Friday, January 24, 2020

My Favorite Places to Shop (Online)

I love to shop and my closet shows it too. I am often asked where I do my shopping and for today I am spilling the beans on where I get my goodies from my hats, shoes, suits, dresses, makeup, and more. If you have wanted to know where something came from, here is your chance to find out. . .

For the most part, I do my vintage shopping from one of two sources - online or else or from antique/ thrift/ event vendors or second hand shops from my local area. I try to shop local as much as I possibly can because I love finding vintage that has a connection to where I am from or where I was. I think there is something special about those pieces. For example, my Aunt once organized a girls trip to Chicago for my mom, sister and me and we went to this vintage/ antique market. . .From there I took home a couple suits that were made and sold in a Chicago department store in their day. . .I thought those were the perfect items to take home to remember my Chicago trip. Chicago suits from Chicago. In addition to shopping local, I shop online and here is really my round up of my favorite online vintage shopping sources. I figured an online shopping roundup list would be of more use to you all!

When it comes to footwear, I trust my feet to two places: A Vintage Sole and Royal Vintage. I have done business with both places enough to know their customer service is excellent and the items they carry are second to none. A Vintage Sole sells un worn true vintage footwear while Royal Vintage sells well done reproductions.
A Vintage Sole
Royal Vintage

From getting to know people who want to dress in vintage but not true vintage clothes, wearing modern vintage look is the best option then. I have been a long time admirer of Vivian of Holloway for a long time and this year decided to treat myself to a few of their items. Long story short, I was not disappointed in their line of goods from dresses to sweaters to so much more. They advertise that their products are like vintage and I have to say they did a darn good job (more detailed review will
be up in 2020!).
Vivian of Holloway

For true vintage clothes that are German in origin or just unique or of good quality I go to Wars End. I love the selection of stuff they have and I never know what they will list next, talk about unique goodies. Customer service? Its pretty good and I have yet to be disappointed so I plan to be a customer of theirs for a long time to come.
Wars End Shop

Jewelry? You bet I love by baubles and for vintage reproduction beaded necklaces and bangles these UK companies are my go to. I ordered some necklaces and a couple of bangles from Splendete last spring and the jewelry turns heads in a good way. . .Because these are reproductions based off of originals I don't have to worry too much losing or damaging true vintage. Luxulite is another favorite of mine and I love her stuff! So much fun and very vintage inspired novelty. I ordered from her over the winter for Christmas to myself. Here pieces are sure to make you happy!
Splendette Jewelry

Vintage inspired cosmetics from lips stick to rouge to powders? Besame Cosmetics is my favorite place to go for that added extra touch. So far I have been more than impressed with their line of products and they not only feel good but smell good too.
Besame Cosmetics

To go with vintage make up how about vintage perfume? Vermont Country Store still carries a large selection of period perfumes for your 20s to 60s impressions. Read the descriptions closely if you need a scent from the 1950s or the 1940s to be super authentic. Aside from perfumes and make up, Vermont also carries period candies and some home/ holiday décor items.
Vermont Country Store

Stockings, girdles and bullet bras oh my! To stock up my underwear drawer I trust these two places for my stuff. I have found the customer service and products to be really well done. Both base their lingerie off of period pieces and use really nice materials. Best thing next to wearing real vintage.
What Katie Did
Secrets in Lace

For my suits, hats, and dresses I like to poke around on Etsy once in awhile. When it comes to shopping online I think I have found the most variety on Etsy and it brings together a bunch of different vendors into one central location. Ebay? I don't shop around on Ebay much like I used to and I really prefer Etsy to Ebay but that's a personal preference.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Glamourous Evening in 40s Style

All the way back in the spring of 2019 I was in need of a formal gown of some sort and I thought about making one but the formality of the event lent itself to the opportunity of buying one as well. I tossed around the pros and cons and ultimately I chose to buy a true piece of evening wear from the 1940s. It was one heck of a search because I only needed one and I wanted it to be a special one. Why? Because I only needed one so it had to count. Naturally I did not want to break the bank but at the same time I wanted a nice one. I hunted on Etsy and narrowed down my search by a dozen or so then five and then three and then with the help of some friends my final three became one. The winner of this search was this stunning red rayon crepe with copper toned bead work along the bodice. I ordered the dress and when it arrived it was more stunning in person. I think I found my go to evening gown. The first time I wore this it was to my sweetheart's Battalion Ball where I did not get any pictures but I did on the second time I wore this gown for the formal event his work place hosts each year.

