Monday, 24 August 2015

Pinup Girl Boutique: Honeymoon Haul

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that I planned to go and visit the Pinup Girl Boutique in Burbank California whilst on my honeymoon. You'll be pleased to know that I went, I shopped and I returned with my Pinup Girl cherry well and truly popped! It was awesome and totally worth narrowly avoiding getting divorced quicker than Britney Spears in 2004, after Spencer realised just how much of the honeymoon budget I had actually spent!

If you have not been to Burbank, CA before, it is absolutely great for vintage shopping. Pinup Girl and Unique Vintage are among the row of fabulous shops that line the Magnolia Boulevard vintage district. If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit. I plan to do another blog post on my whole shopping experience in Magnolia Park soon, so please do watch out for that!

Pinup Girl Clothing Boutique
I kept all the tags from all the clothes that I brought - I'm sad like that. 
But for now, let me tell you about my PUG experience! We got off of the subway about 3 miles from were we actually needed to be; Magnolia Boulevard is long!! After walking for what seemed like a day, we finally reached the Pinup Girl Boutique which is at 3606 W Magnolia Boulevard. We walked in and I can only describe my behaviour as that of a Supermarket Sweep contestant during the final Big Sweep round. I knew what I was looking for, due to the hours of drooling I had done over the PUG website prior to my visit, so I went straight in and picked up my most wanted items. 

The first thing that struck me about the boutique was how big, bright and beautifully presented it was; everything just sparkled!! I was the only customer in the shop at the time and I had no trouble finding exactly what I was looking for. A very helpful Shop Assistant asked me if there was anything she could help me with as well, which was nice. 

Pinup Girl Boutique Pinup Couture Burbank California
The view inside the Pinup Girl Boutique
 including a very disgruntled Mr Dye! 
I picked up some items and another Shop Assistant kindly took each item I selected to the changing rooms, so they were ready for me to try on once I had finished browsing. Whilst I thought this was very helpful, Spencer did not. He felt that this level of enabling was not necessary, as all it did was free up my arms on which to drape more clothes! It was at this point that Spencer wisely took a seat and opened up a new game of Angry Birds. He knew he was not getting out of the shop any time soon!

After browsing for about 20 minutes, I decided that it was probably time to go and try some items on. So I made my way into the gorgeous changing rooms, complete with movie star lighting! 

Pinup Girl Boutique
The Pinup Girl Boutique movie star mirror!
Firstly, I tried on the Jenny Skirt in Italian Landscape. I picked up every item I liked in a Size Small, as the sizing charts on the PUG website indicated that this would be the best size for me. I have a 26 inch waist, however, I found the Small in the Jenny was a hands width too big around the waist, so I opted for a XS. Therefore based on my experience, I would suggest that the Jenny skirts come up slightly larger than suggested. Nevertheless, this skirt is amazing. It is thick, full, secure and incredibly versatile. I have seen how popular these skirts are with ladies in the vintage community and I can see why. I cannot wait to add more to my collection! 

I then tried on the Lauren Top in White. I opted for a Size Small and again, it was too big on me, so I had to size down to an XS. I have a 34 inch bust and 26 inch waist. The neckline on the top is quite low and the top is almost boned in terms of structure, so I would suggest that this top is meant to be worn tight, hence the need to size down. The zip that goes down the back of the top squeezes you in to ensure a tight fit. They did not have an XS in the white colourway, so the Shop Assistant kindly suggested I try the Olive. Now. This did not appeal to me at first. I don't think I have ever worn any shade of green in my life, but when teamed with the Italian Landscape Jenny, it looked great! Whilst I was thankful to the Shop Assistant for this help, Spencer was not. This was evidenced by the loud huffs and sighs I could hear over the occasional sound of a bird being slingshot into a fence. 

Pinup Girl Jenny Skirt Lauren Top
Me at home in my Jenny skirt and Lauren top. 
With 2 items in the bag, I continued to try on some more. Next was the Deadly Dames Voodoo Vixen Top in Black.  I picked up a Size Small and this fit me perfectly first time. So I don't think there is as much of a need to size down here, as they come up true to size. These tops are amazing! Again, they are zipped at the back and have an almost boned structure to them, which pull you in and push you up in all the right places! There is nothing more to say about this top, other than its awesome! 

The Deadly Dames Voodoo Vixen Top
Next was the Deadly Dames Halter Top in Black. This top is super cute and again, like the Voodoo Vixen, runs true to size. A Size Small in this top was perfect on me also. I would say that it came up ever so slightly bigger than the Voodoo Vixen, but not enough to size down. This top again zips up at the back and comes with a detachable skull on the front. The skull is attached with a clip, which means that you don't constantly damage the top by pinning it on and off. Plus is it easy to take off when washing and wearing on other tops. I generally love anything with skulls on, so this top is totes up my straza. 

