Summer wardrobe staple


H&M has really cute tube tops on sale 2 for $10. Perfect with a pencil skirt, circle skirt, or your favorite jeans and some cute shoes.

They have a built-in shelf bra, which is probably enough for small-busted ladies. For the more amply endowed, it’s a safety layer for when your strapless bra slides down, so you’re a bit less visibly nipply.

Super versatile. And for $5? I will not feel guilty when I spill something on this vast landscape of whiteness.

Super versatile. And for $5? I will not feel guilty when I spill something on this vast landscape of whiteness.

Great retro look without the vintage price tag. Get on it.


An Irresistible Christmas gift

Imagine how wonderful it must have been to receive this vintage Christmas gift set with Irresistible perfume, powder, and skin freshener all in a beautiful box. Such gorgeous artwork!

Lovely packaging.

Lovely packaging.

The set contains body and face powder, perfume, and a cleanser.

The set contains body and face powder, perfume, and a cleanser.

The back of the powder box.

The back of the powder box.

I was able to find some ads online that confirmed my sense that this was from the 1930s… and also learned that Zoe Mozert created the artwork. The illustration resembles her drawings of Jean Harlow. No wonder it’s so gorgeous!

Ad, courtesy of Duke University library

Eye shadow adventures, round 1

I got great feedback yesterday from some lovely ladies on how to achieve the eye looks I’m after. Thanks to Lisa for sharing a link to Makeup Geek… I found her Retro Inspired Look tutorial really helpful.

My friend Carole, a puppeteer (and wardrobe and makeup wonder), pointed me in the direction of the right brushes. I found a set at Target that’s conveniently labeled so I don’t have to figure out what each one is for on my own.

And here’s my first pass at eye shadow with multiple shades:




Eye shadow evolution

So, I may have mentioned this before, but I am severely lacking in some of the key skills required for pin-up perfection. Most notably, I suck at hair. In addition, my eye makeup application borders on remedial.

To counteract my hairstyling ineptitude, I stick with a bob and try different variations with every haircut. Easy.

The eye makeup is another matter. My technique has not evolved much since high school, when I’d swipe a dark color eye shadow across my lid, smudge too much eyeliner under my lashes, swipe on some mascara and go. While I’ve learned to use a little more restraint with the liner and occasionally go for the waterline instead of below the lower lashes, I haven’t really progressed. No sophisticated, contoured, come-hither smoky eyes for me.

I’ve made a few haphazard attempts to try something different in the past, mostly with eye shadow remnants from ancient sets. I never felt like it looked right, so I gave up and went back to my old ways, even as I acknowledged that I didn’t have the right tools or makeup colors to make myself look the way I wanted to. A friend and his lady came up to visit over the weekend and I noticed her eye makeup. It was exactly what I want to be able to do… subtle use of different colors. I told myself I’d have to try again.

And then, last night, I found this:

Nude eyeshadow palette

The inspiration.

All the right colors. Cheap, so if I get frustrated and give up after a week, I’m not out $50 for one of the crazy Urban Decay palettes I look at every time I’m in Sephora. And best of all…

It has instructions on the back for numbskulls like me.

I'm pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’m pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’ll post photos of various attempts to follow instructions in the next few days. I have a master’s degree. How hard can this be?

Flea market pin-ups

Yesterday we hit the Hollis Flea Market and I discovered these two beautiful ladies… One by Vargas and one by Alex Raymond.

Vargas calendar page and Alex Raymond pin-up

Vargas calendar page and Alex Raymond pin-up

I hadn’t heard of Alex Raymond before, but soon learned that he was well-known as a comic book artist; mainly for his work on Flash Gordon in the 1930s. The Vargas page has a bit of spotting on the paper and there’s a small hole in the Raymond piece, but they’ll still look lovely framed. I’m running out of room in my office!

Pin-up artists: Harry Ekman

For Christmas, my mother-in-law got me a wonderful collection of pin-up prints. While some of them were familiar artists and images, others were new to me. Harry Ekman, for instance. While the two Ekman images in the collection seem familiar, I didn’t recognize the name. Fortunately, the prints each have a bit of biographical information about the artist on the back.

Born in Chicago in 1923, Ekman apprenticed under Gil Elvgren and Haddon Sundblom (the man who created the iconic Coca-Cola Santa Claus) at Brown and Bigelow. The company produced calendars, playing cards, matchbooks, and other specialty advertising materials which often featured pin-up girls. Eventually Sundblom formed a studio with Ekman, where Ekman created pin-ups for the Shaw-Barton calendar company. In the 1960s, he seems to have moved away from advertising and pin-up art to focus on portrait work. He died in 1999 in New Jersey.

circe 1956, oil on canvas. Copyright 2013 TASCHEN GmbH.

circa 1956, oil on canvas. Copyright 2013 TASCHEN GmbH.

I love this model’s outfit, her eyebrows, and the shadows Ekman uses.

1959, oil on canvas. Copyright 2013 TASHEN GmbH.

1959, oil on canvas. Copyright 2013 TASCHEN GmbH.

While the dog’s paws in this image seem off to me, the model’s body language is great. Don’t let the fact both of these images featured models with pursed lips fool you into thinking all Ekman’s work looked the same. He was capable of painting beautiful smiles and a gamut of other facial expressions. You can see more of his work here: Like Elvgren, his work seems to feature a blend of (mostly) wholesome girls next door in outdoor adventures (bike-riding, beach-going, dog-walking…) in contrast with alluring boudoir beauties in more flirtatious poses.

Unfortunately, there’s very little information about Ekman available either online or in the pin-up books in my collection. I’ve definitely become a fan, however, and plan to keep looking for more about him and his work.

Cool calendar

My friend Amy gave me a cool calendar that I really enjoyed this year: Gina Elise’s Pin-Ups for Vets 2013 calendar. All the proceeds from calendar sales support veterans’ healthcare programs. Gina’s organization also donates calendars to VA hospitals, veterans’ homes, and deployed troops to raise morale and show appreciation for their service. Very cool.

While calendars from previous years have included only photos of Gina Elise, this year’s version featured other models as well: Shannon and Sophie Tweed-Simmons, Tracy Tweed, sportscaster and NBA scout Bonnie-Jill Laflin and actress Meagan Tandy. If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a pin-up lover in your life, this might be a nice start.

Some photos from the calendar:

The cover of Gina Elise's 2013 Pin-ups for Vets calendar. Playful and patriotic.

The cover of Gina Elise’s 2013 Pin-ups for Vets calendar. Playful and patriotic.

A cheery break from the dreariness of February!

A cheery break from the dreariness of February!

November...suitable Scorpio vibe.

November…suitable Scorpio vibe.

Order now and that’s one less gift you have to worry about. And it supports charity. What’s not to love?