Okay, so I cannot get the video to play here, you’ll have to click the link. But please do, it’s great. Trust me.

Vintage Style. How broad of a term that unites us all the dainty floral print tea dress edwarian girl,  to the exotic yet smooth and mesmerizing Josephine Baker  and 20’s vamp loving ladies, to the fierce glamour queens of the 30s and 40’s, (is there a better word to define Marlene Dietrich , Joan Crawford, Lena Horne, and Rita, to the 50’s gals who found the perfect combination of  pretty and sultry, (Marilyn, Dorothy, Lana, Elsabeth, the 60’s gave us a new, modern elegant, but strong, Jane Fonda, both Hepburns, Rita Moreno, Faye Dunaway and Brigitte Bardow. Even the 70’s gave us some bad ass ladies Bianca Jagger, Lauren Hutton, Debbie Harry and don’t forget Diana Ross.

Just in case you didn’t notice media allowed us only one or two ladies of color each decade. And not many of those. Not a lot of images for us vintage hounds to pore over.  And these are huge celebrities we’re talking about.  I love hollywood glamour shots as much as the next gal but I find street style much more inspiring(and attainable)  Let’s face it, I’m not going to many black tie events these days. For inspiration I want to see what the nurses, teachers, even housewives were doing on their well deserved nights out.  Images like this are hard to find, even harder to find with women of color. If you haven’t already, try looking in a few different places. You’ll be glad you did.

Also you can check out bvikkivintage a fabulous site with tons of vintage style images featuring African Americans. Also try doing a google search of harlem 1930’s and 1940’s images. Could it get any smoother than that?  Check out Maria Montez, Dolores Del Rio. See where you go from there and how you’re inspired.

Here’s a taste of showbiz, featured list after the jump


Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haven’t we all done this at least once? Marilyn Monroe Make Up

Marilyn was a genius with her makeup. Hers is probably the most imitated make up in the world .  I’ve done a bit of research and here’s what I think she did.

Face, creamy, opaque, set with loose powder.

Eyeshadow , sometimes white,sometimes a cream shade all over with  a darker shade of brown contouring the crease. Color was mostly matte, sometimes shimmery. I only had shimmery so this is what I used.

Eyeliners. Top, was dark brown liquid liner extended with a wing. Sometimes there is a very think gold line above this. On the bottom, pencil again dark brown, was applied at the base of the lower lashes. Also she did not connect this  bottom line to the top, she left a gap between the bottom line and the top. Sort of like parallel lines. In between the liner line was white, not sure if this was shadow or liner, I used shadow.

Eyelashes, Strip lash cut in half, applied to outed edge, not totally on lash line. More in sort of a straight line. This enhanced the heavy lidded ‘bedroom eyes” look she’s famous for. I didn’t do a fake lash in the pic, I think the glue is bad for your lashes, I only wear them on SUPER special occasions. Mascara on top, Sometimes she wore it on the bottom as well most often not.

Blush was natural pinky color applied to apples and blended.

Highlighter not sure what she used, probably eyeshadow, I used a shimmery loose white powder. Applied to temples tip of nose, cheekbones, and the little I call it divit above the cupids bow and the inner corner of eye.


It’s said she mixed three different reds plus gloss, I used one and gloss. she extended her line above her natural line a bit on the upper sides and bottom. She rounded the shape. Besides red, the color she wore most often was a medium creamy pink with no shimmer.  I actually prefer her in this color.

Eyebrows hers were typical of the time sort of squared in the beginning, a sharp arch. I believe she used a brow powder. Mine are much thinner,but I tried to get the same shape.  I used a taupe pencil, it was all I had.

Beauty mark of course, i did mine a bit smaller than hers and as my children pointed out to me, mine is on the wrong side.