Paired with this gown I chose my Great Grandma's mink stole (and good thing too because it was chilly at times), long white gloves, sparkly rhinestone jewelry set, and satin pumps to match. I was really excited about the pumps because they arrived from Royal Vintage just in the nick of time. I bought the Cranberry Zella Shoes when they were on sale. I was really impressed how comfy those where and they were a close enough match to the dress itself. The first time I wore this gown I chose my brown leather strappy pumps because I did not have an evening shoe to go with the gown. Why could I not have evening shoes? I know, I know how could I not but now I do. You see finding the right shoes was really hard in my budget until Royal Vintage had their sale. Yay clearance! There are a few other shoes I have my eye on but I can wait for the sales especially as my house is under improvement.

As for the jewelry, that was a hunt all by itself and took as long to find as the dress. Eventually Vivian of Holloway sold this stunning necklace and earring set and I scarfed it up as soon as I saw it. I gifted it to myself for Christmas and I love it. The earrings needed a little re working thought to convert them from pierced earrings to screw backs. I clipped of the pierced ear post and glued the earring to a screw back blank I had in my sewing box. I had been sitting on those blanks for a long time and finally they showed useful.

So far I think I made a wise choice in buying this beauty and it styles nicely as a whole. I hope to get many years of service out this gown and hopefully I will get better pictures too. I only had my camera phone on me and its not quite as good as my normal camera.

I have seen on other blogs that they list what they are wearing and where each item came from and I quite like it. . .Enough to maybe try adding it here. What do you think of it below? Should I keep at it or drop it? Let me know.

Red Rayon Crepe Evening Gown - Etsy
Shoes - Royal Vintage
Mink Stole - Vintage, Family piece
Gloves, Beaded Bag, rhinestone hair comb  - Vintage, thrifted
Jewelry  - Vivian of Holloway
Lipstick - Wild Orchid by Besame Cosmetics

Monday, January 20, 2020

Wearing the Scents of the Past

Did you know you can not only wear vintage clothes but you can smell vintage too? I'm not talking about that moth ball smell or that smell of mold . . . but instead of those vintage perfumes that were around in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond that are still made and available today. My very first perfume was Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden. I learned about this scent from the book Vintage Beauty Parlor by Hannah Wing. When I learned that this scent was around in the 1930s and could still be purchased today I immediately started to seek it out. Lo and behold I found it at the Macy's Perfume counter in my local shopping mall. At the time it was awfully expensive but I wanted to not only wear the vintage looks but I was wanted the scent too. I bought the smallest bottle they had and all these years later I still have it. . .Thankfully a little bit goes a long way. Thankfully too my financial situation has changed too because I decided to add another scent to my perfume collection: Evening in Paris. 
Evening in Paris Ad from the 40s. source here 

Debuted in the 20s and raving supreme for decades, Evening in Paris was touted as one of the most worn and demanded fragrances among women according to the Vermont Country Store. From personal experience I can see, ahem, smell why. I bought the cobalt blue bottle from the Vermont Country Store figuring I would roll the dice. I had no idea what the actual scent of this famous fragrance was aside from the description as one of a floral scent with some other notes. Anyways, I bought it . . . .Totally a gamble if I would like it or not. . Well I can say that I love this fragrance and it was money so well spent. Best of all, based on the reviews this scent is very much like the original (based on the majority of the comments). So, now not only do I wear the clothes of the past but the scents too.

I read once that to get the true smell of an original perfume or scent, you need to buy one closest to its original manufacture date . . In other words, If I wanted the true Evening in Paris scent I would need to buy a true vintage bottle of the scent, one that was made in the 20s, 30s or other decade. . . . . .Well, as much as I love vintage I am not going to seek out true vintage perfume to wear it. . .I am not that much of a die hard and I doubt I could ever afford a vintage bottle of the scent. I had all I could to save up for the ones I have now. . .The Evening in Paris set me back quite a bit and that was a new made scent.

