Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Guide to Vintage Shopping

Whether you are a seasoned vintage shopper, or new to the vintage lifestyle, a shopping trip for a one off beauty can be quite the unpredictable experience.

From my experience, the key lies behind knowing your body and what suits you. This means that you can then target clothes from specific eras that would particularly suit your body. You are then able to focus your time into searching for the perfect piece, rather than being disappointed in the changing room 10 dresses later! A vintage shop can spoil you for choice by the rows and rows of clothes, as they aren't organised like a high street shop which subconsciously guides you around by its Petite, Curvy or Tall sections.

The 1940's

In wartime Britain, the 'made do and mend' culture was present in every household up and down the country. The clothes were expected to be durable and practical but flattering enough to welcome the troops home with, so as a result a 'plainer' predecessor to the fashion of the fifties. For this reason, I often reach out to forties style for a more everyday, daytime vintage look. It is very easy to find a beautiful vintage dress for an evening out, but when you decide you want to embed this style into all areas of your life, it can be very difficult to know what to wear and for me, the forties fit the bill.
Necklines were slightly higher, skirts a little longer and waists were still defined so forties clothing would suit all body shapes. As austerity was key in the early forties, fabric was made the most of and styles followed the silhouette. Pleats and capped sleeves were everywhere. Christian Dior's New Look in 1947 signalled the change that was due to occur in a few years time as he unleashed the ultra feminine styles making a ready change from the boxier styles of earlier times.
Signs of the forties are Floral Prints, Trench Coats, Fitted skirts, Pillbox hats and Narrow Belts

The 1950's

The fifties is my go to era for the perfect party outfit. The beginning of pop culture changed attitudes all over the world and the clothes certainly reflected this. Styles became more exuberant, from poofy skirts, shorter hemlines or lower necklines. The sudden exaggerated shapes were almost done in an attempt by people to forget the compromises made in the decade before! Shapes symbolised sexuality, confidence and elegance.

Colour returned, and it was a huge trend to match your hat, bag and gloves. People gradually could afford to accessorise and it become all about what you wore, and what you wore with it. Daywear was slightly more comfortable and the fashion was for separates, such as the cardigan and capri pants inspired by Grace Kelly. Evening wear was centered around the Black Dress.

Signs of the fifties are: Circular skirts, Cats Eye Sunglasses, Capri Pants, Silk Print Headscarves and Beaded Cardigans

The 1960's

I am a great lover of 1960s style and design, and dreamt of being Jean Shrimpton for so so long. I had a moment of realisation when, after struggling to get into the 5th sixties style dress, I had to acknowledge that original sixties clothing neither fits or suits me!

Jean's short skirt causing controversy at Derby Day in Australia
In the sixties skirts got even shorter, as any 50's conservatism was being replaced by social change and development. The post war baby boom had bred a generation wanting to be different. The Mini Skirt symbolised this change, and the marketing by Mary Quant helped to secure this.

As the impact of the media directly influenced fashion, it brought about the rise of the mail order dress. Those lucky ladies were able to write to a newspaper, and be sent a Biba or Quant dress!

Telltale signs include: A-Line Dresses, Mini Skirts, Knee High Boots, Metallics and Crochet Dresses

Whilst these decades may define themselves, we mustn't let them define us. I am by no way saying that somebody with a taller, less curvy figure wouldn't suit a forties style. I am simply highlightling the changes that developed during fashion over times. I really believe that you should dress to flatter your body, if you have a tiny waist or great boobs, don't be afraid to show them off! This is simply a guide to follow if you wanted to target a specific era, and may even help a little search on Ebay.  
I hope this has been informative, and please ask if you have any questions!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Thursday, 24 January 2013

It's All About The Hair

The reddest lipstick, most flattering dress, or perfect brogues can all contribute towards creating a beautiful vintage look. However, the cherry on top is an authentic vintage hairstyle.

I am particularly inspired by the tumbling waves of Rita Hayworth, with her trademark sweeping fringe and gentle waves flattering her beautiful face!

As I have gradually encorporated vintage clothing into my everyday lifestyle, I have enjoyed styling my hair using an authentic 40's/50's method. Setting your hair is a more difficult technique to master, but the final result is much longer lasting and gives a great, glamourous look.

I begin with some cheap styling tools:
1. Superdrug Setting Lotion (around £1.60 for a bottle)
2. Bendy Rollers which can be found here. These are very cheap and also easily comfortable enough to sleep in. They come in three different sizes to create different size curls.
3. A Kent bristle brush. This is a more expensive option, but any natural bristle brush will give a great effect.
4. A medium sized square headscarf (available from any charity or vintage shops for a few pounds)
5. Kirkby grips

Before beginning to put the rollers in, I really think about how I want the style to end up afterwards. It really does take some thinking about, such as where to place the rollers, which direction to roll in and what angle to roll at. The setting lotion should be applied sparingly, but with particular attention to the ends to create a definite set curl. I apply it to each section before I roll it. I like to think of my hair as three separate parts.

Part 1: The Back

I want the style to be relaxed, with the hair will falling naturally from my crown, and the curls beginning in the nape of my neck. This means that I use the thinnest bendy rollers, to create the tightest curls. These are placed into the longest layers of the back of my hair. The medium sized rollers are then placed in the ends of my shorter layer of hair. I roll the hair clockwise up into the roots so that the curl flicks out rather than curls underneath. It is perhaps easier to understand from this picture!

The thinnest rollers are the pink ones

Part 2: The Fringe

In the picture of Rita Hayworth, you can see how her fringe sweeps up almost like a quiff, and then tumbles down. I love this style and think it is particularly glamourous to peep out from underneath! To understand how this is styled requires some experimenting. The hair needs to be rolled underneath, away from the forehead and is probably easier to understand from the picture below. You can see that the hair goes over the top and underneath the roller. The tightness of the curls forms the direction of the hair, but the weight of the hair and curl causes it to sweep into the fringe position. The section behind the fringe has to be curled tightly underneath towards the hairline to create a curl that falls straight down, for the main fringe section to rest on. Any misdemeanours can easily be corrected by some lovely curling tongs!

What a creepy photo!

Part 3: The Side Fringe and Behind the Ear

I use the medium (blue) and small (pink) rollers for this section to create defined but not too tight curls. I use the same principle as for the back where the underneath section of hair is rolled up onto the small rollers and the ends of my layers onto medium sized rollers. It is important that you roll these at an angle so that curl falls directly downwards.

This should all work, but unfortunately it does take quite a bit of practice! When all the rollers are in, add a headscarf to protect the set and then get some beauty sleep!


The time taken to prepare the hair the night before makes for a very easy morning that doesn't take very long to style. Gently remove the rollers, I choose to do it in the three sections at a time.

When the rollers are out, use the natural bristle brush to carefully brush and loosen the curls. The most important bit here is not to panic! I have had many a moment where I can only see frizz, but keep brushing through for a few mintues and it will soon settle. It is now down to you to style as you like.

My favourite style is to pin the Section 3 (side fringe and behind the ear), just behind the ear so that the curls peep out from underneath a sparkly earring! It is also nice to add a lovely slide or hair brooch for an extra bit of glamour on a special occasion.

Here are some pictures of my favourite end results...

I hope this post makes sense and please, just ask if you have any questions! I am really excitedly planning some video tutorials to try and do this weekend so keep your eyes peeled! I would also love to hear if there is anything you would particularly like to see me do, whether it be hair, make up or anything else!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Truly Vintage Winters Look

Whilst many may complain about the influx of the snow over the last few days, I have to admit I have been a very excited vintage loving girl as it means I can get some of my favourite vintage pieces out!

This coat was given to me by my Mum, who found it in a charity shop around 2 years ago for a steal at £10! It is 60% cashmere, 28% wool and 12% polyester, so incredibly warm but I love the history that it holds. I believe it has a very forties shape to it, and has a very old label in it which says 'Lillian Smith of Lord Street, Southport'. My family is originally from Southport, and I even used to live on Lord Street! My Mum also showed the coat to my Grandma, who said that both her and her mum (my great grandma) used to shop there! I truly feel honoured to be wearing such a quality garment that holds so much history for my own family. I love vintage clothing as I am so fascinated by the history and stories that the clothes hold, and here is my own real life piece to hang onto. I can maybe even pass it on to my own daughter one day.

It certainly has come in useful this weekend in keeping me warm!

Here is the coat. My scarf is from Urban Outfitters and my shoes vintage from Snoopers Paradise in Brighton
My dress is a vintage reproduction from New Look
The above photos were taken just before we headed to Brighton Swing Thing. It was a great night, with lots of drinking and dancing...what could be better! We then took a stroll in the snow this afternoon, the coat got another wearing, but with quite a few more layers crammed underneath!

My lipstick here is MAC Ruby Woo

Peekaboo boyfriend...
I am now very happy to be back in the warmth with a roast cooking! Hope you have all had a fabulous weekend,
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

High Street Offerings

More and more now I stay well away from the big names on the high street. Whilst you can be pretty confident in finding something, the idea of spending quite a lot of money on something that a lot of people will have slightly discourages me from making a purchase. Call me a typical, emotional woman spender, but in my books, it really is all about the experience. I particularly love vintage shopping in Brighton. As I delve deeper into the Lanes, I become immersed into the atmosphere and filled with determination to find a vintage treasure of my own. Suddenly, trailing around the chains on Western Road seems a million miles away.

However, I decided to go against my usual habits and sample what the high street has to offer, as I was very kindly given vouchers for Topshop and River Island for Christmas.

I began my search in Topshop. Upon entering I was greeted by rows of sales rails...score! This excitement quickly diminished into feelings of dismay when I looked a bit closer and discovered these were for sizes 8 and 10. I am a size 12, and found a smaller rail towards the back for sizes 12 and 14! I wasn't impressed, and there wasn't a great selection so out I went.

I then hot footed it over to River Island to see what they had to offer. I find River Island to be very hit or miss, I have had some of my favourite day dresses from here but there are also some not so great clothes in there. This time though, my luck was in!

I had £20 to spend and have to say, I think I did pretty well! I first saw a black pencil skirt reduced from £25 to £10. It is size 12, and fits down to just below my kness, my favourite length! I think it can look so chic; it can be dressed down with a jumper and brogues on a cold winters day, or dressed up to give a shapely look in the evening. I then had a look at the accessories for my remaining ten pounds. I have previously purchased my favourite Pretty Polly seamed stockings from here in the past, but it seems they have stopped stocking them in favour of the perhaps more popular patterned ones. However, I was very pleased to find three lovely pairs of retro inspired earrings that made up my remaining money. The Sugar Skull and old school heart earrings were £4 each and the pearls £2.

Off I went a very happy girl, and then made a few cheeky purchases in HMV (this post was written before the news of its sad closure!). As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Some Inspiration, I loved the styling in two recent BBC dramas, Restless and The Girl. I was lucky enough to find a Hitchcock boxset and Gilda (the inspiration behind the styling in Restless) for £6 each so snapped them up too!

Now just to decide what to watch first...
Until my next post,
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Sunday, 13 January 2013

My Dollydagger Photoshoot

You may have noticed that I haven't said very much about my Dollydagger photoshoot, but finally the time has come where I can reveal all! I have been a very busy bee over the last few weeks, as I have also been writing a piece for Dolly's Diary, the blog on the Dollydagger website. If you would like to check it out, all you have to do is click here! Don't forget to take a look at their gorgeous selection of clothes!

I am increasingly amazed by the number of comments and compliments that the photos are receiving  on the Dollydagger Facebook page. I really recommend you check the album 'Hannah's first shoot' out, there are a few more here from behind the scenes. It is absolutely unbelievable that it is my face  in all those amazing pictures!

I just wanted to give all of my blog readers a little insider information about how the talented stylists, Simon Webster and Alessia Mancini, created the look.

The gorgeous lipstick (that lasted all day after only one application and a sandwich!) was a mixture of two MAC classics. Russian Red was applied to my entire lips, gradually building it up to increase the intensity and staying power of the lipstick. To give it an extra special kick, a little Ladydanger was added, and blended, to the centre of my lips which made them appear even fuller than usual! My skin was made to look absolutely flawless by another MAC product, their Studio Fix Foundation. This foundation had quite a full coverage, but felt so light and also lasted all day on my combination skin. Definitely some make up wishlists here, roll on payday so I can run down to MAC!

My hair was prepped by using fantastic Bumble & Bumble products. Simon is an expert on the benefits of all these, and they really delivered too, as my hair was still perfect by the day after! It was then pin curled, and when they cooled completely, the pins were very carefully removed. Whilst it would be very easy to panic at the tight 1800's esque curls, some gentle brushing out with a boar brush calms everything down and you have gorgeous curls before you know it. My hair was then pinned behind my left ear, with the curls peeping out below it. All that was required throughout the day was some quick backcombing and I was good to go!

I am now going to stock up on these products and get practising, I am determined to try and look half as good in real life now!

Hope you enjoy the pictures,
Hannah xxx

Friday, 11 January 2013

Some Holiday Ideas

After an entire twelve months without an official 'holiday', I am very keen to get some plans and holidays booked for the upcoming year. I have taken to scrolling the internet and even braving to utter phrases such as "it's only £250 for three nights", like some millionaire, which I am not.

The tough decision comes to whether to go abroad. I am increasingly desperate to feel the sun on my very pasty skin, even more when I can hear the rain pounding against my poor windows. However I struggle to decide where, and what kind of holiday, it is that I want. I have tried the all-inclusive sun filled week and found myself bored and saw far too many children for my liking. Equally, the self catering, exploring holiday seems like it would be quite hard work, but very fun and would guarantee some great experiences. In my dreams, I would love to go off inter-railing for a month or so. Jumping on a train and travelling all over Europe, planning the journey as I go would be incredible. Unfortunately, reality hits me once I start looking at the finer details, and I realise I neither have the money nor time allowed off work to let me have such a holiday.

That's when I start looking in this country. Like any vintage loving girl, I crave the idea of something different, unusual and any added kitsch is a bonus. That is where I stumbled across the website Vintage Vacations which promises English Charm in retro Airstreams from the sixties, or seaside chic in renovated Beach Shacks or Scout Huts. My favourite is the gorgeous 1954 Spartanette, seen below...

1954 Vintage Spartanette Caravan

Oh how I would love to be sat there...
Another wishlist destination is the amazing Goodwood Revival 13-15th September 2013. This event would suit both my boyfriend and I down to an absolute T with all of the cars and vintage frolicking, so we have both dreamed of visiting for years. We have been looking this evening, and have been considering visiting for just the Saturday, spending the Friday and Sunday evening in a nearby hotel. Unfortunately this seems to be everybody's idea, and most are either very expensive or booked up. If anyone spots a local available hotel please please please let me know! Otherwise my boyfriend will be playing chauffeur!
Do you have any British stay-cations planned? I would love to hear about them!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New Year, New You?

It seems pretty impossible to miss the pressure of New Years Resolutions factoring into every part of our lives at this time of year. Walking down the street and glancing in a shop window to be greeted with sportswear, turning on the TV to be greeted with a cooking programme or opening a magazine to see a weight loss DVD advertisement. It seems impossible to get away from it.

Now I am not saying that we should simply bury our heads under the carpet to hide away from it all. Yet what bugs me, is the pressure to throw ourselves into something, to pledge to lose an unsustainable amount of weight and the shame of failure haunting us all. I for one would love to know how many sign up on New Years Day and pay the astounding monthly prices for a slimming club or gym. A quick browse on the old internet shows Weightwatchers from £32.90 (before all of the other bumph you have to buy too) and LA Fitness membership for £44 per month!!!

There are many parts of my body that I dislike. My large thighs from sporting days gone by, those damn love handles poking out. I pose for a photo and stick my head out to hide my little double chin and breathe in to reduce my belly. Yet I look in the mirror when I am all glammed up and think, you know what, I look great! I then also sometimes look in the mirror and think oh god, things really need to change!

I am all for Gok Wan esque loving yourself and completely believe that everyone needs to love their body. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we are women, and most women I know will scrutinise themselves until there is nothing left to scrutinise. I think if there is something that you hate, that you look at every day and feel rubbish about, why can't we make some small changes to improve it. This doesn't mean signing up to pay loads every month, or promising yourself that you will go to the gym every night, because at some point, when tired, hurting and hungry you will cave in to a night on the sofa with some crisps and wine (my favourite snack!).

Part of the reason I absolutely adore vintage clothing is the way they are cut for real women with boobs, waists and hips. They are brought in at the waist, and flow out to a very flattering length. It is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged!) to wear sexy, shaping underwear like from What Katie Did. Most importantly, you feel like a woman! Whether you buy a more poofy skirt to hide your belly, or a longer dress to hide your legs, no one will know and you can work away to improve these areas, safe in the knowledge that you look fabulous.

I have personally decided to make some better choices for my 2013. I mainly want to get 'more of a life', so get out more and have lots of fun. This will mean, for me, less evenings sat at home watching tv whilst munching away; instead getting out, meeting more people and learning some new hobbies! I want to continue my Lindy Hop lessons as that is so fun and active. I am also going to go to a gym class once a week and that is all! I have found a spinning and weights mixed class that will increase my fitness and help me tone up slightly. I would also really like to find a Jive class in Brighton city centre, so if anyone knows of any let me know, I can't seem to find one!

Hopefully these small additions to my lifestyle will not only help me tone up my body slightly, but add some fun into my daily life! I really think that finding the inner willpower and determination to throw yourself into something new is the hardest yet most rewarding part of making some positive lifestyle changes. Don't do it on Monday, or when you next get paid, or when work isn't as busy, just do it! It doesn't have to be joining a gym or eating more healthily, but maybe that one thing at the back of your mind that you just WISH you could do. Why the hell not, just do it! You are the only person that is in charge of your own happiness, confidence and self esteem so make some positive changes to find that within yourself.

Rather than it be the year that you lose that weight, or go to the the gym every night after work, let this be the year that you work on your own happiness and making the most out of your life. Whatever this may entail. And then, when you achieve it, get yourself that dress you dream of, or handbag you keep looking at!

With lots of love from a rather determined Brighton Belle,
Hannah xxx

Friday, 4 January 2013

Hollywood Hairstyles

Whilst browsing the Internet recently, I stumbled across an amazing find; A guide for Hollywood inspired hair, published in 1952!

I mentioned in my previous post that I have been setting my hair a lot more, but I have discovered that it really is a case of practice makes perfect. I have found that I am gradually learning where and how to put the rollers in and how much setting lotion to use, in order to get the best result by morning. Saying that, there have definitely been one or two panicky moments of Medusa style hair! I think that this guide gives a general guide for where to put the rollers in order to create the different styles. This definitely proves to me that I have been putting too many rollers all makes sense now!

I use Superdrug own brand Normal Hold Setting Lotion which is around £1.50 for a bottle of blue liquid. My hair is naturally thick and curly/wavy and this holds it very well. I then use Loreal Elnett Hairspray and these rollers.

There is also some beautiful inspiration, so we can all go to sleep in our headscarves, dreaming of waking up like Gene Tierney...

I shall now be trying these recommendations out myself! If any of you know any similar books, or try them yourself, let me know how you get on!

Lots of love,
Hannah xxx




Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Some Inspiration

Over the Christmas period I have been absolutely hooked on the period dramas that have been on the BBC. For me, Christmas is all about settling on the sofa with the Quality Street, getting gripped by an amazing drama and gaining some fantastic style inspiration at the same time.

Boxing Day brought 'The Girl', about Tippi Hendren, Alfred Hitchcocks' muse and obsession who was played by the beautiful Sienna Miller. The drama is set in the early sixties, and Tippi is the ultimate starlet; a blonde bombshell in her flattering and classy belted wiggle dresses like above.  I noticed that her make up was very simple. Hitch recommends, perhaps through personal preference, that she always wears a girly sheer pink lipstick which I feel is very typical of the early sixties, as the bright pink of the fifties began to evolve with the change in eras. I also noticed that she either has beautiful long eyelashes naturally, or there were individual fake lashes applied to the outer corners of the eyes to give a flirty, sexy look. Other than that there wasn't much more make up, perhaps a small bit of brown eyeliner smudged in. I just love the effortless beauty and glamour that Sienna has taken from Tippi herself.


Some divine Wartime inspiration came from two part drama Restless. Based on William Boyd's novel, this added some suspense and a little history lesson to my Christmas! The beautiful, curvaceous Hayley Atwell plays Eva Delectorskaya, a British spy. I am obsessed and amazed by women who were spies in wartime. The intelligence, glamour and guts of these heroines is something I aspire to even now and how integral they were to our wartime effort is so commendable. I particularly love the resilience of these ladies; the attitude towards women was so different and nowhere near as equal as it is today, yet they defied any preconceptions and proved themselves time and time again.

I have become slightly obsessed with the style in this drama over the past days, with my hair seeming to be in rollers for longer than it is out! I love every part of the look you see in this drama, right down to the hats and silk vintage underwear. I have done some research and believe that the styling for this drama was based on Rita Hayworth in Gilda, so that film is at the top of my shopping list to get even more inspiration.

Over the next couple of days I imagine that I will begin to frustrate my boyfriend even more by watching it all again on Iplayer! I definitely have some reading and watching to do now, and I highly recommend that you check both of these dramas out this New Years Day if you are suffering on the sofa!

I would also love to know what you thought if you watched either of these over Christmas, or if you can recommend anything else for me to watch or read!
Wishing you a gorgeous and glamourous 2013,
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx