Tuesday 31 January 2012

A late 1940's suit

When I was 19 my grandmother Greta gave me a suit she wore in the late 1940’s. I remember her telling me that it was made up for her by a seamstress and that it was in “the new style”- the jacket has no shoulder pads and the skirt was a long, pencil skirt, not an A-line. It was made in heavy hound tooth’s wool in red and navy blue. In my early twenties the suit fitted me perfectly and I wore it a lot. Sadly I cut off the skirt to make it a lot shorter, but to my defense my grandmother heartily endorsed that. All her life she re-made her clothes to prolong their lives and she thought it only natural that I would do the same. Well, I sure wouldn’t have done that today, but it’s a bit too late to regret it now. On a side note; I have a whole box of my grandmother’s 1960’s dresses that has one or two seams opened awaiting a change that my grandmother never got too. Basically they just need to be sewn together again to be serviceable. One of them is in red gold lamé…

Saturday 28 January 2012

Underneath it all- a few words about panties

After girdles and bras I think it’s time to talk a bit about underpants. Or panties, knickers, briefs, drawers- there’s a Swedish idiom that say that a beloved child has many names, and that’s seems to be true for the most intimate of all undergarments. It’s also a rather new one. Knickers have been worn under gowns earlier, but not until the 19th century it became more common. At the beginning of the 20th century, underpants were voluminous things that reached at least to the knees.

Friday 27 January 2012

A review on Revlon lipstick

I know, know, I really didn’t need more lipsticks. And I also try to not but things just because, but the idea of trying a lipstick shade that have actually been around since forever, appealed to me so much that I just had to try. Unfortunately the shade I most wanted to try from Revlon, Raven Red, who was launched in 1945, was discontinued some ten years ago. It is still around here and there, but I haven’t found any who ships to Sweden. Oh well. I did buy three other shades, though.

Really good actually, for the price you pay, even excellent. All my lipsticks Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipcolor and they go on very creamily and don’t feel drying at all. I thought all the lipsticks covered well on the first application, but I think it looks better if you do two layers. Staying powered, however, differed a bit between colours. To me it doesn’t smell anything at all, which I think some appreciate, even if I don’t mind a discreetly scented lipstick. They are not completely matte, but not at all shiny- just shiny enough, if you ask me.

Revlon is a budget brand and my three lipsticks; with shipping from the UK I paid less then £14. Compared that to buying a Became lipstick from What Katie Did cost £22 + shipping and a Rockalilly lipstick is £14 + shipping. Don’t get me wrong, I think both Became and Rockalilly are worth the money, but I think that on a slim budget, Revlon is a very good option, but they are worth a try even if you can afford bigger brands.

Certainly Red, 1951
Really nice true red shade, not too dark. I think it’s a great daytime red, but that is, of course, a matter of opinion. It also has good staying power, and lasts easily six-eight hours with one meal thrown in. A second meal and it will fade noticeably. Of all lipsticks I have tried, it’s the one I have found that is closest to MAC’s Ruby Woo, though not as matte and much, much nicer to use.

More reviews and swatches: Platinum Blonde Life, with a swatch compare to Ruby Woo.
Power Femme

Fire and Ice, 1952
Fire and Ice was very successfully launched with the help of model Dorian Leigh. She had been used by Revlon before and was by the time 36 years old. Do you check out if you are made for Fire and Ice;

I haven’t really used this one yet, because it’s a really bright red and the bleak winter light makes it look a bit too stark on my lips. I suspect this colour will look a lot better in summertime, so I will return to it then.

More reviews and swatches: Vampy Varnish
Vintage or Tacky
Pink Sith

Love That Pink, 1955
I do love this pink. It’s the pink I have wanted for years. I don’t always want to have red lips, but pink so often feels to bright and bubbly for me. Love That Pink is a rather reddish pink with a hint of coral. Not in your face, but not too discreet either. I find it very wearable and flattering and have used it a lot lately. The staying power is not great, though, so you need to re-apply it, but it fades evenly so it doesn’t look too horrid. Funnily enough this colour is often called a dupe for MAC’s Impassioned, but given that Love That Pink have been around for a bit longer, I rather think that it’s the other way around.
More reviews and swatches: Shopping Intervention
Clever Endeavor

I think these lipsticks good ones, especially as the price is so low. They may not be as good as more expensive brands, but they are definitely good enough to use. If you want to try a colour you haven’t used before, then I think it would be a good idea to buy a Revlon lipstick to try it out, instead of buying something more expensive. I also think it’s really, really neat that you can but shades that really were in use 50-60 years ago and I’m sure I will try more of them eventually. Who knows, I might even get my hands on Raven Red.

