Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Who can wear which dress Wednesday: vintage for the curvy girl!

I stumbled upon this fab new Etsy shop specialising in vintage for curvier ladies this week. Well Rounded Vintage! It was opened earlier this month by the lovely Charly, otherwise known to the cyber-world as Landgirl1980. (Catch her blog here!)
Well Rounded Vintage, Etsy
Charly specialises in finding gorgeous peices 'with the plus size in mind'. A great concept and a fab shop, so if you are a gorgeously curvy girl, pop on over and have a squizz!

All girls are gorgeous and deserve to feel gorgeous (ideally in a fab frock or gorgeous gown) so I wholehearedly applaud Charly's passion to source things specifically for this market. Feeling that we look good is part of the continual confidence battle we ladies face and finding something which fits like a glove is the icing on the confidence cake.

Knowing what suits the more curvy of us is also really important. I blogged a while back about capsule wardrobes for vintage looks and whether you are a vintage purist, a repro-diva or in fact happy with the High Street, there are some basic hints and tips if you are busty.
1950s ad for becoming curvier!
A lot of what I'm about to tell you, you probably already know but I'm going to remind you anyway! Basic rules 1. and 2.- avoid necks which are too high, and doubly avoid sleeveless tops where the neckline is too high as your boobs can all too easily become a sort of shelf. Wearing something with some detail at the neck is best if you just have to have the 1950s sweater girl look (If you do try a What Katie Did bra underneath!)

Why not opt for a V neck, wrap top styles or scoop neck as these are much better on a bigger bust and there are plenty of vintage styles like these. Heyday have some stunning wrap vintage style tops and they're on sale too. (We can all look like Kitten Von Mew!) I have this one and it is fab.
Heyday Vintage Style srap top on sale at £20!
Accentuating the waist is always a good idea when bigger busted- that's why the Fit & Flare full circle skirt dress is always such a mainstay of retro glamour. Even if you aren't an hourglass and don't have the hips to balance your bust, a circle skirt dress hides them and you will look in proportion (great news for those of us who are triangles or inverse pears!)
Vivien of Holloway circle Dress £80
 Just be a bit weary of the forties shirtwaister if you are very busty, unless it's exactly the right size those buttons will gape! Learn to measure yourself properly, bust, waist and hips; all good online shops will be able to give you accurate measurements for their items and a good size guide is worth its weight in gold. It takes me an absolute age to measure all my dresses for website listing but it's so worth it when someone is considering buying something they haven't seen!
How to measure yourself correctly
 So if you are a curvy girl, look good, feel great and know that you are utterly gorgeous, inside and out. Remember, it's not what you wear, but how you wear it!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday, Monday!

Monday.... just the word alone conjures so many thoughts, feelings and emotions!
I love Monday. It's the beginning of things. A brand new week, a brand new opportunity to get organised, sorted out and on top of the many compartments that make up my world.

My Mondays are my 'Domestic Goddess' day when I clean, tidy and sort the weekends mess and batch cook some meals for the week ahead. (I'm fortunate I can choose the days I work and the days I devote to my many other duties!)
 I have a little Monday Challenge for you today... if you're posture towards Mondays is more Boomtown Rats* (or for those of you slightly younger than that, The Bangles*), then today's challenge is just for you- we're going to re-script Monday!

here's how it works. I'd like you to stop what you're doing and start to count off all the amazing and wonderful things in your life. Just think about it for a few minutes. It may be that you have a partner and aren't alone. Perhaps you have a family who loves you, are in good health, or have a job to go to! These don't have to be huge, enormous things, it may be that you can afford to buy that little bit of frippery you've had your eye on this month; your husband/kids/employees have been well so far this year; that you remembered your umbrella when it rained!
 We are re-scripting Monday with thankfulness. No matter what your situation there is definitely somebody somewhere far worse off than you, so when you react on Monday morning with 'Bleugh!' I challenge you to react to it with gratefulness and a thankful heart instead!
Appreciate what you have and find life in the cracks of your day; learn to love Monday!

*Boomtown Rats 'I don't like Mondays' 1979
*The Bangles 'Just Another Manic Monday' 1986
(Apologies if you really are too young to fully appreciate these lyrical references to my youth!)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Unexpected Pleasures!

My oldest daughter has a training day today and so is unexpectedly off school!
No satchel required
 We're going to visit a fab friend, try out some of the new spring make up ranges in Boots on each other, head over to Costa Coffee for lunch and 'review' some books in Waterstones (which we're clearly not going to buy!) and peruse the aisles in Paperchase, wistfully- all together a fabulously unexpected pleasure!
Costa Coffee all right, Darling?
 Life's full of them- it's all about knowing how to look accurately. Circumstances change, sometimes very quickly in our modern world, and we have to choose to respond accurately to them. I could have been frustrated that my plans have to change today and that I have to now take a day off work. Instead, I am embracing this special time together (not always easy when you have 3 daughters), and making the most of it!

