A Pineapple-tastic Aloha 1950

There’s almost nothing I like more than dressing up for a vintage theme party! So when I found out that Rock and Roll C20140630_104446ircus were holding an Aloha 1950 themed burlesque and cabaret evening I was pretty excited! I had been to one of their fun events previously and had a fantastic time, so I knew it was going to be a great event. I was going need an amazing outfit!

 

I decided to wear one of my favourite summer dresses, a gorgeous Hell Bunny halterneck swing dress with colourful pineapples and parrots on it. And my mint Hell Bunny petticoat would be perfect underneath. I planned the rest of the outfit around the pineapple motif from the dress, I love pineapple prints!

 

I had recently met the lovely Miss Creep Cake – the creator behind Pop that Cassette – a range of hand crafted and fabulously fun vintage accessories and knew that one of her delightful and different hair pieces would be the perfect crowning glory to my outfit! She also does custom designs so I sent her a picture of my dress and other than asking for it to include a large pineapple left it up to her artistic flair 🙂 The result was this beautiful creation! It was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t wait to wear it!

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Pineapple Crown from Pop That Cassette

Now I love an excuse for getting crafty, so for the rest of my accessories I decided to have some fun 🙂 I did some hunting around $2 shops and found some leis, fruity fridge magnets and hibiscus hair accessories and a cheap brown stretchy waist belt with snaps in the back (with some hideous embellishments on the front) I had previously bought an assortment of novelty buttons off etsy… and of course some pineapple ones! I took apart the $2 shop bits, did some strip down on the tacky belt and was ready for assembly. A bit of hot glue and some thread with a strong needle held everything on nicely. I think it turned out well!

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I also made some shoe clips out of some ribbon, the same pineapple buttons and the backs off some old clip on earrings. And I merged some hibiscus earrings from the $2 shop with some pineapple earrings I already had. Quick and easy! I’m really keen to make some more shoe clips, they are such a fun way of giving shoes a new look.

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I decided to treat myself as hubby-to-be and I were having a child free night out (party time!). I had my hair and makeup done by the lovely and talented Rose from Decadia Vintage Beauty and Style. She did an amazing job! I also recently did a vintage hairstyling course taught by Rose which was a great experience. I might not have completely failed beauty school but I am still need quite a lot of practice… so for a stress free evening it was much better left in the capable hands of the expert 🙂

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So with my outfit, hair and makeup all sorted I was ready to go…

And I was not disappointed! The venue at the Winchester Tavern was perfect with plenty of room and seating… I hate being crammed into a space like a sardine and a place to perch when wearing heels is always a bonus! The show was fabulous, with a variety of very different and talented performers putting on some very unique, hilarious and sexy acts.

A nice surprise was getting asked up on stage to have the audience vote for best dressed… which I ended up sharing with another lovely lady… definitely a great night!

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Photography – Peter Jennings

 

I am very much looking forward to the next Rock and Roll Circus event, the Cat’s Meow!

Natalie xx

How to be an (Im)perfect Pinup

I love clothes. And accessories. And putting together outfits. And dressing up! I would love to look like a perfect pinup every day! However sometimes (my) life just doesn’t work that way. There are days when I feel like making a little extra effort… and then there are the days I just can’t be bothered! And when it comes down to it, the honest truth is I’d rather sleep or an extra half hour than get up earlier to give myself more getting ready time (I tell myself it’s efficiency, not laziness!). Not to mention, when you have an eager 4 1/2 year old assistant, sometimes it’s best to keep things simple! If I left the styling choices to her, I’d be decked out in velvet, sequins and sparkles every day, as well as wearing those beautiful but rather impractical shoes to do the grocery shopping…

This post is about being able to look great and feel good everyday… without having to take a lot of time or costing a fortune! Glamour and style don’t have to come at the expense of practicality and comfort… sometimes imperfection is well… just perfect. It’s all about balance! Sometimes my lipstick is smeary or not there at all, but you also won’t find me leaving the house in trackpants. Or ugg boots. Or… I can’t even say it… crocs. Or anything polar fleece… you get the picture!

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S o here are my 5 key ingredients in the recipe to being the (im)perfect pinup!

