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How to rock a backless vintage style gown without your bra showing!

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Estevez for Grenelle dress 1956

Backless dress by Estevez for Grenelle  1956

Because we sell backless or low back original vintage or vintage inspired evening gowns on our website, we frequently get asked by customers what type of bra to wear with this style.  So I thought it would be helpful to do a post focusing on this.

Backless gowns are an iconic look for formal evening dress. Just think of Jean Harlow in her slinky bias cuts gowns with their plunging low backs.  Though the backless style was quite popular in the 30s, it is actually  timeless, showing up in evening wear from many different eras.. It’s an alluring alternative to low cut cleavage baring looks if you don’t wish to expose too much flesh in front, but still want to appear sensual and enticing.  Because there is no doubt that a woman revealing her back in a dress is extremely sexy in an elegant, understated way.

But,  in order to pull off this style, you need to wear the proper bra, unless you’re perky enough to get away without! The rest of us need something to hold us up in front without the tackiness of showing the bra strap in back, hence undoing that chic, sensual Hollywood glam look we are trying to create.

Luckily there are options. Some may work better than others, depending on how much support you need in front. And if you’re wondering what they wore back in the day for a solution to the backless style…..

Stick on bras from 1949

Stick on bras from 1949

image source

Even back in 1949 they had stick on bras. These remind me of the raviolis I used to make with my Nonna!But today there are several brands of stick on bras to choose from that offer that totally strap free experience.  And they are perfect for backless styles as long as you don’t have to support more than a C cup.

NuBra

NuBra

My favorite brand is the NuBra  with a sticky silicone material that is, well, really sticky!  I find they adhere quite well and are easy to care for.

Backless longline bra 1956

Backless longline bra 1956

Then there’s the backless longline style of brassiere.  Here’s what they looked like back in the 50s.  Not very different from the ones that are available today.  They offer much more support that the stick on ones above.

Backless bra from Bramania

Backless bra from Bramania

This lowback longline bra  from Bramania comes in white, ivory and black and at $30.00 is a great price for the added support it will give you. Shop for it here.

Bra for very low backed dress 1956

Bra for very low backed dress 1956

And this interesting looking invention from 1956 is a regular bra with very long straps that attach to a band that circles the waist to hold everything in place. This offered a solution for support combined with the ability to work with a very low backed dress. Of course, this was meant for a dress with sleeves or wide straps. And I’m not sure with the sides of the bra attached to those thin straps if it would end up moving out out of place during the evening. I’d like to try retrofitting one of my own bras to look like this and see how it would “hold up!”

Bra extender from Nordstrom's

Bra extender from Nordstrom’s

I did find something at Nordstrom’s that works in a similar fashion, though not quite as low.  A strap extender that attaches to a regular bra, crosses in back and attaches in front.  I also found an easy tutorial for how to make your own low back bra extender. This is a great idea for bras you already own that have two or three hooks on them.

So there you have it. And if you have any of your own recommendations for backless  bras, please feel free to share!

Have a glamourous day!

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Lesser Known Label-Miss Elliette, the Queen of Chiffon

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Not everyone who loves to wear vintage fashion can afford to invest in collectible top tier designer pieces. But there are still plenty of more affordable labels to choose from where you can get yourself an extremely well made dress or suit. Clothes that will surely retain or even increase in value over time, considering how much more difficult it has become to find good quality vintage clothing in fine condition.

One of these labels is “Miss Elliette”,  a California dress company started by  Elliette Ellis that was in business from the 1950s through the 1990s..  Love her name! Reminds me of  a character from a romance novel or classic film character.

Ms. Ellis was born in  Montreal, Quebec.  She started painting when she was just a young girl and always dreamed of becoming an artist. But when she eventually left home for New York to attend art school, she noticed how so many talented  artists in Greenwich Village were struggling to get by.  Knowing she didn’t want to become another starving artist, she decided on a fashion design career instead and ended up attending the Traphagen School of Fashion.

From an article in The Telegraph in 1968, explaining why she choose fashion design.  “I loved clothes and never saw them as I liked them to be- romantic and feminine.” And if there is one thing that stands out about  Miss Elliette designs it’s their extravagant use of chiffon in party dresses and evening gowns. Can’t get much more romantic and feminine than that!

