Tiki, vintage Shaheen, and pinup with Holly West

So I have fun tiki-themed pinup photos by Holly West Photography to share, this time from Skipper World Headquarters.

The Skippers have added a beautiful tiki lounge to their home, complete with huts, outrigger canoes, a bar, and a swanky seating area. It went perfectly with my vintage Alfred Shaheen bombax print dress, bakelite tribal necklace, and Dixiefried leopard-print Glamor swimsuit. The lovely and talented Rockwell DeVil did my makeup and hair.

Kali in Shaheen, with parasol. This sounds like one of those super-literal impressionist painting titles.

More photos after the jump!

Continue reading “Tiki, vintage Shaheen, and pinup with Holly West”

Shark Week: Hawaiian sundress by Hearts & Found!

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Not too long ago, my friend Jessica recommended the retro designs of Hearts & Found, an Etsy company offering a vast array of pretty vintage styles in pretty prints. While perusing the shop, I found a lovely Hawaiian sundress (similar to a Shaheen design) with shoulder ties and a full skirt. Even better, it was pictured in a soft black-and-white cotton fabric featuring great white sharks! While not exactly a shark fan, I found the art charming and the color scheme bold and attractive – perfect to combine with colorful cropped cardigans and bakelite jewelry!

Hearts and Found Shark Dress

My boyfriend purchased the dress for me for my birthday. We chose the standard XL size because it was close to my current measurements, and it ended up being the right choice. That said, you don’t have to settle for the standard sizes. In general, the options offered seem limitless. You can get custom sizing. You can choose to combine elements of more than one standard dress design. You can pick any fabric listed at the storefront (and there are dozens of options to choose from!). Best of all, the prices are reasonable and their labor practices are fair. Continue reading “Shark Week: Hawaiian sundress by Hearts & Found!”

Hawaiian vintage dress for Spring!

I recently received this beautiful vintage Hawaiian dress by Kamehameha, worthy of an immediate walk around the block. Literally, as I wore it to see President Bill Clinton speak at a Hillary Clinton organizing event down the street from my house. I figured the blue and white cattleya orchid print offered the correct partisan colors. To finish the patriot look, I added bakelite in red, black, and yellow plus a red MAK cardigan to match the small red accents in the print.

Kamehameha Vintage Dress
Kamehameha Vintage Dress

This specific style and print have been favorites of mine for awhile now. Special thanks to Erika of Frosted Kookie Vintage for letting me take it off her hands!

Disney Bound? NerdBound!

Haunted Mansion Skirt

I don’t consider myself much of a “Disney bounder,” but I do love me some Disney theme park and I especially love 1. the Haunted Mansion attraction at both American Disney resorts and 2. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. I plan to attend my second “MNSSHP” this coming September, and will be wearing NerdBound’s Haunted Mansion Ghost-ess skirt when I go!

NerdBound is a unique Etsy shop run by my friend Gretchen Burneko, offering “bounding” basics for any fandom in virtually all sizes. While Disney-inspired gathered skirts are Gretchen’s bread-and-butter, she can custom make just about anything in any size. Her prices are more than reasonable and her pieces are well-made, comfortable, and look great! My favorite piece is this Ghost-ess skirt, inspired by the dark green costumes worn by female Haunted Mansion cast member, but I own and love her Tarzan’s Jane Porter-inspired skirt, as well. Continue reading “Disney Bound? NerdBound!”

A new mid century-style sari dress for the new year!

Happy new year! I’ve resolved to spend more time blogging this year, so I’m starting with my New Year’s Eve outfit. After seeing a beautiful mid century-style sari dress by Jeannette Redhead of Redhead’s Vintage on the Ooh La La! Vintage Facebook group, I promptly ordered one.

Sari Dress

I’ve always loved the bright blue sari dress worn by Shirley MacLaine in the 1960 classic film Ocean’s Eleven, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have one of my own! While we couldn’t find a sari in quite the right blue color, Jeannette did discover several gorgeous color options for me. I picked a rich emerald green with gold accents and she got straight to work. Continue reading “A new mid century-style sari dress for the new year!”

Kittens and Pom-Poms And A Three Day Weekend Friday: A Guest Blog

Poet and teacher Nicole Henares is a huge fan of vintage and pinup fashion. She recently reviewed a Pinup Girl Clothing Mary Blair kitten print Heidi dress (size L) with flair! You can explore her other amazing work at http://www.aurelialorca.com/.

