Z is for zzz: sleeping in pin curls

It’s the very last week of my A-Z of a vintage girl in a modern world, how did that happen? Let’s celebrate with my first ever hair tutorial!

This post is all about wet sets, which is what I usually do on a Friday night (I know, so rock & roll), as it means my set will last for longer. I use pin curls and pins, as I’ve tried foam roller sets before, and they don’t work for me. If you know they work better for you, or you fancy giving one a go, Miss Victory Violet has a great two-part tutorial – this one tells you how to roll, and this one focuses on the brush out.

So, let’s start with what you’ll need (Cath Kidston bag optional).

img_1265

  • A mirror – for obvious reasons
  • Hairspray – I go for extra firm hold, because I have thick, unwieldy hair
  • Setting lotion – please note, the pink bottle is just what I put it in. You can buy setting lotion from pretty much any Boots/Superdrug-type shop, and then just follow the instructions on how to dilute it
  • Comb – for sectioning
  • Clips – to secure your curls in place
  • Back combing brush – for fun stuff
  • Paddle brush – for smoothing
  • Turban/scarf/other hair covering – to sleep in/cover the curls while you go about your daily life

You will also need damp – not soaking wet – hair. Well, if you’ve got a week free, you can have soaking wet hair.

Take your setting lotion, and spray it all over your head. Then, use your paddle brush and give your hair a good brushing – this will ensure your whole head is covered.

Separate a section of your hair, around an inch thick (for me, this is just behind my ear). Try to make the section as straight as you can.

Now comes the fun bit! Separate the front section into (roughly) inch long smaller sections. Then, using two fingers, wrap the top section into a curl. Then, pin it into place – you can either do a flat curl, where you pin it to your head, or a standing curl, where you just pin the bottom. As you’ll see, my setting pattern (I borrowed it from Jane Russell), uses both.

Once you’ve finished the first section, carry on until your whole head has been curled and secured – it should look something like the above.

Then, spray your hold head with setting lotion again, and follow it up with a healthy dose of hairspray.

img_1341

Once you’re happy that you’ve sprayed the living bejesus out of your hair, pop on a turban or hairscarf (tutorial to come later), and secure it with a few more clips. Then, off you pop to bed. I usually sleep in a turban (my husband LOVES it) because I find it’s thicker than a scarf, making it more comfortable to sleep, but experiment a bit to see what works for you!

img_1332-2

Zzzzzzzzz…… [Note: I do not sleep in full make up]

img_1337-2

Eight hours later, awaken feeling refreshed and ready to face the day!

img_1365

Before you do anything else, give your hair one more burst of hairspray, for luck.

img_1366

Then, start by unpinning all your curls, except for your fringe (you’ll be doing something special with that).

Once they’re all unpinned, run your fingers through your curls to break them up a bit.

Now, for the backcombing!

Take a section of hair at a time (I like to start at the top and work my way down) and backcomb it until you look daft. (This will give you lovely volume when you start brushing out, I promise). And this is where your paddle brush comes into its own!

Using your paddle brush and your fingers, mould your hair into curls (as you’ll see, I brush over the back of my hand, because this reduces frizz). Brush until your hair is smooth (the longer you brush, the smoother it will become, and don’t worry about losing the curl).

I tend to do my hair in three sections – each side of my parting, and the back, and I like to start on the smaller side. I also tend to tuck the hair behind my ear, which is why the Jane Russell setting pattern works well for me. Once I’m happy with the curls, I smooth the hair down and use my lovely grips (formerly used as pin curl pins), to secure it in place.

Once you’ve styled most of your hair how you’d like, it’s time for the fringe. Unclip it, and as you’ve done before, backcomb it like nobody’s business. You then brush it out as normal – over the back of your hand to smooth, and try to make sure you don’t lose too much height.

img_1402

And once you’re happy with the height, it’s time to style again (as you can see by my expression, it’s a very serious business). Use your fingers to sculpt your fringe how you’d like it (you may also need to bring the paddle brush into service again if it’s being particularly stubborn).

img_1404

Then, that’s right – you’ve guessed it – one more burst of hairspray for luck!

Et voila, one completed set!

 

Review: Collectif Pearl coat

I’m a little bit late to the party, but Happy New Year everyone! We still have one letter left in my A-Z of a vintage girl in a modern world, but it’s going to be a photo heavy one and unfortunately I’ve not been able to get the photos done.

