Monday, June 29, 2015

Tuesday Treasures: A few of my favorite things

Jeweled vintage purses and hats trimmed with netting.  Kitschy old knick knacks and brooches with gilding, brown retro hat boxes tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things! 

Welcome to my newest blog feature, Tuesday Treasures.  Each week I will showcase fabulous vintage items in my own collection or items I am currently searching for.  I have always had a huge love affair with antique and vintage pieces. My grandparents were born in 1919 and 1920, the example I saw from them and the heirlooms they possessed fascinated me.  I used to play dress up in my Grandmother's jewelry and clothing, as a consequence my style inspiration is anything old fashioned, unique and eclectic. I love many different eras, I'm an old soul.  I've been collecting odds and ends since I was a child.  I'll be sharing my favorite items in my collection, a few details about their style and age, tell you where I found these items and how to look for lovely retro items to add to your own collection.  Enjoy this visual journey.  These are my favorite things!

Friends and family are a great source for vintage items. Family have items that are passed from one person to another through the years.  Family and friends are also usually willing to keep their eyes out if they know you have a collection.  Many items I own came to me through my favorite people and because of that they are even more special.

I was very lucky to have a close relationship with my Grandmother and I inherited many lovely, sentimental treasures from her over the years.  One of the first things she gave me was this cute little vintage pill box.  I still remember the day she gave it to me and it's been with me in my purse ever since, it is a very handy item!  Gold metal with enameled black background, painted rose bouquet and gilding.  I believe it to be from the 1910 era.

My Grandmother also gave me this lovely 1930s era silver overlaid art deco ball chain bracelet when I was a teen.  I saw it in a cabinet and begged, she told me it had been her mother's.  It has become my good luck charm, I often wear it to shoots, events and while performing.

These four lovely vintage purses from the 1950s era belonged to Alice, who is the mother of my mom's best friend.  I have many fond memories of times spent visiting their lake cottage across the street from my grandparents house playing with their grand daughter when I was little.  I feel lucky to have recieved them.

I love kitschy, unique antique stores and thrift shops.  My best friend and I hung out in one called The Grapevine for years always looking for fun new items to use in our wardrobes and just generally enjoying the fantastic history around us.  Over the years these have been the places I have found most of the items I treasure that were not passed down to me.  Antique stores, thrift shops, estate or yard sales, secondhand shops are all an adventure in time.  These stores often look like crowded masses of old junk to others but I know that a good look through will usually find fabulous treasures waiting for discovery.  Wade right in and don't be afraid to get dirty!!

 Art nouveau style brooch with beautiful lady and poppies dating from the late 1890s to 1910s.  Bronze metal with hand applied enamel. Found at a thrift sale for $1.

 Bakelite faux tortoiseshell hair comb with ornate metal and rhinestones 1920s era.  Antique store find, a gift from my husband.

Avon Charisma cologne in a red cardinal bottle, 1970s.  Found in a secondhand clothing store for fifty cents!

1950s era bakelite screw back earrings with real seashell inlay and gold stars.  Antique store find, I paid $2.00.

Gorham Chantilly silverplate brush and comb dresser set circa 1895, I'm still searching for the mirror to match.  Antique store find.

Christian Dior flowered hat 1950s, antique store find.

1950s Marwal chalkware Hawaiian girl bust with hibiscus flower.  Antique store find.

Art nouveau pewter trinket box with flowers, 1910 era, found at Goodwill!

1962 Ponytail Barbie case, found at an antique store.  I love using this to carry small vintage items and jewelry to photoshoots.

Each item I own has a story and significance, they bring back memories of people, places and times gone by.  I love learning the origins of these items and through this research I find interesting history.  Next week for Tuesday Treasures, I will showcase my vintage hat and fascinator collection.

 For more photos and fun be sure follow me on Facebook or Instagram as well!!  Happy treasure hunting!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A patriotically perfect Wishful Wednesday!

