Thursday, 16 February 2017

Easy 50s hair: part 1 - Bettie Page inspired

This is the first of two posts about getting 50s hair the quick and easy way... which goes against everything you know about those pain-staking curl sets, right? Right. With hair my length (sort of bust length), forget about it. Seriously, put the curling tong down before you burn yourself.

So what do you do? Most of the time, I don't have very 'vintage' hair and to be quite honest with you, I'm not sure I'd suit it. I certainly don't want to get a midi cut in and then find out it looks dreadful on me. Sometimes, though, it would be nice to have the flexibility. I don't want to cut my long hair off just yet, but I also want to try more era-appropriate hairstyles. So that's where my crafty and mega fast solution comes in...

Wig it up! Ever since I featured my 20s outfit on this blog back the New Years Eve before last, I've been pondering exploring wigs on this blog a little more. I feel like there's a stigma around people with perfectly lovely and healthy hair wearing them for the everyday, but it's a shame because they are perfect for times like this. The trick is finding the good ones, that actually look like you hoped they would. Because here's, generally speaking, what most cheap-mid range - and therefore artificial - wigs can't do:
  1. Be put up into an updo (trust me on that, I've tried)
  2. Be restyled from how they've been set (if they are on the cheaper end of the scale like mine are - some artificial wigs can take a certain low amount of heat styling, but they are usually pricier)
But find one that you like and that doesn't look obviously 'wiggy' and you're laughing - a quick and easy 'do that can totally transform your look and is almost as easy as putting a hat on. For days you can't be bothered to style your hair, they're amazing. I personally don't feel silly wearing mine out and about because I generally don't care what people look at me and think - which might surprise people as I'm quite shy and introverted, but I just don't. I also don't think it's that noticeable and feels like a much bigger deal to the wig wearer.

So, onto the wig I'm showing you today, which is this Bettie Page inspired style by Annabelle's Wigs that comes in blonde, dark brown - seen here, and black. From all the historic pictures I've seen, this kind of short fringe and looser, longer curl style that Bettie favoured was more the domain of the pin-ups and sweater girls of the day, but it's therefore quite a nice way to go a bit 50s but also keep it fun and fresh. You see a lot of modern day pin-ups favouring her trademark bangs and dark locks, so it's got that vixen vibe too.

What I'm going to try to do with this wig and the next one I have to show you soon, is also show you ways I've managed to further style it very simply to give it an extra 'vintage' edge. So no, you can't put this wig into a ponytail, but that doesn't mean you have to wear it exactly as it comes. Stay tuned for simple tips to adjust to the wig life too. 

Au Naturelle


Annabelle's Wigs Becca dark brown Bettie Page style wig review

Very much the vintage vixen, right? Pout is totally optional. For this photo, all I've done to the wig is shove it onto my head (with a wig cap to keep my long hair out of the way - although sometimes for comfort - they're kinda itchy - I will just pin my hair to my head instead) and with my Wet Brush (a gentle brush designed to detangle wet hair) I've brushed it through. It's imperative that you don't just put an artificial hair wig onto your head and walk out the door. They require a bit of love to fall back into the style they've been set and be tidy, especially when bought online. I find brushing it and shaping it with my hands is all it takes, though. The good news is you can't really ruin the original set by brushing it. And that's absolutely all I've done here. The fringe falls into that lovely rounded shape all by itself (with a little persuasion, at least).

With a beret

Annabelle's Wigs Becca dark brown Bettie Page style wig review

Oh come on, you knew the first thing I'd do is put a beret on it. But doesn't it work rather well? This is a super cheap eBay beret that is quite thin wool, and it stays in place rather well on the smooth wig. I could add kirby grips for further security if I want to, though. I've not tried a more structured hat than this with this wig, and perhaps that would cause problems with grip, but the humble beret works rather well.

With a headscarf

Annabelle's Wigs Becca dark brown Bettie Page style wig review

Ah, that staple of the modern pin-up - the chiffon headscarf. This is as easy as it looks, you just tie it on like you would your own hair. It also felt quite secure without clips because the weight of the wig held it into place. To make doubly sure my own hair didn't poke out at the sights I pulled a little of the wig hair in the scarf towards my face, with the rest staying secure behind the scarf. Tying the scarf partly over my ear also helped to keep the wig hair at the sides where I wanted it to be.