From the age of 18 she had dreams of owning her own business. After school she worked for dress manufacturer Carl Naftal, where she learned the garment business.  Instead of a salary, she took a percentage of the profits from the  apparel she designed. And she actually ended up making quite a substantial sum from the sales.

She eventually married an insurance executive, moved to Los Angeles, and started her own business in 1952. Her fashion philosophy, according to the article, was that regardless of what the male designers were doing,  she believed most women wanted to look  feminine, particularly for evening. And she provided her customers with plenty of yards of floaty chiffon, ruffles and sequins to satisfy the most romantic of tastes. And according to this 1972  newspaper article Ms. Elliette’s fashion house purchased undyed chiffon and actually dyed it to match the color of flowers. At that time they offered 35-40 different shades!

1960s Red chiffon Miss Elliette party dress

1960s Red chiffon Miss Elliette party dress

Above is a lovely red chiffon Miss Elliette party dress  from the early 1960s that we recently acquired.  Currently available on our website

Her earlier designs are considered very desirable. So keep an eye out for this lesser known label!

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Classic Dames of TV & Film Halloween Costume Ideas Part 2

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This is my second post on Halloween costume ideas inspired by iconic characters of television and film and the dames who played them.  See Part 1 for additional ideas.

My next favorite character type-

The Flamboyant Vivacious and audacious, she takes the screen by storm and leaves us dazzled with her attention getting outfits that complement her larger than life personality.  These next two gutsy characters epitomize the flamboyant dame.

Sassy, brassy Mae West, in pretty much any of her movies, had a signature look that included an exaggerated, hour glass figure poured into a glitzy gown.  If you don’t already have this type of figure,  use of  waist cinchers, padded bras and derriere enhancing shapewear  will help you pull off this look.  The gown needs to hug the torso and thighs, then flair out into the floor in a sweeping hemline. Think mermaid dress. Mae West’s dresses literally looked like they were painted on. Golden curls are a must and should be topped off with some type of wide brimmed hat  loaded with feathers. Set the hat at a rakish side angle. Add a ton of rhinestone jewelry and maybe a feather boa or fluffy fur wrap. You can’t over do this costume.  The more glitz the better.  For makeup, smokey eyes and a pouty slash of red lipstick.

Mae West-Left "She Done Him Wrong" Right- "Go West Young Man"

Mae West in “She Done Him Wrong” on left, “Go West Young Man”  on right

Auntie Mame, the  delightful and indomitable eccentric with a serious flair for the dramatic in her attire. Whether you want to channel her character as played by Rosalind Russell, Constance Bennett or Sylvia Sidney, the one thing that stands out about Mame, no matter who  played her,  is her penchant for the bohemian and exotic.  Her style was tres chic with a heavy dollop of whimsy. She was the hostess with the mostest who really rocked exotic lounge wear in a big way. Asian print silk pajamas,  vintage kimonos and metallic ethnic print wraps will do the trick here. Add a pair of satin evening slippers and a long jeweled cigarette holder.

Rosalind Russell and Sylvia Sidney in Auntie Mame

Rosalind Russell and Sylvia Sidney as Auntie Mame

Images sources (left)          (right)

Scream Queens And last, but not least!  In keeping with the tradition of Halloween, my final costume category will be the Scream Queens. Horror film’s beautiful and unfortunate women who find themselves living our worst nightmares. Both choices are classic.

Tipps Hedren as Melanie Daniels

Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in “The Birds”

Image source 

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) in the film The Birds (1963.) In this legendary Hitchcock film, nature goes terribly awry when the birds in a small California town begin to converge and attack it’s citizens…with deadly consequences.  Socialite, Ms. Daniels, is caught dab smack in the middle of it all.

Our character is always smartly dressed, generally in matching skirt or dress ensembles a la 60s style.  Straight skirt and cropped boxy jacket, preferably in green.  Pointy toe pumps and blonde bouffant hair-do. However the most important accessories are the birds and blood!  So muss up that bouffant wig and glue a fake crow on top. Pin another two or three birds to your outfit, rip some holes in it and don’t forget the fake blood spattered on your face and clothing. You need to look like you were being pecked to death by the birds! Fake birds can be found at many big craft shops. floral supply stores and costume shops. For the most dramatic effect use birds that have their wings open.

 

Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in King Kong

Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in King Kong

Image source

Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) in the film King Kong (1933). On a remote tropical island, beautiful Ann Darrow faces peril after becoming the object of affection of a monstrous gorilla, King Kong. After being dragged through the jungle by her massive admirer, Ann’s outfit is a little worse for wear. Some of her most memorable scenes are in a shredded dress which reveals the better part of her silk slip beneath. The bodice has been reduced to a rag clinging to one shoulder and her skirt is in tatters. Any white lacey vintage slip will work. For the dress, shred up a plain day dress that buttons up the front.  Find something that is already in poor condition. You can find distressed vintage dresses on Etsy, just use the words “for study” or “repurpose” in your search. Or pick up something cheap at a thrift store that you don’t mind ruining. Like so many of the silver screen starlets of the day, her hair was bottle blonde and wavy. And if you’re really creative you could sew together a giant gorilla hand, stuff it, and wrap it around your waist!

Do you have any cool Halloween costume ideas based on tv and film characters?  Please share :)

 

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Halloween Costume Ideas Inspired by Legendary Dames of TV and Film-Part 1

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Halloween dress up is just a few weeks away, the time of year when you can unleash your inner fantasy girl with complete abandon.  Need inspiration? There is no better source than Hollywood when it comes to bigger than life dames, from Ingénue to Femme Fatale and everything in between. Not sure where to begin? There are tons of online blogs, Pinterest pages and websites dedicated to movie and television  idols. Just do a search for greatest female characters or female stars of the silver screen. Once you have found your muse the next step is getting the look.  In this two part blog I’m going to pick 5 different leading lady character types. For each one I’ll list two legendary actresses and talk costume. So let’s get started.

1. The Ingénue She is young, innocent and spirited. Irresistible to all. Two top character examples of the Ingénue are…

Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961. Holly’s chic, café society look is quite easy to capture.  Start with a simple little black dress, sheath style and fitted. Add a multi strand pearl necklace and long black gloves. Finish with nude stockings and black pumps. Holly’s signature hairstyle is a French twist or updo with lots of volume. Go heavy on the eyeliner. Other accessories to consider would be a long cigarette holder and a little black purse.

 

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Go Lightly

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Go Lightly

Publicity still from Breakfast at Tiffany’s- Image source Vintage Movie Star Photos

Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells) from TV show Gilligan’s Island in the mid 1960s. Mary Ann embodies wholesome. Her look is fresh as a daisy and easy to emulate. Short, shorts (cut off jeans are fine) and a cropped sun top or camp shirt, tied up under the bust. Handkerchief prints or gingham work for her girl next door look .   Wear hair in side pony tails with lots of tease on top. Pony tails should be tied with white ribbon bows. If you really want to go all out, do a beach bunny spray tan. Complete the outfit with classic white Keds sneakers.

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers

Dawn Wells publicity photo-Image source Retrocrush

2. The Femme Fatale  Seductive, mysterious and fraught with danger. She manipulates men to do her bidding and plays with their heart, often with tragic consequences. Two iconic Femme Fatale characters are….

Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwick) Double Indemnity,1944. Stanwick plays a bombshell housewife with dark ambitions.  This housewife prefers tight fitting sweaters with a high neckline, NO exposed décolleté, that’s important. Sweater should be a soft pastel or cream color. A simple form fitting high waisted black skirt comes next, something that accents the derriere. Belt cinched below the waistline.  Black  pumps, nude stockings  and dark sunglasses. It’s all about looking proper with a seductive twist. Hair for this look should be golden blonde in a shoulder length 40s style with bangs. Stanwyck wore a wig in the film and you can find similar style wigs online.

Barbara Stanywyck as Phillis Dietrichson-Double Indemnity

Barbara Stanywyck as Phillis Dietrichson-Double Indemnity

 Barbara Stanwyck in Double Idemnity-Img source Gallery Hip 

Gilda (Rita Hayworth) 1946 . Rita plays the provocative sex goddess who taunts and teases every man around her.  Slinky, shoulder baring, hour glass dress in satin fabric, slit to the upper thigh.   Long black gloves, glittery rhinestone necklace and strappy black heels.  Arched eyebrows and crimson lips for makeup and the crowning glory…  waves of long red hair parted to the side.

