Pinup at work part 1

We all know by now that pinup fashion is great for summer, weekends, and evenings.  The staples include pretty sun dresses and glamorous wiggle dresses that stop traffic.  But what about when you decided that you want to embrace the style full-time?  How do you reimagine your wardrobe to fit office dress codes?  Or what about when the weather turns cold and you realize that every dress you own is sleeveless!  This is the first in my series regarding work wear and then winter wear, or how to be a real life pin-up girl!

I know that at work I want to look both beautiful and like “me” but also be taken seriously and not have men staring at my boobs all day (though that is hard to be avoided).  I have been working in a research lab at my university over the summer, the dress code was “business casual” which is the most ambiguous phrase I’ve ever heard.  I decided to be on the safe side with pencil skirts and nice blouses, plus the occasional dress.

The first rule of thumb is: don’t show a lot of skin! I know that pinup is very sexy and sensual, but you can be both of those things while still being professional.  If in doubt, cover up.  It can be hard sometimes to find things that are work appropriate but it takes just a little time and imagination.  Some tops can become appropriate by adding a cardigan or a camisole, only get skirts and dresses that go to your knee or below (you should be anyway for vintage/pinup style), and stay away from very tight garments.  Leave the low-cut, tight dresses for evening wear when it will be appreciated

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This is what I wore to work today.  It is a Bettie Page dress that I just bought from ModCloth during their 70% off sale.  I like that it is has a higher neckline and can be appropriate for work.

But at the same time it can be dressed up for evening and be very sexy

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here is a close up of the bow detail on the neckline, it is very cute

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The fact that my arms are uncovered is balanced by the high neckline, long hemline, and the fact that it is not terribly tight.  I felt great wearing this today and can’t wait to wear it again.

The dress was originally $108, but I scored it for $33.  I will talk about my haul later in the week after I take pictures of everything on.  let’s just say that my entire order was less than the original cost of this dress!

Do you have a dress code at work?  Is it fairly conservative or do you get to wear what you want?  I had worn uniforms in past jobs, except for my last job which was in a warehouse so I went to work in t-shirts and track pants that were then covered by freezer gear.  How do you express yourself while staying within a corporate dress code?

Back to school

Last week my oldest daughter, J, went back to school, she started 1st grade.  She was thrilled, I cried.  It makes me so happy that she is excited for school but it is bittersweet to think that my baby girl is growing up so fast.   IMG_8051

She is still so little, she is the shortest kid in her class and I’m pretty sure her grade. She is also one of the youngest because her birthday is in May.  My youngest daughter, E, is two years younger and pretty much the same size!

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One of the ways that I am a modern mommy is how they eat.  I am very particular about their diets, they have only had fast food (other than pizza) maybe 4 times in their lives and that is when we are on road trips and have no other way to feed them.  They don’t drink soda or even juice, they very rarely have processed foods.  And while I do allow treats in the for of cookies, cake, etc. it is always homemade and I am able to control exactly what is in it.  I guess that it’s not very modern at all actually 🙂  I love to cook and I love to bake, I pride myself in that we have home cooked meals 99% of the time and most things are from scratch.  I take some short cuts, such as buying the steam-able frozen veggies, but for the most part I do everything from scratch.

This year is J’s first year going to school all day, she was in half-day kindergarten, so she is having lunch for the first time at school.  I had always known that I would be packing their lunches every day, school lunches are terrible and not to mention EXPENSIVE!  I knew that I would prefer to spend 10 minutes in the evening preparing her a nutritious, real lunch than to let her eat that garbage they try to pass off as food.  Granted, hot lunch has gotten better since I ate it but not by much.

I had been checking out ideas for cold lunches on pinterest since I knew she (and I) would get bored with a sandwich every day.  I came across Bento Box lunches.  They are so cool and you can do some really fun things with them.  I like that everything she takes is reusable, I didn’t want to have to buy plastic bags and stuff like that.  I purchased a kit from Laptop Lunches http://secure.laptoplunches.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=K830%2DPLUM&eq=&Tp= this is the one she got.  I like that it had an extra compartment for her snack and that the handles were situated in a way that would keep the bento box upright.  The bag is insulated and it stays pretty cool, a fork and spoon are included.

she loves it, its a little big for her but it should last a few years.  I will be chronicling my first year in bento box making, maybe I can get as good as the Japanese moms who make Hello Kitty rice balls!

here is what she has had for lunch this week

monday

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Orzo pasta salad, mandarin orange, cherry tomatoes, ham, pretzels.

Tuesday

I didn’t take a picture, but she had leftover popcorn chicken from the night before, carrots and tomato, yogurt pretzels, and a babybel cheese

Wednesday

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peanut butter and jelly hearts, pretzels, string cheese, carrots and tomatoes, and a lime jello.

I make the jello in individual, reusable cups.  it is cheaper than buying the premade ones and I can control the portions.

I just noticed she’s been having pretzels the same side dishes a lot, I’m going to have to be more creative next week 🙂

I plan on making this a recurring post, I would like to hear some feedback from you all.  Would you prefer a weekly post that shows everything from the week or a daily one that would be shorter.  Thanks!

I also have some outfit posts coming up, I just scored big time from ModCloth during their 70% off sale so I will be showing you the haul when that arrives.

Ps. I am on instagram now, you can find me @bettiebanshee

Pinup Essential: Cultivating a Pinup wardrobe

When you are new to a style, it can be overwhelming to get started.  Where do you start?  How do you know what to get first and how do you start building a new wardrobe without breaking the bank?

If you have come this far, chances are you are drawn to and considering adopting the pinup style.  Congratulations on your first steps toward this fabulous, classy, and timeless style and possibly the lifestyle!  I am a bit biased, but I happen to believe that the pinup, retro, rockabilly, or whatever you want to call it is the greatest and most flattering style for all women.  The style revolves around femininity and embracing YOUR womanly shape, regardless of size.  By taking a quick browse around the vintage reproduction websites, you can see that women of all shapes and sizes look fabulous and feel fabulous when rocking these dresses.  I like that I can walk the line of being totally sexy, yet demure and classy at the same time.  That is something that’s almost impossible to pull off while wearing modern fashion, things that are either too tight, too low, too short, or often a combination of the three.  I am a college student, so I see girls walking around campus with everything hanging out, I can’t imagine they are very comfortable!  It’s amazing how in a sea of bare skin, I am the one who turns heads wearing a wool pencil skirt and a twinset!  It’s either that or they look very sloppy like they just rolled out of bed.

The best place to start when building your new wardrobe is to shop your closet and find things that already work.  Chances are you have been collecting things for some time that are retro inspired or are classic enough to incorporate into the “new you”.  Lets start with the basics, your wardrobe foundation.

You will need:

a pencil skirt

http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/liz-claiborne-essential-skirt/prod.jump?ppId=pp5001631554&catId=cat100250097&deptId=dept20000013&N=100530035

this one from JC Penny is $25 and available in a bunch of basic colors.  They are a little bit short for my taste and for true 50s style, I would prefer right under the knee for a more classic length.

http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/dixiefried-perfect-pencil-skirt-black.html

This one is almost the same, but more expensive.  It is a little tighter, a little more sexy.  It all depends on your budget and how many places you are wanting to wear it.  For example, the office might not appreciate the extra tightness.  Pick your favorite neutral color, a color that goes with everything else in your already existing wardrobe.  Probably black or gray to start with, then add fun colors later.

I get most of my pencil skirts from thrift stores, they are true vintage and are very affordable.

an a-line or circle skirt or dress

This one is from Vivien of Holloway, here is the link http://www.vivienofholloway.com/en/category/no-pocket/50s-circle-skirt/1867/.

http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/doris-skirt-in-black-sateen.html

This is the Doris skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing. I have my eye in this one in black and I already have it in the atomic turquoise print.  I love the fit of this one and the fullness, it is really stiff so it holds its shape even without a crinoline underneath.

Unlike most of the items in this list, circle skirts and dresses are not super readily available at most stores.  This will be an item that you will have to splurge a bit on or spend a lot of time scouring eBay and thrift stores.  Its a good idea to become well acquainted with thrift stores, both in person and online, they will become your best friend for the pinup look.

a cardigan

This is such a basic wardrobe staple that chances are you already have at least one.  Most of mine are thrifted and solid colors.  But there are some really cute, rockabilly ones out there if you want to add some extra personality.  The cardigan is great to keep the cold away, to cover up your arms for more modesty/professionalism, and it gives you that “sweater girl” look that was so popular in the 50s.

t-shirts, tank tops, blouses, etc.

these can be literally whatever you want: band tees, plain t-shirts, tank tops, wife beaters, pretty much any top that you want to wear.  I would never buy plain shirts from the vintage reproduction sites, I don’t think its worth it.  I get a lot of basic t-shirts from Target.  I did recently purchase some Vamp tops from Pinup Girl Clothing and they are fabulous, I got the mint, purple, and peach ones (reviews and pictures to come shortly).  But they are a bit pricey so they can be something to work up to, once you are commited to wearing vintage/pinup all the time.

ballet flats

These are a vintage gals best friends! Ballet flats have a very retro look without having to walk around in high heels all day.  I found a pair of black patent leather ones at Payless last year for $15, I’ve been meaning to go back and get some more (if they still have them) but I haven’t gotten around to it.  Your best bet is to find some in a neutral color, black shoes go with almost everything, and try on a few so you can find ones that are comfortable.  It defeats the purpose to wear flat shoes if they pinch or rub your feet raw, so much for comfort!  Spring is the perfect time to stock up on ballet flats and espadrilles, they will be all over stores right now.

These are the ones I have:

http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10088&subCatId=cat40116&skuId=084079100&productId=68790&lotId=084079&category=&catdisplayName=Womens

They have them in a few other colors, and for $17 you really can’t go wrong.

wedges or espadrilles

Wedges are great, they are more comfortable than stilletos and are very true to the 50s.  They are widely available this time of year and can be found in closed or open-toe styles.  there are some really cute pinupy ones at payless right now like these: http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10088&subCatId=cat440044&skuId=130436065&productId=72713&lotId=130436&category=&catdisplayName=Womens

killer heels

These are the most fun, but also the most frivolous.  They can be anything that you adore, let your personality shine!

These are mine:

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One pair of many! I should buy more practical shoes, but whats the fun in that!

I have been wanting these for awhile: http://www.pleaserusa.com/ProductDetail.asp?div=CAT&dpt=BURLESQUE&ctg=&STYLE_CD=TEEZE%2D08&PROD_CD=TEE08%2FRW they remind me of Mini Mouse 🙂 and all of these are fabulous: http://www.pleaserusa.com/ProductDetail.asp?div=CAT&dpt=BURLESQUE&ctg=&STYLE_CD=TEEZE%2D10G&PROD_CD=TEE10G%2FBP

a wiggle dress

This is usually the first step into pinup-hood.  A lady will purchase a wiggle dress and they are stunned by how fabulous they look, so they go deeper into the look and often never look back.  This is where the vintage reproduction lines are the best place to go.  Pick your favorite color, whatever makes you feel beautiful and sexy, and rock the hell out of it! I am a huge fan of Pinup Girl Clothing, the Vamp dress and the Erin dress are wonderful wiggle dresses.  They come in a wide range of colors that will tickle any fancy.  http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/erin-dress-berry.html

I have the tiger print Vamp and can’t wait for an occasion to wear it, I’m thinking car shows and I’m hoping to get called for a Pinup contest in June and this will be my secret weapon 😉

http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/the-vamp-dress-in-tiger-print-by-deadly-dames.html

Bettie Page clothing has some great ones  http://bettiepageclothing.com/dresses/style/18

Stop Staring is wonderful, but a little more pricey than the others.  Though the quality is great http://www.stopstaringclothing.com/sunshop/

I recommend searching eBay, there are always dresses from these brands on there, usually very lightly used (ie tried on and doesn’t fit or worn to a wedding and never again) and you can sometimes get a major bargain.

That’s really all you need for the basic beginners wardrobe, everything from here is built on this and expanded, you will find your favorite silhouette and collect more of that type.  For example, you may love the way pencil skirts look and find yourself with a collection of 20 pencil skirts.  That’s great!  The best part of this and any “alternative” style is that it can be whatever you want it to be, there are no rules!  Enjoy your road to fabulous!

Pinup essentials: Hair accessories and VIntage Box 1947 review

One of the essentials for the Pinup look is accessories! Especially hair accessories, an outfit is never complete without an awesome retro hairstyle and often a flower.  Accessories really pull an outfit together and take it from basic to fabulous.  The right accessories can also lend a vintage vibe to the most basic or modern outfit.

If you haven’t heard of Vintage Box 1947, they are fabulous!  It is a small, woman-owned business and she makes gorgeous hats, fascinators, and hair accessories.  I placed an order with them a little over a week ago after drooling over the website for a month.   Shipping was very fast, my package was at my door in about 3-4 days.  I had purchased the “Retro Package-Basic Hair accessory collection Starter Kit” linked below http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_61&product_id=80

It includes a variety of the most popular items on the website, it really is a great collection of hair accessories to get you started if you are new to pinup or retro fashion.  Or if, like me, you are addicted to hair accessories 🙂

The first item is called the Sophia Rose, I went with yellow but it is available in red, white or pink as well.

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It is about 5 1/2 inches in diameter. It’s a beautiful yellow, it is a lot more yellow in person with little tinges of pink along the outside petals.  If you’ve seen yellow roses, this is the exact same color.  It has a double prong clip that its very well attached to, so the flower wont fall off of the clip.  I wore this one on Valentine’s day and it stayed put in my hair all day without budging at all.  It is definitely a statement piece, as it is quite large but it is so pretty.  Here is the link to the Sophia Rose all by itself http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_61&product_id=68

The second item is the Birdcage Veil.  It is a basic mesh veil, it comes with some bobby-pins to secure it to your hair but nothing too fancy.  I did like that she included a little card with instructions with it, as it could be pretty overwhelming to get a piece of mesh and try to figure it out.  It is kind of bowl-shaped, it is knotted at one end and the other end is meant to come toward your face.

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It is not scratchy or cheap feeling and it is big enough that you can do a lot with it.  The veil can be worn alone or with other flowers, added to hats and fascinators as well.  It is available in tons of colors, even with some embellishments.  In the starter kit, you can choose from red, white, ivory, or black.  http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_62&product_id=96

Next up is the Magnolia flower.  This is the only one that you don’t get to choose your color.  It is only available in cream/white for the starter kit.

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It’s really cute, basic white flower.  It would be cute for a bridal piece.  It is almost 4 inches in diameter.  I included a picture of the clip, it is the same or almost the same for all the flowers.  This one is the single prong, the bigger ones have a double prong style.  The “back” side of the clip, the attached side is actually underneath the green “leaf” instead of just glued on which adds to the integrity of it.  If you were to buy this individually instead of in the starter set, it would come with three of these flowers.  The starter kit comes with one.  http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_61&product_id=113

The next option os for the Velvet Rose with Peacock Eyes OR the Ranunculus with Peacock.  I went with the velvet rose.  I couldn’t get a great picture of it, the peacock wouldn’t show up without the flash but the flash bleached out the color of the flower.  So pretend like you can see it all together 😉

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It is very pretty, I love peacock feathers.  And I love the little pearl button detail.  The flower is about 5 1/s inches across and the feather sticks out about another inch on one side.  This is probably the most fancy of them, where as all the other ones could be either dressed up or down.  I really like and can’t wait to wear it.  This is the link to the velvet rose http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_60&product_id=83 and the one I didn’t get so you can see both http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_60&product_id=66

Last but certainly not least comes the Triple Orchid set.  Your choice of red or ivory.  I had been looking at the ivory one for a while so the choice was very clear to me.

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I love these! They are so pretty and I love that there is so many ways to style them.  You can wear just one for a cute Polynesian/tiki style or all three for a statement!  These are my favorite out of the bunch.  It is easy to see why they are a top seller.  I had seen them a few weeks ago in my local pinup boutique and almost got them then but I’m glad I waited.  http://vintagebox1947.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68_61&product_id=67

I am very happy with my purchase.  I highly recommend that everybody go and check out the website.  My next purchase will be a hat, I already know which one too 🙂  I have set a goal to wear more hats this year, it is the next step in my retro style evolution.  I have a bunch that I don’t wear and that will change this year.  If you’re not ready for hats, hair flowers and fascinators are a great place to start.

eBay finds series 2:Floral and Gold

Today was really nice out so I took the opportunity to get out of boots and a coat, hooray!  I wore a dark floral, A-line dress with a matching fabric covered belt.  I topped it with a gold Lurex cardigan.  Both of which I purchased off of eBay.

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I was nice and warm thanks to the weather, i have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of nice weather so that I could wear this dress.  I love it so much.

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It was most likely made in the 80s, but it has a very 50s vibe to it.  I wore a crinoline underneath to give it more poof, but it isn’t necessary.  I ended up winning it for $13.08 plus $7.00 for shipping.  It is great quality and it really good shape, no spots or tears.  The seller is a store, they may have an actual store too but I’m not sure, here is the link: http://myworld.ebay.com/shantilly-lace-vintage/.  They currently don’t have any listings but I’ve seen a lot of nice stuff in their store.  Shipping was really fast, and when the package arrived it smelled amazing.  A lot of vintage clothing tends to have that “old lady” smell, I don’t mind it but some people don’t like it.  When I opened the package, I could smell the laundry detergent so I know that the dress had been recently washed.  That was a nice bonus.

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This is a close-up of the cardigan, it is really shiny in person and a wonderful gold tone, with little mother of pearl buttons.  It is also in great shape, I’ve worn it a few times and haven’t noticed any issues with it.  It was $25 with free shipping.  Hint: look for free shipping, a lot of sellers will offer it.  I always set a maximum for each item, what the most I would be willing to pay for it.  Sometimes I will forget about the shipping cost and go over my max, oops! Its always a good idea to keep the shipping cost in mind when bidding.

I wore green vintage shoes, they came from a thrift store.  They are suede with a bow on the front.  Adorable.

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I also did my hair in victory rolls today, I often put my hair up to get a few extra days between washes.  I wear my hair down and curled for the first 2 days after washing it, then put it up for a day or 2.  I try not to wash my hair more than twice a week, mostly to preserve my hair color but also because it isn’t great for your hair to wash it everyday.

I hope you’re all having a nice weekend, enjoy the SuperBowl tomorrow.  The quarterback for the 49ers graduated from my university, so my town is going nuts!  I don’t watch football so I will spend the day doing homework tomorrow.

Thrifty! eBay finds series, 1

I have stated before that I am BIG on thrift and second-hand stores.  A very small percentage of my wardrobe is new or not pre-owned.  Since I love vintage and the 1950s style, it makes it both budget friendly and practical to shop second-hand and vintage stores.  I have scored huge on more than a few occasions.  For example, I love Pinup Girl Clothing, their clothes are fabulous but they are pricey.  I have a very strict clothing/disposable income budget since we only have one income right now,  if I were to buy a dress from PUG it would blow my entire clothes budget for between one and two months.  I do splurge occasionally but I tend to go the more wallet friendly route most often.  I could get 6 true vintage outfits at my local thrift store for the price of one vintage reproduction dress.  Sometimes you just have to go for quantity, especially when you don’t have to sacrifice quality.  I have found cashmere and pure silk blouses for a few dollars, things that would be out of my price point to buy new.

I don’t live in a big city so my local vintage market is pretty small.  I would love to make a trip to San Francisco or LA to spend a week shopping, but until then I like to make due with that big thrift store on the internet: eBay!

eBay is awesome.  I have bought and sold various items (lots of clothes) and have yet to be disappointed.  Of course there are pitfalls to avoid when making any purchases online but they are minimal.   One of the biggest issues is “fit”, you have to count on the accuracy of the seller’s measurements and their description of the item.  It sucks to not be able to try things on before buying but most sellers will allow returns if necessary.  there is so much to choose from that if the listed measurements don’t fit your body it isn’t too heartbreaking to move on to the next thing.

So today I want to start my “eBay finds” series.  I will show you all the awesome things that I have found on eBay, include price, a link to the seller if they are a “store”, etc.   I’m letting you into my secret, this is a great way to get vintage clothes for a bargain.

First up is a yellow pencil dress and “jacket”

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The dress has a black spaghetti strap bodice that attaches to the yellow skirt.  The jacket (for lack of a better term) is a wrap style, it doesn’t have any buttons and I had to add a belt to keep it closed.  I’m not sure when it was made, it looks like 80s to me, but it has that pin-up vibe to it so I dig it.

This outfit cost me $6.99 plus $5.00 shipping.  Not a bad outfit for $12.  The belt had come with a different dress I had bought a few years ago and the shoes were $8 flats at Payless.  My entire outfit cost less than $20 which is a good 80% less than purchasing a similar “suit” from a vintage repro company.

The material is a bit sheer in the light, I have been meaning to get a half slip and this might be the final push I need to go to the store.

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Here is a close up of the fabric:

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It was listed as a polka dot, but as you can see the dots are actually square.  I don’t mind, I really like them.  I have a lot of polka dots and so this one is a little more unique 🙂

That is definitely something to look out for when making purchases, things aren’t always listed 100% accurately.  Look at the pictures really thoroughly, I wouldn’t buy something that only had one picture because you don’t get a full view of the garment.  Read and reread the description and email the seller with any questions.  If the are legitimate and reputable, they will gladly answer all of your questions.  Be wary of sellers who don’t respond or are snippy with you, they obviously don’t deserve your money.

If you are cautious and aware, you can make some great purchases.  Until I can make my thrifting pilgrimage to California I will continue to make due with eBay, you can’t beat the price on a lot of things and it is super convenient to shop at home.  Plus I will continue to share it with all of you!  Stay tuned to more shopping adventures 🙂

 

Vintage style personality

I  love movies set in or made in the 1950s.  I could watch Grease, Crybaby or The Girl Can’t Help It any day.  I was thinking about how fashion is used to let the audience know the characters of the people on the screen.  For example, in Grease you have the good girl-Sandy and the bad girl-Rizzo.  It is pretty obvious who is who based on their clothes.  Sandy wears pastels and poodle skirts, ties her hair up in a ponytail and is very fresh-faced.

I had a heck of a time finding a picture of Sandy pre-makeover.

Rizzo on the other hand, looks like trouble.  When we first see her she is in all black and it wearing a tight pencil skirt, her outfit shows off her figure and she is wearing red lipstick.  And she wears pants (gasp!) during the film.

 of course by the end of the movie, the roles of the two women have swapped with Sandy donning her skin-tight leather pants.

We often see the “good girl” in a-lines and soft colors and the “bad girl” in darker or richer colors and a sexy clothing like pencil skirts.

I like to think of myself more of a Frenchie, she straddles both realms and can pull off both styles.  And I always loved her pink hair 🙂

Of course there is the Donna Reed, ideal housewife, vacuuming in pearls.  She is the epitome of femininity, all grown up, married to the high school quarterback with 2.5 kids.  I love this she looks so pretty.

Then we have the Jayne Mansfield Bombshell.  She is super sexy without being trashy.  You don’t get more glamorous.

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My personal style is more rockabilly than authentic vintage, I like bright colors, big hair, tattoos, and six-inch stilettos.

My style is a mix of the Donna Reed and Jayne Mansfield, I love to look classy but I want to look sexy at the same time.  Plus, I’m not a teenager anymore so I relate a lot more to the Housewife in style and personality, as well as daily routine 🙂  It is hard to clean in super tight pencil skirts, so I have been collecting a lot more swing skirts and dresses for daily wear.

If you don’t know what your style is, I recommend watching some old movies, doing some google searches, and play with different looks until you find what suits your body and personality best.

Do you have a vintage style personality?  What characters do you relate to from movies of the era?  Do you dress more like a bad girl, a good girl, a housewife, a bombshell, a mix of a few or all?