Pinup Girl Deadly Dames Halter Top
The Deadly Dames Halter Top in Black
A really nice surprise for me was to see some items in the sale in the boutique. I had not intended on buying any accessories, but when I saw that the Amoeba Handbag in Red was on sale ($45 down from $98) I just had to have it and Spencer agreed! This bag is big! It is probably double the width of my body and can hold quite a fair bit, despite its odd shape. It is certainly more of day bag than an evening bag based on its size. It has a chrome clasp which, while extremely secure, is a real pain to open. It is a good job it has little chrome feet on the bottom, as I have to place it down every time I want to open it, which is a bit annoying. However, this bag is sturdy, secure and comes with a zipped and open inner pocket for all your crap! 

Pinup Girl Amoeba Handbag Accessories
The Amoeba Handbag in Red. 
As you may have guessed from my shopping basket so far, I have a thing for black and red! And the obsession does not stop there! Enter the Deadly Dames Capri Pants in Red. These were on my wish list and I am so glad that I got them. I picked them up in a Size Small and they fit like a glove. They zip at the back and come with a wide black patent belt, which is great to wear with other items in your wardrobe; a lovely cheeky bonus! 

Pinup Girl Deadly Dames Capris Pants Red
Deadly Dames Capri Pants in Red
Now for something completely different. On my wishlist I had the Voodoo Vixen Dress in Black, but I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried on the Tiger Print colourway. This dress is amazing. The quality is unbelievable and the fit! I can't even! I tried on a Size Small and I swear, it was like it was made for me! I am a 34 inch bust, so I would suggest this dress come up quite small. Once I had navigated how to actually get in the thing, I didn't want to take it off. I wore this dress for a meal out in Hawaii and it was just perfect. Like the Voodoo Vixen tops, the back zip clinches you in tightly and creates killer cleavage, whilst the skirt flows and moves as you walk. It is hands down, my favourite dress, ever.

Pinup Girl Clothing Voodoo Vixen Tiger Print
Voodoo Vixen Dress in Tiger Print
So that concludes my first PUG experience! I am so glad that I actually had the once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the Pinup Girl Boutique and try these items on first hand. I know that had I ordered some items online I would have been faced with the nightmare of items that didn't fit. So this trip enabled me to get a sense of what size I am in PUG. If you are a PUG virgin and you need any sizing advice, please do let me know and I will try and help if I can!

On a side note, I happened to see Miss Rockabilly Ruby in the boutique whilst I was checking out. She was with a client at the time doing their hair in the Boutique salon, so I didn't want to disturb her. So naturally I just stared at her until I freaked her out. #Standard. I was really gutted I didn't get to say hello though. She was one of the first people I followed on Instagram and it would have been really awesome to meet her. Maybe next time...

- x - LMDW - x -

Saturday, 30 May 2015

My vintage life: What vintage means to me.

Vintage is defined as 'denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind'. Yet over the last decade, the term 'vintage' has become so widely used (and in places overused), that it has come to be synonymous with anything that is 'old' - original clothes from the 40's, 50's, 60's (and even through to the 90's), reproduction clothing, music, antiques, second hand furniture, 'shabby chic', retro, - pretty much anything from times gone by.

So when a person says that they "like vintage", it can mean a plethora of things, to a huge range of people. As much as the details of their passions will all be a variation on a theme, I think that every person who is a vintage enthusiast will have a different take on vintage and experience it differently. 

With that being said, I would like to talk you through what vintage means to me...

My love affair with vintage began in 2010 when my work colleague decided to put some music on in the office. She chose a swing album called Peppermint Candy which featured music by Glenn Miller, The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Etta James - the list goes on. I had never heard anything like it and before I knew it, I was swinging along to the album in the car, in the shower, whilst hoovering; I was absolutely hooked. I felt so incredibly good whilst listening to it, that I soon began to listen to more and more music from the past, not just Swing and Jazz. I discovered music from all eras; music from the 1800's right through to the 1950's. I discovered Classical music and Waltzes by Strauss and Tchaikovsky, Ragtime by Scott Joplin, popular music from the early 20th century by Ada Jones and Billy Murray and swing music by Al Bowlly and The Andrews Sisters from the 30's and 40's. Just discovering vintage music alone enriched my life so much and opened my eyes (and ears) to a lifetime of culture that I never knew existed. I had only just scratched the surface and I was eager to find out more.

The Andrews Sisters were America's most popular female singing group of the 1940's.  
My interest in vintage music sparked an interest in history in general and I started to research some of the times in which these musicians lived. This, as you can imagine, opened a huge can of worms. My imagination went wild! Victorian London, Jack the Ripper, Prohibition, World War 1, World War 2, the Plague, the Great Fire of London, the Blitz, inventions, medicine, the Titanic, historical architecture, Land Girls, the home front, post-mortem photography, graveyards, shipwrecks....(gasp for air!) You name it, I've Googled it! As a child, I liked history and was good at it, but I have never been as interested in it as I am as an adult. If I could have one magical power, it would certainly be the ability to go back in time.

