Friday, March 30, 2012

Loving lately {tips, links and tutorials}

Lovely links

Fleur from Diary of a Vintage Girl looks stunning in the sunlight

Miss Tallulah Porkchop looks adorable in her confetti dress!
Judith Boyd and the healing power of fashion (found on Advanced Style, but she also has her own blog called Style Crone)

It takes a special lady to look so stylish on a rainy day, it's Atomic Redhead!

It's difficult to go past this photo of Solanah in a dirndl! (from Vixen Vintage)

Michelle from Ravishing Retro shows us that style needn't be confined to special occasions, enter this dashing trio (featuring Jesse and Tim of like Johnny and June)

03.27.12 | outfit: puppy love
Aren't Casey and Maverick just the cutest things in the whole world? (from Elegant Musings)

More burlesque beauties at The Freelancer's Fashionblog

For lover's of Disney's Up (or balloons), here's a real-life flying balloon house!

Have a nice weekend!
What are you loving lately?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate brioche for breakfast

 Yesterday I had a serious chocolate craving, so as soon as I got home I started cooking these Mini Chocolate Brioches. Three hours later, I had these and some chocolate brownies too, for good measure. They are perfect with a cup of hot tea!
 Steaming up my camera!

Sorry about the extreme close-up of my less than poerfect thumb, but just focus on that oozing chocolate instead! Mmmmm.... such a decadent breakfast!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Australian Home Journal 1945 - 1954

I was lucky enough to find a few copies of Australian Home Journal hidden away inside an old dresser at the back of an Antique centre. Water damaged, musty and quietly fading away, I thought I better scan them for posterity. It's amazing how much fashion changed in under ten years, from the dramatic strong forties shoulders to the flirtatious full skirts of the fifties.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Loving lately... {inspiration round-up}

Lovely links

Fixing my hair
Only Johanna could look this stylish fixing her hair - from Johanna's blog
The Bright Young Twins are back, wearing Edwardian underwear like no-one else can! (Harriett above, Aimee below)

Quincy from Q's Daydream has a spring in her step, wearing a dress she designed and made herself

Renata from Hepcat Vintage looks superb in her new cardigan
The Freelancer's fashionblog shows us that Burlesque is for all body types and looks amazing doing it!
03.22.12 | outfit: as time goes by
Casey from Elegant Musings reworks a 70's frock to 40's perfection!

The always fabulous Miss Tallulah Porkchop swans around

Atomic Redhead looks very foxy indeed!

Follow Michelle from Ravishing Retro through a week of gorgeous outfits!

Something extra
  •  The Quiet Space is exactly as it says. Ideal for a stressfull day in a busy week.
  • Oh my, check out this vintage-plates wallpaper. Can't you just imagine the possibilities? (There's also Robots!! : P )
I'm obsessed with these Pantone colour tarts, could they be any sweeter?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Out and about {more from the Masquerade}

A real polaroid! (well... a real polaroid scan... )

 I always like seeing fellow bloggers post about parties they've been to or times out with friends, so I thought I might share some photos that have been surfacing from a few 21st's that I was lucky enough to celebrate!
Also, hello to any new readers! Thanks so much for stopping by!

 Out to dinner. I'm not sure why I look so suspicious, maybe because of all the salad left on my plate...
Wearing a Forever New dress and a 1920's velvet coat

 With one of the lovely birthday girls at her Masquerade!

vintage suit possibly a band uniform found at Canterbury vintage fair


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Interview with My Vintage Hat Shop {tips on dating vintage hats!}

I often get asked where I find my vintage hats and while there are many places you can find them, I've always had luck with one particular etsy store: MyVintageHatShop
Here's an interview I did with Tammy about finding, collecting and owning vintage hats!

Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello! My name is Tammy. I have been buying, selling and collecting vintage clothing since 1999. I also have a large collection of vintage catalogs, magazines and mannequins. My prize possession is Lillian my wax milliner's mannequin from the early 1900's.
I am the costumer for a couple of Hollywood based plays.

I am also a member of the Vintage Etsy Team. I am based in Orange County, CA

What attracted you to selling vintage, particularly vintage hats?

I started selling vintage clothing because of ebay. But I started wearing it in the 80's when I was a teenager. I didn't like the current styles. So I dressed in 50's clothes. I got interested in hats mainly because of a book called Vintage Hats and Bonnets. I just find them interesting. Each is a work of art.