You can check out my attempt after the jump (more…)

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Imitation of Vintage Life salutes Busby Berkely

The man was a genius choreographer.  Responsible for the often imitated kaleidoscope of show girls, Carmen Miranda’s lady in the tutti-frutti dance, Judy Garland’s I got rhythm, 42nd St, Footlight Parade and of course Gold Diggers of 1933 and Fashions of 1934. He also choreographed the gorgeous Delores Del Rio in Wonder Bar and In Caliente. He worked with Esther Williams of course. it’s even  said he choreographed some in the Wizard of Oz though he’s uncredited.

You can head over to Busby\’s page on CMF for a full bio and list of projects.  May I recommend  Gold Diggers, Fashions of 1934 and The Gangs All Here if you’re unfamiliar with his work. Light on plot for sure, but they more than make up for it with innovative shots, choreography and pretty ladies.

If you have young daughters and want a movie you can enjoy with them, that’s not animated try one of Busby’s films. My daughter simply loves them. I watch a lot of old films with her. She asked me just last night if I could put on the man on the drums( Bo Jangles dancing on the drums in Stormy Weather).  Even if you think you’re daughter can’t appreciate Bo yet, the pretty girls dancing are sure to please.

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm  Comments (1)  

How to get a good Middy haircut or baby or any you wish

This image is a little crooked but we can’t complain, just thank the wonderful gal who uploaded this gem of a book. Thank you wherever you are.  Okay so as you may know I attend cosmetology school. I’m also mildly obsessed with vintage hairstyles, fashion, and makeup.  I’m hoping that with the combination of my interests I could help someone out in obtaining the perfect haircut for recreating vintage looks. These tips could actually be used by anyone who wants a little help in communicating with a stylist. Lack of communication is the biggest hurdle in not getting the cut a client desires. The breakdown can be either in expression or listening. Second biggest problem I’ve seen is clients wanting a hairstyle not a cut. I don’t know how many times I see a client bring a photo of a hairstyle they’d like in and they have the same haircut as the picture is either styled different, or the cut is just shown on a woman with a different hair texture or fullness.  We have a book for clients to choose from, they choose a photo, we’ll try to show them a photo of the same haircut(book shows several women with the same cut) on a woman with similar hair too them. More often than not they’ll say yes but I like this cut better of something similar.  This problem is NOT exclusive to the clients. A classmate of mine wanted to go short. When we had a guest stylist he needed a model, she jumped at the chance. He only cut her hair. The next day she mentioned to me she was leaving early to get her hair done by her own stylist, showed me a picture of Halle Berry. She had the exact same cut! Halle has a natural curl, and she doesn’t. I said to her “You already have that cut, you just need to curl that way”. I also hear classmate who trained and know how to cut, have a hard time understanding what a client is asking for. The multiple name for cuts and angles etc can very easily mean one thing to a stylist and another to a client.

Okay so what can you do? Obviously a photo is a great help. If the photo is showing a cut highly styled, ask the stylist how to style the hair.  Any good stylist can give you any haircut regardless of period.  There are only four haircuts(without going into barbering for men). All haircuts whether it was the middy in 1940, or the Dorothy Hammil in the 1970’s, or todays “lob” are one of these four cuts or a combination of them.  Words and phrases that are direct and technical( you know them already, blunt cut, layered, angled, longer, shorter, etc) are much more helpful to your stylist than adjectives( feathery, lighter, swingy) that can be interpreted differently. Do you want a lot of slightly layered hair or a lot in the front less in the back? Where do you want your first layer to start? Where would you like to length to end? Bangs or no Bangs? If bangs coming to where? Do you want the ends or perimeter angled any way?  How deep of an angle? These are questions that if not asked you should give the answer to.