1. Foundations

Comfort, comfort, comfort!
Well fitted and comfortable undergarments and if you like, shapewear will make you look and feel good! I personally can not wear a bra or pair of panties that digs into me in any way shape or form… this tends to make me very grumpy! Get a bra fitting if you haven’t had one in a while, many of us wear the wrong size, and if we fluctuate in weight, so too do our bra sizes. Undergarments that fit well will give you a nice shape and line under your clothing…. and feeling comfortable is the first step in feeling sexy and confident in my book. It’s hard to feel fantastic if your knickers are riding up your bum or your bra underwire feels like its drilling a hole into your armpit…

2. Good maintenance goes a long way!

This idea works pretty well for me in many aspects of life! Doing a little often, and keeping up with things saves that mad scramble when the mother-in-law is coming to visit on short notice and your hovering up cereal crumbs, throwing dead flowers out the window and hiding unwashed dishes in the oven 😉

vintage-women-ads-1Likewise, getting your brows tinted and shaped regularly, find an “easy-care” hair style that suits you and keeping your cut and colour maintained means you are starting from a good foundation and minimal effort is required, unless you choose to make it! Most weekday mornings my hair and makeup is pretty simple. On the face, tinted moisturiser, concealer under the eyes to hide those ever present dark circles, a bit of blush or bronzer on the cheeks, and mascara and and lipstick… total time around 5 minutes. If I have time, I’ll do eyeliner and flicks to get a nice retro look. Of course there are plenty of mornings when I only wear tinted moisturiser. When my brows are nicely groomed, I still feel good even with an (almost) bare face. I love to spend time putting a nice face on and practising vintage makeup looks but for me this just isn’t practical every day. Or maybe I AM just lazy! Hair is usually a bit of sea salt spray for texture, and a hair flower and a few pins, or a head scarf or a hat! Head scarves and hats are my best friends on bad hair days. Poof, bad hair be gone! A head scarf tied in a 40s style, or a cute beret in winter are a couple of my best grab and go hairstyles – no effort required!

3. Rules, Shmulz

Love vintage, but don’t want to have to put together a complete “look” every day?  Or keen on adopting a vintage style but don’t want to go crazy and replace your whole wardrobe at once?

Throw away the rule book too. There are a million and one different one ways to wear and love vintage styles! You don’t even have to stick to one era. Mix modern clothing with vintage reproduction, thrifting finds and genuine vintage and the possibilities are endless! And there’s nothing wrong with making a modern look your own with some vintage flair.

4. Essential wardrobe pieces

It’s always good to have some key go-to items in your wardrobe, that match well with everything, look good and fit comfortably! And no those favourite pants that totally fit last winter but you have to undo the top button to sit down don’t count! There’s nothing that feels worse than wearing something too big or too small, no matter how much you love it! Depending on the garment, clothing can be taken in quite inexpensively. Or think outside the box, a dress that is too tight in the bodice might be easily transformed into a skirt. Swap or sell items that don’t fit and can’t be altered, and invest in some good wardrobe staples.

Here are some of mine!
A good pair of high waisted trousers in a neutral colour – black or brown. I love a 40s style pant like these from Heyday vintage. They are also not difficult to find vintage and good condition for a very good price.

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Heyday vintage

And these black sateen high waisted pair (link here) from Pinup Girl clothing are some of my all time favourites! I am planning on doing a post soon on vintage style pants 🙂
A swing skirt, you can change the look so easily with different belt and petticoats (if you like a full style)
A good pencil skirt
Cardigans! The most versatile piece of a pinup wardrobe, there are so many different colours and styles, and these can be found either luxury, or super cheap. Plain colours can be dressed up with a pretty brooch, or even an iron on transfer and new buttons from your local craft store.
A cropped jacket and a long swing style coat for cooler months will cover most bases!
Basic pinup style tops in easy to co-ordinate colours like black, red and white to layer or wear one their own. Chain stores can be a great source, Pinup Girl clothing has some beautiful styles such as the Vamp and Zooey tops in a range of easy to co-ordinate colours.
And lastly… a slinky robe to feel glamorous at home in! There are some days when you just want to get home and let it all out… and lazy weekend days you don’t feel like getting dressed at all. A robe says I’m not lazy, I’m going for the movie star glamour look 😉 My all time favourite is the Bettie robe from Bettie Blue’s Loungerie, or for a bargain try lingerie outlet shops or online on etsy or ebay for vintage finds, there are some great deals to be found!

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5. Have fun, and accessorise!

Wear what makes you feel happy! Colour can be a great way of livening up your day. If your more of monochrome girl, add some colourful accessories. Accessories and trying out new combinations of colour are a great way to maximise your wardrobe and get more wear out of pieces you already have. I’m a complete sucker for a pretty new dress, but if I can resist the temptation I am often pleasantly surprised by what I can come up with from my own wardrobe! The same dress, with a pretty cardigan over the top can take on a completely different look. Or add a brightly coloured belt and matching shoes. Online inspiration from personal blogs (cough cough shameless self promotion), instagram and pinterest are a perfect way of seeing your own clothing in a new light! Thrifting is great for finding unique accessories, and even buying a pretty new scarf, brooch or belt won’t break the bank. Here in Auckland I love Rita Sue in St Kevin’s Arcade for a great range of retro and vintage styled accessories – from jewellery and handbags to locally crafted lovelies such as fabulous hair fascinators from Pop That Cassette!

Hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for reading!