Do you have a collection yourself? Do you have a favourite hat you’ve sold or owned?
My collection currently holds about 250 hats. 1870's to 1960's. My favorite hat is one I have from the 1870's that is also up for sale (see below)


How do you store and organise your hats?
I organize my hats by era. It especially helps me when it comes to costuming.

How do you go about dating vintage hats? Are there any key points to remember regarding different eras?

Good resources for dating vintage hats and clothing for that matter, are old magazines and catalogs. As you start to learn about vintage hats you don't need to go to the resources quite as much.

Some pointers to remember when dating hats:

Most pre 1930's hats have a lining that had the shop's or milliner's name stamped on it.

 Or a drawstring style lining

Most 30's, 40's and 50's hats had a grosgrain ribbon inside that functioned as a sweatband and most had a tag that stated the size along with a label.

A lot of 40's hats have some kind of loop, ribbon or flap to help hold them on

If you see the blue eagle NRA label the hat dates to 1933-1935 only.

A lot of 50's hats have prongs or inside wiring to help hold it to the head.
Do you have any tips or advice for buying vintage hats? The only tip I have if you're a collector is buy what you like! I just buy what makes me happy :)

Finally, would you consider offering a discount to my readers? I can offer a 20% discount. Coupon code 20PERCENT

Thank you so much Tammy! I really enjoyed learning more about vintage hats, who knew about the blue eagle sign? Plus browsing your shop is always a pleasure!

That's all folks!
Do you have a favourite place to find vintage hats? Or any tips on storing or dating vintage hats?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Green smoothie challenge

For a while I’ve been trying to be healthier. The first step: my diet.

Eating healthy has always been a problem for me, because eating brings me immense happiness. On a normal day, meals break up the hours. When I’m bored, I eat. When I don’t want to work, I eat. When I’m hungry, I eat (and even when I’m not, I eat). On a sad day, chocolate, cakes, croissants console me. On a cold day, hot soup and hearty casseroles bring me comfort. On a hot day, ice-cream and frozen slushies cool me. When I celebrate it’s with decant deserts, elaborate roasts and cheese; always, always cheese. Cheese. Creamy but sharp, crumbly but gooey, quiet or biting… Ahh cheese…

Anyway, I fear I’ve gotten off track.

Yes, I’m trying to be healthier and I felt eating healthy is probably the place to start. Because while I may make up excuses not to exercise (time poor, financially poor, motivation poor…), I will always eat, so why not eat something a little more nourishing and a bit less fattening?

Enter my devious plan. Breakfast.
I am a woman controlled by my stomach. Food brings me up, but also food (or the lack thereof it) brings me down. Down to depths you don’t want to see, depths you couldn’t imagine… Come dinnertime, without a morsel my nelly will growl and I will become a beast capable of unthinkable deeds. I will rip your head off in a single swipe, transform from a happy jokester to a ravaging beast in mere milliseconds. I will eat you alive.

Hence, breakfast is the perfect time to ambush my inner-animal and con it into eating healthy.
As long as it’s simple enough and quick enough to prepare, my Neanderthal-self will whip it up and consume it purely because it’s food and I will be hungry. So I’ve taken a leaf from Dita and I’m trying her dietician’s (Kimberly Snyder) Green Smoothie.

It’s essentially a mix of fruit and leafy vegetables (the spinach and lettuce being the “green” components) blended together. There are several versions online but I’ve just chosen to make my own variation using what I had around the house.

In my first smoothie batch there’s

  • 7 strawberries
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 passionfruit
  • 1 bananna
  • 1 stick of celery
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • a handful or two or lettuce (I just used iceberg)
  • half a bunch of spinach
  • the juice of half a lemon
To make, I blended this all together and froze it.

Now in the mornings, I’ll whip out a portion and blend it with some apple juice (or orange), till it’s a nice smooth consistency and that’s breakfast!

I know this is quite a step away from what I normally post, but I quite like hearing about what other people eat and how they remain fit, so I thought you might too. Plus, as motivation to keep this up, I’ve decided to challenge myself to 30 days of green smoothie breakfasts and I’ll keep you updated with my progress here on my blog.
So tell me what you think, how do you stay healthy? Do you have any healthy recipes you rely on? Feel free to join me on my smoothie challenge, I’d love to hear about your personal stories!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate and conversation

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write me a kind comment or piece of advice on my last post. This year marks the beginning of my English honours and I know it's going to be particularly challenging. This is both exciting and terrifying, and I'm just hoping I'll be able to do my best and that the fear doesn't paralyse me for too much longer...