With a hair flower

Annabelle's Wigs Becca dark brown Bettie Page style wig review

It actually doesn't get any easier than this. I just clipped the flower onto the wig like I would my own hair. Again, there's a few of my own hair stragglers here but honestly if I take the time to put this on properly this doesn't happen. Job done.

At this point I need to apologise for the poor lighting in these photos - you can thank the dark days of winter for needing to resort to my halo light. This wig doesn't look as shiny as this in natural light and I'll prove that in my next post when I feature it as part of my next outfit :)

In addition to the above looks, I thought I'd give some other general tips on buying artificial wigs:
  • Don't go too cheap - Annabelle's Wigs is a really good budget option for artificial wigs, but in my experience, paying less than about £25-30 on a full wig like this one is going to show in the product. A human hair full wig, by the way, might set you back £300-600 for a good one, I hear.
  • Opt for similar colours to your hair - particularly if you've not worn wigs before, staying close to what you're used to will make it easier for you to adjust to the sight of yourself with a wig on. It took me a long time to accept I looked ok in the one in this post because it's almost black and my hair hasn't been that colour since my emo years...
  • Accept that curly artificial wigs won't look like the picture - I feel like every curly hair wig is going to be different, but neither one I have looks anything like it did in the model photo on me. I more chose them based on the general look and size of curl, not the exact way it was sitting on their face etc. If you go in with that mindset, you won't be disappointed...
I've also heard about people doing things like powdering a shiny cheaper wig to make it look less obviously fake, but actually I don't think my wigs have needed that (as I say above, shine in these photos due to poor lighting). Maybe if you got really close up you would tell, but I've gone round the supermarket in this one and no one's said a word... or even really looked at me any longer than they usually would (and who knows when you dress vintage, you're always getting stared at anyway!).

So what do you think, would you brave a wig for the every day? As I say, stay tuned to see it in action soon (sneak preview over on Instagram right now)!



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Monday, 13 February 2017

Wishlist: Collectif spring/summer 2017

Collectif spring summer 2017 preview

Ok, so I'm a little bit excited about Collectif's new range. Way back at London Edge last year, they had quite a few pieces on the stand and I couldn't say anything about them, but oh I wanted to. Warm weather clothes are always my favourites and there was so much to love. Their lovely marketing lady was clearly as excited to show us the new pieces as we were to gaze at their beauty and I came away wanting pretty much all of it!

A few pieces really caught my eye though, so here's a sneak peek while the spring/summer London Edge is happening... I couldn't get there this time, but that wasn't going to stop me from showing you the pretties if I could! First up, top photo - notice the buttons on the waist here? That's right, it's a two piece. Not only that, it's mix and match and I just love the idea of that because you all know how much I love my separates. But separates that can make a playsuit or a dress? Take my money!!

Collectif spring summer 2017 preview

And here we have the other piece I'm really excited about, a shirtwaister style dress with an adorable border print. I've wanted a proper shirt dress for a long time but I've never found one in the repro world that works for me. They don't really seem all that common, which surprises me as they were such a staple of mid-century style. Either way, Collectif is here to save the day this coming season. Not only have they made a shirtwaister that might actually stay buttoned up over my bust, they've stuck a Jasmine skirt on the bottom of it! This means I can actually wear a border print - something I usually avoid because you can't take them up. As far as I'm concerned, the Jasmine is a universally-flattering swing skirt that both the short and the tall seem to be able to wear. Don't believe me? Here is said style on me and Miss Amy May, who is about twice the height of me. And if you don't love this print, you may just find there's an alternative on offer... I'm hoping this shirtwaister style is here to stay in the Collectif range :)

Collectif spring summer 2017 preview

Here's a closer look at the Janet dress and oh hello, a different skirt for the mix and match set! There's shorts and pants too, it's amazing.

