Tag Archive: style inspiration

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 ;).

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.

Style Inspiration – Marilyn Monroe

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Today’s style inspiration is Marilyn Monroe.  It may seem like a cliche choice, but she wasn’t considered the most beautiful woman in America for no reason!

For public appearances, Marilyn was often in ultra girly dresses with high heels and her signature red lips.  The very epitome of woman.

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However, it was Marilyn’s personal style that I really love.  When Marilyn was off duty or allowed to choose her clothing, she often went for men’s dress shirts or sweaters paired with capris or hot pants.  She could take an Oxford shirt and make it look elegant and sexy all at once.

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970:  Photo of Marilyn Monroe  Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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