Rita Hayworth as Gilda

Rita Hayworth as Gilda

 3. TV Moms.    From the wholesome Jean Cleaver to the sex bomb Peg Bundy in Married with Children, to the wild,wacky Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous,   sitcom Moms are an iconic figure in television history. So lots of costume ideas to choose from.  Here are two of my favorites.

Lucy Arnez (Lucille Ball) TV sitcom I love Lucy, 1950s.  Quirky and endearing Lucy was always getting herself in and out of trouble. Her fiery red hair is trademark and a must if you want to do this costume justice. Lucy is known for full skirt dresses with polka dots or check prints and white collars but any 50s full skirt cotton dress will do as long as you wear a petticoat and apron.

Lucy photo lucilleball4copy.jpg

 

Img source Photobucket

And then there’s there’s the dark comedy of Carolyn Jones, as the mom to her very strange Addams Family. Morticia  makes a great gothic Mom costume for Halloween.   Long black form fitting gown that flares toward the hem.  Deep V neckline and long sleeves. Attach panels of black chiffon or netting to the sleeves.  Wig of long black hair that parts in the middle.  Carry one red rose.

The Addams Family with mom Morticia at center

The Addams Family with mom Morticia at center

Stay tuned for part 2 in my Halloween Costume post.

Have a glamorous day!

 

 

 

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Hollywood Glamour Fashion Exhibit-MOFA Boston- Part 2

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Last week’s blog was Part 1 on my visit to the Hollywood Glamour Exhibit at the  Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, including photos of beautiful movie costumes, info on the famous designers who created them and the actresses who were lucky enough to wear these beautiful outfits. Today is my second installment of photos and facts on these iconic fashions from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Travis Banton hostess gown worn by Marlene Dietrich

Travis Banton hostess gown worn by Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich in Desire (1936)

Marlene Dietrich in Desire (1936)

In 1936 Marlene Dietrich played a jewel thief in Paramount Pictures, Desire.  She steals a valuable strand of pearls named “tears of the mermaid.” Love that name!
Travis Banton, whose imagination and designing skills were directly responsible for the mystique of Ms. Dietrich’s character, incorporated chiffon, fur and feathers for probably the most glamorous hostess gown I think I’ve every seen!

Edith Head design for Betty Grable

Edith Head design for Betty Grable

Betty Grable in gold lame gown designed by Edith Head

Betty Grable in gold lame gown designed by Edith Head for This Way Please (1937)

I have to admit, I do love me some shimmer!  And shimmery fabrics, like the gold lamé  used in this fabulous halter gown, were used quite a bit during the early eras of cinema as the fabric translated beautifully on black and white film.  Edith Head designed this for Betty Grable in the movie This Way Please (1937). 

FUN FILM FASHION FACT- Aside from looking beautiful on screen, with the advent of  the  “Talkies” ,  soft, flowing fabrics like chiffon, lamé and satin were often used because they didn’t make any distracting noise that could be picked up by microphones.

Two piece outfit designed by Irene for Greer Garson

Two piece outfit designed by Irene for Greer Garson

Greer Garson in Julia Misbehaves (194*

Greer Garson in Julia Misbehaves (1948)

Above is Greer Garson in a photo from Julia Misbehaves (1948) wearing a blouse and skirt designed by Irene Lentz.  Usually referred to as just  Irene, she was a California fashion designer who ended up working for MGM in the 1940s after Gilbert Adrian left there.  She is known for her evening gowns and exquisite tailoring.  I absolutely love this two piece ensemble. Though it is not as formal as some of the other outfits in the exhibit, this is one I could totally envision myself wearing to a fancy cocktail party or dinner. That is if I were fortunate enough to to find something even remotely as lovely as this!  The embroidered design around the neckline and down front of the blouse along with the shimmery satin overskirt adds just the right amount of interest to take simple separates to a whole new level of glamour.

Schiaparelli gown for Mae West

Schiaparelli gown for Mae West

Mae West in Every Day's a Holiday (1938)

Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday (1938)

Famous Paris couture designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, created this rich purple silk embroidered wool twill dress for Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday (1938).  Set in the Gay Nineties the costumes from this movie inspired Ms Schiaparelli’s 1939 clothing line, which was sold in department stores. Even back then women wanted to wear celebrity fashion!