Okay so you want the Middy haircut. A picture of  glamour queen gorgeous set waves cascading behind her while never hurting may not be that helpful to the stylist. The hair was set to look smooth and wavy so layers while there aren’t clearly evident.  The middy is whats known today as a uniform layer cut, the top cut planar or square like a classic men’s cut not blended as we do now,  with a bit of an exaggerated U shape in back. Any hair pulled out would measure the same or very close to the same length. Classic Middy is 4 inches. So almost every head of hair is cut four inches. Also the top is cut planar or “square like a mans” (when explaining to stylist) Take a ruler and decide if you want to go this short. Then the perimiter is blended into a U. The Middy Plus is same haircut 4 1/2 inches, and on to what’s called the femme fatale which is 6 inches all over.  So for any of these haircuts of longer or shorter versions, you’d tell your stylist I want a uniform layer haircut blank inches all over, and blend the back into a U-shape.  Say you want Middy plus in front femme fatale in back. Tell them you want 4 1/2 inch layers in front 6 inch layers in back. Femme fatale in front, not so many layers in back? 6 inch layers in front, long layers in back, again u shaped perimeter. Of course if you want bangs, show them where you’d like them to end, and about how much hair you want to be bang.  These haircuts were not thinned so ask the stylist to use shears not a razor and unless you want otherwise, not to use thinning shears.  Also layer haircuts back then were cut horizontally. Today layer cuts are cut both vertically and horizontally. If you’d like your cut as authentic as possible ask your stylist if he/she could cut your layers horizontally. Explain your vintage look wishes as most stylists today believe vertical layers best.

Summary, using clear and concise language will help you get the haircut you want.


I think this post is a bit word heavy.  Here’s the cliff notes to get a Middy.

Ask for a uniform(technically not a uniform because with the square top and u shape but this is the start point) layer cut ___ inches long cut planar on top or square like a mans cut. Ask to have the perimeter blended into a U shape with a bit longer length in the nape area so that the longest length would be 1/2 (yours may be more) longer than the rest.

Ask your stylist if he or she will cut horizontal layers. Explaining your reasoning will help.

Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm  Comments (4)  
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Authentic 1920’s Hair and Makeup how to or flapper hair and makeup if you must

I know the first flick doesn’t really showcase period hair and makeup exceptionally well I simply love it.


I dressing as a flapper this Halloween. Cliched and overdone I know but I have an amazing 20’s dress that’s perfection for the look.  My life is such that I rarely get occasion to wear it, so I’m taking it whereI can get it. My bosses are kind of Halloween freaks, its a big deal at my company, there’s even cash prizes to be won.And the opportunity to wear thigh high silk stockings and a garter to work?I’m in. Quick note, in order to keep from looking like a tramp shoes need to be a solid looking. T-strap preferred, heel no higher than 2 or 3 inches.

Though I’m fairly well studied in period styles, I decided to check the net for some how to’s and such. Believe me when I tell you there’s not a lot of useful info out there. Most guides are not authentic(false lashes,hello-they were not available) , in addition to not being authentic, so many were waay overdone. Three shades of blue eyeshadow, I don’t think so. Or the women just ended up looking a bit too costumey and clownish. No thank you.

Quick and easy is hair.  Of course with my hair length I’m doing fingerwaves. You could also buy the cheap generic “flapper” costume wig. Not all women, not all flappers even, wore finger waves or had bobbed hair for that matter. The first image above give awesome authentic hair ideas outside of the old headband with feather. Several look fairly easy to make. Image numbers 7 and 12 show easy options for long hair.  Be sure to use shine product. 1920’s hair was rarely natural.  It was super shiny, often plastered to the head with product think Josephine Baker, if you want to be wowed,watch the entire video. It is phenomenal.  Spit curls always welcome.

On to the makeup…..


Greasepaint type foundation and powder were all that were available. I don’t want to be that authentic. What’s needed is an opaque creamy base. Flawless and pale is the look. Dust with loose powder to set.


Rouge was red toned. Shades of berry, rose, or coral are all appropriate. Creme is more authentic, but use what you have or use lipstick as so many women did. Resist your urge to blend up and out. Color should be applied to the apples only, sometimes applied in an obvious circle and left alone. It’s kind of cute.


