Category Archives: How-to

How-to Lifestyle Vintage

Quick and easy vintage DIY: add a 60s vibe to your kitchen

I live in a rented flat so my dream of a full-on Sixties (or even better, bright orange Seventies) kitchen remains, well, a dream. While other rooms like the living room or bedroom can be easily given a vintage feel with furniture, rugs, curtains and general deco, the kitchen is usually a tricky room. Ours is undeniably modern and there’s only so much you can do trying to add a vintage feel with Sixties jars and kitchen towels.

This is until I stumbled across a pack of original Sixties decal tiles at a local vintage fair. These transferable stickers – you just paste them over your tiles –  add an instant retro feel to our otherwise rather bland kitchen tiles. Best of all, you can simply peel them off and save them when you move. Genius!

Look out for vintage decals at fairs or car boots or have a look around Etsy. I love these wood-effect apple decals (£7.97) or these amazing mid-century tea set ones (also £7.97).

Beauty How-to Vintage

Make-up tutorial: how do get the Biba deco look

I absolutely love this video tutorial by the brilliant Lisa Eldridge. She is using unopened, original Biba products to create this amazing deco inspired look.

Beauty How-to

How to finger wave your hair

With the new Great Gatsby film coming out next year even mainstream fashion magazines are going into a Twenties overdrive – apparently Twenties Marcel and finger waves are going to be staging a style come-back.

Well, I’ve tried finger waving my hair a few times and boy, it is not easy. I find Marceling (a technique using a hot curler on dry hair) a lot easier than finger waving (done with a comb on wet hair). Especially when you do you own hair, finger waving is very tricky, watch out for numb arms.

There are plenty of finger waving tutorials in books and on blogs but I much prefer seeing someone demonstrate, so after some searching I’ve found this excellent YouTube finger wave tutorial by Thrifty Creations, which is a brilliant step-by-step guide, I highly recommend it!


How to do an Audrey Hepburn bun

Yesterday I went to see the lovely hair stylist and creative Beauty Director for head&shoulders Peter Lux, who was doing a demonstration on how to do classic, vintage hair styles as part of head&shoulders 50th anniversary.

We did two styles – 40s Victory Rolls (as seen above) and a style reminiscent of Audrey Hepburns bun updo in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

What made it even more fun was that we had hairdresser’s dummie heads so we could join in and learn each do step by step. Now, I’m pretty good at Victory Rolls so there wasn’t much new there, but I really loved Peter’s guide to doing the Hepburn updo. Head&shoulders have also done a video demo of Peter styling it, and as most of my pictures from yesterday aren’t very good, here are some film stills.

How to do an Audrey Hepburn bun ala Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

Step 1
Make a side parting. Then section off the front bit of your hair on both sides of the parting.

Step 2
Pull the rest of your hair into a very high pony tail. Fasten with a band. Then wrap a small strand of hair around the band to cover it.

Step 3
Backcomb your pony tail. Then, starting at the tip of your hair, roll it up and pin to your head. Make sure you fan out the sides.

Step 4
Now take the front bits of hair and pull them back on each side of your head. Pin the ends just under your bun.

And voila!

Our dummie looked like this:

It was really easy and took less than 10 minutes. I can’t wait to try this on myself!

Find our more about the author on Google.

How-to Vintage

Love vintage? Try German eBay!

Ok so I’m going to have to swear you to secrecy cause this is my most precious vintage shopping tip: check out German eBay. Or Austrian eBay. Or both. Don’t let the unfamiliar lingo put you off – that’s what the Google Toolbar translator was made for.

Check out this nifty ‘Design & Stil’ category for example. It gives you the option to search by decade so you can narrow down things very easily.

1 Euro Art Deco plate? Ok then!

Four Cortendorf wall deco masks for 115 Euros? Don’t mind if I do.

If you’re after vintage fashion try out the Mode nach Jahrzehnten section, which again allows you to narrow down by decade. It’s worth sifting through the many God-awful repro listings to unearth the real gems.

I love this collection of 50s fashion magazines – they all come with patterns!

Or this little 60s mod dress, currently at 22 Euros.

So happy bidding and shh don’t tell anyone.


Beauty How-to

Video how-to: Betty Draper bun

One of my all-time favourite You Tubers, Berlin Hair Baby, has made a brilliant video on how to get the high-up bun Betty Draper wore on her trip to Italy. I can’t wait to try this one!


60s inspired up-do

I’m beyond bored with my hair at the moment, alas finally a great and easy to do hair tutorial on how to do a 60s-inspired bun up-do. I can’t wait to try that one out!

How-to Vintage

Is there a vintage era for each body shape?

One of the things I genuinely don’t understand when it comes to vintage is the styling advice that certain eras are for particular body types. Twenties and Sixties, as is often suggested, is only for the boyish figure, the Thirties look great on athletic bodies or pear shapes and for the curvaceous girls it’s Fifties all the way. Really?

Well, not really. I’m a firm believer that any period look is perfectly adaptable to any silhouette, and to think a whole decade could be reduced to one silhouette, fails to do justice to the true versatility of fashion design.

Point in case, the Fifties. Dior designed his New Look – all corsetted waists and big crinoline skirts harking back to 19th century dress – for a slender, regal looking woman like Grace Kelly. In contrast take Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for example. All big-boobed and big-hipped they wear tight dresses that emphasize – not distort – their hourglass silhouettes. It just shows that there is plenty of Fifties vintage out there for you, regardless of your body shape.

And this is something I find true for the other decades too. Don’t have the boyish body to pull off a Twenties drop-waist dress? Then opt for separates instead.
Can’t do Sixties mini? Go Jackie O in a waisted dress suit.

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a vintage era for each body shape?

Find our more about the author on Google.

How-to Vintage

How to recreate a 1920s look – part two: evening wear

Following on from my guide to Twenties day wear, here’s part two – how to dress for the evening.

I’ve written about my slight obsession with Otto Dix’s paintings before, but I have to return to his magnificent ‘Grossstadt’. The main scene, set in a Berlin club, shows a couple dancing along to a jazz band with several onlookers smoking and drinking. The woman about to step onto the dance floor, with her orange-yellow dress, slick Easton crop hair cut, pink feather fan in hand, to me perfectly embodies Twenties decadence and what Twenties evening dress is about: glamour, exoticism, magic, enchantment, excitement.

Against contemporary stereotypes, Twenties evening dresses weren’t short, certainly not above knee-length, and full-length gowns remained popular throughout the decade. Monochrome dresses in black and white, creme or  pastel tones were often worn with exquisite art deco shawls in geometrical or oriental prints.

Just as with daywear, the silhouette was boyish and dresses – always sleeveless – were straight up and down or cut to a drop-waist. Cape or cut out back details were very en vogue as were luxurious fabrics such as silk and fur.

Scalloped seams and heavy embellishments using embroidery and pearl details became popular on dresses as the decade progressed – leading up to the fringe detailing that we now associate with a typical flapper dress.

Similar to the daytime look, hair would be cropped in a short bob or Eaton cut and worn straight or set in Marcel or finger waves. Alternatively small curls would be piled up tight on the head. Tiara-esque silver headbands or elaborate crown-like head pieces were popular, often decorated with pearls and feathers.

For accessories women wore pearls or silver jewellery, plume fans were popular too.

To recreate the look:
If you’re based in London, do head to the Vintage Emporium just off Brick Lane for the most incredible Twenties vintage dresses and accessories. Online shop Dorothea’s Closet Vintage also stocks incredible Twenties vintage, even if you can’t afford it, get inspired by her stock. Again, check out Etsy, which harbours incredible treasures such as this emerald green Twenties gem (it’s nearly £600…).

Don’t be put up off if you can’t afford to buy any Twenties vintage – just be creative, improvise, make your own: a simple white, sleeveless, ankle-length dress dressed up with a stole and a homamade feather fan will work wonders.

Find our more about the author on Google.

How-to Vintage

How to recreate a 1920s look – part one: day wear


I have to admit I’m rather disappointed that so many Twenties or Prohibition events I go to are full of people dressed in cheap joke shop flapper costumes, paper mache gangster hats and such voluminous feather head pieces they look more Pocahontas than Clara Bow. I’m not quite sure where this mis-representation of Twenties fashion comes from but I guess with Boardwalk Empire (which I love by the way) propelling the look into the mainstream, things are only set to get worse.

So here’s my guide to doing the Twenties – Part 1: Day Wear

There is a real misconception that in the Twenties dresses were ridiculously short. They were in comparison to the previous Edwardian fashion where the mere sight of a woman’s ankle was considered positively scandalous. For most of the Twenties however, hem lines were just below the knee, apart from a brief period in the mid-Twenties when some skirts and dresses came in just above the knee.

During the Twenties the preferred silhouette was boyish and straight up and down without emphasising the female shape. This made corsets redundant and women were, for the first time, able to not wear very restricting shape wear. Instead, simple, taylored dresses or a combination of skirts with matching blouses or knitted tops – often in a drop-waist cut – were worn during the day. The colour palette was simple: black, grey, navy, white and  art deco prints inspired by geometrical shapes or flower patterns were in fashion.

Dressing during the Twenties was relatively formal compared to today’s standard and women would wear hats whenever leaving the house, as well as a matching coat and gloves during winter. Cloche hats and turbans were very popular, so were elaborate fur stoles and coat trimmings.

Shoes were kept simple and most women would wear brown or black T-bars or low-heels.

Hair was kept fairly simple during the day with many women opting for the easy to maintain bob cut, revolutionary for its time. Otherwise women would set their hair in finger or Marcel waves or would have tight curls that would peep out below their hats.

Make-up was strong, even during the day, with visibly painted on, thin eye brows, black kohled eyes and deep red lips.

During the day jewellery and accessories would be kept to a minimum and women would rarely wear any accessories at all apart from the popular string of white pearls, a simple clutch bag or a piece of statement jewellery like an Egyptian influence brooche, symetrical bracelet or a similarly bold piece jewellers of the Art Deco were known for.

Recreating the Twenties look with vintage is do-able but good condition clothing is both expensive and hard to find. A good starting point is
These online vintage shops also all stock Twenties fashion:

Dorothea’s Vintage Fashion
Posh Girl Vintage
Past Perfect Vintage

It’s far cheaper however to recreate the Twenties style with highstreet or reproduction clothing. Clarks for example do a great range of T-bar shoes, Heyday Vintage has some fantastic art deco inspired blouses (pictured) and The Vintage Dressmaker offers a collection of bespoke Twenties day dresses.

Next time: evening wear

Find our more about the author on Google.

How-to wish list

Babyliss Big Hair – in detail

Yes sorry another post about the Babyliss Big Hair styler but after my enthusiastic review yesterday I was asked to do a more in-depth post on how it works. So here it goes.

I washed my hair this morning as usual, spritzed on some heat protection spray and pre-dried my hair with my normal hair dryer until it was damp but no longer wet. You can use the Babyliss styler on wet hair too, but damp is recommended.
Here’s me with my hair still damp before using the styler.

Now one thing I like about the styler is that you just plug it in and go, there’s no waiting around for it to heat up as you would with a straightener. As you can see the thing looks like a giant brush, it’s got three heat settings (cold, warm and hot) and the brush head rotates both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

All you do is take a section of your hair, hold the brush against the root and press the rotate button for your desired direction. It’s really not that tricky to figure out and if your hair gets stuck you simply stop the rotating and pull out the brush, easy.

Here’s me styling away, I especially love it for my fringe.

It doesn’t take very long at all to do a section. I have lots of very thick hair and if I use a straightener I have to go over sections many, many times to get them straight – the Babyliss is much quicker, it really only takes seconds. I was in a real hurry this morning and the whole styling (including taking pictures) took only about ten minutes.

Here’s me half styled, it gives a good comparison between finished hair and non-styled, big difference, huh!

And here’s me all done. I often wear my hair in this kind of very straight 60s style and honestly, using the styler is the quickest and easiest way of achieving it, so yes, I love it!

Find our more about the author on Google.

How-to Vintage

Veronica me

I really love this You Tube tutorial by Berlin Hair Baby on how to re-create Veronica Lake peek-a-boo curls.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...