FUN FILM FASHION FACT-  Mae West’s curvaceous figure, which measured 35-25-35, was the inspiration for Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Shocking” perfume bottle.

Mae West's custom platform shoes

Mae West’s custom platform shoes

And last, but not least, these fascinating platform shoes made of wood and leather, were specially designed for Mae West.  Because she was only 5 feet tall, these shoes within a shoe added another 8 1/2″ to her height.  Heck I thought the platform shoes I wore in the 70s were tall!   In all her movies she always had on long dresses, so all you could see were the silver shoes peeking out from beneath. Ingenious, yes?  I wonder if it took much practice for her to get used to walking in them.

Which oufit is your favorite?

Have a glamorous day!

 

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Fabulous Old Hollywood Fashion at Museum of Fine Arts- Boston- Part 1

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Hollywood Glamour exhibit at MOFA Boston

Hollywood Glamour exhibit at MOFA Boston

Back from a recent trip to New England where I was  very fortunate to catch the Hollywood Glamour  exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  On display were gowns designed by some of the early movie industry’s most famous costumers.  I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to be so close to such amazing creations, outfits that were actually worn by legendary actresses of the 20s, 30s and 40s.   And since cameras were allowed, I was able to take photos to share.   I’ve broken the post up into two parts since I got a little carried away with the picture taking.  So come back to see the rest of these beauties!

Travis Banton gown for Mary Ellis- Paris in Spring 1935

Travis Banton gown for Mary Ellis- Paris in Spring 1935

This lamé gown was front and center of the exhibit and was simply breathtaking in person.
Attributed to Travis Banton, who designed this for actress Mary Ellis in the movie
Paris in Spring (1935).

Mary Ellis-Paris in Spring 1935

Mary Ellis-Paris in Spring 1935

FUN FILM FASHION FACT - In the very early years of film, designers had to experiment with ways to make the costumes really stand out on black and white film.  And some designs were problematic for the camera, such as dresses heavily embellished with jewels. So often they used cold cream to dull the finish on stones so they would not cause camera glare.

Chanel 20s beaded dress

Chanel 20s beaded dress

 

Actress Ina Claire in Chanel dress-1926

Actress Ina Claire in Chanel dress-1926

Chanel designed for stage and screen. And in the early 1930s she created costumes for a few films at  Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  But according to the studio her design aesthetic of simple, elegant silhouettes didn’t translate well on the silver screen. So, though she is one of the most famous fashion designers of all time, her Hollywood costume design career was short lived.

Travis Banton dress for Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own (1932)

Travis Banton dress for Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own (1932)

Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own

Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own

Another Travis Banton beauty.  This silk chiffon gown is completely embroidered with bugle beads and silver metallic thread.   The tiny beads created a luminous, shimmering effect on film.  Plunging necklines and backs were a hallmark of 1930s fashions, and the figure hugging silhouette could only look its best with no undergarments worn beneath.  Being as it was pre-code, racy dresses like this were still allowed on the screen.

Adrian black velvet gown designed for Greta Garbo in Inspiration  1930

Adrian black velvet gown designed for Greta Garbo in Inspiration 1930

Great Garbo publicity photo for Inspiration 1930

Great Garbo publicity photo for Inspiration 1930

This luxurious black silk velvet gown with bejewelled neckline that Greta Garbo is wearing was designed by the famous Gilbert Adrian for her role in Inspiration (1930). Adrian began dressing Garbo when he came to work for MGM in 1928.  The style of clothing he designed for Ms Garbo helped form her onscreen persona, which was often that of a mysterious, devastatingly alluring, femme fatale.

Gilbert Adrian gown for Jean Harlow in Bombshell (1933)

Gilbert Adrian gown for Jean Harlow in Bombshell (1933)

Jean Harlow in Bombshell

Jean Harlow in Bombshell

In the movie Bombshell Gilbert Adrian was going for a good girl/bad girl look for Jean Harlow.   Sensuous silk satin was used that would caress the actresse’s curves, a low neckline and plunging draped back combined with the flowers and multi tiered peplum is a wonderful contrast of sexy and sweet.

FUN FILM FASHION FACT- This is the gown Jean Harlow wore when she added her hand prints in the wet cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1933.