RMS Titanic
One of my many historical obsessions is the Titanic  
Not only do I love reading and learning about history, I love touching it too! Most weekends you will find me in my absolute element at some antique or vintage fair. Most people cannot stand it, but I love the smell of antiques shops. That kind of 'bottom of an old ladies handbag' smell; the smell of history - fusty, slightly unclean, moth eaten and worn. I love all sorts of antiques - furniture, china, Victorian oddities (I once tried to buy a file containing cross sections of real body parts from 1904, but was told it was too weird), old food tins, vanity sets, sewing machines, teapots, books, tapestry bags. When it comes to antiques, I love anything from the early 20th Century. 'Titanic era' stuff really floats my boat (no pun intended!). I don't buy these items because they have any particular use to me, I buy them as I find them interesting - constantly. I often look at my 1920's Singer sewing machine and wonder who it belonged to originally. The same with my Art Deco tea spoon set and my tapestry bags and luggage. Who owned them originally and how did I come to own them?

Antiques and Vintage Fair Alexandra Palace
My recent trip to the Antiques and Vintage Fair at Alexandra Palace
 in London was my idea of heaven on earth!
When it comes to vintage fashion, I started to look into buying true vintage at one of my many trips to Lou Lou's Vintage Fair in Norwich. Yet I have found that neither my styling skills (nor my body shape) were quite up to scratch for original vintage. So I prefer to wear reproduction clothing. My eras of choice - the 1940's and the 1950's. I also love other fashion styles from those eras including Rockabilly, Hawaiian and Tiki, Asian Pacific, Mexicana and Latino.

To sum up, I love vintage as it feeds my uncontrollable need to be 'different'. Although the saying goes that there is nothing new under the sun and rarely can anyone be considered truly unique or different any more, wearing vintage style fashion and adopting a vintage lifestyle, does make me feel different. I often get stopped in the street and complimented on how I look - not by men, but by predominantly women; women who remember wearing my outfit the first time around in the 50's! I know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world who wear the same clothes as I do, yet its not just about that. It's about all of the above.Vintage is not just 'The 1940's' or 'The 1950's'. It is more subjective than that. Not all vintage lovers love antiques. Not all like history. Not all like old music. Some like retro as well as vintage. Some like genuine vintage fashion and others reproduction. All these little idiosyncrasies make all vintage lovers unique.

So the next time someone asks you why you "like vintage" sit them down with a cup of tea. If you are anything like me, the discussion may take a while!

- x - LMDW - x -

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Pinup Girl Clothing Wishlist!

So my soon to be Husband and I are going on our Honeymoon the day after our wedding in July and I could not be more excited. I am excited as not only are we going to be spending 10 nights in Hawaii, (where I will be sunbathing while an attractive, dark haired man called Keaweaheulu brings me pineapples and coconuts filled with alcohol), but we will also be stopping off in California on the way there. This means, you've guessed it...PUG! By a complete stroke of luck, our hotel is just a 10 minute drive from the Pinup Girl Boutique, located in Burbank, California.

Pinup Girl Clothing Boutique
The Pinup Girl Clothing Boutique in Burbank, California. 
So I have told (not asked, TOLD!) my future Husband that we just must go! I have wanted to buy so many items from Pinup Girl Clothing for such a long time, yet without knowing how their clothes are sized, I have been anxious about doing this, for fear of ordering a dress, paying for postage to the UK (and potential custom charges), for it to arrive and not fit. This would be pretty devastating! So I have decided to go the boutique, in order to actually try on their clothes, in order to determine my size.

So in preparation for my pilgrimage to the land of PUG, I have devised a Wishlist. I hope to bring some items on my list back to Blighty and review them for anyone else who, like me, would like to join the PUG club, but just doesn't quite have the confidence to buy online!

So please join me in the first part of my PUG journey...the wishlist!

Pinup Girl Clothing Basics
I absolutely love pinup basics. I am not the kind of girl who wears a full circle 1950's dress to lunch. It's just not me. So pinup basics are great for me to wear for a friendly lunch, a casual drink or a trip to the cinema. Here are the following basics I will be looking for:

Ride The Lightening Baseball Tee
Pinup Girl Clothing Ride The Lightening Baseball Tee
Ride The Lightening Baseball Tee - c.£22
I love this t shirt. I have been after a Baseball style top for a while and this one is just perfect in terms of colour and style. I absolutely love red and I think this top would look great with a pair of Freddies jeans or a black wiggle skirt. 

Deadly Dames Capri Pants in Red
Pinup Girl Clothing Deadly Dames Capri Pants in Red
Deadly Dames Capri Pants in Red - c.£53
The Deadly Dames Capri Pants are everything! I mean, just look at them! I have a pair of Hellbunny Capris in black and I love them so much, so would just love a PUG pair in red. The Leopard Bengaline capris are also to die for, so they may just magically find their way into my shopping bag too.

Doris Top
Pinup Girl Clothing Doris Top
Doris Top in Black - c.£35
The Doris top is a great pinup separate. It can be worn with wiggles, circles, capris or shorts! I would like one in black (obvs) but a red one would also not go amiss! 

Vogue Skirt
Pinup Girl Clothing Vogue Skirt
Vogue Skirt in Black - c.£40
I don't think that the Vogue skirt needs any explanation...just look at it! Although I am not sure that my waistline will look like Doris' while wearing it thought! That's a future blog when I have invested in a corset! 

Now, as previously stated, I am a wiggle dress kinda girl. I feel like this is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to reviews of Pinup Girl Clothing. I see so much online about circle skirts and dresses, yet not a great deal on more fitted styles, so hopefully I can share my findings about fit if I manage to pick one up!

Malibu Tiki Dress with Bolero in Orange Tropical Print
Pinup Girl Clothing Malibu Tiki Dress with Bolero in Orange Tropical Print
Malibu Tiki Dress with Bolero in Orange Tropical Print - c.£90
I could not have a holiday in Hawaii without wearing a tiki dress! This dress and bolero twin set is just to die for. The colour looks quite red on the website, so I hope that it is not too on the orange side in real life. 

Hello Sailor Nautical Wiggle Dress with Red Stripes
Pinup Girl Clothing Hello Sailor Nautical Wiggle Dress with Red Stripes
Hello Sailor Nautical Wiggle Dress with Red Stripes - c.£70
I love nautical themed clothing, so I am certainly going to try and get hold of this dress. It looks perfect for a fun night out, but could also be teamed with a bolero or a cardigan for a more casual look.

Voodoo Vixen Dress in Black
Pinup Girl Clothing Voodoo Vixen Dress in Black
Voodoo Vixen Dress in Black - c.£93
This dress is gorgeous and again, perfect for a holiday in the tropics. The Tiger print version of this dress is also amazing. 

So 10 nights in Hawaii is going to require swimwear and I have a passion for all things nautical when it comes to this department! So the Bettie Hello Sailor swimsuit looks like a winner to me! 

Bettie "Hello Sailor" Swimsuit
Pinup Girl Clothing Bettie "Hello Sailor" Swimsuit
Bettie "Hello Sailor" Swimsuit - c.£50
So that is my little wishlist. To be honest, if I only get 1 of the items on this list, I will be happy. At least I can say that I brought it from the Boutique! I will also know going forward what size to buy when I get back home to the UK. If I do manage to buy anything, I will be sure to report back on sizing and fit for any PUG virgins in the UK like me!

On a separate note, if anyone would like me to bring anything back for them from the boutique, please do get in touch, as I may be able to bring back 1 or 2 items and save you a pretty penny on shipping and customs!

Wish me luck!

- x - LMDW - x -

N.B Prices listed are based on the exchange rate at the time of writing and have been rounded up to the nearest whole GBP. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

You little Floozie you! Nautical, dotty and fruity accessories from Floozie by Frost French.

So I took a trip into Great Yarmouth town center a few weeks ago to do my regular pilgrimage to Wilko to buy a thousand face wipes, when I saw that Debenhams had a 20% off Blue Cross sale. I can honestly say that I have not purchased anything from Debenhams for years, but I was passing and I thought I would give it a go. Yet to my utter joy and disbelief, I saw this little beauty staring at me from the handbag aisle. I was so excited, I did that little skipping run thing that children do when they are too excited to walk, yet not allowed to run and darted towards the cutest handbag I have seen in yonks! So without hesitation, I took my little polka dot cherry find to the tills and, because of the 20% discount, got her for a steal at £14.40!

Floozie by Frost French White spotted cherry saddle cross body bag
The Floozie by Frost French white spotted cherry saddle cross body bag
 is only £18!
This little bag is perfect for casual nights out when you don't want to carry a huge amount of stuff with you. It has a delicate chain strap which you can wear cross body as suggested or off one shoulder. It has a popper fastening inside and a little pocket for your mirror or compact. 

If you are looking for something equally as cute but slightly bigger, Floozie have got that covered as well. They also do the white spotted cherry bag in a 'Grab Bag' size. The Grab Bag has 2 grab handles, a detachable shoulder strap, a zip pocket and 2 pouches. 

Floozie by Frost French white spotted cherry grab bag
The white spotted cherry 'Grab Bag' is £29  
Yet if you still need a bit more room, Floozie also offer a 'Tote Bag' to match. It is the same style as the Grab Bag, just slightly bigger. The tote bag is equally as affordable at £35. Plus, they do a purse to match! I just die! I cant even...

Floozie by Frost French white spotted cherry medium ziparound purse
The little ziparound purse is £18. 
So if your polka dot addiction is as severe as mine, you will totally get how exciting this it! 

Polka dots aside, in terms of handbags, Floozie by Frost French have designed a great range of nautical inspired accessories:

Floozie by Frost French Blue striped nautical charm kettle bag
The Blue Striped Nautical Charm Kettle Bag - £35. This bag also comes in yellow
Floozie by Frost French Blue striped nautical charm cross body bag
The Blue Striped Nautical Charm Cross Body Bag - £25. This bag also comes in yellow
Floozie by Frost French Blue Striped Nautical Charm Bowler Bag
The Yellow Striped Nautical Charm Bowler Bag - £35. This bag also comes in Blue

If polka dots, cherries and nautical themes were not enough, they also love a good fruit based accessory! Don't we all!
Ladies yellow melon dial watch
The yellow melon watch is £25
Ladies pink melon dial analogue watch
The pink melon watch is £20
And shoes! These cute little watermelon ballet flats have a cute silver pineapple pendant on them. They are also only £25! Plus, there are flamingo flats! 
Green textured watermelon pumps. £25

Floozie by Frost French Navy Flamingo Slip on Flat shoes
Flamingo Flats! £22.50
The piece de resistance in my opinion is the Green Flamingos Skirt Swimsuit which is cute, yet a bit slutty at the same time! Which I kinda like. Plus, it has flamingos on it! Always a winner. There are also individual bikini pieces available in this same range. 