I was given the delightful pleasure of lunching with my friend Nicolette earlier in the week and as I expected she looked every part the vintage glamour girl! Just look at that hair, those red lips and that dress (for the curious, she told me she found it at Tree of Life)!
Thank you Nicolette, I had a great time catching up and chatting, and I simply can't wait to do it again!

What is lunch without a bit of chocolate?
Brownie at Chicken and Fishhead, Beecroft

It's been all humidity in Sydney lately, so I decided to give up the curls and adopt a cheeky pink scarf, drawing inspiration from Ulyana Sergeenko. What do you think? Do you have any humidity secrets?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I wish I had something captivating to blog about today; a new outfit, a tempting online find, some secret vintage affairs... But unfortunately I don't.
I'm suffering from lack of inspiration.

A sort of humdrum that has plagued my mind for the past few months, broken only by a few brief spells of interest.
Lately it seems all my ideas are sterile, stale, dull. They lack the panache that I desire and leave me feeling empty, save for a paralysing fear that this is all my mind can produce. I silently plea that I'm not at my limits and hide myself away in a procrastinating haze.
I feel blogs are often forced to be positive and in most aspects this is a good thing. Blogs have become a place for people to share their successes and joys, but if you're the exception to the rule, the desolation sets in. Because for me,worse than being uninspired, is to be overwhelmed by exquisite work of someone else glaring obvious but so out of reach.
 So I thought I'd share my current faded feeling, in hope that perhaps one of my lovely readers has some advice.
What do you do when you are feeling uninspired or unmotivated? In fashion, at work, in your personal life... whenever you are feeling distinctly dreary in any area of your life, how do you pick yourself up and rediscover your creative side? Move from the muted to the radiance?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Dita's Von Follies Collection for Target

Reviewing Dita Von Teese’s designer lingerie for Target
Von Follies

Price range:
bras $39-45, underwear $17-27, corsets/girdles/chemise: $95-150

The good

·         Unlike a few of Dita’s other ventures, this line is reasonably priced and as a mid-range lingerie line, the quality does seem to equal what you’ve paid for. While more expensive than a typical Target brand bra, it is certainly still an affordable product (unlike the “My Cointreau Travel Essentials” or “My Private Cointreau Coffret” which came out of her collaboration with Cointreau, let alone her  so called “affordable” Muse dress line which ranges from $499-899!)

·         The line offers a multitude of styles from the more authentic to simply vintage-inspired. It also boasts a few plus size options.

The bad

·         Widely advertised as a lingerie line designed to cater to all sizes (particularly the more voluptuous), Dita’s line fell short. Though I am not hugely busty myself, I did notice that the plus size options were only in 2 select styles (in the first Target drop) and the other styles didn’t go past a DD. Furthermore, I found only bigger sizes stocked larger cups, meaning those who were petite but ample bosomed were not catered for.

·          In the opposite corner, those who aren’t gifted in the chest area would have found this range very frustrating. As a general rule, the cups in this range run large. So much so that I was buying two cup sizes below my normal stock standard (to illustrate, I’ve found that my standard size is compatible in every other brand I’ve tried such as Target, Bonds, Pleasure State and Elle Macpherson). In the first run of the line the smallest size offered was 10B, while the second line offered a few 10A’s in selected styles. Furthermore, only a few styles offered size 8 underwear and the distribution of the stock meant these were few and far between.

·         Miscellaneous sizing issues. Alongside the other sizing issues in the first batch (and a few styles from the second drop) of Von Follies there were no 10C’s to be found, not in various stores or online. This I put down to a production issue. 
The meh

·         In terms of style I was unimpressed with the first drop from Dita’s Von Follies range as it simply did not seem “vintage” enough. Though there were certainly some nice pieces, with all the sizing and production issues I didn’t think the extra cost was really worthwhile. Simply put, I felt that better quality lingerie could be found at similar prices from a higher-range label like Pleasure State or Elle Macpherson. Furthermore if vintage inspired pieces were your goal, I felt there was more to gain heading to What Katie Did or Kiss Me Deadly for quality and beautiful stock.