Natalie xx

 

Raving about Rago… vintage shapewear Part 2

In my last post here, I shared my experience with the Rago 6207 High waist long leg panty girdle (I’m going to call them shaping shorts, as that’s a bit of a mouthful!). Which just to recap, is the best item of shapewear I’ve tried to far, vintage or otherwise! I have been wearing them most days and they really are so versatile and flattering and create such a lovely shape under vintage styles. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when my order from Orchard Corset arrived, with the Rago 6109 High waist panty girdle and the Rago 21 long line waist cincher!

Now as I mentioned in my previous post, I am trying out these garments wearing a dress I don’t wear at the moment as I find it clings around my middle – which I consider my personal “problem” area! So will this shapewear make my favourite dress perfectly wearable again like the shaping shorts did? Let’s see!

Rago 6109 High Waist panty girdle

The Rago high waist panty girdle (product details here) is the non shorts sister of the Rago shaping shorts, and also come in both black and white colours, a lace version and an option with a side zip. I decided to try a size down from a 30 to a 28 and the white colour this time. The size 30 in the shaping shorts took an inch off my waist and hips so will be interesting to see what the smaller size does! I also enlisted the help of my lovely sister as an extra guinea pig…

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This is my beautiful sister au naturel, her measurements are 36-29-38

And wearing the Rago high waisted panty girdle…

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The panty girdle took 1 inch off both hips and waist and lifted and smoothed very well, creating a nice silhouette under this very body hugging wiggle dress from PinupGirl Clothing’s Dixiefried range.

And on myself, it also took 1 inch off both hips and waist, the same as the shaping shorts. I haven’t included photos as they look just the same as the shaping shorts! They felt nice and firm at the top and still comfortable, even in the size down, I am thinking my ideal pair will be the shaping shorts in the size 28 now! However they did feel a little tight (but not cutting in) around the leg elastic, my sister noticed this also (even on her skinny pins!) So these might not be the best style if you don’t like anything snug around panty line, but would be a great option if you prefer the look of the panty over of the long leg version and don’t mind the snugness around the leg.

Rago 21 long line waist cincher

Now this looked exciting! (Product details here)

Rago cincher ky First, on guinea pig one…

Kylie loved this, and said is was her favourite! She isn’t a regular wearer of vintage, but said this was a garment she would definitely wear. The cincher took 2 inches off her waist.

 

The first thing I noticed when I tried this on is that to get it to look right and not create a bulge at the top under the bra is that you need to pull it up much higher than the model on the website… right under the bra. Which is quite a different look than I expected but creates a nice seamless one piece appearance. The size 28 wasn’t too hard to do up on my 31 inch waist and felt firm but comfortable. I liked how supportive it felt, without feeling constrictive.

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It took 2 inches off my waist and made my problem tummy area completely flat! Amazing! But to get my tick of approval, I have to be able to wear it all day and not be dying to rip it off in the middle of the office…
AND… I actually found this even more comfortable than the shaping shorts! Sorry shaping shorts, I have a new favourite, was good while it lasted, I still love you though!

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So the verdict!!

If you are wanting to minimise your middle, the Rago 21 waist cincher works a dream!

Rago is a high quality, affordable brand and has quickly become my favourite! The waist cincher and girdles I have reviewed here are great – and importantly – everyday wearable options to achieve a smooth enhanced hourglass figure under vintage style dresses and even trousers.

The shaping shorts are also fantastic, they too have awesome smoothing powers and the bonus of bum boosting and thigh thinning!

Don’t be afraid of erring on the small side for sizing – in my experience these garments stretch and mould to your body wonderfully without discomfort!

What are your experiences with vintage shapewear? What are your favourites? I would love to hear about your own shapewear successes… and fails!

I have ordered this little beauty from Rita Sue Clothing, and am very excited to try it and let you all know how it erm… shapes up 😉

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Also keep an eye out for an upcoming review on the Dominique 7749 longline Push-Up Brasselette, for a girl who would not normally go near a strapless bra, this is pushing my boundaries!

Natalie xxx

 

 

My shapewear journey… raving about Rago!

There are a few little deceptions every girl is entitled to. Push up bras, concealer, mascara… and of course, shapewear. Although technically, one is just enhancing (or erm squishing) one’s own assets, so perhaps deception isn’t quite the right term. In any case, whatever your shape or size, if you are like me, there are certain parts of your body that you might feel less than confident about. That is if you are naked. When I was in my 20s, I felt great naked. I still feel good naked, but child bearing, breast feeding, time and gravity mean I like to feel good naked at home… not walking down the street. Which is why clothes, and shapewear under them, are every mother’s (and non mother’s) little helper!

I like to be comfortable, and I like my clothes to look good and well fitted on me. So shapewear and I have had a love-hate relationship. I remember being 3 months pregnant, heading out to dinner, and removing my control top pantyhose in the car and heaving them in the bin because I couldn’t stand the feeling. Not much has changed, I have a very limited tolerance for discomfort!

Before I discovered vintage shapewear, I tried a wide variety of control underwear, slips, and shorts. All kinds of wrong! The undies ride up my bum. The slips end up around my waist before I have even left the house. The shorts make me look like a lycra warrior, in beige. Still, there remained the persistent hope that the next thing I tried would work like magic…

Behold, my pile of Spanx!
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Or should I say, graveyard?

I bought my first Rago undergarment last year, from Rita Sue clothing, a high waisted open bottom girdle in black, with a side zip. It felt like a miraculous garment! Instantly slimming and smoothing, it worked wonders under my pinup dresses. However it too, was not without it’s flaws. I loved it’s vintage look, it didn’t ride up, and I’m pretty sure I did a happy dance when I saw the number it did on my waistline. BUT, the long length and non detachable stocking clips meant it couldn’t be worn under shorter dresses, or trouser of course. And I found the zip made my underwear did into me after wearing it for a few hours. So it still remained a “special occasion” item of shapewear.

Recently, I read some very good reviews on Rago shapewear from 2 of my favourite blogs and Miss Victory Violet and Pin Up Persuasion, and I became very excited about trying out a Rago 6207 long leg high waist shaper. I ordered mine from Orchard Corset. My measurements are currently 36-31-39, and I ordered the size 30, a compromise between my hips being less than the size range and my waist being greater. They were surprisingly easy to wriggle into, considering they have no zip. And…. I found my magic pants! The instantly gave me a smooth shape and sucked in my mummy tummy, I tried a few of my tight wiggle dresses that I don’t wear at the moment as they are too snug and they looked amazing! They were higher than I expected, sitting right up at my bust line, and do require a bit of adjustment to not get a roll under the bra line. I liked how the stocking clips were removable, as I was planning on wearing them under trousers at times, so no stockings necessary. Ok, so here are my brutally honest photos, they aren’t great but they tell the story! I’m wearing my favourite pink Dixiefried dress, from Pinupgirl Clothing. I used to wear this dress all the time, but after putting on some weight, this is definitely not a dress I could wear and feel comfortable in without shapewear underneath!

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I took my measurements before and after, and this garment took 1 inch off both my waist and hips, and well as overall smoothing and some lifting of the derriere! Well they looked great, but I’d been through this before – would they stand the wearing test?? The answer is, yes! I wore these during an average busy day and they were definitely wearable. After a few days of wear, I barely noticed them at all. I love these so much, I whipped them off recently at a family dinner and got my sister and sister-in-law to try them too! Nothing like a bit of enthusiasm, my family are pretty used to this! And I ordered the Rago 21 waist cincher and 6109 high waist panty girdle 🙂

Next post, I will review both my 2 new Rago shapers both on me, and my lovely sisters – who have agreed to help me share with you Rago, on real bodies!

Natalie xx

A few of my projects

So every blogging virgin has to start somewhere! I thought I’d start with a few of my favourite projects. Being a pack rat, who can’t resist a junk store (and I ALWAYS find something!), storage can be an issue in our small home. So clever and attractive ways to display treasures and hide and manage clutter are something I am quite obsessed with.

Both hubby-to-be and I are big on our music. As well as a large vinyl collection, we have a huge digital music collection. So with that comes a separate computer, extra hard drives and a mixer to be able to change easily between turntable, CD and computer audio inputs. And of course a ton of cables. I really can’t stand the look of either cables or well, any sort of modern equipment! So the retro stereogram I found cheap as chips online was the perfect solution! After stripping the guts out of it, it became the perfect home for a digital music centre, controlled by a wireless keyboard and touch pad. All hides away nicely and the unit fits great into the look of our lounge!

steriogram

Like any vintage lover, I have a fair few handbags and jackets! And in our busy household, clutter likes to accumulate by the front entrance to our home. But we also lack much landing area as you walk in the front door. I needed to think of something wall mounted that would organise our hallway area… so I headed to our local demolition yard to look for some inspiration! I found the perfect solution in an old mirrored door, which cost a grand total of $15. And here is the result

hall organiser

I used an assortment of hooks and knobs (I always pick these up if I see nice ones, they come in handy for so many things!). A section of pink blackboard paint makes a place to write notes and some paint test pots make up the rest of the colour palette. And no more lost keys! The mail organiser and floating shelf I picked up new, the small cupboard with hooks at child height is vintage. Every girl needs a place to check and fix her lippy on the way out the door, so the mirror is perfect. This has really worked well for us!

These are just a couple of my favourite recent projects, believe me there are plenty more! Don’t even get me started on the unfinished ones… or the garage stacked with old furniture in line for a makeover, since I can’t pass up a lonely retro piece crying out for a new life! Everyone needs a hobby (or obsession!) right?

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