Here's to seeing and appreciating life's unexpected little pleasures! Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Miss Sweets Boutique Pillbox Hat Review

I was sent the most darling pillbox hat by Amber at Miss Sweets Boutique to review and want to introduce you to her and her business. As an ex-Burlesque performer, Amber began her business back in 2009 when her need for costume accessories for herself proved to be the perfect beginning to setting up her own business which is now an online web shop. Having gained considerable skill in costume construction and sewing machine know-how, Amber has expanded her range to include hair accessories, hats, children's hair accessories and brooches. There's also her new and exciting Rock-A-Baby babywear range too. Amber is also planning something wonderful for Roller Derby gals which is where she herself lets off steam, so watch this space!
 The hat I have is a gorgeous black felt creation with a delicate lace panel hand stitched onto the front. Amber includes two ready made holes in the sides for your hairpins (which are complimentary) so the hat stays put no matter what the weather!
Black felt Pill Box Hat £15 Miss Sweets Boutique
Gorgeous hand stitching is sooo neat!
Spot the ready made hairpin hole? Genius!
This particular hat took approximately 4 and a half hours to create. Some take Amber 2 hours, others can take up to 7 depending upon the level of embellishment. I like the fact that all Amber's hats are unlined so you can both see and appreciate the hard work that has gone in to the finished result. The hairpin holes are perfectly positioned and the hat itself a great size and shape to wear.

I wore this hat when my hair was pinned up with my lovely box of pins with a vintage gal on the front of the box (a recent purchase from In Grips We Trust on Etsy! £5)
I asked Amber where she gets her inspiration and this is what she said, "I get inspiration from random places sometimes - I've got a big collection of costume books that I sketch ideas from, other times it can be something like an old brooch or sew on patch that sparks an idea off.  Even looking at places like wallpaper shops can spark ideas - craft sites can be hugely helpful too but if I use sites like Stumble-upon I tend to look at more random things like home furnishings and street art." The beautiful thing about Amber's Hats is that they are bespoke originals, one of a kind and could probably be made to order if you asked her nicely! The other amazing thing is the price. Retailing at £15 these vintage inspired hats are totally gorgeous and completely transform you into a Vintage Starlet!

Shame my victory rolls are so squashed- still working on those!
Amber hopes to get her hats stocked in complimentary stores soon too- I hope her business dreams come true. Her hats are fab, her talents amazing and I wish her all the best!

Check out all the other Miss Sweets Boutique goodies online here!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sixty Years of the Mousetrap! Outfit Post and Review

Half term is just wonderful for mini-breaks and as we have a relly on the outskirts of London, what better than a trip 'up tahn' to see a very vintage play?!

Agatha Christie's the Mousetrap was written in the late 1940s and first performed as a play in 1952 and has been continuously performed ever since! As a belated 40th birthday pressie I went off to see it at St. Martin's Theatre in London's West End.
The Mousetrap current cast
I must confess, I didn't know much about it before seeing the play, apart from the fact it was by Christie and had been running for years. I hadn't appreciated it was set in 1952 and that we'd be treated to such great costumes from one of my favourite periods of fashion history!

I wore my new fav dress, it's called Aimee and is from Heartbreaker Fashion (although I found it at a very reasonable price at Cherry Retro!) What do you think?
Aimee Dress by Heartbreaker from Cherry Retro
The play is part murder mystery and part farce really- it's a very clever tale of suspicion, intrigue and great timing! I was mildly distracted however by the gorgeous New Look style dress Georgina Sutcliffe wears in her part of Mollie Halston. It's an amazing blue full skirted dress with nipped in waist and shawl collar and cuffs in a contrasting blue and white polka dot. Unfortunately we didn't buy a programme so I have no idea who the costume designer is, but boy would I love to get my hands on that dress!
Stunning 'New Look' inspired dress worn by Georgina Sutcliffe
The theatre is absolutely gorgeous, it's a grade 2 listed building, a twin to The Ambassadors theatre and built in 1916. It was the perfect surroundings to watch a 1950s scene unfolding from a 1940s script.
The Mousetrap in its 60th year

The cute (but rather small!) bar upstairs in St Martins Theatre
All in all, it was a fantastic day out. being situated so close to Trafalgar square I just had to snap the Mall, the National Gallery and of course, Nelson's Column. Well, who wouldn't? And my 1950s inspired Aimee dress was right at home!
View to the Mall
National  Gallery
Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square
 Being sworn to the Mousetrap secrecy code I couldn't possibly tell you Whodunit, but if you'd like to find out for yourself, the 60th anniversary tour begins towards the end of this year with an all star cast (apparently!) and should be fab!