Anyways, so far I find these vintage scents to be a lot of fun to wear and also surprisingly pleasant too. There are a few other scents that I want to try from the 40s and 50s and I may have to give them a whirl. What are these other scents? Tangee's scent (I think from the 20s), White Shoulders Cologne (40s scent), Joy by Jene Patou (30s),  Arpege (1927), and Woodhue (1944). Of course I cannot try all of these in one year (Joy costs about $80 a bottle while Arpege is at about $60) but one by one I may be adding them to my fragrance collection. The Evening in Paris was a gamble that payed off really well and I can only hope that the other rolls of the dice do the same. All of these can be found at the Vermont Country Store. . .Other scents that I want to look for are Muguet des Bois from 1941 by Coty and Diorama by Dior which in Vintage Beauty Parlor are said to be classic 40s fragrances. For the 50s, Youth - Dew by Estee Lauder seems to be the scent of the decade according to Hannah Wing in her book Vintage Beauty Parlor.

For fun, I did look up Diorama . . .It is still very much available for about $100 for a 3.4 oz bottle at Fragrancenet. com . . You can check it out here. Since this scent is still around, and still selling well, I think that says a lot about its popularity among women . . Dior must have gotten something right! Muguet des Bois was another that I looked up and sadly it appears to be a discontinued scent . . .The original bottles of the scent can be found on Ebay for about $100 (on a high average) but otherwise Lily of the Valley is the closest original scent and a Lily of the Valley by Yardley's is quite reasonably priced at about $35 from the Vermont Country Store. Youth -Dew by Estee Lauder is still available at and is rather reasonable as well in price. 

Note, the links and mentions in this post are here for your own reference and I am not getting compensated in anyway for mentioning them. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Recreating a Bridal Corsage from 1946

I purchased a suit to wear to the Battalion Ball and when I bought the suit I got the archive with it which included a photo of the bride and groom as well as a newspaper clipping about the affair. What I thought was so cute about the newspaper clipping was that it was mostly about what the bride (and bridesmaid) was wearing and a brief description about her floral corsage. As you know, I am on a bit of a corsage kick so I really wanted to recreate this corsage using the photo and the newspaper clipping description. Thankfully the description and photo were quite detailed and I learned that the whole creation was made from yellow roses and white carnations. From the photo, there appeared to be three of each and then a ribbon on the side.

Finding the correct flowers was a little tricky but I think I get incredibly lucky I was able to find three large white carnations and three yellow baby roses all from the same place on Etsy. I think the roses look to be quite similar to the originals don't you think? In addition to the roses and carnations I bought some tulips as well for another corsage. Of course these are vintage millinery stems, yay!

The assembly of this corsage was super easy because I was working off of the photo so there was no real guess work on what this was going to look like. I started with the carnations wrapping them with wire to hold their shape. Next I added the roses and rearranged the rose leaves. Last I added a ribbon in my stash. Below, my progress of the corsage's making:

 Here is my end result. What do you think? Does it looks like the original? I think so and I am really happy with it. I really does look bridal but I think that is the white and yellow together that makes it look that way. Aside from it looking bridal it does look very spring like so I am really looking forward to wearing it.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

My Very Best Vintage Encounters

I have posted already about some of the "curses" of wearing vintage which got a lot of attention and many of you on Facebook had a lot to contribute to it. Thank you so much for all of your input and your stories! To kind of piggy back on that post and being inspired by your comments I am going to share with you some (barely a small sample) of my very best encounters with people while I was wearing my vintage. Normally when people are intrigued enough to come up to me and chit chat the comments are the same. They are asking if I am in a play or am part of a theater group. They ask if I am going to a wedding,  funeral or some other occasion that requires I dress up . . .Other times I get some really interesting comments and conversations! And I mean some real unique ones! I am going to share with you some of my favorites . . .

One day I was in the cat food section of my local grocery store and this lady came right up to me to tell me she had been following me through out the store trying to get a good picture. . .When she could not she decided to come right up to me. I let her get her picture and then she sold me why she wanted one so bad. She said it was for her young daughter to show her that women can dress classically and conservatively while still being beautiful and true to themselves. She saw me as a great example for her young daughter to follow. I was touched that she thought so much of my look. The mother went on to tell me that she was so worried that her daughter would be influenced too heavily by the women in magazines, television, and other media wearing rather poor choices in attire (by poor choices I mean very little) and that she was having a hard time showing her girl real examples of women being themselves. The fact that this lady saw me as an example of that independent woman she wanted to show to her girl was really sweet and it showed me I was doing a good thing dressing myself the way I was. I was a role model and an inspiration.