Nicole’s kitty Heidi

Love: A good fabric, a delightful print. I have found a name, a cartoon character – Miss Frizzle.  Except I do not have a magic school bus, or a pet iguana on my shoulder. I am a high school English teacher with three cats, The Empurress Velvet, and the boys, the bards of meow who purr in iambic pentameter – William Shakespurr and Mister Edgar Allan Paw. One of my students asked me today if the print on my dress was sushi?  The print is not sushi, it is Mary Blair’s kittens drinking from a bowl.  Honestly, I wish I had gone down a size in this dress, but with a belt and a camisole it works.  The belt it came with it didn’t have any grommets so I went instead with a wide buckled patton leather  belt and an old Betsey Johsnon capped sleeve cropped sweater with little pom-pom ties at the top.  Honestly, between the pom-poms and the kittens, good grief. However, on a Friday before a three day weekend I need pom poms and Mary Blair’s kittens. Shakespurr eyed the pom-poms when I got dressed.  “Forget about it,” I told him.  Though Velvet is the one who has been known to attack pom-poms:  many years ago I had a poncho with the most adorable pom-poms, until…..

Pom-poms!

Fashion & Style Influences: Mary Blair at Pinup Girl Clothing

Mary Blair train border print skirt.

I always tell people that my basic style descends from a combination of Bettie Page (e.g. the bangs), film costume designer Edith Head (e.g. bangs, Mexican and gypsy skirts), and artist Mary Blair. It’s an odd mix, but it begins to make sense if you know me fairly well and think on it for a few moments. You may be aware that my signature hair accessory is a black grosgrain ribbon, something I picked up years ago from photos of Blair. I’m also a huge fan of the colors and shapes she incorporated into her artwork and designs for everything from Disney films and theme park attractions (It’s a Small World!) to advertisements to fashion.

Mary Blair at work, with pony tail and bangs.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Pinup Girl Clothing announced that they would be adapting some of Blair’s (non-Disney, of course) art to fabrics for a special “Magic of Mary Blair” collection, but I ended up ordering and enjoying several of the pieces. Most items from the collection are existing Pinup Girl Clothing staple pieces, like the popular gathered Jenny skirt and Ella dress, that feature commercial illustrations by Blair. Some of the art comes from textile prints (like the parasols) and others from things like advertisements (e.g. the kittens). They are all constructed from PUG’s favorite cotton sateen fabrics, which look and wear well in casual settings. Continue reading “Fashion & Style Influences: Mary Blair at Pinup Girl Clothing”

Style influences: Piero Gherardi and Anita Ekberg, La Dolce Vita

Like most people, I get my style cues from so many different sources I can’t keep track of them all. More, I’m sure a huge proportion of my influences are so subliminal I couldn’t articulate them if I wanted to. That said, the spirit of self-exploration has taken hold and inspired me to try. So with that, I’m presenting my first style influences. Not the first in the chronological sense of my life, but the first I’m bringing to the blog: Piero Gherardi – art, set, and costume designer for many of Federico Fellini’s iconic films – and the luminous Anita Ekberg, one of the talented female stars of my favorite Fellini, La Dolce Vita (1960).

Sylvia’s Fountain Dress from La Dolce Vita at a Cinecitta exhibition on Fellini. Photo by Cassia Afini via Wikimedia.

Since Ekberg just passed away, she’s a logical first choice. The designs that she – and everyone else in La Dolce Vita – wore also happen to be some of my favorite clothes ever. Her strapless velvet gown from the famous Baths of Caracalla and Trevi Fountain scenes is legendary, but I’d love it even if it were 1/1,000,000th as famous as it is. With its sweetheart neckline, carefully-engineered bodice, and sweeping, diaphanous silk underlayers, it’s truly a dream dress. The way Ekberg whirls through the Caracalla scene, it’s almost like the dress has taken on a life of its own.

Sylvia dances at the Baths of Caracalla in La Dolce Vita.

My other favorite Ekberg ensemble from the film includes the off-shoulder, v-neck lace top her character, Sylvia, wears during the press suite scene soon after her arrival in Rome. It’s perfect – just the right balance of structure and femininity, balanced delicately on the pinnacle fulcrum of the best fashion era that ever was or will be – the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Sylvia’s lace top

It helps that Ekberg didn’t have a standard body. While not exactly plus, she had bigger curves than the average actress and looked amazing. This inspired me, as a girl who is nothing if not curvy.