Super thin even to the point of shaved off, penciled on brows was a popular look.  But not everyone wore them.Louise Brooks wore a much more natural brow. If you want the thin brow look you could buy silicone makeup to hide your brows. Or easy and cheaper.. Apply a coat of childrens glue stick over your natural brows. Let dry. Cover with concealer and powder. Draw a very thin line sloping downwards. You could also use a bought stencil. Elf cosmetics sells a set for $1.


Eyeshadow.  Frequently used was just the kohl eyeliner smudged over entire lid with petroleum jelly. Grays and browns were used mostly, although green and turquoise were available as well.  What’s most important is using ONE color only. You can apply to lid only or blend all the up to brows either look is authentic.


This is super easy. Eyes are rimmed both top and bottom. This can be as thin or thick as you like, both are authentic.Also used was shadow as liner, or smudging the kohl, like a smoky eye today. No winged corners though.


Falsies were not used. Mascara was available only in wax based cake form. This is one area, I say go the modern way. Apply your favorite mascara to both  top and bottom lashes.


Please refrain from the urge to do a cartoonish strong bow, no corners look. It’s rarely attractive and I see few pictures of anyone wearing it in a serious manner. It worked for Clara Bow and a few others, that about it.  Just as authentic and certainly more attractive is a highly defined cupid bow and a thinner elongated shape. Matte color only.Red preferred.  Not that red is the only authentic color but come on, pounce whenever you can on the chance to do a fierce redvamp lip.

Beauty Mark

Optional but how fun is it to wear. Picture a triangle with one corner being the tip of your nose the other the corner of your lip. The third corner is where your beauty mark should go. I’m totally kidding, I read that somewhere, Draw one wherever you like.

Update: if you look at photos of film stars and such of women in the 1920’s they really aren’t wearing as much makeup as they’re depicted now.

Excuse me I don’t have to powder my nose and I swear I’m not obsessed with Joan Crawford.

I’ll admit I’ve seen a better looking powdered face and being a chick who loves all things vintage, I even have a few compacts around(one contains shea butter to toss in my purse) and every respectable dressing table needs a powder container sitting front and center. That being said I’m probably in a very small minority of vintage loving gals that does not carry or wear face powder.

My reasons are simple I don’t like the feel of it on my skin and I just think I look better with a bit of a glow. There seems to be a belief that all vintage gals wore face powder and red lipstick at all times. If you do a little research you’ll see this is simply not true. I have spent a lot of time with a lot of senior ladies in my life. We talked about makeup and look at old pictures. I’ve also studied ads and pictures of regular women from the 20’s and up. Unless one had an unusually shiny face, powder was a special occasion cosmetic. It was expensive and thought of a luxury for most gals. Your average girl was expected to have a fresh faced look. Plus like me, I’m sure some women knew they looked better with bit of a glow instead of all matte. The same can be said of red lipstick. Most women reserved red for special occasions, if they wore red at all. Rose, berry and coral shades were the more common choice. I do wear red lipstick occasionally if my outfit and mood fit, but I think I look best in plum shades.A matte face and red lips is not the only authentic vintage look.  And I like I said I  think I look better with a bit of a glow.

Apparently so did Joan Crawford.You just know she was the type of lady who knew what worked for her and went with it, to hell with what anyone said. And they did say it. I read where the beauty industry was giving her the business for being photographed with a shiny nose and “promoting a powderless fad”. She was in good company though, the same article is also giving Loretta Young, Ginger Rogers, Greta Garbo and even Katherine Hepburn shit for their alleged beauty and fashion crimes! Katherine Hepburn! She is one of the most looked up to Classic Hollywood stars when it comes to fashion. In her time they dissed her berets as shapeless.  Makes you wonder which of today’s Hollywood stars who receives flak from the press for their fashion  choices will be considered a classic style icon in sixty years? My guess is the Olsens.