Collectif spring summer 2017 preview

If you're anything like me, you love a nice full-skirted coat. You're in luck, because the Collectif trench coat is back and this time it's had an upgrade. The marketing lady explained that it's now thicker, so much more able to take on the British spring. Judging by the sheen, it looks like it could be water-resistant too, in a way the older style isn't. Annoyingly, I just picked up a second-hand version of the older style, but as I can't afford to invest in a coat at the moment anyway I will just have to admire this picture. On the left here you'll see one of my favourite prints of the new season - and there's a lot of pieces in this fabric if you like it too. Who doesn't like a dreamy palm? It's my absolute favourite when repro brands go beyond the norm and have unique prints.

And finally, while I don't usually get too excited about the Bright & Beautiful range, it's taken rather a different direction this time around.

Collectif spring summer 2017 preview

This range is usually quite 60s-heavy and full of mini-skirts and peter pan collars, but not this time. It's got a much more 70s vibe now and the range is huge. These two dresses are two of my favourite pieces because I feel like they're somewhat era neutral - that dress on the left could even pass for an older style than 70s, I feel. Love the light blues too, one of my favourite colours.

So what do you think, anything here you love as much as I do? Collectif have just uploaded some of their lookbooks onto their website too, so do go have a browse if I've piqued your interest.



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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Outfit: from winter with love

Winter and I may not be friends, but I am very much friends with a bit of faux fur. It's probably one of the few good things about the colder seasons that you get to wear it - for me at least anyway. It was also about time my furry hat (well, headband technically) appeared in another outfit post!

When you're styling a monochrome dress, there's always the temptation to bring in colour. If you're me, that basically means adding red accessories everywhere. Knowing that I always do this, however, here I am making a very conscious effort not to - go me. But actually, I think keeping the colours simple lets this dress really shine.

The Jackson dress is another of Hell Bunny's autumn/winter triumphs, so it didn't take me long to use my discount code on their website (it's cicim20!% by the way) to snap this beauty up. Especially not after I'd spoken to Miss Amy May who'd already bought it and realised the skirt wasn't going to be too long for me! (Considering I had a dream this week I bought a Collectif dress and it was ankle length when it turned up and that's not actually that far from the truth... And yes, my dreams really are that boring. I had another one that Hell Bunny released a dress in their new lighthouse print and I was disappointed by the neckline. I'm a riot.) I mean, it's on the longer side, sure, but I think I'm getting away with it. I love wearing it - it's comfortable and the neckline is adorable, I just need to find more places to take it for a spin now before spring is here... Oh and if you want to see how it looks on someone who isn't 5' nothing, check it out on Amy. The fit is very true to Hell Bunny's usual sizing (follow the size guide).

Will this be the last of my very wintry outfit posts? Er, no. Let's not be silly. There's a lot more winter to 'love' yet...

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny

Furry gloves and hat

The Jackson dress in houndstooth by Hell Bunny
Headband: Next (last year's)
Gloves: Ugg (now out of stock)
Boots: Tamaris (last year's)



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Thursday, 2 February 2017

A wintry Cambridge and a 60s CiCi

Ever wondered what my little corner of the earth looks like in the winter? You've come to the right place. Cambridge is one of those cities that looks darn pretty at any time of the year and has a rather lovely quality to it under a cold, grey sky. Which is good, really, cos we've sure got a lot of those.

The river Cam

If you're wondering why the above photo looks so out of focus, it's because it's not a photo! It's been a while since I've had a video for you. We can blame B and his strange cycle of hobbies - he'll be really into something for a while then move onto something else. Then, weeks, months, sometimes over a year later he'll get into it again. Right now, it's watching endless anime. Anyway, while in a video phase he might either be shooting on a digital camera or his Super 8 using real film. The problem with the latter being that it takes a while for it to get developed, by which point he might be out of his video phase again... Aaaaand that's what happened here. And that's also why the film is a bit out of focus and the colours aren't true - that's the fun of Super 8. We love it, but if you want to see my outfit in crisp colour, this ain't for you!

Walking near King's College

Long-time readers will recognise this outfit (sans the coat), because it did feature before, about a year ago. And yep, we shot this film on authentic Super 8... a year ago. But, if you don't want to look at this outfit again, hopefully you'll like the scenery, which is from the very centre of Cambridge. In the above shot, I am walking down an alleyway right next to the famous King's College, in fact. Oh, and there's my coat. I've worn this coat in a video before, so it's not news, but it looks great with this outfit ;)

PS You don't need sound for this!



