Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Here in the Southern United States, the summers seem to be getting worse! My mom lives in Memphis and the last time I was there, the heat and humidity were so intense that being outside for even a couple of minutes, rendered one completely drenched and drained of all energy. The sun beats down mercilessly, filtering thru the haze of humidity so relentlessly, the entire area becomes a virtual Steam Room.
I live in rural Tennessee, a hilly locale about an hour east of Nashville, and though we have nothing like Memphis weather with which to contend, it is still horribly HOT and sticky. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE heat. But humidity gets me down in a way that not much else can. And do I feel like creating a nice hairdo in the meantime? Hardly.
So I came up with a few hairstyles that are relatively easy to create but which are thoroughly humidity proof as well, at least for my hair. They require a structured curl, like a pin curl or other 'cold set' option. And a great pomade does wonders! I prefer a water soluble option, like Layrite (available here in my shop), but you can certainly use another product if that works for you. I can't tolerate a petroleum based product on my head in hot weather...can we say 'Greaser'?
The following hairstyle is what I call 'the structured' ponytail. It's a variation on a typical summer hairstyle, with a few pretty features to give it some punch. Not only is it perfect for daytime events (like Car Shows, theme parks, or a day at the pool), but it also releases into a very pretty look for evening, with just a bit of brushing and a couple of flower clips.
After setting the hair (sleeping on this set will result in minimal 'styling time' the next morning), you will need:
duckbill sectioning clip
rat tail comb
Pomade (I use Layrite, as I mentioned)
Hair Spray (preferably a strong hold option that performs well in humidity)
a few bobby pins
an accessory, if desired
Step One: Release all curls and shake out thoroughly
Step Two: Brush out the curls.
Step Three: Separate a v shaped section at the top hairline,including any bangs if you have them. Clip out of the way for the time being.
Step Four: Brush the rest of the hair into a sleek ponytail. Once secured with an elastic, gather the 'tail' in your palm and brush it around your hand and thumb until it forms a smooth ringlet.
Step Five: Wrap a small (1/2 inch) section of the tail around the elastic, to hide it. Pin in place with small bobby pins in an x formation, firmly against the head. They should be relatively easy to hide.
Step Six: Form the reserved front section into a barrel curl and pin in place, placing pins inside the roll.
Step Seven: Coat hands with pomade and run them over the whole style, gently. This will secure the style and give it some shine. Spray the whole thing for more hold.
I wore this style one HOT day last month and it didn't budge!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
One of my most requested looks is the style worn by the exquisite Gene Tierney in the 1944 Film Noir classic, 'Laura'. I can already see the comments I'll get on the video tutorial: "Where do you get off trying to look like Gene Tierney?" I do get those comments...and I blame ignorance, of course. In no way am I trying to impersonate the actress in question with these videos, but instead I am attempting to help other ladies capture a similar hairstyle/makeup look, so that they can feel as beautiful as the ladies of these old films. After all, we need another Beyonce'/Miley Cyrus/Lady Gaga tutorial like we need a hole in the head.
This style consists of lovely layered waves. I am almost certain it was created with pin curls and since Gene had natural wave to her hair, it was a perfect look for her. My hair is stick straight and a bit too long to successfully use the following Pin Curl Setting Pattern, but it will achieve a very similar appearance to Tierney's sleek waves if your hair is tapered to the proper length . I based these diagrams on a vintage book that discussed how to achieve this exact style. Like an idiot, I neglected to write down the name of said book and proper credit can therefore not be paid. *sigh* Anyway, I use a setting lotion solution to spray each section damp before rolling. If I start with wet hair, I get too much frizz to manage.
*The back can be tricky, if you're setting your own head. Therefore, attempt to be approximate with the pattern but don't sweat it if you just can't quite make it as uniform as the diagram. If your hair is just at shoulder length and layered properly, the reversed directions of the back setting will provide a lovely s-curve in the finished product.
1. Release curls carefully
2. Shake them out, pulling the individual curls into the direction they're meant to fall.
3. Brush thoroughly all over, using your hand (coated with pomade*) to control frizz.
4. If you have bangs, twist them back so that they blend w/ the resulting waves at the side. Brush all volume out of the top so that the appearance is sleek. Also, the part should be deep, on one side.
5. Use more pomade for shine, spray into place, and go.
* Pomade is Layrite Pomade, which I sell here on my shop. See link at the top of the page.
Video Tutorial, featuring the music of Spike Jones and his City Slickers, The Glen Miller Orchestra, and Anthony Warlow:
Starring: Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb
When beautiful Laura Hunt is found shot to death in her apartment, Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) delves into her life to determine who might be to blame. He finds himself, not only becoming obsessively drawn to the deceased, but also beginning to suspect two key players: Waldo Lydecker(Clifton Webb)and Shelby Carpenter(Vincent Price), both of whom were inlove with the victim. Through her diary and letters, Mark puts pieces of the puzzle together in a largely satisfactory way, that is, until someone unexpected walks through the door and throws the entire case into turmoil.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I'd like to give a hearty welcome to my newest sponsor, Boulevard Rouge! Another UK based company, Boulevard Rouge offers a classy range of separates and dresses in that retro-reproduction style that we are all after. I love the Little Lou shorts, that come in solids and stripes, as well as the classically styled Lenora Dress which might have been worn by Judy Holiday, herself! All the current items in shop are 100% Cotton which makes them perfect for summertime wear, as well.
Launched very recently, on the 30th of June, the company is brand new to the scene but promises to be one we will all love to visit. Not only is the pricing reasonable, but they offer sizes up to 24 (and made-to-order garments are also available)!
So click that link to the right and have yourself a ball, browsing the light-hearted streets of 'Boulevard Rouge'. Or visit them at their facebook page. After all, as they say, 'Everyone Looks Good in Rouge'. :)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Iam often told by 'non participating' fans of vintage style that 'I just don't have time to get dressed up every day'. Far be it from me to tell you to make retro style your every day look if you don't truly WANT to, but as to this whole 'time' factor? Pshaw!! You can easily carry your love of 1940's/'50's fashion into your work week by adding just a few key elements and a few spare minutes to your current routine.
Yes, you'll have to plan ahead. And by that I mean you'll have to set your hair the night before, just like our grannies used to do! Once you get used to sleeping in a set, it will become second nature and you'll look as if you took hours to get ready, when in actuality the whole look (including makeup) took you less than twenty minutes. I can almost guarantee you that the admiring looks you receive, coupled with the boost of confidence you'll feel, will make it well worth that extra effort the night before.
To get started, you need to decide how you'd like to set your hair. In today's tutorial, I chose sponge rollers. They're a great option because they're relatively easy to sleep in and they breathe, so the hair dries fairly quickly. I never roll my hair wet. It takes far too long to dry and the curls are usually too tight. If I shower before I set my hair, I dry it almost completely with a hair dryer (on the cool setting) before I start to roll. After the hair is mostly dry, take sections of hair (the amount of hair will directly dictate the size of the resulting wave), spray with a setting lotion solution, and set the rollers in a halo around ear level. Keep the crown flat to achieve that signature vintage look. The setting lotion I use is Lottabody Setting Lotion, diluted with water. The entire process (with some practice) takes about 10 minutes to achieve.
If you don't want to use sponge rollers, you have several other options. You can opt for a pin curl set, a rag roller set, or you can use pillow rollers, which are actually made for sleeping comfortably. If you choose the latter type of roller however, keep in mind that the hair does not dry as quickly since the 'pillow' casing doesn't breathe well.
1.Start with a nice clean palette. I use a milky cleanser that is easy to rinse but doesn't try the skin and a good moisturizer for day time (preferably one with a sunscreen). Once you have a nice fresh palette, start your makeup application. First, apply primer (if you wear one), foundation, and concealer-making sure to blend well and take your time. This is the single most important part of your makeup and will be obvious if you rush.
2.Eyes:Fill your brows, concentrating on the arch. Stay with neutral shadows on the lids, using a touch of shimmer where you like, to help wake up the eyes. Don't forget to add white to your waterline and wing out that liner!Finish off with a good long-wearing mascara
3.Lips and Cheeks:-Rosy things up with a nice cream blush, applied sparingly to the apples of the cheeks. Set it with a peachy-pink powder blush and a finishing powder over your whole face, if you use one. Lips are a matter of taste. A muted matte shade looks nice for day time, while still retaining a retro feel.
Hair: Since you set your hair the night before, this should literally take about five minutes! Just unroll, brush, spray into place, and GO!! Once you develop your favorite setting pattern and style, you will be able to do this part with your eyes closed. If you have a little frizz or a few fly aways, finish off with a pomade, like Layrite (available here on my shop). You can add an accessory if you like but chances are, you're running late in spite of your speedy styling so get going!!
Foundation: REVLON Colorstay in 'Buff' (for Normal/Dry Skin)
Concealer: Makeup Forever's Concealer Palette (version 1)
Primer: Senna Face Primer
Finishing Powder: BeSame' Transluscent Loose Powder
Concealer Stick: Maybelline White Concealer Stick
Eyeshadow Base: Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Eye Shadow: Sigma Eye Shadows in 'Angie' and 'Brown Sugar'
Eye Liner: Rimmell Precision Liner in 'Brown', Rimmell Khol Liner in 'White', Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in 'Trooper'
Mascara: Rimmell Sexy Curves Waterproof in 'Blackest Black'
Blush: REVLON Cream Blush in 'First Blush' and Sigma Blush in 'Some Girls'
Lipstick: Mary Kay lipstick in 'Caramel'
Monday, July 12, 2010
As my current pregnancy approaches 4 months, I am again faced with the reality of growing out of my favorite 'retro inspired' clothing items. Gone is the possibility of wearing waist cinching dresses or tailored blouses. The most frustrating thing about this particular stage of pregnancy is that so called 'maternity' pieces are still too full and awkward for anything but 'home' use. So following are a few of my current favorite fashion items, the ones that still slip easily over that growing 'bump' without completely abandoning my style tastes.
1. 'Trixie Top' from Heartbreaker Fashion:
Yes, I've mentioned this indispensable fashion item before, but I never anticipated wearing it during pregnancy. The length is ideal for those early months because it covers the belly and doesn't ride up. Plus, the fabric is sturdy and doesn't lose its shape, even after wearing it all day. I wouldn't risk stretching the garment by trying to wear it with TOO large a belly, but as of now it is still working beautifully with skirts or pants. My favorite non-maternity top is now my favorite top to wear during early pregnancy!
Top from Modcloth
2. Baby Doll/Tunic Tops: Even if the 'blousy' look isn't necessarily something that you wear in your day to day life, pregnancy can help you get motivated to try something new. I don't normally wear many baby doll tops, but during the first trimester (and on into the 2nd), they can be a life-saver. Not only are you investing in items that are suitable for wearing after the baby is born (tunics especially are ideal for the first few months post-partum), but they are usually cut to fit you well at the chest and shoulders, thus creating a more flattering image than if you opted to wear a larger size or a maternity piece. I have several 'tunic' style tops that I bought when I was losing my post-pregnancy tummy last time, and they have worked marvelously for these early months as well. It's a great way to maintain a feminine retro style without showing off your waist.
It's also a good idea to purchase items that show off your finer points, at this time. If your bust is growing, your decollete' may be a bit plumper and prettier than before. Scooped necklines will help boost your confidence. If your arms are one of your best features, sleeveless items will draw attention to them.
3.Skirts made of stretchy material or featuring a wide-panel waistband: Even in my regular wardrobe, I have begun to abandon jeans and pants for skirts. I find them easier to wear than I initially thought, and I enjoy wearing them on all occasions. There are a few skirts already in my wardrobe that are still suitable for early pregnancy, due to the nature of the fabric or the waistband. The skirt pictured here from Daddy O's, is a good example. The wide cut of the waistband fits around the hips and can be moved 'up' as pregnancy progresses, especially if there is a little stretch in the fabric (it will sit a little shorter but still be flirty and fun). When the zipper no longer works out, you can extend the life of items like this with a maternity band, like the Bella Band (featured below).
4. Maternity Pencil Skirts: A good quality maternity pencil skirt will serve you well! Ones made like the one above (from Pea in the Pod) are a little pricier than those from lower end maternity shops, but are well worth the money. They feature a straight, banded waist that is elasticized in the back. Not only do these pieces look great for evening or the workplace, but they will easily extend to your 'post pregnancy' wardrobe since they don't include an awkward stretch panel. The downside to these skirts is that they usually can't be worn to the end of pregnancy, when the belly outgrows the elastic, but they are still a worthy investment. I have one of these (in black) and several inexpensive a-line skirts with a full front panel for late pregnancy.
5. The Bella Band: Probably the item I would recommend above anything else, the 'Bella Band' is absolutely a necessity for early pregnancy! It extends the life of anything with a zipper (or other closure). Due to this little item, my jeans can be worn up to six months into my pregnancy and again the day after birth. It also provides great support to the mid-section and a smooth flattering line beneath knit clothing. After the baby comes, use it to hold up pants or skirts that are still a LONG way from buttoning or to simply give your waistline a more 'svelte' appearance.
Pregnancy can be a time that you look back on with pride, instead of a time that you ban all cameras from your presence. Remember, the more attention you pay to maintaining your pre-pregnancy style, the more likely you will be to stay motivated, healthy, and active. Your confidence will also carry over into motherhood and you will feel better equipped to handle the challenges ahead!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
For this installment of the 'Animated Angels' series, I chose to take a very literal approach to recreating the signature tendrils and front 'swirls' of Disney's 'Briar Rose'. The 1959 film, 'Sleeping Beauty', is one of Disney's greatest achievements and was said to be Walt's masterpiece. It has inspired a whole new era of animated feature, and has served as the standard for 'stylized' animation in general.
The colors I decided to use for this look were inspired by Aurora's assumed name of 'Briar Rose'. I had hitherto not done anything in shades of pink, on my channel, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do so.
I chose somewhat modern shades but applied them in a largely traditional way that was in keeping with the 'sex kitten' style of the early 1960's. The cat-eye is a bit more exaggerated than classic 'pin up' application and the lips are contoured and full, with the lightest color concentrated on the pout.
I rolled my hair the night before in sponge rollers, using only a minimum amount of water to dampen the sections. Upon releasing the rollers I followed these steps:
1. Section off a triangular section at the top, including any bangs.
2. Twist this section into a large pin curl over the forehead, allowing bangs to escape and curl freely alongside the barrel curl. Pin in place.
3. Brush out the remaining curls in large sections, spraying each section with setting spray to keep them intact.
4. Add a headband or other accessory, if desired.
Video Tutorial Below:
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I love the look of a handsome man in a handsome jacket! I had actually never noticed Heyday's great collection of mens' jackets until today and thought it was worthy of mentioning in this month's salute to that lovely sponsor!
For a good quality jacket the pricing is very reasonable as well. And as always, don't forget Heydey's gorgeous ladies' attire.