Tag Archive: how to dress

Style Inspiration – Katharine Hepburn

Katharine-Hepburn-Quotes

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.

hepburnSUM_1930000c

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

nun 4

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.

 

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?

hair 1 hair 2

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.

scarf 1 scarf 2 quiche 2

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.

Developing Your Personal Style

There are certain people in this world that are born with that special something, that je ne sais quois that can’t quit be defined in one word but the closest you can get to it is STYLE.  We all know at least one or two of these people.  We admire them, hell maybe we even envy them a little.  Never fear! Even if you weren’t born innately stylish, it’s never too late to begin to develop your personal sense of style.

My style motto is simple:  If you love it, wear it!!

Now comes the disclaimer – not everything you love should be worn. I know, I know, it’s contradictory.  The key is finding items that you love that fit you well, looks good, are quality, and can be worn for years no matter what the current trend is.  Trust me, you can find classic pieces that you love.

The first step is to forget about trends.  Trendy does not equal stylish!!  Now, I’m not saying trends are never stylish.  Occasionally, society as a whole embraces a trend that is actually good.  Think about a trend in this way, though – could you see a woman 30 years ago pulling that off?  What about 30 years from now?  What about YOU, NEXT YEAR?  Tribal print leggings? Can you imagine Marilyn Monroe coquettishly curled on her sofa, perusing a novel in neon print leggings? Yeah, me neither.

Good style is about classic, lasting, basic pieces.  You want to build your wardrobe around these pieces.  You can throw on some trendy accessories or add a trend top here or there every season.  I like to add a scarf in a fun print or trendy top with a classic skirt and boots.  It gets easier when you get a clear picture of what you want YOUR style to look like.  You can imagine any item added to your wardrobe and easily discard what doesn’t fit. And think about those stylish people that you know.  They probably have the same philosophy.  I bet they’ve got a few standard classic cuts and shapes that they wear all of the time.

Another important element of good style is fit.  You might absolutely love A-line dresses, but if you’re a curvy girl like me, it just doesn’t work.  I have found that my shape looks wonderful in 50’s vintage or inspired dresses. Anything from the 70’s, however, just doesn’t cut it.  The 70’s were for tall, skinny, leggy women.  I’m short, curvy, and ….well I’ve got legs but they aren’t long.  It’s better that I stick to styles that showcase my good attributes – my hourglass figure and the shape of my legs rather than the length (err, or lack of) of them.  Sticking to clothing shapes from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s works well with my figure.  Figure out what does and doesn’t work for you and STOCK UP.  If you find a wonderful cut that looks great and flatters you, buy it in several patterns and colors.  Buy classic patterns and neutral colors that can be mix and matched and worn during different seasons.

I also love patterns.  It’s hard for me, as I get older, to restrain my pattern love.  In the past, if it was bright, gaudy, and had a design on it – I was wearing it. I didn’t care if it fit properly or looked good.  I have discovered that pattern is a-okay, even when trying to dress stylishly.  The easiest way to incorporate pattern is with accessories.  A bright polka dot scarf can liven up any outfit.  I love plaid, polka dots, and floral more than anything.  You can mix and match these patterns as well, as long as you stick to neutral or complementary colors.

Speaking of color – I LOVE bright colors.  Always have, always will.  Go ahead and wear that bright pink top or orange pants.  But make sure you have a “base” color that is prevalent in your wardrobe.  I picked this tip up years ago from a former boss that was a knockout older woman and always looked like she spent hundreds of dollars on every outfit.  She told me that the key was to pick a color scheme and stick to it.  You can easily thrift and pick up bargain items in these colors to supplement your wardrobe.  It also makes shopping for wardrobe basics much easier.  All of your classic, expensive, well taylored pieces should be in this neutral colors.  That doesn’t mean you have to stick to black or white.  My colors are navy, tan, and grey.  I have dozens of simple pieces in these colors that can be mix and matched and paired with bright fun patterns.  Trust me, it makes shopping much easier.  Decide what color works with your hair and complexion and start to build your wardrobe around it.

One of the best books I’ve ever found on the subject of dressing stylishly is “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia.  Buy it here.  I don’t know who Nina Garcia is.  I don’t follow fashion that closely (like I said, trends are useless to me).  However, she has a great list in this book of wardrobe staples that can be a starting point for someone that wishes to develop their personal style.  The only issue I take with most “high fashion” books or advice is that they always recommend products that are absurdly expensive.  I don’t think the average woman is about to drop $500 on a pair of shoes.  If you’re like me, your clothing budget is about $500 for the year….or for a few years.  It’s important not to look at these tips and stylist tricks as set in stone.  Take what you can use from them and make it work for you.  The book recommends having a little back dress on hand and I absolutely agree that you should.  Do you need the name brand sunglasses listed, though?  Nope.  Is the style of sunglasses a good idea to emulate?  Yup.

Being stylish, more than anything, is about expressing yourself and being confident.  Just because a model wore it, or because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean you should or could wear it.  The more you love what you are wearing, the more able you will be to carry yourself with grace and dignity.  More than anything else, LOVE YOURSELF and have fun.

Next week, we’ll look at dressing for the changing seasons.