Robert Kalloch deisgn for Noma Shearer in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Robert Kalloch deisgn for Noma Shearer in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Close up of evening jacket designed by Robert Kalloch

Close up of evening jacket designed by Robert Kalloch

Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

This stunning evening jacket, designed by Robert Kalloch for Norma Shearer to wear for Her Cardboard Lover (1942), is made of a rayon twill with silver metallic threads and embroidered with intricate bugle beads and sequins.   Robert Kalloch was not quite as well known as some of the other Hollywood designers like Adrian, Banton and Orry Kelly, but he did have an impressive career in fashion, which began  with him designing extravagant evening gowns for royalty, the social elite and costumes for stage actresses.  Eventually Columbia Pictures brought him to Hollywood to add some style and class to their films.  He also designed for MGM studios from 1941-43.

That’s all for now! Part 2 coming soon…..

Hope you enjoyed my little show and tell on Hollywood fashion history!

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How to Dress in Feminine 50s Style for a Late Summer Garden Wedding

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50s garden party

50s garden party

Contemporary brides are increasingly being enticed by the late summer garden as a preferred venue for their special day. Emerald lawns, balmy breezes and classic blossoms create a dreamy sense of nostalgia and romance, the perfect setting for unapologetic feminine style if ever there was one. The fashions of the 1950s and early 60s, celebrated the glory of femininity and vintage dresses from that time offer an ideal choice for the alternative bride or her guests who are looking for a pretty, yet less formal look.

Swaying skirts and nipped in waists… lovely florals, exquisite details and pretty prints, all designed to make a woman feel her most beautiful. Today’s vintage market provides an array of captivating choices and a reputable vintage dealer should be able to make suitable suggestions and will help you with sizing and fit. They might advise you on the subject of appropriate undergarments. Dresses from the 50s and early 60s are made to show off the figure and can look even better with the help of good foundation garments. A petticoat is not necessary but it will create a lovely flair to the skirt, again, a seasoned dealer will help you to pick the best one for the cut of your dress.

Once you have found your perfect frock the right accessories will add polish and even a bit of fun to your look. Comely shoes are a must and so is the perfect little handbag. For shoes you can choose to highlight a matching color from the dress or stick with the basics like white, bone or black. When in doubt,  patent leather is a time honored, summer choice which can be worn with virtually any dress. You will want to coordinate a smart little vintage purse or clutch and for those of you who prefer bold you might even consider a summery straw  tote or shoulder bag. No need to match shoes to bag, unless of course, that is your preference.

Jewelry, hats and even scarves can add further signature to your look. If you are wearing a sleeveless dress, with open décolleté, then you might consider tying a long chiffon scarf around your throat and letting it drape down the back. Infuse a touch of sparkle to your ensemble with a pair of vintage crystal cluster clips or a dash of innocence with a delicate ear drop and you can never go wrong with pearls. Little lacey gloves, vintage sunglasses, a wide brim hat, a silk rose tucked behind the ear…so many different ways to tie in your own sense of expression. One final touch… for all of you sentimental romantics, tuck a dainty vintage hanky in your bag, to have at ready during the ceremony

So…in this day of casual attire…boho tops and jeans, t-shirts and shorts, capris, hoodies, flip flops… as opportunity to get ones girly-girl on keeps dwindling, it’s comforting to know that a grand exception remains. We will always have weddings, especially those lovely summer garden weddings where a woman can dress-up to her hearts content.

Below are some feminine 50s outfits put together for your summer garden wedding inspiration.

50s pointellist print sundress

50s pointellist print sundress

1950s pointellist print dress, 34 bust/26 waist,  ivory Mary Jane pumps, summery vintage shoulder bag and  dainty flower earrings.

1950s floral print Jerry Gilden dress

1950s floral print Jerry Gilden dress

1950s Jerry Gilden Dress, 36 bust 28 waist,  with dainty floral print, navy patent heels, vintage navy mesh purse and blue bead cluster clip earrings

1950s floral chiffon cape collar party dress

1950s floral chiffon cape collar party dress

1950s floral chiffon dress, 42 bust 33 waist,  with gathered shawl collar and open décolleté, little lace gloves, white Mary Jane pumps and aurora borealis cluster clip earrings.