Green Flamingos Skirt Swimsuit - £38
What I like about Floozie by Frost French is that it is all so pinup perfect, yet won't break the bank. The handbags are well made and are a lovely statement piece to compliment any pinup outfit. I like that they come in a range of sizes and colours too. 

I will no doubt be buying all of this loveliness soon! 

- x - LMDW - x -

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

My first pinup photoshoot - advice and lessons learnt from pinup modeling

About 5 months ago, I decided that I would start to research Pinup modelling and what it was all about. I cannot say that I have ever considered being a model. I am not one of those people who has wanted to be a model since I was in the womb or dreamed about it all my life. However, since the discovery of my love of pinup, rockabilly and all things vintage, I decided that I would like to give it a go, if nothing else, for fun! I also wanted to educate myself about it and understand it from a first hand perspective.

So I began scouring the internet for blogs and write ups on 'how to become a pinup model', the majority of which I found to be either completely unhelpful or really negative! I found a great article written by Laura Byrnes for Pinup Girl Clothing on Facebook which was written in response to what I can only imagine was a huge pile of enquiries from people like me! The article was brutally frank and basically said that, if you send a selfie to a modelling agency or clothing line, no matter how amazing it is, it will get deleted. Simple as that! Also, if you are anything less than 110% 'scrubbed up' (nails, hair and makeup etc all on point) you will not be taken seriously. 

I heard a quote from Danny Wallace on the Scroobious Pip Distraction Pieces podcast, on the way to the shoot and he said that the best way to get into something (like modelling for instance) is to just do it. So by that logic, the best way to get into pinup modelling, is to do pinup modelling! This way, agencies or brands can actually see whether or not you can actually model and what you look like in their clothes. Once you have done this, you can then start to build a portfolio of professional images which you can be proud to send to agencies or brands. 

So this was my first step - to do a pinup photo shoot. I searched for companies that offered pinup photo shoots in my area and failed miserably; most of the companies were either based in London or the Midlands. Not only was geography an issue for me, so was cost. I am sure that these companies do a great job, but they can cost an absolute fortune! Once I had figured out the cost of travel, accommodation and the shoot itself, I was up to about £500, which was just not feasible for me!

So I did a bit more research and discovered the terms 'collaboration' and 'Trade for Print' (TFP). In order for a photographer to build a portfolio, he/she needs a model. In order for a model to build a portfolio, he/she needs a photographer. In order for a HMUA (hair and make up artist) get the idea. There is a symbiotic relationship between these individuals. If a model, photographer and MUA can come together for a shoot which is of mutual benefit, no money will exchange hands, yet the resulting images will be shared with all concerned. This was a perfect solution for me. Now all I needed to do was find a photographer and MUA who was willing to collaborate. 

I had been following Pinup and Rockabilly model Laura Louu on Instagram for a while and noticed that she had done a shoot with a photographer called John Bellingham. I started to follow John, to get a sense of how he worked and who he was working with. After going back and forth liking each others photos for a while, I finally got in touch with John via email and asked him how he worked and if he would be interested in doing a shoot with me (stating quite clearly that I was not a model!). He was so incredibly helpful from the get go and not only made organising the shoot easy, but he also explained how it all worked from a professional standpoint, so that I was fully informed about the whole process. My Fiance and I decided that we would go to the shoot together. Having a chaperon with me for safety reasons was a sensible idea; after all, I had decided to meet up with a complete stranger that I had met over the internet for a photo shoot. I never had any doubt that John would be anything short of friendly and professional, yet having Spencer there made me feel even more comfortable. So my first recommendation is to always take someone with you to a photo shoot, if possible. 

We booked a date for the shoot and over the following weeks, myself, John and HMUA Marina Saliba added inspiration for the shoot to a Pinterest board set up by John. This gave us all an indication of the style of shoot that we wanted to do. I also emailed John pictures of the outfits that I wanted to wear, as well as information for Marina regarding my hair and skin type.

As the shoot grew ever closer, to say I was nervous is an understatement. I was on the verge of having a panic attack the night before. What if I got all the way to London and I was completely useless, wasting everyone's time? What if it didn't turn out like I had hoped and I was disappointed? By the time we got to John's house I was very sweaty indeed! Yet from the moment he opened the door, he was so polite, welcoming and friendly that (some of!) my anxiety just melted away. He offered Spencer and I tea and coffee and we made our way to his studio. 

John's studio is on the top floor of his very lovely home in South West London and is extremely professional. He has a huge range of photography equipment, lighting, props and backdrops. Marina arrived shortly after us and we got straight into hair and makeup. Marina was brilliant and applied makeup suited to my skin type and features. There was not a mirror available for me to see my transformation, so it was not until after she had finished that I saw the final look. I was wearing a black and white stripey top at the time and the only thing that came to my mind when I saw myself was that I looked like a French mime artist! The make up was brilliant, yet massively exaggerated. I knew that this was required in order for it to show up on camera, but I was so used to seeing my face look a certain way, that it was quite unnerving to start with! So this is something to keep in mind! I arrived at the shoot barefaced and I had washed my hair the night before, so I was ready to go, which saved time. 

Make up for pinup photo shoot be Marina Saliba
Getting my make up done by Marina Saliba in the dressing room. 

While I was having my makeup done, John utilised his spare time constructively and sat and chatted to me about modelling, photography, image rights, marketing, modelling safety, social media, agencies, magazines, publishers etc and gave loads of great tips. He has collected loads of inside knowledge from doing shoots like these and shared some really useful information with me. I could write a whole other post on this subject!  

With hair and make up done, we began shooting. Before each shot, John did a few 'test shots' to ensure that the lighting etc was correct. We then started with head shots and John used various lights and equipment, including a 'Beauty Dish' in order to create really striking close ups. He explained everything he was doing, as he was doing it, which really helped to calm my nerves. Looking back on the head shots, you can see how nervous I was. I was wooden and hardly smiled at all. My shoulders were hunched over and I really did not look like I was having fun! (even though I was!) It was not until the next set of poses that I really started to loosen up and get into things. John put on a Rockabilly soundtrack to get me into the 'pinup zone' and we cracked on with another outfit. 

Head shots during pinup photo shoot
John taking close ups and head shots to start. 

I had brought some outfits specifically for the shoot, including some Capris and some killer heels. I packed pretty much my entire pinup wardrobe with the view that it was better to have too many clothes than not enough, which John agreed was a good idea. I changed into my Hell Bunny Sadie Capris and a Collectif Dolores Top and used a glass Coke bottle from John's box of props. I started with some simple poses yet John did a great job of suggesting more advanced poses for me. He also said that I took direction well, which was a fantastic compliment for a novice! John set up an iPad on a tripod in front of me, which showed the images as he was taking them, so I could see where I was going wrong, which was really useful. I also had my iPad with me containing all of the inspiration from our Pinterest board for reference, just in case I couldn't get a pose quite right. 

Wearing Hell Bunny and Collectif for pinup photoshoot
Starting to relax in front of the camera! 

The first outfit shoot was great and the poses were well within my comfort zone, yet what came next was really quite tough! Bikini shots! I changed into a pinup style bikini that I have had and loved for a few years and started to play around with a few of John's props, including a hula hoop and some beach balls. We did a few shots standing up, then we did some floor shots. These came out great which I am really pleased about because I worked for them! The leg lifts that I did took a tole on my back and my stomach muscles, leading me to the conclusion that modelling is quite hard work! I really did ache the next day! After all the exertion of the bikini shots, we took a well deserved break for lunch! 

Bikini poses during pinup photoshoot
This is when things started to get tough!
Bikini poses during pinup photoshoot
John had loads of really fun props which I could use.

After lunch we did some shots in my House of Satin vintage style lingerie and my Speech Development Records t shirt, which was fun. We used some more of John's props including a vintage style telephone, chair and sheepskin rug. I did my costume changes in the comfort of John's bathroom come dressing room and I had all the room I needed to move around and be comfortable. John was really respectful of my privacy and made me feel completely at ease.

Wearing Speech Development Records during pinup photoshoot
Wearing House of Satin and Speech Development Records

The final look that we did was with John's Grandparent's gramophone from the 30's. I did some more floor shots in my Ophelia dress from Lindy Bop. These were not quite as taxing as the bikini shots, but by this time, I was running out of steam! Spencer and I also had a couples shot at the end, which was a lovely way to finish off the day. John called it a wrap and we all applauded each other on a good job well done!

Wearing Lindy Bop during pinup photo shoot
Wearing Lindy Bop for the final shot.

Looking back on the shoot, there are some key things that I think anyone doing this for the first time should consider:

