Summer Vintage OotD: A deadstock suntop and Mexican skirt

I just received a vintage 1950s suntop in deadstock condition, so naturally I had to wear it out right away. I wore it to tea with my philodendron-motif vintage Mexican skirt, huge lucite bracelets, and Vivien of Holloway 3-inch stretch belt!

Deadstock suntop and vintage Mexican skirt

Deadstock suntop and vintage Mexican skirt.

The top is made of a slightly-stretchy black poplin, with a ruched back and buttons down the front. The seams are all pinked (zigzag cut edges) to keep them from fraying. This was how they finished seams in the days before prolific serging. Until about 1964, seam sergers weren’t common.

Very cute, but also cool on hot days like today. Yeah, leave it to us to pay to drink hot liquids on a 100F+ day!

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Suddenly Last Summer: Style with Morningstar84 and Elizabeth Taylor

Liz Taylor original

Liz Taylor original.

Earlier this year, my friend Jasmine reviewed an Elizabeth Taylor-inspired sundress presented by retro fashion company 20th Century Foxy. Based in part on the gorgeous green circle dress worn by Taylor as Catherine Holly in the 1959 film classic Suddenly Last Summer, the piece inspired me to get my own version of the costume. Mine is by Esther of Morningstar84, the same talented seamstress who made my Mad Men-inspired Joan dress in blue linen.

Esther’s version is a faithful reproduction of the movie dress, right down to the skirt seaming. As a custom piece, the quality and fit are hard to match. The slightly-sweetheart bodice is fully structured and the belt is removable. I chose a kelly green linen, but a forest green twill – which is probably closer to the original – is also available. Continue reading

Summer Pinup: Lush Kittens “All Things Cute” Issue

I’m in Lush Kittens this month! Known for its fun themes and features, this pinup magazine is definitely worth a look! You can purchase the “All Things Cute” issue now, in digital or paper form.

Kali in Lush Kittens, by Miss Missy Photography

Kali in Lush Kittens, by Miss Missy Photography.

Here’s a preview of my layout, featuring the makeup, hair, and photography talents of Miss Missy Photography. I’m wearing my vintage brown label Alfred Shaheen dress. The tiki mug on the side table next to me originally came from Stockton’s famous Islander restaurant, a San Joaquin County tiki bar staple from 1963 to 1982. It was a Christmas gift from my awesome brother!

Review: Silk chiffon “Follow Me” dress by Dita Von Teese

I like vintage chiffon. Not necessarily the poofy prom dress kind (although I’m pretty cool with that, too), but the elegant, grecian, pleated kind that comes from the late 1950s and early 1960s. I managed to find a beautiful specimen in lipstick red last year, but it sold before I could get my claws into it. Since, I’ve been unable to find anything quite right, vintage or reproduction. That is, until Dita Von Teese came out with her “Follow Me” cocktail dress in silk chiffon.

Kali in Dita Von Teese Follow Me Dress

Dita Von Teese Follow Me dress photographed by Miss Missy Photography.

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“Makeup” on Monday: Dry shampoo?

I promised that “Makeup on Mondays” would be an occasional feature; sometimes I’ll post every week, sometimes I’ll go awhile before I find something worth posting about. And sometimes, the feature won’t be about makeup at all, but rather some other health or beauty-related product. This beautiful Memorial Day, I’m tackling an odd subject. A subject upon which I’ve been ambivalent for some time. That’s right, I’m bringing up dry shampoo.

Batiste dry shampoo

Batiste “Hint of Color” dry shampoo.

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Outfits of the Season: Retired Trashy Diva dresses

Trashy Diva Obi dress

Trashy Diva Obi dress.

I love Trashy Diva. I love Trashy Diva most of all when I can get the designs I want on sale. Usually, getting exactly what you want at a really amazing price means walking a very fine line. Sometimes, your size sells out before it hits the discount rack. Other times, a decent sale presents itself, but you wonder if you might save more money if you wait until Black Friday, or end-of-season clearance sales…and the same thing happens. Last year, I waited too long on two great Trashy Diva styles, and thought I’d never be able to find them in my size again. Turns out I was wrong! I was able to get the Obi dress in a beautiful orchid silk and the adorable gingham Norma Jean dress without having to buy secondhand. And, I got them both on GOOD sale!

Trashy Diva Norma Jean dress

Trashy Diva Norma Jean dress with bakelite jewelry.

Since I live in sunny California, I tend heavily toward sun dresses. Last Spring, Norma Jean was one of dozens of warm-weather pieces I wanted, but ended up back-burnering in favor of other dresses. By the time I had the cash to buy this black-and-white gingham beauty, it was sold out in my size…and ONLY my size. Talk about disappointment!

It never restocked, and soon it became pretty clear that the dress wouldn’t be back. Fast-forward to November, and Rowena of Edmonton (also known as Retroglam.com online) was advertising a fabulous Black Friday sale (with great shipping terms for U.S. customers). Turns out they had two great Pinup Couture Heidi dresses I was after (red rose and the Canada-exclusive black polka dot print) and…NORMA JEAN…IN MY SIZE. In fact, the only Norma Jean they had was in my size, so I took it as a sign. Continue reading

The parade of Spring vintage continues with low-backed dresses!

Margaret Koehler vintage dress

Margaret Koehler vintage dress.

Now that the semester is almost over, I have a bit of time to catch up on the stuff that really matters in life. CLOTHES. I have several new vintage pieces (“new vintage”…there’s an oxymoron for ya) that I’ve previewed on Instacrap but never got around to properly sharing. The two I’m showing you here have one main thing in common: they’re both fairly low-backed, which means they can be tricky to wear.

The first is an amazingly well constructed custom piece that’s perfect for a garden tea circa the early 1960s. The people from whom I purchased this pretty blue and white dress dug up the provenance. Apparently, it came from Margaret Koehler, a tony ladies’ shop in Manhattan.

Vintage chiffon cocktail dress

Vintage chiffon cocktail dress.

Certainly, this thing is well made. French seams, pinked edges, a built-in petticoat…every construction detail is couture, and the fit is extraordinary, right down to the scooped frock back (true frocks have buttons down the back).

Vintage fit tip: I wear longline strapless bras with scooped/low back fashions. In addition to accommodating the low-backed look, these  keep your waist lump-free and won’t complicate the outfit with straps. I’m wearing the Dominique 6377 here, which is available many places, including Pinup Girl Clothing.

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More Pinup: May Delicious Dolls and Tassel Twirl!

More good news on the pinup front! I’m in the May regular edition of Delicious Dolls (photographed by the awesome Angela Morales) and Tassel Twirl issue #2 (photographed by the superlative Miss Missy), out today! Both issues are fantastic, full of beautiful women, entertaining articles and interviews, and superb photography.

Kali by Miss Missy Photography

Kali by Miss Missy Photography.

The above is a sneak peek from my wonderful shoot with Missy. We spent the whole day shooting everything from the great 1940s old Hollywood look above to my beautiful Alfred Shaheen tapa print sundress. More to come from that day in the nearish future!