All you need is an eyebrow pencil and to just glide it smoothly across, up, and over to create this look. Be sure that the width of the brow is the same all the way across.

The 1940s

Rita Hayworth

Eyebrows of the 1940s were much more natural than in the ’30s. They were still curved, but more to the natural curve you were born with. You can also notice that the brows gradually decrease in thickness as it goes along from the middle of the face towards the end at the edge of the eye. They keyword in this look is “gradual” as well as “natural”. During World War Two it was seen as frivolous and unnecessary to have anything other than that. This is the eyebrow I do the most frequently. I just do a slight line with an eyebrow pencil to get the general shape down, and then I fill it with brow powder on a slanted brush in order to fill and set the shape. Make sure also that you use some type of brow gel in order to keep the hair in place, as manicured eyebrows are a very important part of this look. I actually use Layrite’s Super Hold Deluxe Pomade to keep my brows in check. Even though it is specifically used for “extreme” hairstyles such as mohawks and such (the regular deluxe pomade is best for us retro styling ladies :-), I have found it works very well to tame brow hairs when I had initially gotten this type, which is not the best for retro styling.

The 1950s

Marilyn Monroe

When I think ’50s glamour, I think of Marilyn Monroe (As you will know as this blog progresses – I love Miss Marilyn!). And the brows this gal had? Very ’50s. The look and fullness was still very much similar to the ’40s, but if you look closely between Rita and Marilyn, you can notice one major difference – the arch. In the ’40s, the arch was more slight and rounded; in the ’50s, the arch was more pointed and severe. I think this had something to do with the fact of the prosperity after the war years. America was booming, and Hollywood entered a new phase of the glamour it had always known back then. The economy was very good then, and more women tried new things and looks changed a bit as a result. No longer was there a need to really dial down looks because of the Depression or the War – now was the time to go for it and have fun! Take that attitude to heart when having these eyebrows. Whenever I sport this look, I divide my brows into two areas, separated right at the arch. I pencil in the first area towards the inner eye, then the outer area to taper out. This creates a better arch as a base for when you fill in your brows with powder and set it with your gel. The cat eye liner goes great with this look!

Whatever look you choose, be sure to remember how good eyebrows frame the face and highlight your features. Most nowadays underestimate the importance the eyebrows have on your total look, but as these ladies demonstrate, they can really make or break your look – especially in terms of a vintage/retro vibe. I would not hesitate labeling eyebrows as being of the same importance as red lips! Eyebrows are the undercover workers of beauty – you will not notice the wonders they do until you see it for yourself. Then after you will never want to go without, because you will certainly notice the huge difference they make!

*PLEASE NOTE*: I am going to be having shoulder surgery this Friday, so I may not be able to really make posts like this for about two or three weeks. I may post one more entry before my surgery, we shall see. Of course, I will absolutely try to post an entry if I am feeling up to it enough to type, but it is kind of tricky with shoulder surgery like I am having. I may post random things here and there, but rest assured, the time I am recovering will be spent invested in researching and coming up with new articles to post about. I just wanted to let all of you know what was going on so you don’t think I am abandoning the blog. I also wanted to wish everyone a great holiday and a happy new year!