Summer is blissful!  I have been fully enjoying the warm summer days outside, grilling tasty food, taking long walks, stargazing and loving this break from our normally hectic family schedule.  I am looking forward to Fourth of July!  It is my favorite summer holiday, I love the patriotism, gathering together to celebrate our country, fun family traditions, fireworks and revolutionary history.  July 3 is also our wedding anniversary, so it gives us even more reason to be thankful, this year we will be 17 years together, what an incredible journey!

This week my Wishful Wednesday is celebrating Fourth of July, our American Independence Day. These are my top choices for perfectly patriotic pinup style.

1. Lady Mayra ELSA American Flag Dress
This dress absolutely screams Independence Day!!  I love the Lady Mayra Elsa dress, I have one I won in a Facebook competition and it is a lovely vintage style that fits like a glove, a beautiful hourglass silhouette with full circle skirt : My review of the Elsa dress.  The Elsa dress is available in a wide variety of colorways, but this American flag version is absolutely stunning, the blood red bust contrasts beautifully with petite white stars on bold blue and the fabulously full red and white striped skirt ripples in waves of glorious color calling to mind the words of The Star Spangled Banner, filling me with pride.

2.Pinup Girl Clothing Amanda Dress in Red, White and Royal Blue

I have been following Amelia and June at Junebugs and Georgia Peaches for a couple of years now.  I love reading their adventures, they each have a unique perspective on everyday vintage style and bubbly, irresistible personalities, I have found so much inspiration reading their blog.  The upcoming Pinup Girl Clothing collection inspired by these gals is filled with so many must have pieces but my personal favorite is the Amanda dress with its eye catching stripes of red, white and royal blue.  It is a beautiful modest style that accentuates femininity without being revealing, completely practical for everyday wear, I absolutely must own this piece when it arrives for wearing at Pinups for Patriots events.  Perfectly Patriotic and stunning!

3. Glitter Paradise Shark Bomb Brooch
I love my Glitter Paradise Shark Bomb Brooch, it is a fun accessory for any vintage look.  A high quality, detailed and handmade the bomb brooch is decorated with shark nose art, a popular WWII era motif.  Nose art was originally used for identifying friendly units but the practice evolved into a way to express the individuality that was often constrained by the uniformity of the military, it evoked memories of home and peacetime life.  The Shark Bomb is the perfect piece to finish your patriotic pinup outfit!  I wore my Glitter Paradise Shark Bomb Brooch to the D-Day plus 71 Celebration with Pinups for Patriots and everyone loved it!

Photo: Alyx Wiltse
Dress: Hell Bunny
Brooch: Glitter Paradise
Crinoline: Malco Modes

4. Unique Vintage Navy, White and Red Color Block Audrey Purse 

Unique Vintage has a spectacular selection of pinup clothing and accessories.  A variety of red, white and blue styles are available in dresses, high waist bikinis, purses and accessories.  Unique Vintage is a one stop for impeccable head to toe retro styling.  A great bag is essential to any outfit and this color block Audrey purse is trendy, practical and patriotic.

5.Spunkerella Pettiflirt Two Tone: Navy/White

The Spunkerella Petticoats are one of the most gloriously ruffly and voluminous brands I have seen.  I love that they offer not only solid color, but two tone and rainbow colored varieties for many different looks.  This Navy/White combination matches the patriotic theme of each dress I have chose, the right petticoat or crinoline is the ultimate finishing touch, giving you a fun, flirty swirl of color and emphasizing vintage shape. 

What are your plans for Fourth of July?  What will you be wearing?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wishful Wednesday!

Good morning!  I love summer and starting my day with bright rays of sunlight filling my soul with warmth.  I am giddy when I am outside in the greenery and watching each of the different flowers bloom.  I have been enjoying my summer although it's been a bit of a whirlwind with all of the activities I have been doing, I like to stay busy because winter comes soon enough to trap me inside!  I have a lot more reviews and some very exciting plans for the rest of the summer!!

This week, I have decided to do something a bit different for Wishful Wednesday.  Spring and summer bring  the release of gorgeous new clothing designs.  This week for Wishful Wednesday I am going to run down my top five dress choices from some of my favorite retro style companies.  These are the dresses that I must own, the ones I am saving up for and dreaming of wearing!!! 