Read the article here

1930\’s Hollywood Fashions

Kate Winslet to star in HBO remake of “Mildred Pierce”

Yesterday’s post had pics of Joan Crawford herself as well as f Faye Dunaway portraying her in Mommy Dearest. Joan is probably best known for her Oscar winning role in Mildred Pierce. I just read that HBO is set to air a remake starring Kate Winslet whom I just adore. Titanic is most certainly in my top ten favorite movies of all time possible number one. I know some folks objected to her in the role but I think she killed it( I know I’m too damn old for slang I want to write like I talk, read over my few posts a little stuffy). She’s a modern actress who I feel has a little bit of a vintage vibe going on. I’m certain she’ll do the role justice. I’ll be on the lookout for air dates and post when I see them.

Kate Winslet on set in "Mildred Pierce"

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Mommy did know best

Remember the scene in Mommy Dearest where Joan’s character played of course to gay obsession perfection by the lovely Faye Dunaway is shown waking every morning to wash her face and then plunge it into a sink of ice? I’m sure you remember the wire hangers scene where she’ s shown in the middle of the night face slathered in moisturizer. Ms Crawford knew what to do to make sure her face was camera ready. After basic good health habits such as good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water what are the two golden rules of skin care? We all know it’s having clean,exfoliated and moisturized skin. The ice water dip(or at the very least a cold water blast in the shower, same as recommended for your hair) is a good routine to add as well.
For centuries Europeans have gone to bathhouses to detoxify and tighten their skin. The process- a steamroom session followed by cold pool plunge to shock skin and closed pores is now a spa staple but easy to replicate at home. Although skin care with all it’s chemical peels, dermabrasion, and botox is now a billion dollar a year industry, we can(and I do) take care of my skin in much the same way Ms Crawford and the ladies before her did with beautiful healthy results.

Dermatologists top recommendations for skin are mild cleansing nightly , exfoliation, moisturizing skin and wearing sunscreen at all times(admittedly a step not used except in recent times but vintage ladies were usually a lot more covered up with hats, umbrellas and more modest clothing). Nothing new there.

I accomplish the first two steps both cleansing and exfoliation by washing with a washcloth(the cheaper the better cheap ones are nubbier perfect for scrubbing away dead skin cells) I buy a pack of ten or twelve for $5 at Family Dollar or Dollar General. When I was younger I used Neutrogena soap but as I started getting older it started to be a bit drying. I switched to fhomemade cold process soap. Some days my face can’t handle even that and I use a cream non soap cleanser Sunscreen on top if I’m going to be in the sun(I don’t wear every day, I admit I just can’t believe it’s needed for a 30 second walk to the car). The only makeup I wear regularly is lipstick and eyebrow pencil so at night I use just a HOT wet washcloth followed by a cold rinse and raw shea butter as a moisturizer.Once a week I use a pumice scrub head to toe. Thats all I need and I bet thats all most women need. There are no secrets or magic in skin care, some women may need extra moisture or blemish treatment but those be easy and cheap as well. Nothing our grandmothers couldn’t handle.

What was good enough for beautiful vintage ladies like Ms Crawford and Ms Dunaway is good enough for me.

Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde

Joan Crawford

Imitation of Life

In case you haven’t noticed the title of my blog. I named it so as sort of a tribute to one of my all time favorite movies Imitation of Life starring the fabulous Lana Turner. It doesn’t get much more glamorous than her. Here is Ms. Turner with a perfect summer look that is suprisingly very current. Rompers and such are huge this year. But as usual vintage and Lana did it better.

She was and is an absolutely beautiful woman. I watched Imitation recently with my now 40 year old eyes and realized she was actually probably very close to my age when that movie was made.

While I was searching for a pic of Lana I found this and decided I was going to try this look at the beach this summer. I would have never thought a boxy boyfriend style blazer(again very current) over a swimsuit was a vintage look but here stands proof. I have recently been looking at tons of vintage fashion photos and can say I am shocked at how contemporary so many of the looks are.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment