Style Tips

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

We didn’t get hit with the snow as bad as the east coast did – as a matter of fact, we’ve had very little cold and snow this winter.  It’s been more like early spring all season for us. So weird!!  We finally got a few inches of snow and ice this week and it’s cold enough for me to pull out some of my favorite cold weather gear.  I have a small collection of vintage hats that I keep adding to every year that I will be offering in the shop soon.  These fur hats are SO stinking cute!

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I NEVER think the weather is too cold for a dress or a skirt.  I’m the queen of layering.  It’s actually far warmer than jeans once I get my fleece lined tights, thigh high wool stockings, dress, and cardigans all piled on!  However, from time to time I still like to throw on some slacks on a cold day for coziness sake.  I wanted to share this outfit to show how you can incorporate pieces from the 40’s and 50’s for a cute, casual look!

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These are slacks from the 1940’s that, frankly, looked unappealing on a hanger.  I’ve been on the lookout for some vintage slacks to style Katharine Hepburn style.  I absolutely adore Katharine’s style but I don’t have the right body type to really emulate her.  She was tall and lanky and looked amazing in slacks.  I’m…not tall and lanky haha.  I’m the complete opposite.  I do still like the style though, it’s just a matter of finding items that work with my body type as well.

She was a fierce style maven!

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A Katharine Hepburn inspired outfit can be a great choice if you have to wear business or business casual clothing to work.  It can also be a cute date night outfit!  Pair a button down blouse with a pair of high waisted slacks.  You can wear loafers or slip on shoes, you don’t have to wear with heels as I did.  Don’t have a tie neck or pussy bow blouse?  Tie a ribbon around your neck!  Super chic, easy to wear, and a great way to wear vintage on a daily basis!

I paired the slack and tie neck blouse with a dress coat that is from the early ’50’s and it was a pretty functional, lovely winter ensemble in my opinion.

 

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All of these lovelies will be added to the shop soon!

Flower Child Power

The ’70’s are back in style and we couldn’t be happier about it!

The 1970’s have such good, down-to-earth vibe that pretty much anyone can pull it off. There’s no need to go full blown hippie either – a dress in a floaty material, a wide brimmed hat, or an accessory with some fringe can add a little boho touch without going overboard.

 

This fantastic semi-sheer floral full length Flower Child dress is available in the shop right now and it’s giving us all the feels!!

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Some suggestions for adding 70’s to your wardrobe:

  • Crochet pieces – a cute crochet tank top or sweater is a nice touch.
  • Plunging neckline
  • Suede suede suede – boots, coat, or dresses
  • Mini-skirts – show off them legs, baby
  • Layers and layers of patterns
  • Chunky, funky accessories

The 70’s were all about freedom of movement, owning your sexuality, and having fun!

Teddy Girl Style

I have long been obsessed with Teddy Girl style.   Teddy Girls emerged in the 1950’s as girl “gangs” in England.  For the first time, teenagers were developing their own sense of style instead of dressing like miniature adults.  Teddy boys and girls were a mix of punk, prep, and victorian with a twist.  The best part about their style was how effortless it was – the women took menswear pieces and added them to feminine items in their wardrobe to produce a completely unique aesthetic.

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Teddy Girl style is a great way to adopt a retro look without having to shop for a whole new wardrobe!

How to get the Teddy Girl look

  • Blouses.  You can get this style with any kind of blouse really – button down or plain.  BUT you don’t want too much pattern going on.  You’ll notice that most of their tops are very simple and sans pattern.
  • Men’s or boy’s crewneck sweater.  You don’t want it to be too baggy, so a boy’s size sweater is usually a good fit.
  • Blazers.  Teddy girl style is ALL ABOUT the blazers and jackets.  A blazer in any cut or style will work, but look for men’s, boy’s, or menswear inspired if you want to stay authentic.  You want the blazer to be a little longer.
  • Jeans, cuffed up several times.  “Boyfriend” cut jeans are perfect for this.
  • Plain flats or loafers.  Again, menswear inspired is great for this.
  • Teddy Girl style is ALL about the accessories.  A ribbon tied under your collar with a broach at your throat is a great touch.  Even better, knot a scarf at your throat!
  • Add other menswear accessories such as suspenders or a newsboy cap.

So, I put together my own version of a Teddy Girl look to show you how easy it can be.  The best and easiest day-to-day wear version is just a pair of high waisted jeans, a vintage blouse, suspenders, a scarf, and a blazer over it.

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As you can see, I kept it pretty simple: loafers, blazer, cuffed pants, vintage blouse.  I don’t think this is a look that would be hard to wear for people new to wearing vintage.

An alternative to cuffed jeans would be 1930’s newsboy style pants, shown below.  You definitely want to wear suspenders with this style of pants.  Not everyone feels comfortable wearing suspenders and that’s okay.  Just stick to jeans if that’s that case.

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You really can have a lot of fun with this look.  Try ties, bowties, cardigans, different types of trousers, loafers, slippers.  It really is a versatile look to copy and so much more forgiving than a pinup style.

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Teddy Girl Style Hair and Makeup

  • Keep it simple with your makeup.  A little eyeliner and mascara and red lipstick.  I will say that red lipstick was the look du jour in the 1950’s.  I opted for a color called “True Red” by Loreal.  You can wear a darker red or one with purple undertones.  Pick a color that works with your skin tone but stick with a red in one shade or another.  I wouldn’t wear red lipstick for YEARS because I didn’t think it looked good on me.  It’s all about finding the right shade.
  • Teddy Girl hair was messy and fucking gorgeous.  I love the curls and messy buns worn by the women in that era.  I did a sort of reverse pompadour with my hair.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m lazy lazy lazy about my hair, so for me to do a style it has to be easy and quick. AND NO teasing.  I just won’t tease my hair.  I skip that part of any hair instructions.  I started by checking out a few hair tutorials and this was the easiest and best one that I found:  a great tutorial on how to get teddy girl hair.  I didn’t follow instructions completely because, well I never do.  I simply flipped my hair upside down, gathered it, and twisted it up so that the ends were on the top of my head.  I stuck some bobby pins in randomly.  When it was sorta secure (I wanted it messy so I left it pretty loose), I curled just the ends of the hair that was at the top of my head and my bangs.  Most tutorials don’t even touch on what to do with bangs, so I’m assuming they weren’t common for that style.  I just threw a few hot curlers in my bangs while I was doing my makeup and then brushed them to the side.  A little bit of hairspray and I was done.  Seriously, super easy.  Anyone can achieve this look.

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As you can see, loose and messy are what I went for.  It was pretty lopsided and falling out everywhere. Perfect.  See, you too can do Teddy girl hair!teddy hair back

Ready to try Teddy girl style?  Check out the shop for great vintage items for emulating this look!

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Style Inspiration – Katharine Hepburn

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One of my all-time favorite style icons is Katharine Hepburn.  Not only was she smart, independent, sassy, and funny – this woman OWNED her style.  During the 40’s and 50’s women primarily wore dresses and overtly feminine clothing.  Not Katharine.  She wore men’s suits with playful little twists, button down shirts tucked into high waisted pants, and loafers.  Oh, the loafers!!  I love her look.

Not to mention, she was stunningly gorgeous.  She stayed beautiful until the end of her life.

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AND she could preach some self-love, let me tell you.  She was unabashedly, totally and completely, all about loving yourself and following your heart.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Want to copy Katharine’s look?  A white oxford shirt, high waisted slacks, and a pair of Eastland loafers are all it takes to be effortlessly cool and gorgeous.  Try to stick to classic cuts that flatter your figure, don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section, and avoid low cut blouses. It just wasn’t her style ;).

Style Files: the Nun Better Dress

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It’s hard to find the exact size that you are looking for when purchasing vintage.  Vintage sizing was extremely different from modern sizing.  There’s also the fact that many vintage items listed are the only ones that you will find of that style!  You don’t often find a vintage vendor who has a dress in small, medium, and large available.  With antique and retro clothing, you work with what you can find.

The Nun Better Dress was an exciting find because the cut is SO versatile.  This dress is too adorable for words.  I’ll try to put it into words any how.

On the hangar, this dress might appear shapeless and frumpy.  It is not, I assure you.

Meg and I styled it with a wide red belt and that alone changed the shape and appearance of this sweet little frock.

Cute, right?  I thought so too!

We headed south for this photoshoot.  Our original goal was the tiny town square in Anna-Jonesboro, Illinois.  I liked the shape of this olive green building and the retro light fixture above the entry.  Isn’t it great?  Little details like that grab my heart every time.  Around the corner of this house was a barn style garage in the same muted olive green.  It only took a moment to realize that I had Meg posing in front of a crematorium.  A little morbid, but still worth the shot!

nun 3This dress is truly a perfect piece and an exciting find for a purveyor of vintage goods such as I.  It’s a larger size which is sometimes hard to find, adorable with great details like double chiffon cuffs and a pussy bow on the front, and it can be styled to fit women of different sizes.  So happy to be able to offer this item on the Geek-Betty Vintage Etsy Shop.  This is a great example of how you can easily change the shape and style of a dress by simply adding a belt.
Vintage 1960’s dress, black with white collar and sleeves. Double chiffon collar and cuffs. Pussy bow at the collar. Snap in bib. Elbow length sleeves. Semi-sheer dress (shown with a slip under it). Falls below the knees. This is a LOVELY item in great condition, with a few smudges on collar. Additional info and photos available upon request.

No tags, appears to be handmade.