  • It's time consuming: Prepping shoot ideas, myself, outfits, packing, travelling etc all took time and a lot of thought and effort. You have to be willing to put all this in to get what you want from the shoot. 
  • It can be costly: Although no money exchanged hands for this shoot, I did have travel costs and the costs of any pre-shoot beauty treatments and additions to my wardrobe to consider. Modelling is not cheap!
  • It's hard work!: Although it may look easy, it's not! I was physically and mentally quite drained after the day, which is not only a reflection on my lack of fitness, but also an indication of how hard professional models must work over a 4/8 hour shoot. I was up at 6am and on the road for 7:30. We arrived at John's for 11am and I spent about an hour and a half in make up. We had about 30 minutes break for lunch, but shot non stop for the best part of 4 and a half hours. 
  • It's more difficult than it looks: It's just smiling into a camera, right? Wrong! It's not as easy as someone taking a picture of you at home. This may seem obvious, but you've got lights, equipment, people looking at you, unfamiliar surroundings etc. All of these distractions make it quite difficult. 
  • Practice makes perfect: Before I did this shoot, I did a lot of research into pinup modelling and poses that I wanted to do and tried them out at home. I worked on things that I felt were not quite right, so when I got to the shoot, I was not completely unrehearsed. This meant that both myself and the photographer had a much easier job! I also had quite low expectations of myself. I went into the shoot knowing full well that I am not a model and that the images may not come out as perfect as I would like - but that's OK! We all have to start somewhere!
  • Take a helping hand: Having Spencer with me was great, not only from a safety point of view, but he also noticed little things which could impact on a shot (eg. labels sticking out of clothes etc) and brought me water, props, outfits and emergency Jaffa Cakes when I needed them! Having another pair of hands was really helpful. 
Hopefully this was useful for anyone considering doing a pinup photo shoot. As always, if you have any questions or would like to leave any feedback, please do so below. I would love to hear from you! And please do look out for the finished pictures on my Instagram!

- x - LMDW - x -

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Retro Peepers - vintage style glasses review

So the arm of my existing glasses fell off last weekend. I say 'fell off' was one of those "Oh no! The arm of my glasses has fallen off - now I'm going to have to buy those ones I've been swooning over from Retro Peepers for months! Shucks!" So you get the jist. Apart from having to use my glasses as a monocle all week and getting weird looks in Asda, I wasn't too upset over the loss.

For ages I have been searching for a company that sells reproduction vintage glasses to an optical prescription, which, yes, you've guessed it, don't break the bank! So when I found Retro Peepers on Instagram through someone I follow, I was overjoyed! They have a huge range of glasses based on vintage designs to suit every face and budget! I was completely spoilt for choice! 

I decided to play it safe and go with one of their budget styles, just incase they didn't suit me. I chose The 'Gidget' frames in black for a measily £14!

Retro Peepers - Gidget Frames - Vintage Style Reading Glasses

The process for buying prescription reading glasses or sunglasses from Retro Peepers was dead easy (something I was quite worried about!). Instead of choosing a reading strength (like you would a clothes size) you pick 'Regl' which stands for 'Reglaze'. You then pay for your specs at the checkout as per usual. I then emailed the lovely Annie who runs Retro Peepers (she was really helpful) and sent her a scanned image of my optical prescription from my Optician along with my Pupillary Distance measurement (or PD measurement). This is the space in cm between the center of your left and right pupil. If you are unsure how to get this measurement, Annie emails you a PDF on how to do this, which I found really helpful. You then chose your lenses via email. I went for single vision standard 1.50 plastic lenses at £13, but you can also have anti scratch/anti glare for £22. 

Once you have emailed over your prescription and chosen your lenses, sit back, relax and Retro Peepers will make your glasses for you. The ordering process and delivery was super speedy! I ordered my glasses on a Sunday evening and I received them the following Saturday.

My new glasses are great. I love the style, the price (a bargain at £27) and the service. Everything about my experience with Retro Peepers was great and I cannot wait to order from them again. So if you are looking for affordable, vintage style eyeware, I highly recommend these guys! 

Vintage style Gidget reading glasses from Retro Peepers

-x - LMDW -x-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

House of Satin - vintage style lingerie review

I follow the gorgeous @amberrosetheron on Instagram, who brought House of Satin to my attention a couple of weeks ago. I have wanted to extend my vintage wardrobe into lingerie for some time, yet as I have not robbed a bank recently, I have found it quite difficult, as vintage style lingerie seems to cost a small fortune. So I was more than giddy when I heard about House of Satin - specialists in vintage style lingerie that is affordable!

As soon as I heard about this new company, I went straight onto their website to check them out (they also have an eBay page). The first thing that struck me about this small company was the huge range of items that they have in stock - bras, briefs, suspender belts, girdles, corsets, camisoles, french knickers, nightwear and slips! Not only do they have a huge range of items, but they all come in a range of lovely colours.

I am new to vintage style lingerie, yet as the items from House of Satin are so affordable, I didn't want to play it too safe! I went straight in and ordered a Vintage Style Satin Full Coverage Bra and a matching Black Satin Girdle.

I ordered the Vintage Style Full Coverage Bra in black, in a 32D for a penny pinching £9.95. I would have expected quite a low quality for this price, but I was pleasantly surprised when the bra arrived. The bra is made form a lovely satin material and has a secure 3-tooth fastening at the back. It has fully adjustable, wide straps and is of a really good quality. I believe that the bras run true to size, as I have had no problems with fit. It should be noted that this is one of the most comfortable bras that I have ever worn. It has no under wire, yet due to its design, it it both lightweight and comfortable, yet still offers sufficient support. One of the main things that surprised me about this bra is its wearability. Being a vintage style bra, I thought that it would be highly impractical for everyday wear, but it is really nice to wear under pretty much anything. The bra is not a full bullet bra style, yet it does have a small point to the cups, so they do protrude ever so slightly when wearing thinner tops.