On an other occasion while out shopping for groceries, this time in the frozen food department I got a really sweet compliment from a fellow. . .At first he came up to me to tell me he loved his outfit and that I remined him of his mother now long gone. . . He said "Your clothes remind me of my mother, we buried her in an outfit just like that". I was not sure what to respond back so I replied "Thank you". . .Right away he replied back "  and I mean that in a good way  too! She was a real beauty in her day and was almost Miss. America! She had to drop out when she learned she was pregnant . . with me." The next few minutes he related to me countless stories of his mother and I could tell he must have had nothing but good memories of her. . .By the end he said "Thank you so much for dressing like that and for listening because I had not talked of my mother like this in so many years. . . I miss her so and you brought back so many memories." I had never been so flattered to be compared to a dead woman before and it felt really good to have brought back all those memories for that man. He is not the only person who has said I remind them of a mother, aunt, or sister or long lost friend and feel really honored when people share those memories with me. . .Its a privilege  to get that kind of insight into their memory.

A lot of times when I wear my vintage the old timers really, really love it and I am a huge hit at nursing homes. . .I don't go to them often except to visit relatives but it feels really good to evoke those memories of their more youthful days. I really like to think that I made their days a bit brighter  and I feel quite lucky that they tell me their memories that were brought back by my wearing my attire.

I often am an over-dresser which gets noticed quite a bit but its kind of a good thing because I have been told I make an event special or more special by doing so. Honestly that makes me feel really good if that is indeed true. I wear vintage for myself really but to know that it made someone else feel happy then that's just bonus frosting on the cake. Personally I think its really important to dress well for any occasion because it shows a sort of appreciation for all the hard work someone put into making that event come true.

So there you have a little but of some of my best vintage encounters. I hope you enjoyed them and I would love to hear your vintage stories or encounters.

So what are your best, funniest, or unique yet positive vintage encounters? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Cozy and Chic 50s Separates

Here is a 50s look that features a slim grey pencil skirt and soft wool sweater with a large mink fur collar. I found this look to be so comfortable to wear and so chic too I think. I was able to wear this look out and about when I added gloves and  green velvet bonnet and I could not have been happier with it. Since it was the holiday season I added a festive holly berry brooch from Luxulite. That proved to be my most favorite piece of jewelry this season and for good reason too. It was so gosh darn cute!

The skirt to this look was part of an early 50s suit and the sweater is a 50s piece as well that I picked up years ago. I think I need to wear it more because its so soft and snuggly to wear. . .And easy too! I have a whole drawer of sweaters that I need to feature up here more often I think. What do you think? Would you like to see more sweater looks? Under the sweater is a silk ivory blouse with loop trimmings.

This is an attempt at a more casual look, well 50s casual, at least. I think lots of my vintage is very formal and although there is nothing wrong with that I think more casual looks will not hurt once in awhile. I don't know about you but the weather here has been incredibly mild as of late! I had a green Christmas by me and a white New Years and I am waiting for a doozy of winter weather to hit. Until then it will be some light winter weather looks . . . Which are kind of nice although I am sort of kind of itching to break out my heavy winter coats! I only wear them a couple months of the year and I actually look forward to that. Oh well . . .

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Westmore Beauty Book

As of late I have been getting into make up for the first time ever. As a tot I was really not that into make up except to make a mess on the bathroom counter and I avoided eye make up and anything to be applied near the eye like the plague because of an eye infection (not caused by cosmetics) that I had a tot. At first I would wear a bit of lip stick in a bright red but then I discovered Besame Cosmetics and my interest in make up really took off. . . I guess you can get into something at any age! To really continue my study of make up with a vintage twist I sought out a copy of the Westmore Beauty Book. Never heard of it before? Well neither did I until I was searching for vintage beauty on Barns & Noble and it popped up. I had to buy a used copy and wow. What a good buy.

First, who wrote the Westmore Beauty Book and why is it so interesting and important? Well to start the Westmore Beauty Book was written by Mr. Westmore and his sons who, according to the book, established the Hollywood beauty standard as we know it today. The Westmore men made beauty a scientific study complete with calipers and a ruler. They made it possible for any woman to be beautiful in her own unique way both inside and out by following their simple beauty advice that centered on the shape of the face, eyes, lips, nose and so on. These men showed that beauty could be possible with a bit of common sense and knowing your own self and with that even the most ordinary housewife could look like a starlet fresh from the silver screen.