1. Pinup Girl Clothing: Jenny Dress in Cherry Border Print

I am in love with my Pinup Girl Clothing Ella Dress, I have worn it as many times as possible since I purchased it and have gotten nothing but compliments wearing it so I cannot wait to add more PUG pieces to my wardrobe.  Jenny is a flirty sundress with structured bodice and full gathered skirt designed to flatter every body type.  Michigan is known for cherries, so the bright red bunches of cherries accented by green leaves cascading down the black background is a perfect choice for a Michigan girl.  The contrast of the black with bold red accents draws the eye and makes this dress impossible to ignore.  The shape of the Jenny dress with its boned bodice, adjustable straps, waist cinching contrast belt and gathered circle skirt are just the feminine vintage silhouette that I love to wear.  I would pair Jenny with bold cherry accessories, a ruffly red petticoat and vintage styled red wedges for a fun, fruity look.  Jenny is at the top of my wishlist!!

2.  Heart of Haute: Milan Dress in Rose Garden

Roses remind me of my Grandmother, when I was a child I used to wait eagerly for the roses in her garden to bloom so I could enjoy their unique beauty and revel in their heady perfume.  I love their delicate layers of ruffled petals, delightful sweet smell and graceful beauty.  The Milan dress is a lovely wrap top with pleated shoulders, a matching belt and full circle skirt.  I love the graceful feel of this dress, the neckline is sexy without being too revealing and the dress flatters an hourglass shape like mine.  The rose garden print is so beautiful I feel as if stepping into this dress would be like entering a secret garden.   I would wear the Milan dress with a pretty cream petticoat and a big cream rose in my hair.  I would feel like a rose myself dancing around in this glorious gown!

3.  Lindy Bop: Lana Dress in Blue Crane Print

I love Lindy Bop, I own both their Ophelia in turquoise floral and their Carola halter dress in summer ditsy floral print.  Birds are graceful and glorious, they bring to mind blue skies and winging through the breeze, free, as a bird.  This Lana dress with its soaring crane print is lovely and uplifting.  A scooped bodice with a wide contrast wasp waist accented in the back with buttons and flaring into a full gathered skirt.  I would love to pair this with a pretty baby pink petticoat and simple pearl jewelry.  This dress is breathtaking!

4.  Voodoo Vixen: Connie Dress

The Connie Dress is so adorable!  I have worn glasses since I was 8 years old so the kitschy vintage glasses print is perfect for me, plus I need to add a bright, fun red dress to my collection.  I love the unique vintage inspired necklines that Voodoo Vixen has put on their dresses.   The Connie has a criss-cross neckline that eye catching but not immodest, cute capped sleeves, slim belt at the waist and a full skirt.  I would love to have Connie in my closet for day when I want to look pinup without a lot of effort,  I can wear Connie without a petticoat for casual a day date with the hubby or just running errands.

5.  Hell Bunny: Bessie Dress

Hell Bunny was the very first vintage inspired brand that I was introduced to, I wore one of their 50's style halter dresses at at shoot and I was instantly in love with their style and the fantastic, flattering fit of their garments.  I have worn four different Hell Bunny styles in shoots and own two of my own.  I love the Bessie dress because of its simplicity.  Bessie is a pretty, simple summer sundress featuring a V-neckline accented with embroidered violets, tapered waist that flares into a circle skirt and buttons down the front.  I can see myself wearing this dress constantly it is lovely yet looks so comfortable, its simplicity makes it wearable everyday but it could also easily be dressed up with a purple petticoat and pretty accessories for a pinup event.  I have many Hell Bunny dresses on my wishlist because they have impressed me with the consistently beautiful fit in all of their size ranges and the variety of gorgeous vintage styles to choose from many different eras!