Mostly because I’m lazy. So, there’s something for all of us to look forward to next weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I’d write a rather handy review of my Collectif Pearl coat, which, rather excitingly, is currently in their Winter sale. (And having seen it’s still available in my size, I shall be repeating to myself ‘I don’t need it in burgundy. I don’t need it in burgundy’.)

Do I need it in burgundy though?

Moving on, swiftly, onto the handy part of the post. Some quick things to note about Pearl:

Sizing: Generous – possibly to allow for layering underneath. Also, to look at sizing vertically, I’m 5ft and a bit (a doctor once told me that the ‘bit’ is very important. And I believe him), and the coat finishes mid-calf on me. It makes me feel a bit like a Hollywood starlet, and I’m ok with that.

carrie-ann-and-chris-pre-shoot-0093

Photo by Lina & Tom

Pros: It’s super, duper warm – I wore mine during our honeymoon in Finland and was pretty darn toasty.

img_7638

It makes pretty much anything look glamorous – this was also taken during our honeymoon in Finland, and I think it sets off the walking boots and big, snuggly socks nicely.

img_7516

I’m including this photo for no other reason than I love it.

carrie-ann-and-chris-pre-shoot-0103

Photo by Lina & Tom

Related, you’ll feel like the most glamorous creature on the planet. It could be the faux fur, it could be the…no, it’s the fur. That’s definitely it.

img_9299

You make a lot of friends when you’re wearing it. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve approached me to tell me how much they love it, and/or the ladies I’ve chatted to because we’re wearing the same coat.

collectif-pearl-coat-beige-brown-bait-ione-shoes-mint-green-vintage-retro

Photo by The Street Style Carousel

Cons: You’ll spend a lot of time talking to people about your coat. If you’re planning on popping into town to do a couple of quick errands, it might be an idea to put something else on.

I won’t keep banging on about our Finnish honeymoon, but one of the loveliest ladies I’ve ever met worked at the place we stayed (Kakslauttanen in case you were wondering, home of the glass igloos), and we chatted every day about my coat and where she could buy one. I ended up writing down all the details for her, with specific reference to the burgundy colourway, and I really, really hope she got her hands on one!

img_7270

The buttons on both have mine have been a bit loose (but then I’m not known for being delicate with my outfits). Nothing a needle and thread haven’t fixed, but something to bear in mind if you’re planning to wear it out and about immediately.

So, to conclude: the Pearl is pricey (even at sale prices), but she’s a good coat that’s built to last, and I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on one if you can.

 

 

 

 

Y is for (Say) Yes!: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

Happy Sunday y’all! (Hmm. I’ve never typed ‘y’all’ before. Not sure I successfully pull it off.)

So, it’s the penultimate week of my A-Z of a vintage girl in a modern world, and I wanted to take some time to talk about being positive and saying ‘Yes!’ to things, even when they’re terrifying.

I know that this advice isn’t exclusive to vintage, but I think it’s good advice all the same, and is something that I had to really work on when I started to dress like this every day.

img_0095

There are many times I was nervous, but did something anyway. That time I went to Collectif’s 100 Dresses event on my own, which was terrifying (not least because I got lost walking around Camden and thought I’d never find the shop). But, I ended up enjoying it so much that last year, I convinced one of my friends to come with me and we had a whale of a time (except for getting lost walking around Camden and thinking we’d never find the shop). You can read more about it here: https://somethingdefinitelyhappened.com/2015/11/13/bonus-post-i-said-yes-to-100-dresses-15-and-a-bit-weeks-to-go-2/

Then there was my visit to the Classic Car Boot Sale and Cahoots this year, where lots of women I admire/read blogs of/stalk a bit on social media were going. I was incredibly nervous, but they were all so lovely and kind, and I’m proud to call them my friends now (they didn’t even mind about the social media stalking, that’s how nice they are).

And, of course, there’s every time I leave the house dressed in my vintage (or vintage-inspired) outfits. I love them, and it’s become much easier to do as time has gone on, but when I first started, I was incredibly aware of what I was wearing and waiting for someone to point and laugh. And even now, when people can point and laugh as much as they like and I won’t mind, there’s still a split second before leaving the house where I wonder if it’s a bit much. The Boy combats this by telling me that yes, it is, but then so am I, and it seems to work pretty well.

queenofthecastle

And then, of course, there was this year’s Miss Vintage competition, which I was desperate to get through to the final of, then spent the entire time between being told I was a finalist and actually being in the final alternately crossing my fingers and wondering what the heck I’d done.