(Picture sources: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/search?q=revlon

Thursday 26 January 2012

Phillip Marlowe

I came across Raymond Chandler’s crime novels shortly after I started to read Agatha Christie, simply because the books stood next to each other in my parent’s bookshelf. At thirteen I found the plots a bit more challenging than Christie, but I enjoyed the language and since then I have re-read them on a pretty regular basis. For a long time I thought that the books were written in the 30’s, but it’s actually only the first book, The Big sleep was published then, in 1939, the rest of them were published during the 40’s and 50’s. After some thinking I realized that I probably believe that because at the same time I first read the books there was a TV-series and that one was set in the 30’s. I remember liking that one, though it annoyed me for playing so fast and loose with the books. But when I researched this post I found that the series actually are adoptions of Chandler’s short stories that he wrote before the books. And that his used them for the books later on, two or three short stories a book.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Getting ready to go

One of the things I like with having a vintage style is that it looks so neat and put together. So naturally, every time I leave home I’m perfectly attired with a well thought out outfit, immaculate hair, painted nails and the lipstick in place.


Of course not. I’d like to, but in reality I don’t always have the time. I guess that is true for most of us. We work, go to school, have kids and a thousand other demands. Finding time and space to focus on you may not be so easy. I work irregular hours and sometimes I have to get up at 4.30 in the mornings and I’m not a morning person. But despite feeling tired and very unimaginative at that time of day, I still like to look nice. Over time I have evolved a few strategies to make it easier to leave home in something else than the first thing that you pull out of the wardrobe. Or from a chair…

Monday 23 January 2012

Dressing vintage and feminism

I have been thinking a lot about feminism and dressing vintage and have had some trouble writing it down. It either turned out too harsh or too fuzzy, but lucky me; Gemma at Retrochick ha now written this excellent post about it! She basically sums up what I wanted to say, so I hope you will forgive my lack of originality and just gives you a few quotes. Do read the whole of her post, though!

”I find this construction of identity as both feminine and feminist really interesting. I have come across people on my travels that for some reason think returning to an age when Women weren’t expected to worry their pretty little heads about complicated things like Politics would be a wonderful thing, but on the whole the “vintage” ladies I’ve met have been some of the most independent, forthright and modern girls I’ve ever come across.”

I have met those people too in certain contexts as well. Mostly male and men that have looked at me and assumed that the way I look also means that I would rather let The Man take charge of my life. Usually those conversation starts with “I love it that you dress like a woman.”

”We pick and chose our role models, not looking to return to a previous time in history, but take those bits from it that we feel appeal to us, suit our bodies and our lifestyles. We might want to lose a few pounds or tone up, but on the whole “vintage” women blame the clothes, not their bodies.”

I find clothe sizes a bit of a joke, really. I think we all would do ourselves a favour if we stopped thinking of each other as having a certain size. Depending on garment and material I can buy clothes in four different sizes? What is my true size? And it’s a bit of a joke when you need a larger size and you realize that the designer has no clue whatsoever how to make clothes for a woman who doesn’t look like a model.

”A feminist doesn’t have to look a certain way. Surely that’s the whole point of feminism./…/ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be beautiful, it’s wanting to be beautiful on someone elses terms that’s the problem.”
Yes, yes, yes. And yes again.

More related posts
The Style High Club.
Lost In the 50’s.

(Picture sources: http://www.stylishandtrendy.com/fashion/womens-fashion/why-old-women-still-prefer-stockings/

Sunday 22 January 2012

My top 10 beauty products

Now, I know, this blog isn’t a beauty blog, but I got challenged to list my top 10 beauty products from a bunch of other Swedish vintage bloggers. A lot of things I use I have no particulars for at all- I buy the mascara that happen to have a good price or use the shampoo that I find in the shower. There are a few things that I use exclusivly, so some are just brands that I love, even if I use other brands too.

Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy

1. Mia at Visage. Not a product, but a person. I have been going to her for facials for nearly 15 years and that’s the beast beauty decision I have ever done. I have a very sensitive skin and I started because I had such bad breakouts that I wanted my doctor to send me to skin specialist. He recommended that I try facials first and I have never looked back since. I have better skin now than I had in my early twenties. If I could afford it I would go every month, but 2-4 times a year makes a difference. It’s nice to be pampered.

2. Pixie Epoxy from Fyrinnae. I always had problems with getting my eye shadows stay put until I tried Pixie Epoxy. Now I can’t do without. You can use it with a primer, but I use it alone. Basically it works like glue for eye shadows. You spread the tiniest amount possibly over your eyelid before applying the shadow and then it stays put all day without fading or creasing. Despite all this staying power it washes away very easily. It works best for sparkly and shimmery shadows- matte ones sometimes look a bit chalky and apart from kipping it in place, it also improves the colour. It gives saturation and depth to shadows in a way I have never seen before. PE was made for Fyrinnae’s loose eye shadows, which are great shadows- check out the Arcane Magic collection, those shadows change colour depending on light and how close you are. But PE works on eye shadows from other brands too.

3. Mene & Moy Phytic Acid Cream. Not for every skin, but I love it. I tend to get very red cheeks and dry skin, especially in the winter, but none of that since I started using this one.

4. Beasme lipstick. I didn’t try them until a few months ago, but I’m completely converted. I do use other lipsticks, but not as often. Fantastic shades, fantastic quality. Not cheap, but on the other hand they last and last. I have been working on my sample of Hot Red almost daily for a few months now and only now I’m starting to see a dent in the pot.

5. Mineral foundation from Lucy Minerals. I have tried a number of mineral brands and even if I have always liked them better than traditional foundations, I have never been as satisfied as I have been LM. It’s very easy to apply and looks very natural. There are several shades as well as pure white, so you can mix a shade that suits you if you can’t find one ready-made. It’s possibly to buy samples to try out. Due to their blend ability I have found that I can use three of the shades, depending on season. They are also free from parabens which many mineral foundations contain and which many react on- me for example.

6. Diamond Perfect Finish from Purely Cosmetics. Easily the best loose powder I have tried. Very finely milled- you can use it as a primer as well as finishing powder.

7. Perfume oils from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Before my eyes opened for vintage perfume, BPAL’s perfumes were the only ones I used for years. Modern perfumes tend to give me headache of smell very weird on me. I still use BPAL most days as I have workmates who are scent sensitive to normal perfumes, but have no problems with BPAL. It’s not a trial, they have a VAST catalogue, so huge that it’s a bit daunting to even try to find something you like. Then it’s ever so easy to slid into a collection mania- ask me, I know. I purged my stash a few month ago, now I “only” have some 60 samples, and some ten bottles. Apart from smelling good, I love how the scents are inspired from literature, art and history. There an Alice in Wonderland-collection, a Lovecraft, Shakespeare and much more.

8. Baby Foot Deep Skin Foot Exfoliation. Plastic socks with goo inside. You put it on your feet (I put an old sock on top to keep them put), wait two hours and rinse. After a few days your feet will shed the outmost layers of dead skin, leaving your feel a lot softer. Now, a professional pedicure is a lot better, and the Baby Foot is somewhat pricey, so you may want to spring for that instead, but if you, like me, never finds the time for an appointment, then I think Baby Foot is an excellent way to kick-start softer feet.

9. Babor’s Calming Sensitive Day Cream. I know, I know, you always hear that expensive face creams are just a waste of money and you can as well use something cheap. But every time I do my skin breaks out and Mia looks me sternly in the eye when I come for my facial and asks me WHAT I have been using in my face. So I have resigned. On the other hand, a little goes a very long way.

10. Also from Babor, Sensational Eye Cream. Yes, I do spend a lot of money on my face. What can I say, I’m vain.

Other top 10's
Kellerman Vintage
Fröken Pimpinell
Dahling It's Vintagy!
Vid mitt skrivbord
Miss Meadows

Saturday 21 January 2012

Going for coffee in style

Today we met up some friends to have coffee at Sturekatten.

A chance to air the white beret.

Friday 20 January 2012

Tips on retro make up

I don't usually go in for make up tutorials on video, but I was very recently tipped about Lisa Elridge and I think it's worth spreading. She's a professional make up artist and she has several excellent videos on basic make up and more festive one as well. She also has an interest in vintage make up and many of the videos touch that subject.

A history of make up, Victorian era to the 1930's.

Thursday 19 January 2012

I read blogs

I read Garofit’s A Cat Among the Pigeons. I love her style and feel a bit envious the way she can wear the, for me so difficult, 30’s fashion. I especially like her knitted ensemble’s that her talented mother knits for her, like this one or this. She doesn’t post often, but her posts are always stunning!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Sewing update

Most of my vintage patters have been purchased from New Vintage Lady. Even if I could change smaller patterns to fit me, I’m a bit too lazy for that and NVL specialize in larger vintage patters, even if she has smaller sizes too and I have always been very pleased with my shopping experience. Yesterday I got a few new patterns.

This suit is 2 inches too small over the chest, but I’m not too lazy to change a pattern for that. I really like the jacket and I’m thinking of making this one in brown silk noil for one of my spring suit. I just have to decide on the design of the blouses- there is to be one in brown and one in green for this suit. The jacket has a detachable collar and cuffs, so I’ll probably do those in green too.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Briefly about bras

I talked about bras in the corset and girdles posts, but it’s a garment that deserves a post on its own. Breast supports of some kind have probably been around since people started to wear clothes. There is a Roman mosaic that depicts exercising girls clad in something that looks quite a lot like a modern bikini.

Thursday 12 January 2012

White beret

I have now got my spring/summer wardrobe going with buying a white beret. It’s a modern one, found at Village Hats, but I think the felt flowers gives it a nice 40’s flair.

So you want to wear a girdle?

Then you may want to read this post. There is no doubt that a proper foundation do a lot for the way clothes hang and vintage clothes are made for women who wore that. If you look at these two pictures, it’s the same dress (albeit the second one has added sleeves) and the same me in a dress after a 1950’s pattern. In the first picture I wear modern shapewear, in the second a corset and a fuller petticoat, but the same bra and body weight. I think you will agree with me that the fit is a lot better in the second one.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Girdles and corsets and the right shape, oh my

Let’s stay in the same time frame as in the post about fashionable figures, the early 20th century to the 1950’s, but remove the clothes and see what was worn underneath. The origins of corsets or stays are very hazy, the first known examples dates to around 1600, but those are already fully developed garments, two layers of fabric stiffened with reeds or whalebone. A piece of clothing designed to change the female body so it conforms to the ideals of the time. And ideals change- just during the first decades of the 20th century it went from super curvy, to super straight.

Monday 9 January 2012

The swing dress in action

Here is a few pictures of Sense & Sensibility's swing dress that I reviewed here. To be truthful, I have been more pleased with other sewing projects. I strongly suspect the polyester in the wool blend is to blame for the skirt not draping nicely. I really need a brooch at the neckline as it gapes much too much left as it is. The dress isn't fancy, but it will work nicely for everyday and I'm sure I will wear it, even if I'm not 100% satisfied.

Saturday 7 January 2012

50 years of fashionable female figures

Even if this blog is about the 1940’s you may have notice that I sometimes go outside the decade. Nothing exists in a vacuum and sometimes I feel the need to reach outside to give a little perspective. Something it’s much too easy to look at something and isolate it from the before and after, but I think it’s important to see the larger picture. The forties isn’t my sole interest either, even if it’s a big one. This post began as a tie in after my posts on the ideal body shape, found here and here , but if grow to include 50 years of body ideal. I hope you will find it interesting and not distracting.

Consider these two pictures, taken about 50 years apart and still, the figures of the both women are not that different. Granted, both Camille Clifford and Jayne Mansfield had exaggerated figures, even for their times, but even so they represent the ideal of the time. The Edwardians beauty is all curves, a youthful, but mature woman with ample, but rather low bosom, a narrow waist and wide hips. Miss Mansfield’s breasts are placed higher, but she is also very curvy. If you didn’t know more about the fashion changes of the 20th century, it would be easy enough to think that this body ideal went on interrupted for 50 years. I think we all know that this is not the case.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

A review on Simplicity 15c Pattern #3474

It seem like Simplicity re-used pattern numbers because when I googled I found a 60's pattern with the same one. This review is for a dress with a pointed yoke from 1940.

The envelope says "Simple to Make" and I agree. It may look a bit complicated when you look at the pattern as it has a yoke and no shoulder seam, but if you have your basic sewing skill in pat, then I don't think this one is hard to make at all. It's unprinted, which I have never used before, which means that all indications on the patterns are made by tiny holes and not lines. When I got used to that I found it very easy to work with. The pattern has two sleeve options and though I really like the short sleeves, i opted to make the long ones as this is meant to be a winter dress. I choose thin black wool crepe for it, a fabric I haven't worked with before. It's beautiful but somewhat slippery, but I basted all seams before sewing. Somewhat more time-consuming, but so worth it.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

A photographic question

My darling announced that his New Year resolution is to dress sharp every day. Not that he doesn't do that already... Now I don't do resolutions, but really, I will have to think of what I throw on or I will hae to walk three steps behind. :) Since I started this blog I have become much better in planning my outfits, but I'm thinking of becoming better in making outfit posts. Hopefully you will enjoy them and I will get a "photo album" of my wardrobe.

There's a few reasons for the lack of those posts. Some easy to solve, like getting a tripod and learn how to take photos of myself so I don't have to depend on my darling taking photos. Not that he mind, but it would be nice to be able by myself as daylight and being home at the same time as my darling is sometimes a bit hard to achieve. But I also feel very self-concious when I'm photographed. Like most of us I have parts of me that I like less and I get very critical when watching photos of myself. And I'm not naturally photogenic at all and I would really love to learn to pose better. So what I'm asking you is if you know any good tutorials for making good outfit photos or just plain posing? I have googled, but it's a bit hard to know which ones are any good. If you have any favourite tutorials or website, I would love to hear about them.

Monday 2 January 2012

The "Popover dress"

I was given 100 dresses for Christmas and fell instantly in love with this dress, the "Popover dress" by the American designer Claire McCardell from 1942.

I love clothes that are both practical and beautiful and this one is a perfect example. I'm not sure if it is in cotton or linen- I have found it credited to both fabrics, but I'm apt to think that it was made in cotton, as the Metropolitan website says. It looks very stylish with its buttons and top-stitched details, but also very comfortable and truly something you can wear around the house without being afraid to open the door.

I don't think the pattern is too complicated either. I'm lazy so I rarely draft patterns by myself, but I do know how to do it and I think I will have a go and try to re-create this one.

I think you should pop over to the Metropolitan Museum website and fo a seach for Claire McCardell. I think she had a wonderful knack for everyday clothes that looked great too. She seems to have had a penchant for wraparpund dresses, even if I like the "Popover" the best.

(Picture sources: http://www.metmuseum.org/)

Sunday 1 January 2012

Giveaway winners

I hope you all had a great New Years Eve! We had planned to go to a good friend, but I have got the flu so we had no choice but to stay home. But my darling cooked me a dinner from Last Dinner On the Titanic by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley. Consommé Olga, Chicken Lionesse and chocolate ice cream (we bought that), so it was quite nice anyway. I also tried to watch the latest version of King Kong, but lost my taste when it came to the portrayal of the inhabitants of King Kong's island- more like orcs than human being. The racial treatments isn't great in the old movie either, but really, couldn't one think of a better way in 2005. It's a corny story, I know, with virgin sacrifice, but perhaps one could have described a population ruled by fear and not sadistic pleasure? And why has King Kong torn the former poor virgin's into shreds if he is a vegetarian? Well, I looked as far as Kong's fight with the dinosaur, only it wasn't one, but three Tyrannosaurs that he fought with just one hand (holding the damsel in distress in the other hand, instead of the more sensible choice of placing her in an old tree while fighting). Like in the original movie:

But I digress and I guess you want to know who won. Well, the first prize, 3 perfume samples of her choice + one sample of Shocking goes to:

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