What dress is at the top of your wishlist?!  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram too!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Voodoo Vixen Kitty Dress Review

Dresses are one of my favorite wardrobe staples.  I wear them more often than anything else because I find them to be a lovely and easy way to look great without a ton of effort, plus I have a terrible time finding comfortable pants that fit my hourglass shape.  I am always on the lookout for new styles, companies and prints, thankfully the last few years have seen a massive expansion in availability of plus size fashion.   I was fortunate enough to win my choice of any Voodoo Vixen dress in a recent Facebook sharing competition. Cue the dorky happy dance!!!!  Voodoo Vixen recently expanded their vintage range into plus sizes and I have been lusting after several of their styles.  While their plus selection is limited, it was a still a difficult choice, the patterns, cut and styling of the dresses makes them all desirable to me, I admit, I am a bit of a dress addict.  I really liked the Tilly and Hattie dresses but after much consideration I decided against another floral pattern as I do own mostly floral dresses.  Finally I asked my husband which was his favorite of the styles I had it narrowed down to, after I had spent over an hour agonizing over the choice, he quickly chose the Kitty dress as he is a cat lover.  I was drawn to the unique slit neckline and the fact that this adorable cat print was completely different than anything else in my wardrobe.  I ordered a size 2x based on their size chart measurements and it fits me perfectly.

I LOVE this dress, its so FUN!
Fairy tale garden gazebo on the grounds of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans

  The material is soft and comfortable with just enough stretch.  The pink is a pretty shade of bubblegum that is feminine, but not too girly or bright.  I love the whimsical print, retro-styled black cats accented by atomic styled swooshes, stars and star bursts in white and black.  The neckline is scooped with three slit cutouts accented with satiny black contrast piping that makes the slits stand out against the pink material, the same material is covering the buttons that run down the front of the dress.  The slit neckline is flattering to the bust-line and eye catching without being immodest, the dress closes with a hidden side zipper.  The belt is slim, made of a satiny material with silver grommets and a fabric buckle, it helps to draw the eye to the waistline.  The belt has one small issue, the loop is stationary and attached just past the buckle so if you have a narrow waist the belt end will hang down if it is not fastened, I used a safety pin to remedy this.  The skirt is full and finished with handy pockets slit front pockets trimmed with black piping.  I love the addition of the pockets not only as a cute accent but because they are functional and convenient, I was happy to be able to carry my cell phone and lipstick in my pocket!  I prefer to wear a petticoat and this skirt is not quite a full circle but big enough to accommodate a large petticoat. I wore it with a Malco Modes Michelle crinoline in black and accessorized with vintage gloves, wedges and hat at The Freedom Flag benefit for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans with Pinups for Patriots.  It was a hot humid day but the flowers were blooming and the grounds of the Vetarans Home is beautifully landscaped.  I enjoyed a nice time visiting with veterans, listening to live music and spending time with my fabulous Michigan Pinups for Patriots sisters, such a diverse and amazing group of ladies.  What a privilege it is to represent Pinups for Patriots and honor our veterans!

 Photo: Dennis Buttermore of Vintage Glamor.  From Left: Lily Tigress, Beth BelleAire, Mrs. Belvidere, Lacy Lane, Ginger Snaps, Wendy Dae and Sassy Scarlet

I have also worn this dress without a petticoat to church and it looked just as lovely.  The Kitty dress is a very wearable vintage style, comfortable and versatile.  It can be worn casual or dressed up to suit your own unique style.  I have received compliments each time I have worn it and inquiries about the brand of dress, many people have asked because they thought it was an original vintage dress.

With the beautiful Mrs. Belvidere

With the gorgeous Wendy Dae
 Voodoo Vixen has great customer service, beautiful vintage inspired designs, quality merchandise and the news that they are working to further expand their plus size line means that there are only more great things coming!  Thanks Voodoo Vixen!  What is your favorite dress from Voodoo Vixen?! 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more exciting news, pictures and fun!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Pinup Girl Clothing Mary Blair Collection Ella Dress Review

Hello everyone!  Its been a terribly busy week here with family, work, Pinups for Patriots, singing and to top it off I've been struggling with internet issues so I was unable to put up this weeks Wishful Wednesday because of this, I apologize and am happy to be back online, blogging again.  I am excited to be working on my guest blog with Pinup Persuasion featuring my experiences and thoughts on a number of plus friendly vintage style brands.  I will be posting more reviews, photos, wishlists and blogging about all of my recent adventures with Pinups for Patriots Michigan chapter, expect lots of goodies to come, sometimes I think I need clones of myself to keep up!!

I have admired many styles at Pinup Girl Clothing for several years now but on our family budget it had always been more dream than reality.  When they announced their Magic of Mary Blair Collection I fell in love and as soon as I saw the Ella dress in lavender lips and roses print, I knew I needed to own that dress so I began saving and was lucky enough to scoop her up at a great deal during the recent Memorial day sale.  I am a princess at heart and I have no doubt that the Disney movies that I watched as a young girl are the reason.  I loved Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and I wanted to be them.   I grew up in Michigan in the country surrounded by nature. I spent many hours as a child prancing around the woods singing to my pets, pretending to be a princess.  The Mary Blair Ella dress in lips and roses print immediately reminded me of the Disney princess movies I grew up loving and this is because Mary Blair was the woman responsible for the fantastical vision behind many Disney classics made from 1943-1953.  The Mary Blair print is gloriously whimsical, beautiful pink and green roses with their twining vines dance on white across a brilliant contrasting lavender background accented with fluttering red lips like little butterly kisses.  I love this print, it is perfection, summery, lovely and unique, it reminds me of Sleeping Beauty.

  The Ella dress is cut beautifully flattering to any figure, I bought a size 2x and it fits like a glove.  The material is a high quality cotton blend, 97% cotton 3% spandex, this gives the material decent weight and nice stretch.  I am actually up a few pounds at the moment from a long, lazy winter but the 2x still fits me although it is snug it looks lovely. 

 The gathered bodice is scooped and finished with a cute black velvet bow.  The adjustable straps are better made, larger and more adjustable than any other brand I have tried, although their width does make them slightly difficult to adjust.  The back is elasticized on either side of the zipper which allows for a shapely fit in the bodice of the dress.  The dress then tapers in under the bust into a wide waistband, I find that this style really emphasize a small waistline.  The skirt is absolutely enormous, it is gathered full and heavy, the most generous skirt I've seen on any brand of  vintage style dress I have purchased.

 The skirt has hidden pockets on the sides, a very nice touch and well designed they do not stick out awkwardly as some pockets on other brands I have tried.  This skirt is long and heavy, I think that you really need a petticoat as the skirt lies very limp without, it looks much more lovely with the volume of a petticoat added.

  I wore a 120 yard, 26 inch long very full, cream petticoat underneath for my photos and I think that with the length of the skirt I would like to try a longer petticoat, that would give me the look I desire.  I am looking at the Malco Modes Cossette Petticoat in Light Pink.  I had nothing but compliments on the dress when wearing it, I enjoyed every second because I felt so lovely, I really am a prancing princess.  I love everything about it, the cut, fit, material and print, well worth the price considering the beauty and very high quality of the garment.  Thank You Pinup Girl Clothing for creating quality Couture for Every Body, it is wonderful to have companies like you who cater to every woman and realize that beauty has no size, there is no number to define personal style.  I cannot wait to add more pieces from Pinup Girl Clothing to my wardrobe!!!

My photos were shot along the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan at Duck Lake State Park in Muskegon by Alyx Wiltse.  I love my home state, Michigan is filled with such varied natural beauty and a rich history.  I enjoy walking through the thick of the woods over grass covered dunes to the beach searching for beach glass and fossils.  I get lost in the peacefulness there, seemingly never-ending skies over, my toes in the water and the sounds of waves crashing to shore, Lake Michigan is majestic and enchanting.