House of Satin vintage style bra and girdle set
The House of Satin Vintage Style Satin Full Coverage Bra
and the Vintage Style Satin Girdle.

So the girdle was something new for me. I ordered the Vintage Style Black Satin Girdle in a size Small which, (based on the size guide on the website - 27 - 31 inch waist) I was worried would be a bit too big for me. It is a fraction on the loose side at the waist, so considering I am a 26 inch waist, I would suggest that the girdle runs true to size. The satin material from which it is made is silky smooth; clothes just simply glide over it. The tummy control panel at the front also does a brilliant job of smoothing out any lumps and bumps! Again this item is super affordable at £15.50, yet there is no compromise on quality. The 6 metal stocking clips are by no means flimsy and hold up stockings securely. This item is really wearable and would be perfect under a wiggle dress for either day or night.

I'm really pleased with my purchases. I am really glad that this small company is doing so well and I am also glad that I can now build up my vintage lingerie wardrobe without having to don my balaclava and head out in the dead of night with a swag bag. I would love to see a range of stockings become available from this company, as this would mean you have a whole lingerie outfit under one virtual roof, so hopefully they will expand their range in the future. I think a range of budget seamed stockings would sell like hot cakes! I highly recommend House of Satin to anyone who is new to vintage lingerie. Thanks guys for making me feel so fabulous, even on a cold Tuesday morning!

- x - LMDW - x -

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Victory Roll tutorial

As I mentioned in my last post, the lovely @rozellerose on Instagram asked me to do a Victory Roll tutorial and I was so incredibly flattered and excited to do it. I have spent the last 9 months perfecting this hairstyle. I am not naturally talented when it comes to hair styling, so it has therefore taken me forever to master. If you are a bit more handy with a brush, it may not take you quite as long. However, as with all hair styling, practice makes perfect! If you are anything like me, your first attempt at Victory Rolls will look terrible! Yet in time, with enough dedication, even the most ungirly girl (like me) can master this style! I will no doubt post more tutorials as I perfect other vintage styles (and my hair grows back!), so please do keep a look out for those!

So, here is how I do my Victory Roll!

Victory Roll Tutorial

Stuff you will need:
  • Curling tongs
  • Backcombing brush
  • Barrel brush
  • Hairspray
  • Pomade 
  • Bobby pins
  • Chiffon head scarf
  • Hair clips

Never attempt Victory Rolls on clean, freshly washed and dried hair. It is impossible! I usually wash my hair and leave it to dry over night and then style it for about another 1-2 days. You can adjust this time depending on how greasy your hair gets. But natural grease in your hair is your best friend when it comes to Victory Rolls. If your hair does tend to get greasy quickly, try some dry shampoo to freshen it up. 

Step 1: 

The first thing that you need to do is to section off your hair at the front. Do this by taking the pointed end of your backcombing brush and drawing a semi circle from one side of your face to the other. Then divide the hair section into 3 strands. If you have particularly thick hair, you may want to divide the section up a bit more to make sure you get a good curl.

Victory Roll TutorialVictory Roll Tutorial

Step 2:

Next you want to curl and backcomb these sections. Using your curling tongs, curl the first section of hair inwards, so you are rolling it towards you. Then lightly spray at the roots and gently tease the hair, so that it stands up of its own accord. Make sure that you backcomb the inside of the strand. Repeat this with the remaining sections.

Victory Roll TutorialVictory Roll Tutorial

Step 3:

Once all of your sections have been curled and backcombed, apply a small amount of Pomade or fixing gel to control the fly aways and to also shape the hair. (I use Suavecita Pomade which is brilliant. It is available from Amazon for around £12). You can also use the backcombing brush and run it over the hair to control any strays.

Victory Roll TutorialVictory Roll Tutorial
Step 4: 

Brush through the ends of the hair sections to make one large section. Then, starting from the bottom, roll your hair upwards towards your head using your fingers. Roll the hair quite tight; you can always loosen the roll later. Once the roll is in place, you can pull it around and shape it until you are happy. Secure it with bobby pins (making sure to secure it from the inside to avoid the bobby pins showing). 

Victory Roll TutorialVictory Roll Tutorial

Step 5: 

Once the victory roll is secure and you are happy with it, lightly spray with hairspray and using the back of the backcombing brush, run it over the roll to control any fly aways, You can also apply some more pomade if required.

Victory Roll Tutorial

Step 6:

Once you victory roll is done, take your square head scarf and bring two of the corners together to make a triangle. Put the edge of the scarf at the back of your hair, bring the two corners up (make sure to bring them up over your ears) and tie in a bow. There will be a little bit of the scarf that pops out of the top. Just tuck this little fella underneath the knot you have just tied. Secure the sides of the scarf to your head with either bobby pins or clips (I find that clips are a bit more secure yet they are more visible) and tie a bow at the top.

Victory Roll TutorialVictory Roll TutorialVictory Roll Tutorial

Victory Roll Tutorial

And you are done!

Victory Roll Tutorial

I really hope this was helpful? Please be sure to show me your Victory Rolls on Instagram! 

- x - LMDW - x -