When I got this book I was kind of overwhelmed by it because it was taking beauty in a really scientific way! I mean they were getting into measuring the face with calipers, measuring the forehead with your fingers and more! Yikes! I read the book once and then I set it aside to let the content marinate into my mind. When I sat down with the book again a few months later I decided to take the book one chapter at a time and beautify myself the Westmore way.

The first step in this whole process was measuring the face to determine face shape. I thought this was going to be a daunting task because I had tried to determine my face shape before with iffy results. . .I went to You Tube for some how to videos and  . . .well . . I got results that were all over the board and I was not very satisfied. . .Anyways I figured "lets try the Westmore method and we what happens . . .bottoms up!". So I made the little calipers and the grid like in the book and got to measuring . . I measured my face 3 times and each time I got similar if not identical results. . . Next I translated my measurements into the grid and my results? I have a square face. . .My grandma had a square face and so does my dad and my sister. You could say it runs in the family.

So why is the face shape so gosh darn important? Well the ideal face shape was an oval and with the right hair style, make up application and more any face shape could be an oval face shape. . .The oval was the ideal and it could be achieved in more way than one. . .Below is my home made calipers from the book and the grid as well.

Armed with my face shape I did the forehead test and found I have a tall forehead (but only by a finger or so and no more). With this information I was able to go into the book and found out the hair styles that would work for my head shape and neck length. I found that hair styles that would work best for me would be those with large curls and hair that was up above the ear. As far as hair styles go, the book only covered short styles for all face shapes and did not cover any long hair styles. Although the book was originally published in 1956 and short hair was in vouge. . .You would think they would have covered some long dos! I don't intend to cut my hair anytime soon.

So did I apply what I learned in this book? Yes I did. I gave the make up suggestions a try and the hair too. To keep my hair up off my shoulders and try to keep it up off the jaw line I dressed mine up wards and used a few new products. Coty's face powder, crimson crème rouge (from Besame) and the brown cake mascara from Besame as well. Below, here I am made up the Westmore Way. My rouge is placed along the apple of the cheek and down towards the jaw line and towards the ear in an elongated pattern. Lip stick is applied full around the lips. As for eye shadow, that too is applied in the Westmore fashion. Darkest along the far corner of the eye and lighter towards the eyebrow and towards the corner of the eye. I had a bit of a boo boo with the mascara so that is why I am squinting with the one eye and it looks line of smudge there too. . .   I am not sure how well I did and I am sure I could use much more practice. What do you think?

Aside from hair dos, this book went into great depth and detail about make up and I learned the proper placement of rouge for my face shape.  . . That I found to be really helpful and useful info. Other info was about placement of eyeshadow, massages for the face, and other general care and common sense tips. . .Overall, this book really is a beauty bible for 50s beauty  and it approaches the topic from a really scientific approach backed up with years of experience from not one Westmore man but many . . a couple of generations worth actually.

So if this book relevant to today? I really think that this book should be relevant today. So often I have seen women, lovely women, kind of lacking in the beauty department because they are wearing make up, hair, and clothes that really do not suit them. . .What looks well on one does not mean it will wear well on anther . . .But alas that seems to have fallen by the wayside. We are all beautiful on our own way and this book really embraces that. . .One thing that I really liked in this book was a make up chart . . It showed what kinds of rouge, eye shadows, foundations, etc looked best on certain skin tones, hair colors and eye color . .The book explained that different colorings and facial structure dictated what was (or could be) worn to enhance what was already there. In simple terms what you have now is beautiful but here is how to make it more so and really embrace what makes you unique.

As far as beauty books go I think this is a better one compared to all the rest I have on my selves because this book covers many kinds of beauty and shows how to enhance it. . Compared to some of my other beauty books which offer an example of make up and suggest any can wear it this book, the Westmore Book,  says flat out that many make up looks are not universal and there are many factors that dictate what will work for you. Although that sounds like it is making make up complicated in the long run I think that honesty in make up is a great benefit. . . Make up ought to be based on your own face, tailored just to you. Why? Because you are beautiful in your own way and that was know all the back in 1956. . .Probably before you were even born . . .