  I am blessed to be able to have the chance to travel all over our state with Pinups for Patriots this summer, I cannot wait, stay tuned as Monday I will be writing and sharing about our recent events! 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for tons more fun!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wishful Wednesday

Good day loves!  I've been hard at work writing, brainstorming and planning my summer.  Family activities, Pinups for Patriots events, photoshoots, singing and writing for the blog and work keep me hopping but I rather enjoy chaos to boredom.  I'm excited to have a ton of interesting ideas and have a lot in store!  I recieved my very first Pinup Girl Clothing order, the beautiful Ella dress in Mary Blair lips and roses print.  I have new photoshoots, Brand reviews and am very thrilled to be working on a blog collaboration with the amazing Pinup Persuasion featuring my favorite plus size pinup fashions!  I cannot believe how fast this year is moving and I'm sincerely humbled at the awesome opportunities I've had and those that are coming my way!  The future holds unlimited possibility!

This week my Wishful Wednesday is inspired by the beautiful summer weather, bright clean white clouds, garden beds of fragrant rose blossoms and twirling green vines full of life.  Delightful, whimsical, sweet,  Ahhhhh summertime!

BBW Couture is a UK based company offering a broad selection of plus size fashion at affordable prices.  They are a family run business who take pride in providing the latest trends that help you create stylish, unique looks.  I'm in love with their exclusive vintage dress collection, featuring a large selection of perfect vintage silhouettes in a variety of lovely patterns.  The Rose Vine 1950s party dress is the perfect summer frock.  Made of 100% cotton in a beautiful print for summer, the Rose Vine is lovely bright red blossoms with touches of black, pink and coral colors, accented by leaves and green vines on a crisp white background.  A V-neckline flatters the decolletage and the waist tie belt creates a vintage hourglass shape.  The dress is versatile and could be worn for entertaining or a casual day at the beach, it will keep you feeling gorgeous and pinup perfected!

I like to pick up on accent colors in prints when I put together an outfit.  Often I enjoy finding accessories that draw the eye to those colors and create interest.  Ruby Shoo offers contemporary, quirky, definitely fun designs, with a hint of vintage.  Based in north London, England, with a passion for creating unique shoes and accessories that generate smiles whenever they are worn.  Samantha Lines, Ruby Shoo's talented designer, introduces both archive and modern fabrics into every collection, often adding gorgeous embellishments.  The fabulous Ruby Shoo Eva, are a fresh and edgy low cut court heel.  A vintage inspired jacquard trimmed with classic cotton drill finished by contrasting flower trim detail and piping.  I love the contrast of a bold black shoe with the bright white of our dress and the shoes will bring attention to the accent colors black and coral in the rose print.  Ruby Shoo also has envelope style clutch purses available to match many of their shoe styles.

Rosita Bonita has printed leather jewellery, lovingly handcrafted in their East London studio. Original illustrations are screen-printed or foil-embossed onto fine leathers, then carefully assembled into unique and collectable treasures. Their design inspiration comes from glamorous fantasies of past times, faraway lands, encompassing icons of folklore, myth and legend.  These beautiful pieces are what dreams are made of!  The Toledo Hoops in Ox Blood are large leather hoops, foil-embossed with delicate designs of birds and flowers, hanging from embellished shields and gold plated ball studs. These classic vintage style hoops are the perfect addition to this outfit matching our red roses and adding delightful whimsy with their spanish garden inspired print.  I am a fool for detailed and interesting hoop earrings so I can see them instantly becoming one of my most worn pairs.

I recently discovered Lila-Jo on Instagram when I saw a fellow pinup wearing one of her gorgeous designs.  Lila-Jo offers a handmade collection of Pinup and Rockabilly accessories, specializing in floral hair clips and rockin handbags, all handmade pieces paying specific attention to detail and durability.  I love wearing hair flowers to finish off nearly every outfit.  I would wear the White shimmer and the Burgundy and black Rockabilly rose hair clips.  Both colors match our dress, the double hairflower adds fun and flair with a retro touch while highlighting the rose theme.  I am smitten with many of Lila-Jo's designs and I cannot wait to make my first order!!

I hope you enjoyed this week's Wishful Wednesday, I love fashion so I'm constantly on the lookout for new, exciting items and brands to feature!  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram, tons of exciting things coming in the future!!   Which of the BBW Couture UK Vintage collection dresses is your favorite?