Measurements: bust: 21″, free from bust; length: 44″
Model wears a modern size 4; measurements 36-29-35, fits quite loosely on her without the belt

Price: $46.00 + s&H

 

Red Letter Day Belt available in etsy shop.  Vintage 1990’s wide red belt. A great accessory to punch up any look. Pleather-like curved buckle, silver rivets, very stretchy and adjustable. Shown on model, measurements: 36-29-36, fit on the 3rd adjustable hole.  Measurements: length: 38.5″ from end of buckle to other end, stretches to about 55″ (very flexible).  Price: $8.99.

 

My collection of antique cameras are up for grab as well!  Snip Snap Vintage Polaroid Camera on Etsy.  This is an antique 1960’s Polaroid Land Camera Swinger Model 20. This is a rare model that was only produced for a few years in the 60’s-70’s.
This item has been used as a home decor item since I’ve had it. I’m unsure as to whether it works. It appears to function okay, however I am not an expert on cameras and have never used it.
This listing is for decorative purposes. It MAY work, but I am making no claims.

 

Heart Of Gold – Class It Up For The Holidays!

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My friend, Megan, has been sweet enough to model vintage items for me on a few separate occasions.  This was my favorite photoshoot that we have done to date.  Meg is extremely patient with my amateur attempts at photography and instructions.

A photoshoot with me sounds something like this:

“Could you like turn this way a little but no more that way….uh no do what you were doing before.  Shit, the camera wasn’t on.  Could you pretend I said something really funny?  I mean, I could make up a joke or something.  Did you hear the one about the dog that wanted to be president?  Oh. Well, I don’t know it anyway.  Pretend to laugh. Har har.  Uh. No look serious. Yeah that’s better.”

Bless Meg’s sweet heart for putting up with me!

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This is a vintage evening gown that I bought many moons ago and wore to a schmancy New Years Eve party and then never found a reason to wear it again.  This dress doesn’t look like much on the hangar but OWEEE does it hang just so on a woman’s body.  It is elegant and slinky looking, even if you don’t have an “elegant and slinky” type of figure.  Trust me, I’m more of a short and round body type and it looked good on me as well!  I loved this dress BEFORE I ever asked Meg to wear it on a chilly afternoon on a street corner downtown.  We got a few funny looks but I think it was well worth it.  Doesn’t she look lovely in this dress?

The dress doesn’t have a belt with it, but it does have belt loops.  On our way out the door to the shoot, I snagged a silk tie from my boyfriend and tied it around her waist.  Not a typical look and maybe this isn’t something everyone would wear.  I like how it looks, don’t you?

My hometown has some great old brick buildings scattered here and there.  The building shown in the background of this photo is the Town Square market, just around the corner from our fabulous coffee shop Longbranch Cafe and Bakery.  Longbranch has evolved since it’s early days, when I used to show up to open mic nights and read my crappy teen angsty poetry to a few bored people chugging coffee and ignoring me.  Oh, Longbranch, how I loved my afternoons in your dark backroom, poring over the free library and gossiping with my friends.  It has now become a bright, cheerful, adorable cafe.  One of my favorite places to grab coffee to this day!

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The Heart of Gold Dress is perfect for the upcoming holidays.  This dress will instantly make you feel glamorous.

Here’s a playlist to listen to you as you get dolled up in this dress.

Vintage 1970’s Heart of Gold Evening Gown. Semi-sheer (needs a slip under it), glittery gold and cream interwoven together. This dress positively melds itself to your body and has great flow and twirl to it. The skirt loves to be lifted and twirl in the wind. Sleeveless with cowl neckline. Has belt loops but no belt. Shown with a silk tie used as a belt. Full length gown.

This dress is in fabulous shape and is SUCH a dream to wear.

Tags: J.T. Jody Dress Company

Measurements: Size 12; bust: 18″; waist: 12″-17″; free from waist.

Price: $57.00 + s&h

Hair Flop!

Yesterday’s post was a call to action for all women to embrace and love vintage!  I mentioned that I am quite the slob about my hair.  I’m madly in love with women with perfectly coiffed hair.  It makes me ever so slightly jealous.  However, I know myself well enough to know that I’m never going to achieve hair greatness.

First of all, I’m lazy.  There! I said it.  It’s true – I really am.  I have a good strong work ethic and I’m incredibly driven when I’m interested in a project, but when it comes to personal appearance?  Capital L, lazy.  I only wash my hair once a week and I brush it about the same amount.  I’ve read reviews of women that also only wash their hair every 6-10 days.  Their hair is healthier, shinier, and thicker because of it.  I’ve got a big ole mass of hair on my head (even after losing quite a bit of it during treatment this summer).  These other women, however, are using dry shampoo and styling it in different ways and curling, blowdrying, hairspraying it.  Uh…..gosh, that sounds like a lot of work!  Me?  It’s in a ponytail, a bun, or a braid nearly every day with my bangs pinned up with bobby pins.  Bobby pins are a lazy girl’s bff!

Take this look, for instance, where I was dressed WAY up, in a civil war ballgown for a dance.  Looks like I fixed my hair and it looks elegant, sort of, right?

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Nahhhh, not really.  My boyfriend, bemusedly watching my prep process, commented that there were hairs sticking up everywhere in the back and it was lopsided etc.  Basically, I took my hair into a ponytail, rolled and tucked it all up and stuck about 300 bobby pins into that mess.  That’s why there are no pictures of it from behind.

One of the features I’d like to start on this blog, in keeping with the average everyday woman’s take on things is an “I tried it so that you didn’t have to”  type of post.  Let’s get the ball rolling with a look at the time I tried to fix my hair in a 50’s style scarf updo.

I LOVE scarves.  I like the big fluffy ones that you wrap around your neck in winter.  I like the floaty chiffon ones for cute little neck bows.  I love all scarves and I have a ridiculously large collection of them that will be added to my shop when it goes live next week.  When I had super short hair, I wore a head scarf daily.  So, I thought, “a scarf hairstyle will be easy for me, right?”…..riiiiiiiight.

There are dozens of great youtube and pinterest tutorials out there that can teach you how to achieve these darling hairstyles.  I found a youtube tutorial and gave it a go.  Well, sort of.  I am TERRIBLE at following directions.  This is me while watching a tutorial:  you want me to TEASE my hair? Nah, I don’t need to do that.  Skipping this part.  Oh, I don’t have whatever tool that is.  Fast forward. Fast forward.  What on earth is she doing?  Skip, Skip.  Wait, what did I miss?

This is me with any instructions or directions. When I learned how to knit, I found a fantastic book called Stitch ‘n’ Bitch that I highly recommend to anyone that is wanting to learn to knit.  I used it for the basic stitches.  When it came to following patterns?  I was hopeless.  I can’t tell if it’s because I’ve spent so many years resisting authority figures or if I’m really just that stubborn or if I can’t pay attention long enough to follow directions.  I think it’s a combination of the three.  My trademark reply to commands?  “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO”.  Oy vay.  It’s a little embarrassing now that I’m older but it is still my immediate response.

So, needless to say, a tutorial was useless to me.  Even after three watches and no less than a dozen different attempts at fixing my hair, my updo looked nothing like the elegant retro style featured on the tutorial.  I ended up with a ponytail.

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So, there you have it.  If you can follow directions better than I can, I suggest checking out this pinterest tutorial.  I also have tons of great 1940’s hairstyles on my Pinterest.  Or you can just be lazy like me and throw  your hair in a sloppy ponytail and wrap a scarf around it.

Rock that vintage, girl!

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I’ve had numerous people remark on my style throughout the years, often expressing admiration or an inability to “wear vintage”  Often women make comments such as,  “I can’t put outfits together” or “I don’t look retro enough to wear vintage”.

Vintage is for EVERYONE.  It truly is.  Perhaps you look at some of the beautiful women that dress in pinup style with perfectly coiffed retro-styled hair and shoes, makeup, and accessories straight from another era, and you’re intimidated by the effort that goes into it or by how well put together they are.  I LOVE that style and I admire women that can pull it off…. but it’s not for everyone.  Me? I’m hopeless at hair.  Any attempt I’ve ever made at a retro hairstyle has been a hilarious flop.  I couldn’t be a pinup if i had an team working on me every day.  I’m too lazy and impatient for all of that.  I still love vintage clothing and I wear it nearly every day!

The key to wearing and loving vintage?  Don’t change your style to do so!  Make the vintage work for you!  You can update any vintage item to work with your existing wardrobe.  The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable and to only wear it if you love it!

Personally, my favorite go-to wardrobe item is a 50’s style day dress. I know that the cut fits my figure well. I can throw on a cardigan and a plain pair of flats and viola! my lazy ass doesn’t have to put any effort into matching or putting together an outfit.

Today’s outfit illustrates how you can update vintage items fairly easily and without the outfit looking old or outdated. The skirt I’m wearing is a 90’s skirt (we sure loved our floral prints in the 90’s) that I’ve had for years and years. Because I love mixing patterns, I’m wearing a striped top with it but really any plain top would work. I think this outfit looks fairly modern and you can’t really tell that I’m wearing a skirt that I bought at a thrift shop for $3 nearly 15 years ago!

Don’t be intimidated by vintage. I believe that there’s a vintage style that will look great on anyone – you just have to find your style. Don’t be afraid to mix vintage and modern. Don’t be scared of prints. And for heavens sake, don’t be discouraged because you don’t look like someone you saw in a magazine! HAVE FUN!!