As ever, apologies that I'm not more lively in this video. I genuinely find it excruciating being filmed on my own - for some reason it's so much worse than being photographed, but I couldn't tell you why... Believe it or not, I do have a playful side - just not when a camera is pointed at my face.



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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Outfit: caped crusader

It's quite tricky finding a cape that will suit you if you're petite all over... it's fairly easy to look like you're wearing something hilariously oversized and not at all stylish. I had a feeling the key was finding one that was a shorter length and I think I might have been right! Let's introduce you to my first ever cape...

I swooped this cape in last year's Collectif sale, so apologies in advance that it's not available now. (unless you're a size 8-10 like me, as I found one!). They often pop up in re-sale groups, so worth keeping an eye on those if you're keen. I always feel a bit sad about it when I see one get sold on, though, quite often with a note to say it's never been worn. It's such an unusual piece - I get that it takes a bit more thinking to style it and it's not something you're going to reach for every day, but it is rather fun to have around and I can't picture giving mine up. There's something very glamourous about cloaking oneself in one of these - I guess because they're so little seen in modern fashion that they do instantly hark back to thoughts of well-dressed days of past.

And yeah, the baby pink pattern might not be for everyone, but to be honest it's not usually for me either. I can't think of a single other item I own in this colour. When it's baby pink on a winter coat though, it's doesn't feel as sickly sweet. Especially not when paired with the dark tones of winter accessories.

If there wasn't enough to love about it already, it makes for some pretty dramatic photos too...

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Ugg touch screen leather fur gloves

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit
Beret: Primark (old)
Cape: Collectif (last season - an XS/S here)
Gloves: Ugg (still available in dark brown)
Skirt: Peacocks (old)
Tights: Primark
Boots: Miss L Fire (last year's)


What's that, I've got through a whole post without mentioning the w word? Yes, I'm still dragging myself through the wedding to do list and it seems to be bigger every time I look at it, but we finally got the invitations out this week so that's a weight off my mind! Maybe it will actually be possible to get everything on there done after all :D Back to the venue this weekend to discuss more logistics, it's hard to believe we're now 4.5 months away!



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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Outfit: warming up winter

So, this side of Christmas is pretty rubbish for all of us stuck in winter, isn't it? I forget, every year, how much hard work it is keeping up outfit posts when it's cold outside. Yeah, yeah, first world problems - but seriously it's about this time every year I throw a total wobble about giving it up. This year, said wobble happened while trying to get these pictures.

It was zero degrees this day and there was a fair wind on too. The first location we went to proved to be too windy to shoot at, so we spent half an hour driving round our village trying to find any kind of spot to take the pictures in. We even ended up on the grounds of the local school (it was the weekend) only to find two families had decided to trespass at the same time for no apparent reason (it's not like they had pictures to get or anything, geez.). I really didn't think we'd get any shots this day, which would have been a real shame because I loved this outfit.

Long, whingey story short we got there in the end and I wasn't even scowling in all of the photos :D Mustard is still one of my favourite colours for the colder months and there's nothing much more fun than mustard tights to wear. Especially looking down and seeing them with houndstooth shoes... I'll take my kicks where I can get them in January. My top and skirt are pretty basic but they're really solid basics, in fact. The top is another slash neck from Vivien of Holloway (and seems to be a better fit than my grey one, oddly - not complaining), and the skirt is the Jasmine from Collectif. I am begging Collectif to keep making this style in all the colours because it's my perfect puffy swing skirt - just the right length and barely needs a petticoat. And you know what, Spring/Summer is nearly here so we'll find out soon enough if they heard me ;)

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Ascot scarf and beret

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Ascot scarf

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes
Hat: ASOS
Belt: Marks & Spencer (old)
Skirt: Collectif
Tights: Primark (old)
Shoes: Lindy Bop


Oh in case anyone was worried (*thinks highly of self*), I don't think I'm quitting quite yet... It would have been a shame because very shortly this blog turns five years old! I have been pondering doing something for this, but the anniversary is clashing horribly with the throes of wedding prep, so in all honestly trying to coordinate something special might push me over the edge. Just this fortnight I've got to get the invites printed and packaged, my first dress fitting, do some video training (long story), a craft project (shudder) around the table name holders and more work on the images for the 17 A1 picture frames we need to fill in our reception venue. I knew weddings were a lot of work, but seriously, you don't understand it until you get there. 

My mum made me laugh because she said when the wedding was over I'd need a project to fill the void it leaves... I can genuinely say, hand on heart, I am quite happy to focus all of my attention back on this blog when that day comes. While I seem to be a born events organiser, I sure wasn't born to organise events...



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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater - book review

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

So, I do have a bit of a thing for this kind of book - the coffee table types that tackle different aspects of vintage style. I’m always hoping I’ll learn something I didn’t know, while enjoying some pretty pictures along the way. So really, what I want from this kind of book is just that: interesting facts presented really well. And that is precisely what this book does! At this point, having read up on vintage style for a number of years, clearly there's going to be overlap in what a book can tell me vs what I already know, but actually I was pleasantly surprised at how much was new to me.

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

I have to start by saying that I especially loved that the author began the book by mentioning how a joy of living today is being able to pick and choose and mix eras of vintage style in your look and how her aim was to give tips and tricks to do this. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a book on vintage acknowledge the perks of mixing eras and it’s something I wholeheartedly support so big tick for that - and I was totally up for some tricks to factor into my current beauty routine.

I then became completely engrossed by the explanation of Westmore’s (a Hollywood makeup guru) Seven Face Shapes theory that appears early on in the book. We’ve all heard of the different face shapes (heart, square, round etc) and how you should and shouldn’t apply makeup to them, but this theory of ‘Ovalesence’ being the key to facial beauty was particularly intriguing - especially as the book includes a supporting diagram! The tips around how to apply make-up to flatter certain face-shapes and make them appear more like the oval ideal were really interesting - particularly as it was the first time I’d seen advice for applying blusher to the top of the cheek-bones of my heart-shaped face (something I’ve long thought suits me best but no guide ever agreed with - they always say it should go in the hollows instead!). However, I perhaps wasn’t so thrilled to realise my large, wonky nose and pointy chin meant I had a lot of work to do with the warpaint…! Anyway, this kind of thing in books really pleases the nerd in me - in fact, it was probably my favourite part.

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

You’ll go on from this section to read lots of tips for your make-up bag and ways to perfect your beauty routine, many of them from the horses’ mouths of the Hollywood starlets. Some of them made me recoil in horror, such as the idea of Ginger Rogers regularly smearing egg whites on her face to tighten her skin! And I had to laugh at Elizabeth Taylor’s theory that doing all her hair and makeup and then getting into a hot bath straight afterwards before a date gave her an irresistible ‘inner glow’ - I think that’s called sweat, Liz. But I do genuinely find this kind of thing fascinating and it all flows really nicely, so I ate it up. It also seems completely in the ethos of what you’d expect from a Hollywood beauty book.

So, all of the information and facts about cosmetics and how the stars applied them were a big part of what I loved about this book. I wasn’t, however, quite so keen on the pages of very detailed information about recreating exact looks today. Generally, a) I’m not going to recreate a famous lady’s exact look because it wouldn’t look as great on me (I'll leave Jean Harlow's half moon eyebrows, thanks) and b) it felt a bit against the ethos that the author set out - aren’t we supposed to be taking tips away to build our own make-up routines, rather than trying to look like a clone of Audrey Hepburn? Plus there’s a lot of tutorials out there in the world doing just that (I’ve even written some myself on this blog back in the day!). But even more weirdly, the book concludes as it starts by saying that no one can carbon copy someone else’s look and be as good as the original, so you have to be your own form of beautiful… But hang on, you’ve just spent pages telling me how to look like Brigitte Bardot!

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

There’s also quite a lot of information about hair and how to get certain starlets’ hairstyles etc, which I was a bit surprised to find in a beauty book actually. I’ve got so many books on vintage hair that it did make me glaze over a bit and again I’m not sure why so many instructions about how to look exactly like someone else… If you want two in one advice though you'll be more of a fan.

Anyway, these are minor gripes about a very informative and enjoyable book and as I say, I’m very glad I read it for the first part alone. If you haven’t read up on hairstyles as much as I have and do want to copy Marilyn’s make-up, even better! Now, if you excuse me while I try to make my face look like a perfect oval with a bit of well-placed blusher...


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