What I found particularly disappointing was her suspender options, as any seasoned seamed stocking wearer will know you really need good quality clips and straps to hold the seams in place. Dita has even tweeted about the importance of a six strap suspender belt. While this has vaguely been remedied with the “Von Follies Satin Quilting Corset”, none of the other suspenders look much more than “lingerie belts”. For more information read the Lingerie Addicts post How to Buy A Garter Belt

The details

Spot mesh bra in red and nude: All very beautiful, unfortunately I found the actual shape of the cup to be a bit strange. Probably because it’s “vintage inspired” the bra protrudes slightly across the horizontal seam, producing a triangle effect. Some people might really enjoy this as it mimics the bra shape of the forties, but I felt it sat awkwardly in the middle ground between modern melon styles and the bullet bras of yesteryear.  (For more on the 1940’s bust silhouette please read By gum By golly’s post )

(Just to clarify, I tried on all the bras in multiple sizes to make sure my assessment wasn’t based on poor fit and found the same “shape” problems regardless of size. However, it could simply be to do with the shape of my particular bust)

Von Follies Reverse Upside Down bra: Definitely my pick of the lot! This is certainly the most “vintage” inspired bra and I was very impressed by the quality. In comes in “blush” a pale pink shade (which incidentally matches the peach shade from Kiss me Deadly’s Vargas dress) and a black/nude shade. The only problem I found with the bra was the sizing. As a shape that I’m unfamiliar with I found sizing a little challenging and, as I’ve already explained, as I found the sizing very unreliable range-wide I was uncertain what fit best. However once I settled on the best fit I was thrilled. I’ve always wanted an over-wire bra but found them notoriously hard to buy online, as very few/no reproduction stores appear to produce them and authentic ones are scarce at best. I bought one in each colour.
For those interested, it features 3 hooks-and-eye’s and a strip of rubber along the bottom and top seam of the waist-band, the straps also detach meaning it can also be worn as a strapless bra. I really appreciate this feature as few vintage-style bras have this option.

 I really like the peek-a-boo detail on the cups, as well as the lace trim

Other small gripes with the upside Down bra includes the lack of sizes in the matching  underwear (the smallest size was a 10 in the full briefs, but 8 in g-strings…) and it unfortunately didn’t come with a matching suspender belt or girdle.
Von Follies Spot Embroidery Bra: Aside from the large cup sizing (one cup larger than normal), this bra is the most “standard” shaped bra of the lot. The cups fit like any other balconette bra from other common brands, without the “gapping” or “triangle” shape mentioned above.

Though very modern in shape, it features thicker elasticised straps and the back has Dita’s “signature vintage closure” (see photo).

Luckily this bra did come with matching underwear in size 8’s and also a matching suspender belt (though it was not available in stores and from appearances, as a four strap belt I’m reluctant to buy it as it looks a bit flimsy… but that’s just from my online perspective).

It’s a lovely piece of lingerie designed to be seen, but as such it may be too showy for everyday wear or prove to be impractical under most clothes. 

Von Follies Lace + Fishnet Balconette bra: Another modern shaped bra, I found it to be a good fit and very comfortable. A nice set, with hints of vintage styling (for example velvet bows and lace overlays) but not an overwhelming pin-up vibe (it lacked matching high-waisted briefs).  

Von Follies Black/Blue Stretch Lace Balconette Bra: This was originally one of the key pieces I had decided to buy, but after trying it on I found the sizes too way to large and unfortunately left empty handed.  

Von Follies Satin Quilting Bra: This bra, though seductive, sat awkwardly. The quilted satin portion was fairly stiff and angled out from my body, pulling and crinkling the stretch lace as well as creating a bizarre bust line.

Von Follies Satin Quilting Corset: This was the only “body piece” available in stores both times I went. I was quite impressed by the quality of the satin used, it was very silky and soft. However, the cups were huge and it didn’t appear to be stocked in a size smaller than 10B.

Considering the bra sizing difficulties in the Black/Blue Stretch Lace Bra, the Spot Mesh Bras and the Satin Quilting Bra I was reluctant to purchase any of the chemises, corsets or bustiers online. At the price they were being sold, I would want a perfectly fitted, practical and beautiful piece and sadly I wasn’t sure Dita’s collection could provide that.

Overall I hope you enjoyed my review. I tried to be quite pedantic in my observations and criticisms simply because I’m a bit of a lingerie addict and I thought a few of you may be buying online and need to extra details. Though I’ve picked up the negative aspects of her line, I’d like to point out that I was also very impressed and pleased with what I did buy (the Upside Down Reverse and Spot Embroidery sets). The designs of all the lingerie was beautiful and I think many of the flaws I pinpointed, such as poor sizing and availability of stock, lay with the manufacturing, production and sales.

To Dita I say thank you for adding a touch of glamour to our underwear drawers with a few very stunning and unique pieces! I'd gladly follow you into any future lingerie adventures!