What have you guys been up to over half term?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Fab Frock Friday! Cheongsam Dresses

I found a great Chinese Cheongsam dress the other day on that wonderful well known online auction site, only to discover it was too small for me (boo!) But I've found another the size up which also happens to be an original vintage late 50s version so let's hope it fits when it arrives and I can do an outfit post!
 I love Cheongsam dresses, so retro 1950s kitsch and yet super practical for spring summer daywear. Originally designed in their more fitted form in the 1920s they are still utterly gorgeous fab frocks. Here are a few Vintage diva's wearing them oh so well!
Anna May Wong 1905-1961
1950s/60s hostess in her Cheongsam
Maggie Cheung b.1964
 In fact they made such am impact on Western society that it wasn't long before McCalls had patterns for them!
1950s McCalls pattern

1950s McCalls pattern
I hope I can look this fab in mine when it arrives!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

So you want to be Self-Employed?! Hints & Tips part #2

I do love my job! As part of it I met with a gorgeous vintage loving lady last week who's decided to set up her own online Vintage boutique! (Quality and class, not like some others we could mention!)

Our discussion about all things business got me thinking again about the most successful hints and tips I've learnt which I could share with a new small business. One of the key things I've grasped is that you absolutely have to understand that you ARE your business.

It would be no good dressing in jeans and a hoodie and then trying to sell fab frocks and gorgeous gowns now would it?! It's the same for all small businesses, if you don't know enough about your products, in my case; who they will suit, the style they echo or the ethos behind them, then you  are not going to be able to market them very well.
Know your body shape
Loving what you sell is key to successful marketing; not the 'you really can't live without this product' kind of marketing, but the kind which empowers the buyer and creates an opportunity to think about something they hadn't previously considered without liberating their wallet unnecessarily.

As a small business, you have to love what you do, or the time, effort and initial lack of immediate reward for all your hard work may get to you.
McCalls pattern ad c.1950s
The easiest way to 'sell' your product is to epitomise it; (easy for me and Louise as we love all things vintage, dressing well and showing that being feminine does not mean being flighty.) But whatever your business, if it matters to you, that will come across to your clients.

Marketing yourself with integrity and authenticity is really important. We've all been into an independent shop professing to be a boutique yet the assistants somehow don't represent the whole deal- imagine walking into a vintage shop where the assistant is dressed head to toe in Top Shop? Or the house-party seller of cookware or books who clearly doesn't use them or can justify their prices!
Famous plastic food storage party c.1950s!
You have to respect your product and truly love it and why you're selling it, if you want to make a success of your business. You've entered into a partnership with your business that will link you to the values and ethos behind it so make sure you can represent it and more importantly that it represents you properly.

Here's to the success of  BeBopaLouLou Vintage!


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Couldn't resist highlighting these fab frocks today! (First class postage- would be with you by the weekend for that fab night out!)
Size 10 Strapless dress £15
Size 14 stretch jersey dress £20
Size 14 Abigails Party authentic vintage 70s dress £25
Size 16 Chic Star dress £15

Size 16 Tunic dress £15

Size 12 Next tulip dress £15
Fancy a change from the LBD? How about a Little RED Dress?!
Have a great day whatever it holds in store!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Vintage Movies

Now we've finally got around to joining LoveFilm I've started my movie list with some vintage classics from the 1940s and 50s. My daughters are huge Audrey Hepburn fans and so Charade, How to Steal a Million and My Fair lady are already on the list (they have the box set of her Paramount films!)
Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million
I've also included Rear Window as you can't beat a bit of Hitchcock and All About Eve. What vintage film collection would be complete without a bit of Marilyn and Bette?!
Rear Window Poster

Bette Davis in All About Eve
 I've also added Casablanca (can't believe I've never seen it!) and An Affair To Remember.
Bogart at his best!

An affair to remember
What else do you suggest I add to the classic vintage movie list?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Style Me Vintage Clothes- Book Review

I bought this from Amazon as I already have the hairstyles version. It's written by Naomi Thompson, a vintage lover, blogger, stylist and personal vintage shopper: check out 'vintage secret'. It's a useful little book and lists some of the capsule wardrobe ideas I posted about last week.
I loved the sections on 'Tips', 'main shapes, looks and influences' and the continual references to accessories. It can be easy(ish) to recreate a retro style from what you already have, but with authentic looking accessories a look can be completely transformed.

Styles and shapes of the 1950s

1950s accessories

1940s accessories

Fleur De Guerre in Heyday trousers

As a buyer of reproduction vintage and vintage-style, I found the book invaluable in helping with authentic style non-negotiables and Naomi's abundant knowledge of colours and cuts across lots of different decades.

If you want to know more about creating an authentic looking retro wardrobe then this book is a must. Whether you buy authentic vintage or vintage style, Naomi's undisputed knowledge is invaluable to the Vintage loving gal!