Tag Archive: style

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

Honey Bee True Dress

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One of my favorite things to do when I’m preparing a vintage item to sell is styling the item.  Sometimes, I style it in my mind and I don’t go as far as putting together an entire outfit around an item.  Sometimes, though, I can’t resist putting an outfit together.  There are so many great combinations that you can come up with from one item!

The Honey Bee True Dress was an item that I couldn’t resist styling.  On the hanger it looked a little baggy and frumpy.  I’m a HUGE fan of floral and patterns.  Huge.  More signs that I’m a grandma at heart.  When I saw this dress, I immediately envisioned a Pretty Woman style get together.  Pretty woman, post Rodeo Drive that is.

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Maybe I wanted an excuse to wear a big brimmed hat.  Regardless, I like how it all came together.

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Sometimes, this job can be fun!

And those lovely handpainted leather sandals from the 1940’s will be available soon.

Midwestern Love Affair

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I live in the Midwest, right dead center in the heart of it, in a small town in Southern Illinois.  I have friends that have moved to other countries and big cities and states that are far more popular to live in.  The area that I live in is as far south from Chicago as you can possibly get and still be in the same state.  It’s economically depressed.  It’s a place that people talk about “getting away from”.

I’m not one of those people.  I am in love with and will always be in love with the beauty of the area.  Illinois is a plains state, however the area that I live in butts up against Missouri and is rife with state parks, forests, lakes, ravines, swampy areas, and cliffs.  We live in the most beautiful part of Illinois, in my opinion.  We have extreme weather in winter (cold as a witch’s teet) and summer (burn yer feet off heat) and the most gorgeous springs and autumns that you could possibly imagine.

Part of what I want to do with my photosets, when I can talk some pal of mine into donning vintage clothing and posing in public, is to show off the beauty of my area, my favorite spots, and the local businesses.  Here are a few of my favorite shots of my friend and model in the streets of my current hometown.

This funky little gate is just around the corner from The Practice pad, a great little music shop that offers a variety of instruments and music lessons.

Our initial destination for the shoot was down the street from this area, just outside of a local salon Hair Brains, but I had to stop and get a picture of Megan next to this quirky little tree.

I love that there are so many gorgeous little details on every street in my town.  I love the trees, the cobblestone streets here and there, the old brick buildings, the fences – okay, I love most all of it.  I hope you enjoy my Midwestern love affair as much as I do!  I’ll try to share a little about each place that I take pictures so that you can enjoy Southern Illinois’ beauty.

 

Oh, and the Bedazzle My Heart Pants and the Plaidurday Date Dress are available to purchase on the shop today!  Click the links to check them out.

Quiche Me Quick!

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Bacon, Sausage, and Spinach Quiche Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 uncooked pie crust
  • 8+ slices of bacon.  I like tons of bacon, so I added extra.  eek!
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup sausage crumbles, cooked
  • 6–9 eggs.  *This depends on how large a pan you are using.  See recipe notes for more about this.
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • pinch of basil
  • 2 cups of cheese of your choice.  Cheddar is good with it, but I’ve also used monterey jack and provolone cheese as well as gouda.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the bacon.  *See recipe notes about cooking bacon.
  3. While bacon is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion.  Allow the onion to cook until it is a dark golden brown, stirring occasionally.  You DON’T want it to get burnt at all.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.
  4. Whisk eggs, cream, and milk together until fluffy.  And I mean, really whip that sucker.  I actually use a fork instead of a whisk at first and then switch to a whisk after it gets frothy.  You want it to be a little frothy and light looking.  *See notes about milk and cream.
  5. Add in salt, pepper, mustard powder, and thyme.  Stir to mix in well.
  6. Add the onion from the pan.  If you like a little extra buttery flavor, just pour it in there.  Most of the butter should have evaporated from cooking anyway.  If not, just use a slotted spoon and take out the onion.
  7. Add the bacon by tearing into small chunks.  Again, however big you like your bacon pieces is how big you want the chunks to be.
  8. Add the sausage and cheese.  Mix well.
  9. Press the pie crust into the pan that you will be using. Fold edges or crimp with a fork. *See notes about pans.
  10. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust.  Loosely cover with foil and place it in the oven.
  11. Bake for 40-60 minutes.  I always set my timer for 40 minutes and start checking with a toothpick every ten minutes from then on.  If it is still wobbly in the middle, it’s definitely not done.  You want a toothpick to come out clean but you do not want to overbake it.  I repeat DO NOT overbake.  It will result in dry, cardboard like quiche.
  12. When a toothpick comes out clean, but just barely, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the pie crust is golden and the top of the quiche is a little golden as well.  You can add a bit more cheese on the top if you’d like at this point as well.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  14. Enjoy those noms!

Recipe Notes

*I’ve read several recipes that recommended baking your pie crust for a little while BEFORE adding the ingredients to it, to make sure it cooks thoroughly.  I tried it both ways, pre-baking the crust and baking the crust with the other ingredients.  Pre-baking it DOES make the crust bottom a little more crispy, however I think I prefer it slightly soggy.  I know, that sounds gross but it really isn’t.  It’s a personal preference I guess!

*The two recipes that I combined to create this dish said to cook the bacon until just before it’s crispy.  Some people like crispier bacon.  I like mine barely cooked.  I cooked my bacon for just a few minutes, way before it was close to being crispy.  This part is all up to you and how you like your bacon.  If you like it crispier (ya gross!) then go for it!

*You can add more or less milk or cream.  I’ve actually amended the recipe to reflect the extra tablespoons that I added.  The more milk and cream you add, the fluffier it will be.  You don’t want to add TOO much because it will get soggy.  Soggy is no good for quiche.

*You can use a regular pie pan for this or a tart pan.  I tried a longer more shallow dish as well as a smaller, deeper dish.  For quiche purposes, to keep it fluffy and not thin and dried out, a deeper dish is better for sure.  I used an 8-inch casserole dish for mine.

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P.S. the Quiche Me Quick Vintage Day Dress and Sheering and Caring Apron will be available to purchase in the shop on Friday, November 20th!

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.

Personal Style Files: Afternoon at the Winery

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What I Wore:
A sunny autumn afternoon at the winery, reading “Lord of the Rings”, and watching my boyfriend’s band play some tunes.  I’ve had this dress for years, as well as the belt.  The hat is a new addition and one that I think I’ll be wearing as much as possible this fall.  I love any opportunity to throw on a hat (and keep the sun off of my face).

What’s your favorite fall accessory?

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.