Debutante Clothing :: A vintage clothing and fashion blog for unconventional style where vintage and runway meet.

Debutante Clothing :: The DebLog

July 16, 2010

Vintage Decor | Shocking Pink Walls

shocking hot pink walls

As a huge fan of designer Elsa Schiaparelli's work, I'm always attracted to the color pink. Shocking pink that is. Normally a color with demure connotations, shocking pink is so brazen. I guess that's where the term "hot pink" come from. Little hussy of a color you!

I spotted this beautiful picture on Although the whole Moroccan style is not quite up my alley, I can't stop staring at this room. The odd thing is, I don't really wear a lot of color, but when it comes to interiors, the more color the better! Now if only I could convince Mr. Debutante to let me paint the walls pink...

March 9, 2010

Vintage Inspired | Karl Lagerfeld Inspired by 60s Updo

1960s updo karl lagerfeld

1960s updo karl lagerfeld

1960s updo karl lagerfeld

Photo by Delphine Achard via

October 27, 2009

Be Karl Lagerfeld for Halloween

I found this great Halloween costume idea on one of my favorite blogs, What I Wore. Jessica is so creative when it comes to styling that I'm not surprised she was able to put this together. Of course, my non-fashiony friends would assume I am a hip George Washington.

karl lagerfeld halloween costume

photo source: What I Wore

October 5, 2009

Style Rachel Zoe & Win $150 from Piperlime

Closet Couture is the fantastic site where you can style using real clothing - online! It's so easy to enter... just make outfits in the editor's dressing room and save them. The dressing room is filled with Rachel Zoe picks for Piperlime! Enter here.

May 29, 2009

1960s Swinging London

by Mademoiselle Robot


In the mid to late '60s, London had the swinging bug, and by swinging, I don't mean those sexy parties that often have a big "ADULTS ONLY" sticker on the doors. We are talking cultural revolution, wild optimism and a very rich youth culture. It was a reaction to post war austerity and a celebration of the recovery of the British economy. I have been thinking about the Swinging '60s a lot recently, as we are in the middle of a financial crisis which is already resulting in an outburst of creativity, especially in Fashion. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like when the crisis is over.

Swinging London saw fashion and photography finding their place in Queen magazine, putting designer Mary Quant under the spotlight. She is mostly known for being the "inventor" of the mini skirt and colored tights, but this is a disputed fact, as the mini skirt is also attributed to André Courrèges or John Bates, and the colored tights to Cristobal Balenciaga. Mary Quant's role was mostly to bring those items into the mainstream. Her shop, Bazaar, was a well known shopping stop for the whole of the Chelsea set.


Twiggy, aka Lesley Hornby, was discovered in 1966 and modeled for Mary Quant. Together they created a high fashion mod look and took the fashion world by storm with Twiggy's androgynous looks.

The Swinging '60s Guide:

Queen magazine - It is a publication focusing on British "high society". It was created in 1862. In the late 50's, it was taken over by editor Beatrix Miller and restyled to appeal to a younger, more hip audience.


Mod - The mod scene developed when British teenagers began to reject the British culture around them. From the mid '60s, the media often used the term "mod" to describe anything that was believed to be popular, fashionable or modern.


Twiggy - She is the first supermodel and was discovered at age 16 by Nigel Davis. She is mostly known for her atypical looks, short hair and unusual make up style.


Parisian expat in London, Mademoiselle Robot is a magazine Editor turned fashion blogger.  On, she offers style tips, interviews of artists and designers, outfit ideas and she even launched her own TV channel!  Her blog has been featured in the Independent, A nous Paris, Modepass and many others.

April 21, 2009

Spain's First Lady of Bakelite?

I'm constantly talking about how much I admire Michelle Obama's sense of style. But I may have found myself a stylish First Lady contender. I didn't know much about Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's wife, Sonsoles Espinosa, until I read about her on by way of's Twitter feed. Willow Lindley of the Huffington Post is right - the woman is quite chic with her short hair and fashion forward clothing including draped jersey dresses and satin trimmed tuxedo jacket. But what really caught my eye was her statement making jewelry, especially what appears to be Bakelite accessories.

image source:

Without touching or smelling them, the bangle and chili pepper looking pin look like Bakelite - that iconic butterscotch color, the swirling details. Is it me, or do many First Ladies seem to love vintage? We know Michelle Obama wore a Victorian pin on inauguration day. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko often wears Victorian or Steam Punk influenced fashion. Do you suppose history not only influences future policy in their respective countries, but their wardrobe as well?

image source:Xinhuanet

On a completely separate, ironic and silly note, Zapatero in Spanish means shoe cobbler and his wife's name is SonSOLEs. Ha!

April 8, 2009

Vintage Style Muse - WendyB

wendy b in donald brooks couture
WendyB in Donald Brooks Couture

Meet this week's Vintage Style Muse -- Wendy B! Many of you may know her as the amazing jewelry designer with a passion for historic women. Her line is called Wendy Brandes Jewelry. You may also know her from her potty-mouth, smart as a whip blog. Wendy has an enviable sense of style. She mixes vintage in a sophisticated way that matches her creative spirit.

1. Name and City you reside: Wendy Brandes, New York City

2. Favorite vintage piece: I don't have just one favorite, but the Donald Brooks Couture dress that I call the Sex-ay Pilgrim Dress is in my top ten. I got it on eBay for $60.

3. Favorite vintage store, brick and mortar or online: For brick and mortar it is Frock, my friend Evan Ross's store on Orchard Street in NYC. Online, I love Shrimpton Couture, Vintage-a-Peel, and C20 Vintage Fashion.

4. Favorite decade: '60s-'70s

5. Vintage icon: Designer Ossie Clark, not just because I love his clothes, but because he used to strike a good pose himself!

6. Why do you love vintage? Every dress has a good story

wendy b in ossie clark
Wendy B in Ossie Clark
Ossie Clark and designer Alice Pollock
courtesy of Child of the Moon

Want to be a Vintage Style Muse too? Show us your best vintage! Send a picture and tell us about your self to friends at debutanteclothing dot com

March 27, 2009

Vintage Style Muse - Pretty in Pink and Studs

pink betsey johnson stud wedges
vintage black dress

My friend Julie Wanda is one of my fashion icons. By day, she is a successful business woman, working in the field of corporate training. She has a real, grown up job with a respectable wardrobe. In her other life, the one where she spins vintage western records as a DJ on a local radio show, she wears gorgeous vintage dresses with huge crinolines and magical pink Betsey Johnson shoes. In pink. With studs.

Julie is a fashion chameleon. She is a traditional vintage girl. She is a western honky tonk girl. She is a punk rocker. And she is a business woman. Somehow, she marries all of her looks by mixing in bits of what she loves. After all, rockabilly girls love pretty golden studs too.

Do you have great vintage style? Become a vintage style muse! Send us an email and a photo and we will feature you and your killer style.

February 27, 2009

Lucite Box Purse Reproductions - Yay or Nay?

One of my many vintage obsessions is lucite box purses. I used to wear them out all the time, but these days, I mostly display and admire them. Lucite purses are beautiful little sculptures that you can take with you. And just like sculpture, the more intricate the details, the more valuable the piece. Color plays an important role too. I'm partial to clear, but if you can find a red or black lucite purse, you have scored!

But finding the little gems, in mint condition is not easy. Dekonstruckted Hollywood, a California based vintage shop, is filling the need of this market by selling reproduction vintage style lucite purses.When it comes to repros, I have to admit that these are some fantastic copies. With the exception of the handle turned forward instead of across the length of the body of the purse, the new ones are dead ringers.

My favorite is the pink, pearl swirl one, but I always get a little twinge of guilt, as if I am cheating or something, when I consider reproduction.

What do you think? Yay or Nay?

pink lucite purse

February 20, 2009

Wearing 1940s Floral & Leaf Necklace


My husband and I attended a performance of Zoot Suit at Pomona College. It's such a great play with a potential for great costumes, if done right. The costume designer did a great job of sourcing adorable 1940s day dresses, although my eagle eye spotted a few non period pieces. Taking a vintage seller to a period production is like watching a movie with a director - we tend to over analyze.

I love 1940s pieces - dresses, shoes, bag, everything! I didn't want to look too costumey, but I definitely wanted to give homage to the 1940s LA homegirls on stage, so I wore a pair of wide-legged, high waisted trousers by Stop Staring!, a scoop neck ribbed T, silver and black wedge spectators, and my favorite white floral and leaf motif celluloid necklace. The little red centers seem to glow compared to the pale white color of the blossoms. I grabbed my favorite little black seed beaded box purse and it was off to the theater we went!


January 23, 2009

What I Wore - Vintage Plaid Pencil Skirt

One of my resolutions is to get comfortable in front of the camera. After posting a pic of my sparkly paillette New Years Eve top, I was really flattered by the lovely comments from blogger friends such as the Coveted, AsheMischief, and WendyB, amongst other good friends. I wore this Exotic World Burlesque Museum t-shirt with a slim vintage red, plaid pencil skirt. My shoes are sling back Steve Madden patent leather peep toes. This outfit isn't spectacular by any means, but it is how I mix vintage and modern on casual, cute days.

January 21, 2009

Obama. Inspired.

Yesterday was like Christmas. The country was giddy with excitement, which then turned into raw emotion for some, including me.

We are not only witnessing history in the making, we are living and breathing hope - not the wild eyed, rainbows and sunshine hope that right winged mocked us with. We are now entering an era where a shift of mindset is taking place.

We are being forced to act frugally and I am hoping that this will stir some selflessness. I can hope!

In the meantime, I am glad to see such a handsome couple in office.

The stunning vintage inspired Isabel Toledo ensemble that the First Lady wore will be available at Barneys in March.

January 15, 2009

Vintage Roadshow - Swimsuits, Sex Kittens, and Bill Blass


It's time for another Vintage Roadshow roundup - the best vintage talk on the web. Our little vintage blogger group is starting to grow! If you write about vintage clothing or living, come join us.

Debutante Clothing rings in the New Year in 1960s black and white paillettes.

The Vintage Travelermourns the end of Bill Blass.

Glamoursplash begins a series of posts on swimwear through the ages.

Here's Looking Like You, Kid has lots of leopard print for sex kittens.

iKonic does her part for the economy with her new weekly feature Vintage Cheap But Chic.

January 12, 2009

Mad for Vintage at the Golden Globes

I was so thrilled to see one of my favorite shows, Mad Men, when a Golden Globe Sunday evening. It's such a unique show and I have never seen such developed characters. But I was really surprised to see actress Elisabeth Moss wearing vintage! Obviously, she wears vintage all day, every day at work, which is why I thought the last thing the cast would choose to wear was vintage.

elisabeth moss red vintage tulle dress

But what a beauty she picked. A delightful pouf of fire red tulle. It was pretty and perky. She looked adorable. I'm glad she decided to style herself, even though her shoes and bag didn't quite go together. She looks like she got dressed for a nice event and didn't dwell on it for weeks and weeks. Good for her! Life's too short.


photos: Getty Images

Christina Hendricks chose a vintage inspired dress and she looked stunning.  She is my ideal body type - curves for days.  The criss-cross treatment at the waist cinched her in even more while the shelf bust made her figure look out of this world.  Her bag MAYbe vintage however. It's hard to tell in this Getty image.  It looks like a rectangular satin box purse.  I love that she still gave vintage a nod, but no one could accuse her of being stuck in the past - like some of us!



Heidi Klum also wore vintage. She chose a festive Galanos dress with a huge rosette at the waist and killer strappy sandals.  She looked adorable and really bucked the gray dress trend.

January 2, 2009

New Years Eve - What I Wore

I rarely take pictures of myself for the blog. I absolutely love looking at pictures of some of my favorite bloggers such as Galadarling, Jennine of theCoveted, and Wendy Brandes, but I have an aversion to taking pictures of myself. I rarely photograph well anyway, so to try to look cute on purpose is tough.

However, for NYE, I will make an exception, mostly because I am dying to show off my new vintage sweater shell top. It's covered in black and off white paillettes, the more sophisticated and iridescent cousin of the sequin. When I saw this shell online, I had an audible reaction. That's always a good sign for me. So I bought it without thinking about where I would even wear this.

vintage black white sequin paillette top

vintage black white sequin paillette top

vintage black white sequin paillettes

I honestly didn't care if I had an occasion because I loved it so much. it made perfect sense to wear it on New Years Eve because, seriously, when else could I pull this off? A trip to Vegas maybe.

I have a very fond memory of a gown my mom used to own. I remember sneaking into er closet and picking off the clear paillettes, bending them and attaching them to my nails with her Lee Press On glue because they reminded me of fake finger nails. When my mother saw my top, she remembered the dress and claimed she still owned it. She might discover a few bald spots on the bodice!

I am so in love with the color combination, the smooth almost scale like feel of the paillettes, and the fun almost jingly sound they make. I didn't go anywhere fancy though so I toned it down with jeans and a light weight, long cardigan. My outfit would've been perfect with a tight pair of slim jeans. Consider those next on my shopping list.

November 27, 2008

Vintage Life - Decorating With Vintage and Thrift Store Finds

I started collecting vintage housewares and furniture way before I moved out of my parents' house. One time I came home with some rattan end tables and my mom furiously wondered where I thought I was going to keep them. I think I was experiencing more of a sense of saving these thrift store finds rather than actually having a design eye. I just bought what I felt was interesting and useful.

Fast forward, and now I am pleased when friends come over for dinner parties or cocktails and they praise my little home.

One of my favorite bloggers, Mademoiselle Robot, was featured in The Independent newspaper for her creative home decor. That girl can mix eras and textures like a pro. She even went as far as giving some decorating tips for people interested in this aesthetic.

I was so inspired by her blog post that I wanted to share some of my favorite thrifted and discount items. Just like my wardrobe, I never do top to bottom vintage. It's more pleasing to the eye to mix and match.

5 Tips for Decorating with Vintage

  1. Buy what you love.
  2. Your home should be pleasing to your eye. You have to live there. If you don't love your decor, you will not feel comfortable in your own home. If you love that moose head, use it!

  3. Don't be afraid to mix wood tones.
  4. The 1957 Better Homes and Gardens decorating book reminds us that wood is a color. This doesn't just apply to vintage, but vintage furniture that was meant to last was made of wood. Check for tones in the wood grain that may be complimentary to one another.

  5. Be patient. Shop often.
  6. My furniture did not come home with me in one weekend. That's one of the luxuries of buying new - you can get a catalog looking living room in one shopping trip.  But in order to achieve decor with character, you may have to be patient for the right piece to come along. Check your local thrift store, flea market, and even Ebay, often.

  7. Mix it up.
  8. True design comes from mixing unexpected elements, colors, and textures. With vintage furniture, you run the risk of looking like you live in a time warp - same goes for vintage clothing.  Don't be afraid to mix decades, vintage and modern, and shapes.  I tied the straight and rounded lines of my dining room together with a really inexpensive ceiling lamp at IKEA - it has a straight wooden base with rounded white plastic light shades - a perfect blend of both lines in the room.

  9. Don't be afraid to re-purpose.
  10. The goal of decorating with vintage is two fold - owning quality constructed pieces and creating a one of a kind look.  If you happen to find a fabulous dresser, but have no room or need for one, try re-purposing it as a storage credenza in the living room.  Or use a telephone stand as a holder for remote controls.  We re-purposed a wardrobe cabinet as a TV cabinet.  My husband just sawed out the inner drawers and we use the lower drawers for media storage. It would be a shame to leave a beautiful piece of furniture or accessory behind simply because you have no use for it  in it's current purpose - get creative.

vintage living room decorating livingroom.jpg vintage TV cabinet converted convertedcabinetshot.jpg diningroom.jpg credenza.jpg

November 23, 2008

Independent Fashion Bloggers - Links à la Mode : November 23

This week we've got finding the perfect coat on Retro Chick and The Bare Skinny. A Few Goody Gumdrops knocked me out my chair with the most amazing diamond necklace I've ever seen. Hello, Lover, Hello Pantone... finally they are getting into shoes. 39thandbroadway explains the mystery that is behind sizes, it's not your vanity. Debutante Clothing shows us safety pin couture, and The Coveted gives us all the reasons we need not to fake it.

  • 39thandbroadway - The truth behind your size label and your vanity!
  • A Few Goody GumDrops - A Few Goody Gumdrops is drooling over the all diamond necklace from Mauboussin!
  • Being High Maintenance, not Bitchy - How to capture classic 3.1 Phillip Lim style for less
  • Capitola Girl Jewelry Blog - The Steampunk-stylings of two indie jewelry artists who take wire-wrapped rings to another dimension...
  • Debutante Clothing - Debutante Clothing finds vintage inspiration from couture safety pins
  • Diary of a Style Addict - is coveting Rihanna's look on her new "Rehab" video
  • Dogmom's Dish - Tokidoki's Simone Legno In San Francisco
  • dreamecho - Weapon of Choice: Cultural Commentary, Trivialization and Personal Responsibility in Fashion
  • fashion fille - A realization of the blogosphere's current sequin obsession.
  • fashion in my eyes - In Maglia E Meglio,Christian Louboutin for Rodarte
  • Fashion Pulse Daily - Fashion Pulse can't wait to get its hands on the Hayden-Harnett handbag collection for Target in December; get a sneak peak now!
  • Flights of Fab Fashion Fancy - Flights of Fab Fashion Fancy is loving these young, easy, chic looks from Sandro-a trendy-chic Parisian brand!
  • Hello, Lover... Shoe Daydreams - A special limited-edition collaboration between Pantone, the definitive guide to color and SeaVees, the purveyors of California casual
  • In Life and In Fashion - Why I am inspired by the woman who invented the wrap dress.
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers - Geek Chic: Best Tech for Fashion Bloggers
  • Iole in fashion - Sex and The city...again!
  • Little Black Book - Fashion Palette: a must for aspiring designers and persons hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
  • Mademoiselle Robot - With Christmas approaching, it is useful to know how to wear sequins without looking like a Christmas tree!
  • Or False Glitter - - Cherry Lip Lolita: youthful yet provocative beauty
  • PONY RYDER - A story behind Laurel S. sign up with NY model management.
  • Retro Chick - Baby it's cold outside: A Guide to buying your perfect Winter Coat.
  • Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found some great clutches that look like Angelina Jolie's from the Changeling Private Screening in London
  • Some Like It Fashion - Going for Gold: The metallic look has evolved and given birth to a new trend. Some Like It Fashion discusses the merits of metal within clothing.
  • Style Discovery - "Transformation: Fremantle High Street Collective 2008″. Local fashion delight brought to you by Style Discovery from Perth, Western Australia.
  • Style Symmetry - Eyeliah calls cream and yellow a trend to watch!
  • The Bare Skinny - Hitting the Trenches to Find the Perfect Coat
  • THE COVETED - Faking Confessionals...and reasons why not to do it....
  • The Ongoing Project - Developing your personal style, part 3
  • The Subadult Years - A personal look at the effectiveness and limitations of the eco-friendly fashion trend in Toronto.
  • Your Style Star - 5 Simple Tips For Surviving Holiday Parties

November 18, 2008

Lessons from Edith Head - How to Dress To Get & Keep the Job

I've been curling up with a few fashion books lately - D.V. by Diana Vreeland and How to Dress For Success by Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head.

When I won this book on Ebay, I thought it would be a funny read - a social shock at how much we have evolved as women when it comes to expectations of beauty and style. Ha! There are some rules that just never change. And considering Ms. Head is one of the most celebrated costume designers and stylists of our time, she ought to know a thing or two about style.

edith head

For the next 13 weeks, I will be posting the chapter summaries for each chapter of How to Dress for Success.

Tim Gunn, move over. We're about to take some style lessons from the gal that's been around the catwalk a few times.

In this chapter, Edith Head discusses how to dress appropriately for the type of job you want, but once you get to that rung in the ladder, buck the trends and be yourself. She gives a wonderful anecdote of dressing Sofia Lauren for her role as a poor housekeeper in the film Houseboat. Head says, "Believe me, this took more doing than making Olive Oyl into a sex symbol. It's harder to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse than vice versa."

Here is her Success Formula for How to Dress:

  1. Decide what kind of job you really want and prepare yourself for it.
  2. Decide if you are qualified for it. If not, look for one you can handle.
  3. Find out the "image" of the job - how women in that field or firm look and dress. Ask someone who works there. If you don't know anyone, go at noontime or at 5 P.M. and watch the women who work there leaving. Find out the general "look" of the employees.
  4. Dress carefully for your appointment in what you have found is the generally accepted look.
  5. Above all, be well groomed and look like a girl or woman who would be a credit to the firm. Then do a good job!

September 18, 2008

Ugly Betty Does Pretty Vintage

My girl crush on America Ferrera is no secret. So when I saw her wearing this lovely little vintage dress on Fashion Week Daily I was so giddy. This is definitely a vast improvement on Betty Suarez's wardrobe on the hit TV show (although she has rocked some polyester at times).

america ferrera, ugly betty, vintage

This dress reminds me a bit of Carrie Bradshaw's red floral dress in the Sex and the City movie. The one she wears to the auction. Although, America's might have flyaway panels rather than a skirt overlay. It's hard to tell in this picture. Either way, she scores a major 10 on my vintage scale.

August 6, 2008

Classic Hardware with Vintage Flair

What do you get when you cross a vintage, guest artists, rugged hardware and subculture appeal? Karyn Cantor fused all of these elements and more in her one of a kind collection of jewelry and accessories -- Classic Hardware.

classic hardware

Karyn has been the President and head designer of Classic Hardware since 1995. Her love of vintage and unique style blend into a funky, fun and conversation worthy collection of accessories for those of us that want something to the left of conservative. Although the pieces are funky, there are quite a few items that completely office ready.
classichardwareheart.gif classichardwarerose.gif classichardwarecase.gif

Classic Hardware is so delightful, it has caught the eye of mainstream media and has been styled for various TV shows including Bones, Nip Tuck, Roller Girls, The Chris Isaak Show, Sex in the City, Friends, News Radio and Caroline in the City. Celebrities who wear Classic Hardware include Paris Hilton, Eva Mendez, Madonna (in her HOLLYWOOD video), Mandy Moore, Carmen Electra, Christina Aguilera, Hillary Duff, Jennifer Love Hewitt and singers Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Exene of X and Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's.

I bought two necklaces at the Hootenanny -- one is a camelia type resin flower in black and white with a rhinestone in the center (very Chanel like) and the other is a picture box necklace with a Mexican maiden and gentleman courting. I pretend it's me and my husband. I'm not wearing them here, but you can see Julie Wanda (left) wearing the adorable heart bracelet and a complimentary necklace.


Do take a romp through the online selection and pick up a little piece of joy!

July 23, 2008

Hot for Teacher - Rockabilly Style at Work

Renee asks:

Hi Sandra!

PinupTeacher.jpgI just stumbled across your blog on Google. Anyway, I was very intrigued when I read the 5 things about you because I am going to start teaching this fall and am concerned about my love of vintage and rockabilly fashions in such a conservative place. I have tattoos, but I have figured out ways to cover them, but it's the clothes themselves that are stumping me. I can find plenty of after work clothes, but clothes that are "teacher-looking" enough yet still retain some sense of my love of vintage/rockabilly are soooo hard to find. What kinds of stores did you shop at as a teacher or did you dress one way at work and another after work? I'm really for advice from someone who has been there/done that! How far did you let your fashion take you or did the job dictate for you a more conservative look? I hope to hear any advice or stories you would like to share. Renee

Hi Renee.
Oh this is such a good question! Thanks for contacting me. When I first started out teaching about 7 years ago, I looked a lot more Rockabilly. The rockabilly boys and girls at a high school I taught at were perplexed that a teacher could relate to their style. I don't necessarily wear vintage everyday, but definitely vintage inspired and I always try to wear some kind of vintage accessory. I love vintage above all else.

My suggestion would be to wear vintage inspired clothing: cute cardigans, A line skirts, 3/4 length sleeve tops, capri pants. I always wear comfy heels or adorable flats and mary janes. I've even worn the comfort/orthopedic kind because they are perfect for teachers who have to stand most of the day (and some don't look as matronly as they once did).

I wouldn't suggest patriotic rolls in my hair, but maybe wear some hair combs or a cute headband. Think cute 40s and 50s versus pin up. And yes! Keep those tattoos covered! But don't worry, there are many of us living the double life.

Good places to shop: Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, Old Navy, thrifts, Marshalls. I love shopping online too. and are a good ones also.

The trick is not to give up too much of your personal style, but still fit in with "normal" society. But the reality is that as long as you are not a distraction or showing skin inappropriately, principals won't care what you wear. Most of them anyway.

As a personal preference, I don't think it's appropriate to look costumey at work, no matter what your field. But that's just my personal taste.

Good luck Renee! Teachers are a blessing to this world. Even though the public education system can be a pain in the rear, the kids are what makes me come back.

July 22, 2008

Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennells - part 1

Flipping through a collector's magazine, I came across a book that I wish had been around in my 20s when I painted the town in vintage - head to toe.

hairstyleimage.jpgVintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Modern Techniques by Lauren Rennells is filling a void left by Daniela Turudich's now out of print series of vintage hairstyle books. Lauren is a hair and make-up artist who works in the photography and film industry. She freelances providing unique designs for advertisements, films and television. Her passion for vintage hairstyles led her to write her incredibly useful book.

From cover to cover, the book is full of beautiful photography of vintage hair styling tools such as pink dryers and jars of Lustre-Creme. But this book is not a fluffy, pretty art book full of hair related pictures. The book is more instructional without being boring.

The beginning of the book walks you step by step through the necessary tools you will need and basic curl techniques in order to create a true vintage hairstyle. Then, Rennells leads you into the techniques for combing out the curls. Finally, you get into the actual styling.

I'm a very visual person. I have to see someone do something in order to determine if I am doing it correctly. The step by step directions with accompanying images are the next best thing to having Lauren right next to you. The steps are clear and concise.

Of course looking at all of the gorgeous models in their gorgeous hair dos made me pine for long hair again. But Lauren does not let us shorties down. She includes many hairstyles that are specifically for shorter hair, such as the Page Boy and Tiki Lounge, and many of the other styles are made to give long hair a fake short look. Her book is so good, she can even show you how to get fake bangs.

In order to get a better education on how to recreate vintage hairstyles, you'd have to enroll in beauty school. Lauren Rennells has really brought hair from the past into the reach of the modern girl.

Stay tuned for a very exciting contest involving hair, reading, learning and winning. Enough hints for you?

July 20, 2008

Websnob Weekly Roundup

55 Secret Street discovers that Al Gore has joined NARS in the beauty business. Sort of...

A Few Goody GumDrops asked Jelly Belly or Yummie Tummie?

Snag a designer swimwear look for way less with Malia Mills for Martin + Osa - Stiletto Jungle.

All About the Pretty loves a legend like L'Oreal

Allie is Wired asks, "Did Kirsten Dunst steal Drew Barrymore's boyfriend?"

Bag Bliss reviews the Yves Saint Laurent Y-Mail Continental Wallet

Check out the punk rock elegance of YSL Muse clutch - Bag Snob.

Catch the sneak peek at organic beauty care from Bamford at Beauty Snob!

A little naughty and a little bit nice, Coquette discovers the subversively embroidered vintage gloves by Doublespeak.

Fashion, evolved is excited about the smart style of Nadia Nour!

Fashiontribes has 5 fab dresses for any occasion this summer.

I'm Not Obsessed shows you how to replicate Marc Jacobs' Ruffle Pump for less.

Kristopher eats the "Unforbidden Fruit" of Miami's South Beach.

Ladybrille interviews Stephanie Okereke Nollywood's it Girl!

Papierblog praises then rails against Project Runway Seaons 5

Quinta Trends discovers feminine and classical touch ofBoga Diseño .

Second City Style has again begun it's memorable quotes series from this season's episodes of Project Runway! has the scoop on this summer's surprise must-have accessory: lightweight scarves.

Stylehive finds Canadian designers that hike up hemlines with must have mini dresses.

Stylenotes' latest fashion-related tech feature explores the world of chic, colorful, electronic items from earphones to cameras that would make any fashionista swoon!

SugarShock Beauty is feeding her skin from the outside in with Keri Glassman's Skin Appetit Balm Stick.

A few days from 63, Helen Mirren still has a bikini body - The Beauty Stop.

The Fashionable Housewife gives us all the juicy details of her shopping spree at The Garden State Plaza Mall in NJ!!

The Shoe Goddess finds fabulous shoes at great prices!

July 17, 2008

How to Mix Vintage Accessories with a Little Black Dress

The little black dress is a wardrobe staple that will never go out of style. You can credit Audrey Hepburn with this must have basic. She was always chic and demure and millions of fashionable women since have run out and added a little bit of Audrey to their wardrobes.

The problem with that is that everyone has a little black dress. How do you create a unique look that will help you stand out from the sea of ebony frocks? Here are 4 vintage accessories that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary in an instant.

target wrap dress

1. Wear multiple necklaces
A stunning necklace or five can make you look like Coco Chanel herself. Layer metals and styles to create a high end, couture look.

available at Annie Sherman

2. Wear one bold piece
When you are going for a chic look, your little black dress should be clean and streamlined. A stunning brooch can add a perfect dose of intrigue to a day or evening dress.

available at Michelle's Vintage Jewelry

3. A clutch
Straw, exotic skins, beads-the clutch comes in all shapes, sizes and textures. A touristy straw clutch can add a touch of whimsy to a modern cotton day dress. But if you want to go for a red carpet look, go for glitz with a sparkly beaded or rhinestone clutch.

available at Vintage Bag

4. Shoes
While Marilyn sang about her best friend, the diamond, today's woman is buddied up with the new luxury item-shoes. But beautiful shoes don't have to cost half your rent.

Geoffrey Beene pumps available at Damn Good Vintage

July 7, 2008

Adventures in Vintage Hair

For about the last decade, I have donned some sort of long hair, blunt bangs combination. From the Bettie Page look to a Barbarella do, long hair and bangs have been my signature look. The problem is that the same can be said for most girls who are into vintage style.

I was desperate for a whole new sassy hairstyle, but still within appropriately stylish decades of the 20th century. I have been infatuated, and borderline obsessed with, anything 20s lately but I always gravitate towards mid-century looks. So I decided to compromise with a graduated bob. The shortness in the back gives me the liberating feel of a flapper bob while the steep angle is so mod.


louise brooks
vidal sassoon

When I explained to my stylist that I wanted something short but not Poshy, something chic but not matronly, she completely understood and took creative license.

Photo 6.jpg
Excuse the image quality -- this was taken with PhotoBooth on my Mac in very poor lighting.

At first the drastic cut was jolting - over 5 inches is a lot of hair to lose in one sitting. But I am over the shock and eager to try different styles. I've already made an attempt at tight curls for a 20s-ish flapper look. Pin curls are next.

After over 10 years of comfortable and safe long hair, I feel like my new cut is an adventurous move and I am proud of myself for taking a step out of the comfort zone.

And speaking of vintage hair...
I have a very exciting interview coming up along with a special giveaway involving vintage hairstyles. More soon.

July 3, 2008

Vintage LA

Last Saturday, I made the trek up the 10 freeway to the boulevard of the uber hip and notoriously trendy - Melrose Ave. But I was willing to guzzle some gas just to check out the latest vintage themed book Vintage LA by Jennifer Brandt Taylor. I was relieved to see no hipsters nor trendsters -- nothing but stylish, slightly eccentric and interesting people.

The book release soirée took place at Fred Segal and the place was crawling with interesting folks. I spotted Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ and apparently the Mayor was running around. He sure loves fashion events.

Vintage LA is a feast of pictures ranging from kooky LA personalities, enviable dresses and shoes, and enchanting LA establishments and landmarks. Think of it as a road map for everything vintage under the LA sun. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the book also includes entertaining prose whereas other books on vintage are usually very dry and to the point. Jennifer does a great job of telling us little known stories about the gems in LA.

sandra mendoza-daly jennifer brandt taylor
me and Jennifer

Aileen and bf Matt

hot blonde

and her 1920s hat (quite unusual)

vintLA-custom.jpg vintLA-gatsbygirl.jpg
vintLA-prettygirls.jpg vintLA-love.jpg

And be sure to check out Rose Apodaca's interview with Jennifer.

July 2, 2008

Vintage & Modern Fashion Mix - Style & Sculpture

Now that we are in Couture season, my mind drifts into my fantasy world and I imagine I am sitting in the front row of Dior or Alexander McQueen. I visualize the movement of gravity defying skirts with mounds of fabric that float like air.

dior couture
Photo credit:, Alessandro Lucione

One of my favorite fashion details is elements of sculpture. Like the couture runways, a sculptural accessory or dress gives me the ability to make a bold statement with my clothing, with merely a whisper of detail. And since my reality is online discount shopping and an eye for vintage, a structured dress or handbag is my attainable ticket to the world of couture.

Dress: vintage Pauline Trigere,
Shoes: Report,
Bangles: Ciro Coleczzione,

June 19, 2008

Vintage Fashion Mix - Flapper Era Touches

I really need to watch something else besides TMC. I've been watching silent and just barely talking talkies, with some of the worst editing I have ever seen, and as a result, I have a new obsession with anything flapper or jazzy. I'm sure Miss Kristopher Dukes is thrilled to know a mid century convert.

Unfortunately, as a vintage shopper and seller, it is damn near impossible to find 1920s garments that are in wearable condition. If I were lucky enough to find a piece that isn't shattered or missing a ton of beading, I'd be to afraid to wear it. All it takes is one clumsy guy to spill his cocktail, and that's it! Ruined. Maybe I'm overly cautious.

But if you're like me and you can't shake the flapper cravings, I found some great vintage and reproduction accessories that will give you a bit of tartness for your modern wardrobe. No go forth and listen to jazz, drink, talk about sex, wear too much rouge and drive an automobile and show the world how liberated you are!

Inspiration photo: The Sartorialist

Clarks Lena (Black Suede) - Dress Shoes

Gabriella Rocha Cosette (Pink Multi) - Junior Women's Shoes

Franco Sarto Ability (Bloom/Ivory Patent) - T-Straps Dress Shoes

Hair Accessories:
Jennifer Behr


Art Deco buckle bracelet

beaded clutch

White Gold Art Deco Dinner Ring

Technibond® Platinum-Plated Art Deco Ring

June 11, 2008

Daytime Shoes and 1920s Exotic Dancers

I swear, that title was not a ploy to get you to click. They do have something in common.

For the month of June, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is spotlighting Asian images in film. Last week, I watched a film called Piccadilly starring the beautiful Anna May Wong. I am not familiar with her work, but I was fascinated by her breakthrough roles in early cinema.
anna may wong
Piccadilly is a silent film from 1929 set in London. Shosho, Wong's character, is a poor dishwasher from the wrong side of the tracks who works in an extravagant club called "The Piccadilly". After catching the attention of her boss, who runs a very tight ship, while dancing on top of a table in the kitchen, she becomes the center attention as the new exotic act. Her exotic beauty and sensuous dancing mesmerize the audience, including her boss.

Of course, being a fashion historian and vintage lover, I was totally captivated by the costumes. But not so much by the dancers' costumes as you would expect. I was even more intrigued by the costumes of the simple folks - we're so used to seeing this fantasy of what people wore at the time. In cinema, even the down trodden seem to dress better than what was worn in real life. But this film really captured the essence of what I imagine was worn by the working class.

In one scene, Ana May Wong is wearing a simple skirt and a knit sweater with an adorable keyhole neckline punctuated with little rhinestones. She wore a small beret pulled over her severe bangs. And although her stockings had runs, her shoes were simply adorable. Her mary jane shoes buckled at the top of the foot rather than the side.

This pair of Farylrobin Gia shoes look exactly like Shosho's shoes, except these come with a modern open toe. These shoes are perfect with a little dropped waist dress - a much more unique alternative to gladiators for the summer.


By the end of the film, Anna May has ditched her shabby rags and grows accustomed to the life of an exotic dancer - in those days, her type of dancing was a bit risqué. Anna May clutches fur-trimmed coats and the finest cloches graze her brow - right before the jilted dancer she replaces seeks her revenge. I won't tell you the rest. Go out and watch it.

June 5, 2008

Vintage Fashion Mix - Vintage & Modern Mondrian

It's amazing how such simple lines and colors can cause such an arresting visual. After Piet Mondrian created his important color block works in the 1920s, Yves Saint Laurent took notice and brought art to the body with the creation of the Mondrian dress in 1965.

Dress available at
Shoes available at
Handbag available at Olive's Very Vintage
Ring available at

Photo: Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1921, oil on canvas, 72.5 x 69 cm, Tate Gallery. London. Courtesy of

May 29, 2008

Vintage Fashion Mix - Ode to Carrie Bradshaw

When I was writing for Fashiontribes and Lesley explained why I was a perfect fit for the Downtown Doll tribe, she told me to think vintage meets downtown chic - think Carrie Bradshaw. And boy does this peg my style, maybe not in such a literal Carrie way, but in the sense of mixing vintage and modern fashion with unique details.

In honor of the much anticipated release of the Sex and the City movie, which I'm sure will cause swarms of women to flock to the local cinema leaving every known man at home, I present to you my ode to Carrie Bradshaw - vintage style!

The vintage dress featured int he mix up is a combination of the bubble peplum dress and the bold graphic florals Carrie wears. Search for 1950s floral dress to score the look. I also included a cute little travel novelty bag. Novelty bags are extremely hard to find, and forget the deal. If you find a vintage novelty bag as cute as the Eiffel Tower bag by Timmy Woods, nab it!

satc - carrie

May 20, 2008

Sephora Vintage Pin Up Make Up

sephora calendar girl

Sephora, one of my favorite places to buy make up because you get to try everything, has a great tutorial on how to get a fresh faced, vixen eyed pin up look. The model in this video is absolutely stunning and I think I prefer her as a red head.

I'm also very excited about the Kat Von D line of cosmetics. I definitely want to try out the products and do a review. The red lipstick looks perfect. Kat has the type of face that will look glamorous wearing anything, or nothing at all. It's because she is half Latina isn't it? wink.

May 7, 2008

Vintage Fashion Mix - Blue Hawaiian

Mixing vintage and modern is the best way to keep from looking costumey or kitschy. Unless of course that's the look you're going for. But here's an outfit that you could wear anywhere and people would just ask, "Where'd you get that?"


April 30, 2008

Mix It Up - Vintage & New - Demure Jeweld Peacock

Wearing vintage clothing from head to toe can border on costumey. Why not embrace your favorite vintage pieces and incorporate them into everyday life? Mix it up!

Normally, I create the Vintage & Modern mixes using ThisNext, but I've been wanting to try Polyvore since they emailed me last year. Seeing a lot of bloggers' Polyvore sets, I decided to play dress up too. I love that you can move the images around.

Dress available at
Shoes available at
Bag available at

April 19, 2008

More Vintage Hair Styles

vintagehair.jpgA few months ago, a reader emailed and asked about tutorials for vintage hairstyles. I came across more great video tutorials collected by Miss Pumpkin.

The young woman doing the Rosie the Riveter style has the most amazing hair! I'm jealous at the massive amount of locks.

Which is your favorite look? Do you have a link to a great vintage hair tutorial? Share!

Photo: Jupiter Images

April 15, 2008

Vintage Clothing Mix - Florals and Gladiator Sandals

It's been a while since I've done a vintage mix, but I wanted to pull this feature out of the Movable Type closet.

This is my take on the floral dress and gladiator sandal look. I know - super trendy but this is one trend I am loving. A vintage dress with graphic tropical flowers get a bit of edge with some tough and sexy gladiator sandals.

Mix It Up - Vintage & New

See more of my Mix It Up - Vintage & New list at ThisNext.

Photos: dress - Dorthea's Closet, sandals -

March 30, 2008

Funky, Punky Chic

Yesterday, i went to my stylist to get a desperate color correction on my newly highlighted hair. My hair is normally a deep violet, but very natural looking. it's the only funky color I can get away with in my day job.

We had a long discussion about how we feel too old to do punky colors. Of course, she was telling me this while sporting cotton candy pink hair. And it looks fabulous on her. In our circle of friends, we wouldn't bat an eyelash at such a daring, unnatural color. But something has happened to us subculture girls. We got corporate. At least I did. My stylist just feels that having arm loads of tattoos AND pink hair is a bit cliche. So she's going back to her platinum blond.

But when i see this girl on the Sartorialist, looking so so chic in her patent leather tote and 80s style power blazer, she makes me smile and think, I want bright blue hair now! She looks like she works somewhere stuffy right???

photo credit: the Sartorialist

March 24, 2008

Vintage Find - Sexy Sweet Mod

When you hear the word Mod, images of structured tunics, dolly A lines and and bright colors come to mind.

This sexy but sweet little shift is quite unique in its colors. Pink shantung and white linen meet to create a strategic cut out right above the bust.

pink white mode dress

available at Blue Velvet Vintage

March 18, 2008

Vintage Find - Tough Pearls

It seems like everyone is dying to create the Sexy Secretary look by reproducing Working Girl and Tootsie looks. Was that really sexy though? Literal is rarely stylish.

Sex appeal is achieved when you add a bit of toughness to a bit of demure. These vintage pearls in beige and silver give a little bit of edge to a corporate look that lets everyone know you're the boss in the boardroom, and you're the boss in the bedroom too.

tough vintage pearls
available at eBay

March 16, 2008

Vintage Link Love

macpinup-small.jpgThis post is about 48 hours late. Sorry.

Here's a list of amusing links that caught my eye.

Vintage fabric is spun into rosettes on real stems for a chic wedding accessory.

You're not a Yuppie-too cool. But you're not a hipster-too old. So what are you? A Yarpie?

My husband has gone back to school and it's given me the intellectual bug. Gala had me covered in the appropriate college co-ed ensemble.

Liebe Marlene
tries on the new Jovovich-Hawk collection for Target. She looks adorable.

March 10, 2008

Vintage Find - Pink Crocodile Clutch

The Spring runway shows indicate dressing will be alive with color and bursting with florals. I can't imagine a better bag to go with both trends than this pink crocodile clutch. Even the skins are getting a dose of happy this season.

vintage pink crocodile alligator
available on eBay

March 2, 2008

Vintage Find - Vintage Avante Garde Tulle Polka Dot Blouse

Last month, I blogged about a delightful little confection of a blouse by Comme des Garcons.

As I was trolling eBay, a moment of weakness in an otherwise tumultuous relationship, I was amazed to find the potential inspiration for the Garcons blouse.

Who knew polka dots could look so avant garde?

available at

February 23, 2008

Saks and the Decades of Style

Saks Fifth Ave. has a beautiful fashion editorial on their website using modern, vintage inspired outfits spanning the 1920s through the 1990s. I got a good giggle out of the 1990s spread because it reminded me of Elaine on Seinfeld with her lace up oxfords and minimal garments.

Decades of Style.jpg

December 9, 2007

Mix It Up - Vintage & New - Metallic Dress

Mix It Up - Vintage & New

Two looks, mixing vintage and new. A touch of vintage will take your look from nice to stylish. The trick, as Nina Garcia will tell you in her new book, is to add a little something that is unique and beautiful.

See more of my Mix It Up - Vintage & New list at ThisNext.

June 26, 2007

Crap & Couture: Patent Heels and Sandals

I've decided to add a new regular post on how to mix low end and high end fashion successfully without looking like a bag lady or a knock off artist.

In my first installment, I found three great pairs of patent leather shoes in vintage, high end and cheap price ranges. Of course you could go middle ground with like a BCBG shoe, but I loved these three so much, I had to share them.

Cheap & Chic

Crap & Couture-from low to high end and how to mix them up to create a fabulous wardrobe

See more of my Cheap & Chic list at ThisNext.

And if you want to be REALLY original and kick ass, Julie Wanda posted these amazing beauties at


April 14, 2007

Boys Love Girls With Curves

As a long standing member of the Rockabilly and Retro subculture, I can vouch with all certainty that men really do love curves. Part of the fascination of these particular subcultures, is the nostalgic notion of the pin up queen.

No hip bones, no knobby knees-nothing but curves, curves, curves! Here are some tips from pin ups of the past to get your own va va voom, curvacious look that will have men's eyes bugging out and hearts palpitating:

1. Show Off Your Best Asset

If you have a tiny waist-cinch it with a wide belt or a dress that darts and nips you at the waist. Stay away from tent dresses. They will only hide your best feature.

Are you a Busty Babe? Try a Roland Mouret Galaxy inspired dress. The portrait neckline rally shows off just enough cleavage with out being tacky.

2. Don't Show Off Too Much

There is a fine line between pin up and stripper. Actually, the line isn't that fine. Pin ups tantalize, strippers give it up right away. Leave something to the imagination. A little cleavage is fine, but don't prop the girls up so much that men can't look you in the face.

3. Accessorize Accordingly

Showing off the cleavage? Don't overshadow it with a busy necklace. Opt for a pretty bracelet or dangly earrings.

Got gams to gaze at? Ankle tie heels or back seemed stalkings are the way to go.

Amazing Arms? You can pull off stacks of bangles or wrist cuffs.

4. Dress for you height

If you are short, stay away from very full skirts-they will just dwarf you

Tall? You can pull off most anything, but watch those hemlines. Go too short and you run the risk of looking like your clothes don't fit.

5. Make your tailor or seamstress your best friend

Girls with curves have a difficult time finding clothes off the rack. Be sure to invest the time and money in finding a good tailor or seamstress. There is nothing more unflattering than ill fitting clothes.

I have a huge problem with waist lines because I have a 30 inch waist but 40 inch hips and I am only 4'11". My neighborhood tailor is a must.

6. A Must Have Item

Th wrap dress. Diane Von Furstenburg's greatest contribution to fashion and all woman kind is the wrap dress. It doesn't matter if you invest in an expensive silk blend, or something at your local Torrid or Forever 21, you must have a wrap dress. You can dress it up with heels and clutch, you can dress it down with flip flops and a tote. So versatile and flattering on everyone from size 2 to a 22 and beyond.

February 1, 2007

Sartorialist Videos - Street Style, Vintage & Chanel

The Sartorialist always has the best pics of stylish people on the streets of NY and Europe. He has such a keen eye for style and presence in people going about their daily business.

I especially love this video where a magazine photographer mixes overalls, Chanel shoes (flats maybe?) and a vintage jacket. She is by far the most stylish example in this series. Just goes to show it doesn't take a lot of money to have great style.

February 1, 2007

Sartorialist Videos - Street Style, Vintage & Chanel

The Sartorialist always has the best pics of stylish people on the streets of NY and Europe. He has such a keen eye for style and presence in people going about their daily business.

I especially love this video where a magazine photographer mixes overalls, Chanel shoes (flats maybe?) and a vintage jacket. She is by far the most stylish example in this series. Just goes to show it doesn't take a lot of money to have great style.