I was terrified. Right before going onstage, I thought I was going to faint (surprising, I know, but I suffer from pretty terrible stage fright), and when the competition finally got underway, my hat – which I’d been struggling with – nearly fell off. But, I had a great time, and got to meet some very lovely ladies (and gents). I’d do it all again, just perhaps with more gin!

missvintagecarrie-anndring

Every time I’ve done something that scared me, I’ve come out the better for it. Whether it’s making new friends, achieving something I never thought I would, or just generally having a lovely time, there’s nothing that I look back on with regret.

So, next time you see something that you quite like the look of but which takes you a little (or a lot), out of your comfort zone, give it a go. Even when things don’t go to plan, there’s something to be gained from the experience; nearly losing my hat taught me to bobby pin the crap out of any future headwear, which is a handy lesson to have learned.

Take a deep breath, and just say yes!

X is for eXciting news!: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

This week’s blog comes to you from my comfy sofa, where I’m under a duvet with Agent Carter on in the background (side note: I want ALL the costumes. All of them. If someone can point me in the direction of someone who can recreate them, I’d be ever so grateful). Especially this dress:

peggy-carter-edwin-jarvis

I’ve reached X in my A-Z of  a vintage girl in a modern world, and, I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling for inspiration. Which could go some way to explaining why I’ve not written anything for a little while. Along with us being on our honeymoon (we went to Rome and Naples in Italy, then Kakslauttanen – the place of the glass igloos – in Finland, where we saw the Northern Lights twice in three days. It was glorious and I miss it every day).

 

img_6264

Wearing a sunny honeymoon outfit in Rome

 

 

img_72651

Wearing still-sunny-but-significantly-chillier outfits in Kakslauttanen

 

There are lots of things X could stand for – as The Boy suggested, I could talk about the perfect vintage Xmas (it’s not so terribly far away, and I’ve been feeling curiously festive since our return from Finnish Lapland. Possibly because we stayed close to where Father Christmas lives, and saw his office and everything), but it still feels a teensy bit early. I could use it to talk about pinup icon Bettie Page, or perhaps burlesque, but I think I covered burlesque pretty well under B, for burlesque and body confidence.

So instead, I’m going to use this week to share some rather eXciting news (see what I did there? I cheated. That’s what I did). I’ve recently started writing for She Might Be, the UK’s first completely body positive, online magazine and community that is written solely by bloggers, created by Georgina of She Might Be LovedXXXXXX. where I’ll be talking all about vintage things. Other stuff too, I’d wager – you know me, I love a good tangent, but mostly vintage.

collectif-pearl-coat-beige-brown-bait-ione-shoes-mint-green-vintage-retro

Collectif coat, BAIT shoes, hair flower from Sophisticated Lady hair flowers and bag from Jools the Vintage Bag Lady. Photo by Street Style Carousel

My first post is live now, and can be found here: http://shemightbe.co.uk/rocking-true-vintage-accessories-series-bags/. You’ll get to read all about my collection of vintage bags (photos and everything), and hints and tips on starting to build your own collection.

vintage-handbag-square-woven-bag

One of my favourite bags, from Elegant Era in Harrogate. Photo by the lovely Vintage Frills.

In other very exciting news, The Boy and I’s wedding was recently featured on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, surely one of the loveliest of all the wedding blogs. If you weren’t a reader of my blog when it was the countdown to our wedding – or perhaps you’d just like to see some more of the photos – you can find it here: http://whimsicalwonderlandweddings.com/2016/10/vintage-inspired-doctor-who-wedding.html

If you weren’t a reader of the blog then, I should warn you: it was vintage mixed with Doctor Who (which The Boy and I pretend was a compromise because I love vintage and he loves Doctor Who, but we both know that’s bordering on a lie, because I love Doctor Who almost as much as he does). Also important to note – my sister made the cake. She’s a genius.

 

carrie-ann-and-chris-0089

Traditional wedding cake with a hint of TARDIS and a heap of deliciousness

 

So, now that I’m back, let’s crack on with this A-Z shall we? Next week I’ll be talking about saying yes and positivity and all that jazz. It’s going to be delightful!

 

IMG_2138

Yes, this is a TARDIS onesie

 

 

 

 

W is for Wedding: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

Ok, I admit it – this week’s blog is basically just a reason for me to talk about our wedding again, because I loved it quite a lot.

New readers – this blog started out as a wedding countdown, so if you fancy reading the ramblings of a relatively stressed out bride (with what I hope is the merest hint of a bridezilla), please do dig into my archive.

We got married at Heatherden Hall, part of Pinewood Studios, in Buckinghamshire in February, and it was pretty darn spectacular. We called it a vintage-meets-Doctor-Who wedding, and The Boy likes to describe it as a vintage box full of geekiness.

But let’s focus (mostly) on the vintage elements.

Our photographers were the fabulous Lina & Tom, who are two the most talented photographers (and, more importantly, the nicest people), I’ve ever met. All of these photos are theirs, so please don’t reproduce them without permission, or I’ll have to kick you (they won’t, because as I’ve mentioned, they’re two of the nicest people I’ve ever met).

The preparations – pincurls and make up by Dollie Mixtures, vintage pearls and ring that belonged to my gran, vintage bracelet, a present from my sister and pearl bag from Vintage Styler. Car is an Austin Princess, and it made me feel ever so fancy.

The outfits – my floral hairpiece from Rosadior, Grace Kelly-inspired lace and tulle wedding dress by Justin Alexander, my sister’s Hollywood glamour dress from Coast, my bridesmaids’ fun 1950s dresses from Little Wings Factory and The Boy, looking incredibly handsome in his bow tie.

Fun at the venue – afternoon tea, teapot centrepieces, a vintage-y looking dalek, suitcase for cards and assorted geekery, and good old fashioned games (games and photobooth accessories from Pip ‘n’ Mix)

Me and my incredibly handsome chap

Our wonderful, talented wedding band, Daughters of Davis (and us enjoying a dance, possibly to Stand By Me, our first dance)

carrie-ann-and-chris-0685

And finally, because if you’re going to get married at Pinewood Studios, you’d best get a photo of ‘The Sign’. Pretty excited to discover this week that this image has been included in the Heatherden Hall wedding brochure!

 

V is for Vintage: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

So, after an accidental and impromptu two-week holiday (time just got away from me!), I’m back and ready for the last few weeks of my A-Z of a vintage girl in a modern world. And of course, there’s only one thing I could talk about this week, and that’s vintage!

You may remember my post about reproduction brands a few weeks ago, and while there are some cracking brands around (and it’s much easier to get hold of reproduction outfits in my size), there’s something a little bit special about true vintage. Not only can you be fairly certain you won’t meet someone wearing exactly the same thing, vintage clothes also come with history. If you’re lucky, the person you buy from may be able to tell you a bit about who used to own it, but if not, then you’re perhaps even luckier, as you get to make it up yourself!

I first started adding vintage to my wardrobe through handbags – I found one at a vintage fair in Bath, which I loved, then happened to see a post from Jools the Vintage Bag Lady, who I now buy most of my bags from (I have my suspicions that she has a secret room in her house that’s stuffed full of handbags).

Jools really loves her bags, and generally knows what I’m looking for before i do. She specialises in 1960s bags (plus a range of clip-on earrings and gloves to match!), but is getting in more 1950s items now, which worked out very well for me – my most recent purchase was the bag I used for Miss Vintage, which I love very, very much and which I sometimes take out and stroke when I’ve had a bad day.

img_5421

My Miss Vintage outfit – head-to-toe vintage

 

I’m forming a rather nice collection of vintage handbags, with a mix of classy and novelty, so there’s something for almost every outfit (if The Boy asks though, tell him I still need a few – he’ll only complain next time I hit etsy otherwise).

I’ve now moved onto hats, having bought one a few months ago from the lovely Sophie, another Miss Vintage competitor. It’s ruddy lovely, and since then I’ve got a bit…well. I’ve purchased a few.

And then, of course, there’s the jewellery. Brooches, pearls, and – more recently – clip-on earrings (my nan used to have an enormous collection, and I always wondered why she never got her ears pierced. Now, I know better – because clip-on earrings are awesome!). Here’s my little haul from Summer of Vintage this year, including another lovely accessory – my first parasol!

I used to assume that, because of my measurements (and love of the three Cs – cake, crisps and chocolate), I’d struggle to find true vintage from the 1940s and 1950s in my size. Oh, how wrong I was! It’s trickier, of course, but through eBay, etsy, local charity shops, a few Facebook groups and some very lovely friends, I’m gathering a really rather nice (and extensive) true vintage wardrobe.

Two of my very favourites – a mint green silk dress, and a late 50s checked suit – were finds from my friends. I initially walked away from the green dress, until my friend Catherine assured me I was mad, and the suit was found by the lovely Holly in a Folkestone charity shop. That was a VERY excited telephone call! I’ve found skirts by asking in the local charity shops if they have any vintage ‘out the back’ (it doesn’t tend to sell in my little town, which is great news for me), and I’ve found a few bargains on eBay too.

13588893_10153501372257142_571538333_o

Photo by the lovely Catherine, who convinced me to go back for this dress

 

img_5465

Dress – part of a suit – found by Holly in a Folkestone charity shop

 

I even nabbed my first true vintage petticoat on etsy, which is probably the prettiest piece of underwear I’m ever going to own. Look at the detail (and ignore my cuddly Dalmatian, who very kindly acted as petticoat-displayer)!

IMG_5214.JPG

When looking for vintage clothing, if at first you don’t succeed, please try, and try again. You might have a hugely successful day (like the trip to London with Holly which resulted in this little haul and my employing her as my vintage stylist), or you might come back with nothing, but it’s such good fun – and the rush when you find something you adore is like finding your wedding dress all over again! And don’t be too wedded to eras – the blue and red check dress below is almost certainly 80s-does-50s, and I adore it.

img_5210

And, a little piece of advice that might sound like I’m encouraging you to spend – if you see something you like, buy it. You can always sell it on if you get it home and find it doesn’t actually work for you, but if someone else snaps it up, you might always regret it.

I actually learned this lesson at an early age, during a family holiday to Hunstanton. My sister saw a gymnast Barbie on our first day, and my mum encouraged her to hold onto her holiday money, as she wouldn’t be able to buy anything else. We went back on the last day, and they’d sold out. My sister has talked about that doll for the last 23 years, and only stopped when she finally managed to get hold of one on eBay a couple of years ago.

And finally, my recommendations if you’re just getting into vintage and don’t know where to start:

  • Go for accessories – they’re a nice way to dip your toe in, can look great styled with reproduction or entirely modern outfits, and look ruddy marvellous.
  • There are also plenty of books to help you get started – the Style Me Vintage range is wonderful, with separate books for eras, hair, clothes, accessories, make up and home.
  • Have fun – try new things, embrace your shape, and enjoy!

U is for Under Garments: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

Underwear, undergarments, foundation wear, that uncomfortable stuff under your outfit…call it what you will, it can be a pretty important part of dressing vintage.

It doesn’t have to be, of course, but for me, wearing something vintage-inspired underneath my dresses makes my outfits feel a little bit more special.

In the run up to our wedding, I took my first trip to What Katie Did‘s London boutique with one of my bridesmaids, and it was pretty special. I bought a bespoke corset that had TARDIS blue boning, because I wanted it to fit with the theme of the wedding, and I adore it and the shape it gives me. While I’m pretty happy with my body as it is (it does all the things I need it to, except reach tall things, and I married The Boy, who’s a good foot taller than I am, so that’s that problem sorted), wearing a corset does give me a little bit extra body confidence.

A proper corset with steel boning, it really pulls my waist in to give a nice curve, which I like as it fits with my 1950s style dresses, which have nipped in waists and full skirts. And, just to debunk a few quick myths:

Yes, I can still breathe in it (and talk, and dance, and sing! Although people don’t seem so keen on me doing the last one)

No, it’s not crushing my internal organs

Yes, I can still eat when wearing it

Carrie-Ann and Chris - 0090

Photo by Lina and Tom

I also bought a 1950s-style bra, which I didn’t end up wearing because you could see the straps through my wedding dress, but it now gets regular wear when I go to meets and the like.

And then, of course, there are the petticoats, of which I have lots (I’ve just come back from a photoshoot, and was pretty shocked to discover when I was grabbing petticoats that I own three black ones. Three! Why do I need that many?!), and which I really love popping on under one of my dresses to jazz it up.

My favourite ever petticoat reaction has to be one of my friend’s daughters, who had been told she’d be visiting while I was wearing one of my ‘big dresses’. Unfortunately, by the time she arrived, I’d taken my petticoat off, and her little face dropped when she saw. So, I asked her if she wanted me to make the dress big again, and the look on her face when she realised it was a petticoat that makes the dress big, rather than the dress itself, was pretty special. And very cute.

Here are a few examples of me rocking my vintage-inspired smalls (which are actually pretty big. Giant knickers)…

I feel like this is a poorly represented section of my wardrobe, given how many dresses I own, so watch this space for more pants posts!