Classic Dame brand 50s style apple green halter dress

Classic Dame brand 50s style apple green halter dress

 Classic Dame brand 50s style apple green cotton sateen halter dress ,  green rosette earrlngs, black cinch belt,  black  mesh clutch and black satin d’orsay pumps. The black accents lend an air of sophistication that would work beautifully for an early evening garden wedding. Dress available in sizes Small-XLarge

Have a glamorous day!

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Midnight Lace- The way to wow at your next special event

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You need an outfit for an upcoming formal affair.

The mission~ Find something classy that exudes sex appeal in an understated, yet tantalizing way. Like something  Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth would wear back in the day.  You want to show off your womanly figure, but not in a Kardashian kind of way, if you know what I mean. And you want to dazzle every male at the event!

Also, has to be easy on the wallet!

The solution~The gown below. Because you can’t go wrong with what I call the “Midnight Lace” classic glamour look.  The combination of black lace and a curve hugging silhouette evokes images of femininity, lingerie, the boudoir, everything that gets a man’s neurons firing at the speed of light.  Yet this evening dress does not  have a high slit that barely covers, nor is it cut too low at the neckline, which leaves plenty to the imagination. And if there is one thing that piques a guy’s interest it’s bit of mystery.

Just think about it, they’re born problem solvers.  After gazing at you in your devastatingly demure dress, they’ll be trying to figure out all night how to make the proper approach, all the while fantasizing about the treasure that lies beneath!  A technique burlesque dancers refer to  as “The Art of the Tease.”  Show just enough to make them want to see more. And it has worked for ions.

Curve hugging midnight lace over teal jersey evening gown

Curve hugging midnight lace over teal jersey evening gown

The gown has flattering ruching down the front, a pretty scalloped lace neckline that dips to a provocative V in back, hugs your curves to the lower thigh, then flares out beautifully below.  It has a seriously sensuous drape because of the jersey fabric beneath. As you saunter across the room (you should practice your sauntering before the party), the fabric undulating hypnotically as you walk is sure to have a mesmerizing effect!

1 Lace gown   $110.00  2. Gloves $28.99  3. Evening Bag $24.99 4. Heels  54.95  5. Earrings $10.99 6.Bracelet 29.99

But to really pull off a seductive classic glamour look, you also need the right accessories,  makeup and hair.  The proper heels,  long satin evening gloves,  glitzy vintage inspired rhinestone jewelry, red lipstick and wavy or curled hair  parted to the side will complete your tantalizing vintage look.

Marilyn in Black lace over red dress

Marilyn in Black lace over red dress

Image source

Rita Hayworth publicity photo

Rita Hayworth publicity photo

 

Have a glamorous day!

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Top Ten Tips for your First Pin up Photo Session

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Amanda Lee pin up model poses for Blue Velvet Vintage shoot. Photography by Doug Monce of  Atomic Age Pictures

Amanda Lee pin up model poses for Blue Velvet Vintage shoot. Photography by Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures

At Blue Velvet Vintage we often utilize photographers, models, makeup and hair stylists for our vintage style web images and advertisitng. And a while ago I also did a post about my very first pinup shoot and how, after my initial self consciousness, I was able to relax and have fun.  Because of my own  experience with this personally, and in business, I thought I’d offer up my Top Ten Tips for your First Pinup Shoot to help anyone considering this fun way to have a day of pampering and end up with fabulous photos of yourself as well!  There’s no doubt that part of what can make the experience less stressful is being well prepared.   Following these tips will definitely help things go more smoothly on the day of your shoot.

1. Research
Before you call and make an appointment, start looking for inspiring images in books, magazines and online.  Whether it’s classic movie stars or famous  pin up and burlesque beauties of the past,  this research will help you narrow down your choices and give you some great ideas for hair, makeup and wardrobe.

2. Communicate
When you do book your appointment it’s a good idea to let your photographer know what sort of theme you are envisioning for your shoot, i.e. Old Hollywood Glamour, sexy 50s housewife, 1920s vamp,  40s swimsuit pinup a la Betty Grable, etc.  Send her any digital images you’ve saved so she’ll know what look you’re going for. Also, whether you want to shoot outdoors or indoors.  That way she can make suggestions about backgrounds, props and best time of day for lighting,  if shooting outside. Also, ask if they provide wardrobe and/or accessories. But most studios will also let you bring your own outfit.

Most of the time hair and makeup, and sometimes a stylist,  is included in the price, but ask just to be sure.

3.Practice
Once you’ve done your research, start trying out poses and facial expressions in your mirror at home.  Practice  the ones you like best repeatedly until you feel comfortable with them. You can even try and enlist a friend to take some quick shots to see how you look.  It’s tough to try and just wing it when you get there. Though a good photographer can direct you, it always makes things easier if you already got a few poses down pat.

4.Under Garments
If you are bringing your own clothing, make sure to try on your outfit with all the appropriate undergarments, including shapewear, to make sure everything will look the way you want it to!  If the studio is providing your wardrobe, ask the stylist or photographer what type of underwear or support garments you should bring.

5.Hair
According to many hair stylists I’ve talked to,  freshly washed hair can be harder to style for those intricate vintage hairdos.  So, unless your have extremely oily tresses, it has been recommended that you do not wash and dry your hair the day of your shoot. Washing and drying the day before is better. And be sure not to use any styling products before hand.  Leave that to your stylist!

6.Legs
Unless stockings are already part of your outfit,  you may want to bring very sheer to waist pantyhose if you don’t have flawless skin on your legs.  If you have any spider veins, bruises, etc, the sheer hosiery will help cover them up and there will be less photo editing required post shoot. And whatever you do, don’t get a spray tan thinking they’ll cover up imperfections. That orange tinged look does not translate well with a vintage glamour look.

7.Skin
Make sure to drink plenty of water and moisturize after every shower. You want your skin to look as glowing as possible. And be sure to show up with a completely bare face so the makeup artist has a clean canvas to work with.

8.Hands and Feet
Get a manicure and pedicure a day or two before your session.  For an authentic vintage look red is the classic color of choice.  Your feet should look buffed and beautiful,  especially if your shots include showing them off!

9. Rest
Get plenty of sleep.  Go to bed early night before so you’ll look rested.  A late night that includes lots of partying will prevent you from looking your best and will make it more challenging for the makeup person who will have to cover up those dark circles under your eyes!

10. Relax
And last, but not least-It’s easy to feel pressured because a photo shoot is an investment and you want everything to be perfect. So if you’re feeling super anxious or self conscious try deep yoga breathing or even have a glass of wine if you need to loosen up a bit. Just remember, it’s supposed to be fun!

 

Any helpful tips to add?  Let me know!

 

Have a glamorous day!

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Get the Look!-Downton Abbey Dresses for the Bride and her Guests

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Summer is the perfect time to plan an outdoor Downton Abbey themed wedding, engagement party or bridal shower. The styles on the show portray the gentility of aristocratic ladies from the turn of the century into the 1920s.There is a definite aura surrounding these fashions, exuding that romantic, ladylike look of a bygone era.

You can certainly picture a bride and her guests strolling about on the lawn of a great estate or having high tea in a beautiful manicured garden while wearing these elegant dresses.

Whether you love the fashions from earlier seasons, which were Edwardian, or the more recent 1920s silhouettes, these styles are very appropriate for an outdoor affair with a classy Downton Abbey inspired high society theme.

Downton Abbey Edwardian fashion

Downton Abbey Edwardian fashion

Image source PBS

 

Downton Abbey 20s fashions

Downton Abbey 20s fashions

Below are styles we offer in Edwardian and 1920s looks.  Embroidered laces,  tulle and chiffon that are light and flowing, sure to keep you looking graceful and refined, no
matter how steamy it gets!

For more info on the dress below, go here!

Ivory embroidered tulle dress

Ivory embroidered tulle dress

Find these dresses here and here!

Downton Abbey inspired dresses

Downton Abbey inspired dresses available at Blue Velvet Vintage

Find this ivory and beige embroidered tulle dress here!

Ivory anf beige embroidered tulle 20s style dress

Ivory anf beige embroidered tulle 20s style dress

This ivory Edwardian style empire dress can be found here!

Ivory embroidered tulle Edwardian empire dress

Ivory embroidered tulle Edwardian empire dress

 

Of course, you need the right accessories to complete this early twentieth century look. Pair with parasols, white lace gloves, strands of pearls, t-strap heels and  cloche or wide brimmed straw hats festooned with flowers or bows and you’ll be styling in dreamy Downton Abbey fashion.

 

Have a glamorous day!

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